Style Guide

Faculty, staff, and students all write for the Law School — on our website, in The Record, in admissions emails and campaign brochures. This brief guide is a resource for all of us and answers the most common questions about the Law School’s name and identity, grammar and punctuation, and writing for the web.

If you don’t find your answer here, you’ll find it in the University’s style guidelines or the Chicago Manual of Style.

Our full name

When referring to the Law School the first time, write out the entire name of “the University of Chicago Law School” unless you are severely space-constrained.

Do not capitalize “the” in running text, but do not correct alumni who do — he or she probably attended when this policy was different.

  • She attended the University of Chicago Law School.

Our short names

After the first mention, you can shorten our name either to “the Law School,” in contexts such as The Record where there is no chance of being confused with other school, or “UChicago Law” in contexts where other law schools are being mentioned or implicitly compared (as in admissions materials). “Chicago Law” is acceptable but not preferred.

Note that “the Law School” is a proper noun in our case, so the ‘L’ and ‘S’ are both capitalized. Use lowercase when referring to law school in general.

Referring simply to “Chicago” is only permissible in lists of law schools.

  • Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago

Referring to the University

Whenever possible refer to the University using its full name: The University of Chicago. After the first mention, you can abbreviate as UChicago in informal contexts, but never U of C or UC.

Program names

Kapnick Leadership Development Initiative. This is the formal name of the Law School’s action skills program that debuted in September 2014 and takes place during orientation. The name of this program changed after it was announced but before the first session began, so there are correct, but out-of-date, references to it as the Kapnick Leadership and Professionalism Initiative.

Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab. The program was founded in 2009 but was formally re-named in March 2015 after a nearly $5.5 million naming gift from Kirkland & Ellis. It should always be the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab on first reference, but may be called the Corporate Lab on subsequent references. Some older new stories may correctly refer to it as the Corporate Lab.

Other formal names to know: Doctoroff Business Leadership ProgramKreisman Initiative on Housing Law and PolicyCoase-Sandor Institute for Law and EconomicsPro Bono Service Initiative.

When to use the Law School logo

The Law School logo is an implicit seal of approval, and also suggests a relationship if it appears next to another logo, so we are very picky about when and where the logo is used.

Student groups and organizations outside the Law School cannot use the logo without the express permission of the Communications Office.

Faculty and staff using Windows computers provided by IT can access Law School templates in PowerPoint and Word under “File > New > Personal.” For design help with these templates or with creating something from scratch, contact the Communications Office.

How to use the Law School logo

We have versions of the logo that are:

  • Black-and-maroon (preferred)
  • Monochome (usually all black, all white, or all maroon — for use when the black-and-maroon version does not work)
  • Monochrome with the colors reversed — for use on dark backgrounds

When using the logo, keep in mind that:

  1. The black-and-maroon version and the regular monochrome version can only be used on light backgrounds.
  2. On a dark background, you must use the version of the logo with the colors reversed, so that the letters are white and the shield has a white border.
  3. The logo may not be changed in any way – you may not remove or add elements, change the aspect ratio, alter the shield, fonts, or placement of elements, etc.
  4. Any design using the logo must be approved by the Communications Office prior to use.

Seal

The Law School also has a circular seal, which should only be used in less formal occasions when space is limited, and only on a light background.

Other logos

Various Law School programs have their own logos, including Coase-Sandor and the Dean’s Circle. For questions about these logos, please contact the Communications Office.

Typefaces

We follow the University’s guidelines for typefaces.

Our main typefaces in print are:

  • Gotham
  • Adobe Garamond

In addition to Gotham, typefaces that pair well with Garamond include Helvetica, Gill Sans, Lucida Grande, and Univers.

On the website, Gotham and Adobe Garamond are selected for your automatically.

Color palette

We use the University’s color palette.

Our main colors are:

  • Maroon (Pantone® 202 / RGB 128, 0, 0 / HEX #800000)
  • Dark Gray (Pantone® Warm Gray 11 / RGB: 118, 118, 118 / HEX #767676)
  • Light Gray (Pantone® Cool Gray 3 / RGB: 214, 214, 206 / HEX #D6D6CE)

Be concise and scannable

Avoid “welcome” text — consider what job the reader came to do, whether learning about a program or submitting a form, and get down to business.

Break up text using headings and bullet points. Be a reporter, not a poet.

University Web Services has even more web writing tips.

Avoid writing “click here”

Use descriptive links, not “click here.” Imagine you’re visually impaired: If your computer were reading just the linked text aloud to you, would you feel confident you knew what you were clicking on?

Remember the website doesn’t look the same to everyone

Don’t reference layout on the web, e.g. “the list in the right sidebar.” The appearance of the website can change based on whether it’s being viewed on a phone or a big desktop monitor. That list in the right sidebar might be at the bottom of the main column on a phone.

Our web address

Write out “www” in the Law School URL, but not “http://”.

Faculty titles

Academic ranks (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, lecturer) are capitalized when associated with a person. They may be followed by the units in which the faculty member has appointments.

Do not use “Professor of...” unless the “of” is part of the official name of the professorship.

Use “the” only when the professorship is the only one of its kind, such as a named professorship.

  • Françoise Meltzer is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor.
  • Gary Becker is University Professor in the Departments of Economics and Sociology and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  • Jane Doe is Associate Professor, Departments of History and Political Science, and the College.
  • Jane Doe is Associate Professor in History. (Her primary appointment is in the History Department.)
  • John Doe, Assistant Professor in Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College
  • Professor Epstein
  • a professor at the Law School

Professional titles

Capitalize a professional title if it is preceded by “the” or when it immediately precedes the person’s name; otherwise use lowercase. (This is a rule you can break if the professional in question requests to be referred to a different way.)

  • President Zimmer
  • the Assistant Director of Communications
  • the Managing Partner
  • a partner
  • an associate

Academic degrees and class years

Omit periods in degrees:

  • YES: JD, LLM, JSD
  • NO: J.D., LL.M., J.S.D.

If only the graduation year is given and unless context implies otherwise, the degree is assumed to be JD. Add “LLM” or “JSD” when necessary for comprehension.

  • Randall Zack, ’14
  • Hui Zhang, LLM ’14
  • Fredrick Huszagh, JSD ’62

Set the graduation information apart with commas on both sides.

  • Old King Cole, JSD ’42, was a merry old soul

The punctuation mark before the graduation year should be an apostrophe, not an opening quote. Microsoft Word often gets this wrong; you can force it to use an apostrophe by typing Alt + 0146.

  • YES: Randall Zack, ’14
  • NO: Randall Zack, ‘14

The Law School has been around long enough that ’05 could mean either 1905 or 2005. When it is unclear, we standardize by abbreviating the more recent year (2005 becomes ’05) and writing out the less recent year (1905 always stays 1905). In most cases, a graduation year before 1930 should be written out.

Headlines, page titles, and bullet points

Capitalize all important words in page titles and main headlines, but capitalize only the first letter in subheadings. (An example of a subheading is “Headlines, page titles, and bullet points” above.)

If a bulletpoint is a complete sentence, capitalize the first letter and use a period at the end.

Serial comma

When there are three or more items in a series, put a comma before the “and” or “or” that precedes the last item.

  • YES: I invited my parents, Mother Theresa, and the Pope.
  • NO: I invited my parents, Mother Theresa and the Pope.

Dates, Time, and Numbers

Time

Use periods in a.m./p.m.; do not repeat in ranges.

Use noon, not 12 p.m. Use midnight, not 12 a.m.

Designate ranges with an en dash OR “from/to.” Do not combine methods.

Omit :00

  • The morning session is 9–11:30 a.m.
  • Lunch is at noon. Doors will be open from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Dates

July 7, 2013; July 2013

Numbers

Spell out single-digit numbers.

Use Arabic numerals otherwise.

Exception: Always use a numeral with a percentage.

  • We noticed a 1 percent difference.

Addresses

Spell out directions, street names, and states, but use postal state abbreviations when followed by a zip code.

Frequently used terms

  • website (not Web Site)
  • email (not e-mail)
  • Internet (capitalize)
  • fundraising (not fund-raising)
  • alumna/alumnus/alumnae/alumni (not alum or alums)
  • autumn, winter, spring, summer (seasons)
  • Autumn Quarter (capitalize, not Fall)
  • graduated with Honors (capitalize Honors)
  • Washington, DC (not D.C.)