Friday, November 6, 2009

Bill Drafting Bibliography -- The Classics

As recommended by the master drafters of the Texas legislature:

Biskind, Elliott L. Simplify Legal Writing. 2nd ed. New York: Arco, 1975. Aimed at the general practitioner. Examines the style and ambiguities of certain examples and rewrites them in proper form. A large portion is devoted to suggestions for avoiding common errors in legal writing.

Dickerson, Reed. Legislative Drafting. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1954. The bible for legislative drafting. Primarily gives answers to everyday drafting problems. [Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977. Reprint of the 1954 edition.]

Filson, Lawrence E., and Sandra L. Strokoff. The Legislative Drafter’s Desk Reference. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2008. An overview of legislative drafting concerns and considerations with an emphasis on federal statute construction. Provides statutory examples, case studies, and court decision citations to illustrate drafting principles. Also examines the dynamics between legislative and judicial branches in interpreting legislation.

Garner, Bryan A. A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. A general reference work that provides definitions of legal terms and guidance on specific points of usage.

Goldfarb, Ronald L., and James C. Raymond. Clear Understandings. New York: Random House, 1982. Demonstrates through anecdotes and examples problems common to legal writing and how to solve them. Does not address legislative drafting but is a readable and entertaining guide to improved legal expression in general.

Haggard, Thomas R. Legal Drafting in a Nutshell. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1996. Addresses many facets of the legal drafting process, including style and usage, construction of definitions, contract drafting, and legislative drafting.

Mehlman, Maxwell J., and Edward G. Grossman. Yale Legislative Services Handbook of Legislative Drafting. New Haven: Yale Legislative Services, 1977. Designed to provide instruction in the basic techniques of legislative drafting for nonprofessional drafters. Divided into two main sections—one section concerns word choice and sentence structure and the other concerns the parts of a bill.

Mellinkoff, David. The Language of the Law. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1963. Explores the history and usage of legal language. Well researched, understandable, and humorous. Not a guide for legal drafting but useful to improve writing and drafting skills.

Mellinkoff, David. Legal Writing: Sense and Nonsense. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982. Provides lively instruction in ways to make legal documents more precise and readable. Does not deal specifically with legislative drafting.

Sutherland, Jabez G. Statutes and Statutory Construction. 6th ed. edited by Norman J. Singer. St. Paul: West Group, 2000. Discussion of legislative powers, constitutional regulations relative to the forms of legislation and to legislative procedure, together with an exposition at length of the principles of statutory interpretation and construction.

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