Attend the most popular CLE seminar ever. More than 215,000 people – including lawyers, judges, trainee lawyers and paralegals – have benefited since the early 1990s. You`ll learn the keys to professional writing and learn no-frills techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefings more powerful. Let`s start with the how. Back then (let`s call it ancient Rome), the choice of fonts was limited and we weren`t that busy teaching accent when writing. You went to your workshop, took out your chisel and laid out a nice row of capital letters all the time. (Perhaps ancient Roman jurists who wanted to emphasize a point in a briefing dug their panels deeper or used larger letters; if so, their efforts seem to have been wasted for history.) There is a rule, my friends, but you will not like it: for legal drafting, words in the text can only be highlighted by italics. No underlining and no bolding. Yes, really, says the Bluebook (rule 7) and the Chicago Manual of Style (16th, ¶ 7.47). Once you have determined that the use of Latin is appropriate, decide whether you want to italicize the word or phrase.4 It is a common misconception to believe that a word or phrase should be italicized because it is Latin. On the contrary, Bluebook Rule 7(b) states that “Latin words and phrases commonly used in legal literature should be considered in common use in English and should not be italicized.5 However, very long Latin phrases and obsolete or unusual Latin words and phrases should remain in italics.” It also includes some examples of Latin words and phrases that are “often used in legal drafting.” 6 To determine whether a Latin word or phrase that does not appear in Rule 7(b) is “frequently used in the literature” or “obsolete or unusual” without making an arbitrary decision itself, see the latest edition of Black`s Law Dictionary.7 For simplicity, the following tables, which are not exhaustive, contain the examples given in Rule 7(b) and others: Examples not listed in Rule 7(b): as in Black`s Law Dictionary (10th edition. 2014).8 Which brings us to another of the great debates of our time: when (if any) bold, italics and underlining can be used to highlight text in the same document? (I say emphasize the text, because different rules apply to titles and subheadings, case names in quotations, and presumably Latinisms.) Remember: if you need help with this or any other type of writing task, learning coaches are available for you.

Please contact academic support via email at; Call 1-800-847-3000 ext. 3008; or call the primary number for the location in your area (see Regional contact information for school support). Tip: Many foreign words have been merged into our language and should not be italicized or underlined. If in doubt, consult the dictionary. Also, common Latin abbreviations should not be italicized or underlined: use italics or underscores to highlight, underline, or clarify a word or letter in a sentence, or if you use a word as a linguistic symbol rather than for its meaning: With modernity came options. The printing press gave us not only uppercase and lowercase letters (so named after the usual position of the wooden boxes in which printers stored fonts), but also italics and bold fonts. With the invention of the typewriter, writers could begin to create printed materials without the tools or training to type. Since typewriters had only one font (mail, natch), the only way to emphasize words was to underline the text. For some reason, many lawyers use Latin words or phrases to improve their legal writing, perhaps thinking it will impress their readers. However, this often has the opposite effect. Using archaic and unusual Latin not only makes your writing less clear, but you`re also more likely to make a grammatical mistake when using Latin.1 For these reasons, the use of simple English is usually superior.2 The only exception is for Latin words or phrases that have a particular legal meaning and no appropriate English equivalent. Such as “See say”, “habeas corpus” and “ex parte”.

3 In all other cases, use English instead of Latin. Italics and underscores are like flashing lights on road signs. They make you sit down and take note. Italics and underlining can be used interchangeably, although underlining is usually used when something is handwritten or typed. If you are using a computer, you can italicize italics. If you write in italics, do not underline in the same document. There, things lasted another century – bold, italic, and their fanciful cousins in the hands of skilled professionals, Courier for the rest of us – until the invention of word processing. Word processing released the secrets of printing for the benefit of a grateful audience, but it eventually became necessary for typing authorities to advise a little restraint. Professor Garner gives you the keys to making the most of your writing skills – in letters, memos, briefings, and more. The seminar covers five essential skills for persuasive writing: Neither italics nor quotation marks are used in the titles of important religious texts, biblical books, or classical legal documents: bold has appeal for a simple reason: we read on screens and italics are difficult to read on a screen. Michael Skotnicki, writer and appellate counsel, believes that “the emphasis on bold type stands out better than italics when a page of a brief is quickly digitized,” which helps readers (especially articling students) navigate to keywords and dots. One reader wrote: “I would like you to write a column condemning the epidemic of italics, bolding, and underlining in legal writing.

Someone has to take a stand. » No underline? No underlining. Underlining is a relic of a bygone era; Butterick says on his website: “I only notice it in the tabloids. Is this the look you`re aiming for? I didn`t think so. Use italics or underlining when using words from another language: The purpose of this article is to briefly educate readers on the appropriate use of Latin words or phrases in legal writing. It addresses two common misconceptions about when and how to use a Latin word or phrase. While the following rules and tips are particularly useful for appellate practitioners, they apply to all legal writing. But dear readers, we are not there yet. I of course learned that it was ugly to use bold to emphasize – and although as a former employee I have to admit Skotnicki`s very valid point, a bold sentence in the middle of a paragraph always makes me a little uncomfortable. If italics look like a pat on the shoulder, then fat is an elbow in the ribs. Mixing bold and italics sounds like an argument — not the kind you make in court, but the kind you have on a Sunday morning after arriving late on Saturday night, where your loved ones might make really reasonable points that you`d appreciate so much better if they weren`t too strong.

And don`t even start (especially in a trade journal) what happens when bold, italics, and underlining go in the same sentence. Those of you who are tempted to boldly point out what makes sense at this point need to carefully weigh the benefits of grabbing your audience`s attention against the downside of really annoying them. Is it worth it? You decide. Can`t attend our live webinar? Try our webinars at your own pace. Are you litigating a delicate question of legal interpretation? Let us take the example of Lexegesis, our allied advisory group. Also, keep in mind that the accent plays two roles: it grabs the reader`s attention the first time and is also used to navigate later. So, before submitting a document, take a moment to read each underlined word aloud and ask yourself: If someone stood over my shoulder and underlined these words, would I be grateful or upset? Albert Borgmann`s book, Crossing the Postmodern Divide Happy Holidays, dear readers, and thank you for your questions! I look forward to hearing more about you in the new year. As little as possible. The less is certainly more, and the more emphasis you put on theatre, the less you need it; Remember that the best way to emphasize a point is to write a good sentence. You can get away with italicizing a word or phrase (at most) every few pages. If you absolutely must emphasize bold, save it for the rare cases where you need to draw the court`s attention to a critical point that could easily be overlooked in a gigantic pleading — and emphasize the sentence or clause in your document that you want the court to remember and move easily.