More diverse than you might think
A common counterargument I hear from attorneys resistant to better typography is called What Judges Want. In Mad Libs format, it goes like this: “Sure Matthew, that’s a fine idea, but __noun __ is what judges want, because all judges are __adjective phrase__.”
What goes in the blanks?
“14-point type” ... “old and wear glasses.”
“Times New Roman” ... “reading on paper.”
“Boring typography” ... “only interested in substance.”
Or anything, really. Because What Judges Want is based on the same faulty reasoning as all broad-brushstroke arguments. Whether you’ve met ten judges or a thousand, it’s apparent that they’re as different from each other as attorneys are. Why try to generalize?
I don’t. Rather than debate What Judges Want, I encourage these attorneys to rely on evidence. Court rules are one example.
Court opinions are another. If it were true that judges are “only interested in substance” —a favored contention—then we’d expect judges to put zero effort into the presentation of their own work. But that’s not the case. Sure, plenty of judges issue documents that look awful. Just as plenty of attorneys do. But many others appreciate that typography makes a difference.
This next example is not fictional. It shows recent improvements made by the Utah Supreme Court to the typography of its opinions.