Can Text Justification Hurt Your Case?

That may sound like a stretch, but I have never liked full text justification in briefs, and now New Orleans appellate attorney Raymond Ward of the (new) legal writer blog links in this post to an article about the difficulty of reading fully justified text created on a word processor.  As the linked article at Adams Drafting notes:

Does justified text have anything going for it for purposes of word-processed documents? Well, its defenders will tell you that it looks “professional.” But it’s a phony professionalism, in that it comes at the expense of readability, which should be the first priority of any kind of typesetting, including word processing.

The article is written from the perspective of contract drafting, but if true, would likewise seem to counsel against using full justification in legal briefs.  It may be a blow to the ego to think that your excellent legal writing might not get the point across just because the judge is having difficulty reading your fully justified text, but under the principle of “every little bit helps,” why not eliminate a nuisance — even if it’s a subconscious one —  for the judge reading the brief?

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