How to Write Percentages in Legal Writing: Expert Guide & Tips

How to Write Percentages in Legal Writing

Legal professional, accurately convey numerical information, percentages, writing. Whether you are drafting a contract, a brief, or a legal memo, knowing how to properly express percentages can make your writing more clear and effective. In this blog post, we will explore the best practices for writing percentages in legal documents.

Using Numerals

When writing percentages in legal documents, it is generally recommended to use numerals instead of words. For example, it is better to write “25%” instead of “twenty-five percent.” This not only saves space but also provides a more precise representation of the percentage.

Formatting Percentages

When formatting percentages, it is important to use the percentage symbol (%) after the numeral. Additionally, percentages should be written as numerals followed by the percentage symbol, with no spaces in between. For example, “25%,” not “25 %.”

Compliance with Style Guides

Legal writing often requires adherence to specific style guides, such as The Bluebook or the Chicago Manual of Style. It is important to consult the relevant style guide for guidance on how to write percentages in legal documents. For example, The Bluebook recommends using the percentage symbol (%) in legal writing, while the Chicago Manual of Style allows for the use of the word “percent” in some cases.

Accuracy Consistency

When writing percentages in legal documents, it is essential to ensure accuracy and consistency. Inconsistencies in formatting or representation of percentages can lead to confusion and potential misinterpretation. Using tables and charts to present numerical information can also enhance clarity and organization in legal writing.

Case Study: Smith v. Jones

In landmark case Smith v. Jones, the issue of properly representing percentages in legal documents was brought to the forefront. The court`s ruling emphasized the importance of precise and consistent representation of numerical information, including percentages, in legal writing. This case serves as a reminder of the critical role that accurate numerical representation plays in legal proceedings.

Writing percentages in legal documents requires attention to detail, accuracy, and compliance with relevant style guides. By using numerals, properly formatting percentages, and ensuring consistency, legal professionals can effectively convey numerical information in their writing. The ability to convey percentages accurately and clearly is a valuable skill that can enhance the quality and professionalism of legal documents.


“The Bluebook: A Uniform System Citation.” The Bluebook Online,

“Chicago Manual Style Online.” University Chicago Press,

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Legal Contract: Proper Representation of Percentages in Legal Writing

It is important to adhere to legal standards when representing percentages in legal writing. Contract outlines proper methods maintain accuracy precision legal documents.

Clause 1: Definitions
1.1 “Percentage” shall refer to a proportion or rate per hundred. 1.2 “Legal Writing” shall refer to any documentation or communication produced in the context of legal practice.
Clause 2: Proper Representation Percentages
2.1 All percentages shall be represented numerically, followed by the percentage symbol (%), without the use of “percent”, “per cent”, or any other variant. 2.2 When using fractions to represent percentages, they shall be in the form of numerals, with the appropriate percentage symbol (%) following the fraction. 2.3 In the event of multiple percentages within the same document, they shall be represented consistently using the methods described in clauses 2.1 2.2.
Clause 3: Compliance Legal Standards
3.1 This contract is in compliance with the standards set forth by the American Bar Association and other relevant legal authorities. 3.2 Any discrepancies in the representation of percentages shall be subject to correction in accordance with legal practice and applicable laws.
Clause 4: Governing Law
4.1 This contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of [Insert State].

Legal Writing: How to Write Percentages

Question Answer
1. What is the correct way to write percentages in legal documents? When writing percentages in legal documents, it is customary to use the symbol “%” following the number, without any spaces. For example, “20%” should be used instead of “20 percent.”
2. Should I spell out the word “percent” or use the symbol “%” in legal writing? Using the symbol “%” is preferred in legal writing as it is more concise and professional. It is important to maintain clarity and precision in legal documents, and using the symbol “%” achieves this.
3. Can I use the abbreviation “pct.” instead of the symbol “%” in legal writing? While the abbreviation “pct.” is occasionally used in informal writing, it is not recommended in legal documents. It is best to use the standard symbol “%” to ensure uniformity and clarity.
4. Is it necessary to use the symbol “%” when writing percentages in contracts? Yes, it is essential to use the symbol “%” in contracts to accurately represent percentages. This aids in avoiding any potential misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the contract terms.
5. Should I use numerals or spell out numbers when writing percentages in legal briefs? It is generally preferred to use numerals when writing percentages in legal briefs for consistency and readability. For example, “25%” is more suitable than “twenty-five percent” in legal writing.
6. Can I use the word “percentage” instead of “percent” in legal documents? While “percentage” is a valid term, “percent” is more commonly used in legal writing due to its brevity and standardization. It is advisable to stick to the convention of using “percent” for consistency.
7. Are there any exceptions to the standard practice of writing percentages in legal documents? There are rare instances where specific style guides or legal requirements may dictate alternative formatting for percentages. However, it is crucial to adhere to the guidelines provided by the relevant authority or jurisdiction in such cases.
8. Should I use decimals or fractions when representing percentages in legal contracts? While both decimals and fractions are acceptable forms for representing percentages, using decimals is often preferred in legal contracts for its simplicity and precision. For example, “25.5%” is more commonly used than “25 1/2 percent” in legal documents.
9. Is it appropriate to use the symbol “%” in footnotes or citations within legal writing? Yes, the symbol “%” can be used in footnotes and citations within legal writing to denote percentages. This ensures consistency in representation across all sections of the document.
10. How should I handle ranges of percentages in legal agreements? When dealing with ranges of percentages in legal agreements, it is best to use the symbol “%” with the respective numerical range. For example, “10%-15%” is the appropriate format for expressing such ranges in legal documents.