Drafting in Plain Language: Leaving Legalese Behind

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NCSL Webinars allow attendees to participate in meetings taking place around the world from the comfort of their desk. They are collaborative, interactive and easy to use.

This program was designed to qualify for continuing legal education (CLE) credits in most states that have mandatory CLE. However, NCSL did not pre-apply for CLE in any state and cannot track attendance. Those who want to view the presentation and submit it for CLE credit in their state may self-apply using a Uniform Application for CLE. However, final acceptance of CLE hours is the prerogative of your state’s CLE authority.

Webinar: Drafting in Plain Language - Leaving Legalese Behind

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT/ Noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT
Sponsored by the Legal Services Staff Section and the Research and Committee Staff Section.

How can legislative attorneys and editors recognize and eliminate legalese when drafting and editing legislation? This webinar will discuss: what is legalese; why legalese should be avoided when drafting bills; how to apply plain language principles in bill drafting; and will include exercises to illustrate these principles.

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After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Listed below are handouts you will need for the presentation:



  • Debbie Haskins, assistant director, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado General Assembly

Debbie Haskins is an assistant director with the Office of Legislative Legal Services, a nonpartisan legislative service agency for the Colorado General Assembly. Haskins has worked for more than 32 years with the office and performs bill drafting and legal research. She trains new staff on how to draft bills and is the editor of the office's drafting manual. She supervises the office's legislative review of executive branch agency rules. She is a graduate of Doane College. She graduated in 1982 from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Haskins is a member of the Colorado Bar Association and has been active in NCSL for several years. She was the chair of the Legal Services Staff Section in 2010-2011. She is a past chair of the Legal Services Program Committee and has also served on the Legal Services List Serve Task Force and the Legal Services Information and Technology Subcommittee. She was in the 2000 class of the Legislative Staff Management Institute at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.