Formatting Motions and Briefs

I’ve based the following Q & A on the Seventh Circuit’s Practitioner’s Handbook:

  1. Which fonts should I use and which should I avoid?Good: serif, proportional fonts (Century, Garamond, Georgia).
    Bad: sans-serif fonts (Helvetica, Verdana) and monospace fonts (Courier, Courier New).
  2. What about font size?Minimum 12-point font for text. 11-point for footnotes.
  3. Should I italicize case names or underline them?Italicize.
  4. Is bold okay in small doses-just for emphasis?No.
  5. How far should I indent paragraphs?No more than a quarter inch.
  6. Should I right-justify?

    Only if you also hyphenate.
  7. How should I format headings?

    Capitalize the First Letter of Each Word in a Heading (except for articles and prepositions). Avoid ALL-CAP or Small-Cap headings.
  8. Any useful trivia about formatting?

    Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Solicitor General’s office use Century font. The Seventh Circuit notes that fonts such as Century most closely resemble the books that judges like to read in their spare time. I would take that as a hint.

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