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Making Legal Characters
If you are an attorney or a paralegal, you probably know very well how to make your word processing program type and print a § or a ¶ symbol. For the rest of us, the average word processor does not usually make it obvious how to make legal symbols.
¶, •, and §, are never used in conversations, however they are often used on written motions and pleadings; which can be typed by mortals representing themselves.
Legal symbols are used most often by lawyers, when they type up motions and pleadings. Occasionally lawyers use a few other strange symbols in odd places, to confuse the other side. When representing yourself, you do not need a law degree to make your own motion or pleading.
What do some of the symbols mean? The § symbol means the section, or a section area. The ¶ symbol, called a Pilcrow, means the end of a paragraph. The • symbol is called the bullet, that means a point to take notice of, or an item on a list.
Here is what I learned from other judgment enforcers, and from experimentation, on some shortcuts to make legal symbols.
What keys to press, to produce a specific special character, depends on the unique combination of what kind of computer you have, what brand of word processor you use, and what version it is. This article lists some ways to produce legal symbols, however your mileage will vary.
In Microsoft Word 2010 and possibly other versions, click on Insert, then click on Symbol, and then select the desired symbol, among them should be ¶ and §. In Word 2007, you must do one more step, and click on Special Characters.
If you have a Macintosh, with almost any kind of word processor including BBEdit, TextWrangler, OpenOffice, and TextEdit; pressing ALT/Option 6 makes a §, and Alt/Option 7 makes a ¶.
In most PC programs, if you have a number pad, you can usually hold down the ALT key and then type 0167 on the number key pad, and release the ALT key, to get a §. You can usually hold down the ALT key and type 0149 to get a •, and ALT 0182 to get a ¶.
Even if it takes awhile to figure out how to make the special characters you want on your PC, most programs remember the last few special characters you used. The next time you want to use one, it should be at the top of the list.
Another solution is to install a software shortcut or "hotkey", to (e.g.) map Control-S to § and Control-P to ¶.
There are many keyboard combinations to produce special characters on PCs, by holding down the ALT key. A handy list for PC-users is at: http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/accents/codealt.html
Finally, most courts have eliminated the "blue backs" on pleading and motions, however be aware some Federal District courts still require them.
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