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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  /September 2009

Opinio Juris - September 2009

Scroll down to learn about Typography for Lawyers, the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, Exploring Constitutional Law, and Loislaw.

Typography for Lawyers

Typography for Lawyers is a website created and maintained by Matthew Butterick, a Los Angeles attorney. "Typography" is the "visual component of the written word." Mr. Butterick, a Harvard educated graphic designer before going to law school, notes that "[e]ven though the legal profession depends heavily on writing, legal typography is often poor." "Typography is always important because presentation is always important." Although some of the legal profession's typography woes can be blamed on rigid court rules governing the form of pleadings, Mr. Butterick claims that much of the problem stems from lawyers themselves. He believes that a lack of information, rather than a lack of will, is the culprit. It is this lack of information that Mr. Butterick hopes to remedy through his website. Font issues are discussed, including the use of bold and italicized text. "Straight quotes should never, ever appear in your documents" (referring to the straight form of quotation marks, as compared with the curly form). "I recognize that many law offices will wimp out and retain Times as their official font." The site is divided into basic, intermediate and advanced levels, and addresses topics such as office stationery and internal memoranda, as well as court filings.

Afghanistan Legal Education Project

Stanford Law School just launched the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) website. The ALEP, founded in 2007, is "dedicated to developing innovative legal curricula to help Afghanistan’s universities train the next generation of lawyers and leaders." The new website contains links to the ALEP Blog, links, and full-text publications, including “Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan” and “Introduction to Commercial Law of Afghanistan.”

Exploring Constitutional Law

Exploring Constitutional Law, a website created by University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Doug Linder, "explores some of the great issues and controversies that surround our Nation's founding document." The cite functions as a mini constitutional treatise and case book. It is organized by subjects such as the Right to Bear Arms, the Right to Marry, Affirmative Action ,etc. It contains links to many primary sources and images.


The College has recently obtained access to Loislawschool.com, Loislaw's legal research product for students. The product provides full-text access to federal and state case law, statutes, regulations, and select secondary sources. Loislaw has fewer databases and less sophisticated search capabilities than Westlaw and LexisNexis; however, it is competively priced and is a particularly attractive legal research option for small law firms and solo practioners. Additionally, certain features of Loislawschool.com make it particularly attractive to students. Loislaw places no restrictions or blackout periods on student use during the summer, and registered student users receive six months of free access after graduation.

To get started with Loislaw, Moritz users will first need to obtain the Loislaw activation code, available at the Library's secure password page (proper authentication is required). With the activation code, users can register with Loislaw here. Access to the service is through Loislawschool.com.