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I'm a lawyer trying to decide on typefaces to use in my legal practice.
So you understand when I'm coming from: I learned some very basic typography back in college when I edited a publication (e.g. use one space instead of two after a period, when to use em dashes instead of hyphens, use italics instead of underlining, use serif fonts for text—I've read way too many lengthy legal briefs that my opponent has set in Arial!), but lost interest for years and have only recently started trying to really control the type and make the document look good. Basically, I don't want a judge to pick up my brief and dread reading it because it looks awful.
As for font selection, my university was Mac-centric back in the late 80's/early 90's, and we had the standard LaserWriter fonts at our disposal. I, along with just about everyone else, used Palatino for term papers, and we used ITC Bookman (my first love, though I now understand why MT Bookman Old Style is preferred) and Helvetica in our publication. When I finished law school, I was suddenly thrust into the Windows world and didn't have Palatino or Bookman at my disposal. I had to find something new, and, the legal world being conformist, I started using Times New Roman. I didn't think twice about it for 10 years.
I now understand that Times is too narrow to use with 8.5 by 11 paper and was digitized from a headline size, so I want to get away from it. I've been looking around at different typefaces for the last few months. So far, I'm happy with Bitstream's Classical Garamond (i.e. Sabon) for use in legal briefs, where I want the text to look distinguished and a bit weighty. (I have an old copy of WordPerfect with most of the Bitstream library, by the way.) However, for everyday correspondence, I think it's a little too elegant; I'm looking for something a little more business-like.
I've considered going back to good old Palatino. I've also considered BT's Aldine 721 because it isn't too far afield from Times but is a bit wider (even though I've read somewhere that it's narrower than "real" Plantin). It seems like Minion is well respected as a workhorse typeface around here, but, realizing that I'm stuck with 8.5x11 paper and a wide measure, it's too narrow—with kerning on, you get even more characters per line than Times New Roman. Anything else that I should look at? I don't mind spending a few bucks to get it right.
Thanks in advance for the help. I've been lurking here for a few months and I'm very impressed with the knowledge level.