Legal Paper | The Law Binding Paper

When it comes to the sizes of paper, a variety of sizes are available. The most common size of paper that is used is A4 size or 8.5×11 inches. This is also commonly referred to as letter size paper. This is the most common size that has been used for printing documents for personal items or official use all over the world. But when it comes to legal proceedings, almost exclusively, legal-size paper is used. 

Likely, you might never have to use any other paper than A4 size paper in normal circumstances. Even if you receive any PDF or presentation, they are formatted to suit the universally accepted letter-sized printing paper. 

What exactly is legal paper? 

Then arises is why we need a slightly longer paper than the most common paper for legal work, which is suitable for everything else. The short answer is tradition.

For as long as, people working in the law department have used legal size of the dimensions 8.5×14 inches paper for all their paperwork. This paper has been called foolscap after a brand that used to sell legal size paper. 

Even though the use of legal paper is still around for use in various ways such as writing deeds, wills, contracts, etc. slowly it is being discontinued for no reason other than more universal usage of letter-size paper. 

Why is it called so?

Legal paper is called legal-size paper because of its exclusive use in legal matters by lawyers for many decades. However, the interesting fact is that there isn't any specified rule that suggests legal paper must be used in official documents. It is more a matter of practice than a requirement. 

This kind of paper is thick and ThunderBolt Paper Legal size paper is available in various colors for your convenience or choice. The inherent properties of the thick legal-size paper are to remain unchanged for many years. Even though storage of this kind of paper needs special folders and printing on these papers is not suitable for all general printers, this length of the paper is still being used in many states and areas. 

Why do we need legal-sized paper?

If you have ever come across a legally binding document such as an employment contract, you would realize that everything is printed with double or even triple spaces. Because of this practice of leaving extra space between words, lawyers were able to write between the words and provide suggestions accordingly. 

The legal paper was designed for two chief reasons:

  • To reduce the cost of paper

There are endless records and documentations printed or typed on paper. Legal size paper was designed and brought in to use especially for documents in court to reduce the cost of paper. This means where multiple A4 sizes of the paper were used, a longer and thicker legal-size paper reduces the number of the paper being used. This, in turn, significantly brings down the volume of papers as well as reduces the weight of the document.

  • To maintain the continuity and fidelity of the document.

When a document is being printed on legal paper, the length of the paper allows more words per page and ultimately keeps the most important information of the document on one page. The thicker paper allows double-sided printing as well, further increasing the continuity of the information provided on a paper. The long length of the paper also ensures that the signature line is included below the document on the same paper.

Where do we use legal size paper? 

There is a common anecdote that appears whenever the following question is asked, why do lawyers need to use legal paper? 

 "Because, what most people can say in 11 inches, lawyers need 14."

  • So, lawyers have been commonly using legal-size paper to print, edit, proofread and substantiate extended contracts because of the length of the paper. 
  • The utility of legal paper expands towards legal proceedings in real estate as well as accounting. 
  • Many court proceedings are still carried out on legal paper, allowing the stamp and signatures on the same page.
  • If you are being charged per page for filing a document, like at a county clerk's office, using a legal-size paper can reduce the cost. 
  • For printing long-drawn-out documents like thesis or dissertations.

Although the digital era has reduced the usage of paper to some extent, we still use specific paper, such as legal-size paper in many areas of life. This paper allows for the reduction of paper usage because of its peculiar length, ultimately helping reduce paper wastage. What did you last use legal size paper for?