Schiess’s basic document design for lawyers” at

Although I agree in principle, I don’t think it works in practice.

For example, I don’t think it is practical to use more than one font in a given document, since too many readers will not expect it and will be momentarily confused when they see it, making skimming harder, not easier.

The same goes for using hyphenation with the justification of text. If you are not expecting that, it takes a minute for your brain to connect the single word split across the end of one line and the beginning of another.

By and large, if you follow Schiess’ advice, you’ll end up with work that looks a lot like a formal appellate court opinion, with a professional appearance that rewards speedreaders (particularly when you use wide margins and single spacing). Problem is, while lawyers (especially appellate lawyers) may be used to reading that, judges themselves are not — they are used to reading what lawyers submit to them, which usually defaults to Times New Roman 12-point, double spacing, full justification without hyphens. Most of us are stuck only making subtle changes to that framework.

As an aside: I completely agree with underlining, italics and boldface. I particularly dislike underlining case names, which causes the eye to focus on a bunch of irrelevant proper nouns in the citation rather than the real focus of the document, which is the argument presented. Yet, very few judges expect bold in briefs and many believe that case names must be underlined. So, without a formal order (most local rules require only 12-point font and double spacing), we carry on…