Help For The Legislative Drafter: Part 2


This column originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of North Carolina Lawyer.

By Laura Graham

In the most recent installment of Writing that Works, I introduced a fairly new resource for legal writers whose work includes drafting statutes and rules. The book, Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules,[1] is a slim volume, but it covers a lot of ground. In that column, I drew from the book to highlight three central principles of effective legislative drafting: (1) use simple declarative sentences; (2) punctuate with care; and (3) tabulate with clarity. In this follow-up column, I’ve chosen to highlight two additional principles.

Use “common and known words.” This principle is apparently one of the very first—and most enduring—legislative drafting principles. According to the authors of Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules, one of the most influential statements of this principle came in the late eighteenth century, when English jurist and philosopher and Jeremy Bentham wrote:

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There’s No Place Like Home: Job Searching from an Out-of-State Law School

By Aaron Lindquist

When attending an out-of-state law school, the stress of job searching can make you wish you had the ability to click your heels three times to return home like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” As a recent law school graduate and licensed North Carolina attorney, I can say that there are options and ways to ease the stress of job searching from an out state law school. After leaving North Carolina to attend law school in Virginia, I knew that I would need to be intentional with my job search if I wanted to return to North Carolina.

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By Popular Demand: A Little Help For The Legislative Drafter


I recently received an email from a reader who asked if I knew of any good resources on drafting legislation. At the time, nothing specific came to mind, and I made a note to myself to do some investigating when time permitted. This week, time finally permitted.

I always start these investigations by looking through the hundreds of books on my office shelves.1 I receive exam copies of legal writing books on a weekly basis, and often, if I look patiently, I can find one that meets a particular need. So yesterday, I began skimming titles, looking for something pertaining to legislative drafting. And lo and behold, right there it was: Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules.2

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