Formatting & typography

Magistrate's plain text philosophy sets the stage for efficient formatting and typography in legal documents. This page describes in more detail how Magistrate the product handles formatting and typography.

Formatting is still under development, but Magistrate aspires to eventually enforce many of the conventions set forth in Typography for Lawyers and the Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. Today, it only enforces a small subset of those conventions. It is able to enforce conventions at all by not tracking any formatting per se. Rather, it tracks the semantics of text in a legal document.

In this example, you have a defined term, Borrower:

Jane Smith (the "Borrower") agrees to repay John Doe the Principal Amount plus 6% per annum in interest.

The defined term is bolded. Underneath the hood, Magistrate is tracking two separate things:

  1. Borrower is a defined term.
  2. Defined terms are bolded.

Separating the meaning of a piece of formatted text from its presentation will eventually allow to application of custom styles to a legal document without needing to adjust the text itself at all.