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Holy Crap: Lawyer's Led Zeppelin Complaint Is a Work of Art

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

A complaint is a complaint is a complaint. Most have captions, parties listed, and many have that line numbering along the side of the page that Word just loves to tinker with if you shift away from double-spacing. Some courts mandate certain fonts, font-sizing, spacing, and margin size.

Let's hope the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania doesn't, because this complaint is a freaking work of art: font choices, formatting, bright red signature at the end -- it's all just so dang perfect. Take a look for yourself:

Randy (California) Craig Wolfe Trust v. Led Zeppelin: 'Stairway to Heaven' Is a Rip-Off

Just look:

Randy (California) Craig Wolfe v. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven Copyright Infringement Lawsuit by Mark H. Jaffe

The small-caps. The use of a clean, gorgeous font. The use of Led Zeppelin's font in a lawsuit against them. The dropping into a Sans Serif font for block quotes to make them stand out even more. The bright red signature on Page 29. This complaint, by Francis Alexander Malofiy, Esq., is truly one-of-a-kind.

Now, we're not touching the merits of the complaint. (We did that on our Third Circuit blog). We're just saying: This is really well-formatted.

What Font Is This?

Obviously, the Led Zeppelin font was used to mock the defendant. Well played. But what are the gorgeous fonts used throughout the rest of the document -- the traditional serif font for the main text and the sans serif font used for block quotes?

Much respect to my fellow blogger Mark Wilson, who recognized them instantly: Equity and Concourse, two fonts designed by Matthew Butterick specifically for use in legal pleadings. Mark covered some of Butterick's "Typography for Lawyers" tips earlier this year, and pointed out that one of the Texas state briefs defending its gay marriage ban also used the special typefaces.

Of course, they'll cost you: $119 per font for a one-person license.

Can You Do This?

We're not suggesting that folks drop into Comic Sans or some other hideous typeface. And your court might not even allow it. The local rules for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania don't seem to make any mention of fonts or formatting, probably on the assumption that lawyers won't go too wild.

Now, should you? I love this complaint. I think it's a work of art. But I can easily see some curmudgeonly old judge muttering profanities to himself when the Led Zeppelin font appears. And signing it in red? Again, that might be pushing the boundaries a bit.

But using a modern and clear take on traditional typefaces, like Equity and Concourse? Bravo.

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