Legal Writing: How Many Spaces After a Period?

Via the (new) legal writer blog, the following is a an interesting post about how many spaces should follow a period. Jay Shepard’s article Small Firms, Big Lawyers: A Period Piece addresses and answers the question of whether a period should be followed by one or two spaces, but particularly, he highlights the importance of writing, grammar, and sentence structure for lawyers and/or to-be-lawyers. He writes,

[j]ust like you check the authorities when you’re faced with substantive-law questions. So why not do it for your writing? It’s important to get it right, instead of just guessing or half-remembering or looking at what your colleagues do. It’s important to get it right because you’re a lawyer (or will be), and words are your tools, and you need to show people that you know how to use them.

Further, Raymond Ward, the author of the (new) legal writer blog, addresses the very same question – One or Two Spaces? – in his own blog post, One Space, Not Two, After Each Sentence where he lists additional authority to consult. Reading the work of these two authors, it appears that there is authority supporting the “one space” rule, including Mathew Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers (available at Pace Law Library: Z246 .B98 2010), where there is no authority supporting the “two space” rule.

What do you think? Are you a “one space” or “two spaces” after a period writer?

Sources on Legal Writing Available at Pace Law Library:

  • Terri LeClercq & Karin Mika, Guide to Legal Writing Style (5th ed. 2011) [Law Reserve: KF250 .L43 2011]
  • Richard K. Newman & Sheila Simon, Legal Writing (2nd ed. 2011) [Law Reserve: KF250 .N484 2011]
  • Terrill Pollman et. al., Legal Writing (2011) [Law Reserve: KF250 .L398 2011]
  • Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review (4th ed. 2010) [Law Reserve: KF250 .V65 2010]
  • M. B. Ray & Jill J. Ramsfield, Legal Writing: Getting It Right and Getting It Written (5th ed. 2010) [Law Reserve: KF250 .R39 2010]
  • John C. Dernbach et al., A Practical Guide to Legal Writing and Legal Method (4th ed. 2010) [Law Reserve: KF250 .P72 2010]
  • Nancy L. Schultz & Louis J. Sirico, Legal Writing and Other Lawyering Skills (5th ed. 2010) [Law Reserve: KF250 .S38 2010]
  • Additional Sources About Legal Writing at Pace

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