Legal writing and the alligator tragedy

Posted on Jun 22, 2016 in Legal, News
Legal writing and the alligator tragedy

Plain English can be a life or death issue.

I’ve heard and read about the heartbreaking tragedy at the Disney resort in Florida, where a 2 year old was snatched from shallow water by an alligator. Better legal writing – meaning better signage – could have prevented this tragedy, and could prevent others.

Study finds plain language makes court forms more user-friendly

Posted on Feb 10, 2016 in Guest blog, Legal
Study finds plain language makes court forms more user-friendly

Jury duty, though sometimes an inconvenient chore, is at the core of the American justice system. Because jury pools draw from all walks of life, they are generally representative of the diverse American public. As such, jury pools are also an excellent testing ground for readability studies.

Before and after: Describing a law — without legalese

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 in Center News, Legal

Joe Kimble is a pleasant oddity. He’s a law professor and author who says the law presents less risk when it is written clearly. We followed his advice to redo this legal notice.

Look what can happen when you ask a few questions. Working with attorneys, we cut through the clutter of a 61-word sentence. The new version is easier for readers to grasp and use the information…

Dealing with the “dumb down” dinosaur, or how to enlighten the ignorant without losing your job.

Posted on May 5, 2014 in Advocacy, Government, Healthcare, Legal, Plain Writing Laws

It continues to shock me that in the year 2014 I still hear people say, “Oh, you want to dumb down my writing” when the subject of plain language comes up.

My reaction is…

Let’s simplify legal jargon!

This TED Talk from February 2010 can still inspire us. Alan Siegel, a branding expert and one of the leading authorities on business communication, calls for the use of plain English to create documents that we can all understand. In this video, he present a clear argument for the need to “make clarity, simplicity and […]

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