You see it on lawyer shows all the time. The star attorney calls a nerdy-looking witness to the stand. After some back and forth, the witness testifies that the signature on such and such document is NOT the deceased’s handwriting and is, in fact, a forgery. Cue the gasps and banging of the gavel.
Handwriting experts are called on to testify in real court cases for a variety of reasons. So, how the heck does someone become a handwriting expert? I asked the Yahoo! Answers community and was treated to several links that helped to explain the process.
There seem to be a few different disciplines. One, graphology, is the study of handwriting as it relates to human psychology. So, if you write with big, looping letters that says something about your personality. Write with an extreme slant and insist on always capitalizing the letter “z”? That probably means something else.
There is another branch popularly known as “handwriting analysis.” I poked around the Web and found numerous professional organizations. One of the biggest, the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, gives an extensive look at their occupation and responsibilities. For those who’d like to take a brief test on whether they can identify original signatures from cleaver forgeries, check out this link on handwriting samples.
Finally, eHow has a step-by-step guide on how to become a legit handwriting expert. The site explains the certification process and offers tips on how to break into the field. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get to play yourself on Law and Order some day.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. – What do you think your signature says about you? Check out these samples and see if you agree with the professional analysis.
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