Books

The Federal Plain Language Guidelines (The Plain Language Action and Information Network, or Fed PLAIN)

Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language  (Joe Kimble) Combines the strong evidence and myth-busting arguments for plain legal language with much practical advice and many useful examples. And no other book is more likely to open lawyers’ eyes to the emptiness of legalese.

Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government and Law (Joe Kimble) This book presents return on investment (ROI) examples and empirical evidence for using plain language. It has been described as ”the one we’ve been waiting for” and ”a game-changer for public communication.”

Plain English for Lawyers, 5th Edition (Richard Wydick) Still one of the best books about plain language, written for lawyers but useful to everyone.

Legal Writing in Plain English; A Text with Exercises, 4th Edition (Bryan Garner) Sets a new standard for plain legal writing and is very readable by non-lawyers. It covers all the most important plain language techniques.

Writing in Plain English  (Robert Eagleson) Developed for public servants, this book provides a step-by-step guide to planning, writing, designing, and testing documents.

Plain Language for Lawyers  (Michelle Asprey) Another excellent book targeted at legal writing, this one from Australia.

Oxford Guide to Plain English (Martin Cutts) Completely updated, this reference includes expanded word lists, new words, and clichés to avoid and recent real-life examples.

Writing Readable Regulations (Tom Murawski) 57 ways to boost compliance and strengthen enforcement by helping readers find provisions quickly, understand them easily, and act on them confidently.

Journals

Clarity is an international group of lawyers and lay people interested in supporting clear legal language.  Previous issues of the journal Clarity are available on-line. Contact Joe Kimble @ kimblej@cooley.edu for membership information.

The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing periodically publishes articles on plain language. Table of contents for previous issues are on-line. 

The Michigan Bar Journal publishes a regular column on plain language. Some recent articles include

 

Handbooks

 

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