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Kimble Center for Legal Drafting

Joe Kimble

The Kimble Center for Legal Drafting’s mission is to produce and make available—to attorneys and consumers—legal documents that are clear and easily understandable, documents unlike anything that the public is used to seeing from attorneys.  


Power of Attorney — For My Health Care

The Kimble Center for Legal Drafting has released its first public document—a Medical Power of Attorney. It's an easy-to-use form for naming someone to be your medical agent in Michigan. It was tested with actual users at Michigan State University's Usability Department, and it won a ClearMark Award from the Center for Plain Language as well as a WriteMark Plus Award from Write Ltd. in New Zealand. It is screen readable and can be filled in online.

 

 

If you are using assistive technology, we recommend using Adobe Acrobat to read the document, rather than your web browser’s built in PDF viewer.


3rd Annual Seminar: More Hot Tips for Better Legal Writing and Drafting 

The Kimble Center for Legal Drafting's 3rd annual seminar was outstanding! Guests joined from around the globe, including Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Paris, France; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Warsaw, Poland; Mexico City, Mexico; and numerous cities in Canada, to hear panelists Professor Emeritus Peter Butt, University of Sydney; Professor Emeritus Joseph Kimble; Clarity International President Julie Clement; and host Professor Mark Cooney. 

Kimble Center for Legal Drafting Panelists


2nd Annual Seminar: 30 Tips for Better Legal Drafting and Writing 

Nearly 350 people signed up from around the world for this year's Kimble Center for Legal Drafting seminar called 30 Tips for Better Legal Drafting and Writing. The virtual event, held on April 1, 2021, was the Center's second seminar—free to lawyers, law students, and anyone else interested in improving their professional writing. Presenters were Professors Joseph Kimble (WMU-Cooley), Mark Cooney (WMU-Cooley), and Patrick Barry (University of Michigan). Professor Kimble offered drafting advice; Professor Cooney gave general advice on writing in plain language; and Professor Barry gave advice on persuasive writing.


1st Annual Seminar: Better Legal Drafting — for Documents of All Kinds 

Every seat was taken at the inaugural legal-drafting seminar for the Kimble Center for Legal Drafting, held on Nov. 1, 2019 at WMU-Cooley's Lansing campus and through distance education at their other campuses. Three legal-drafting experts, Joseph Kimble, Mark Cooney, and Jeffrey Ammon, shared highly useful and sound advice to attorneys, interested professionals, and law students on best practices for drafting legal documents that someone can understand and want to read. The "brilliant" presentation, as one guest asserted, was generously sponsored by the State Bar of Michigan's Business Law Section. 

About the Center

The Center will work with the school’s clinics and with bar associations to identify and draft the kinds of high-use documents that will most benefit the profession and the public. ​The Center’s Board of Advisers, listed below, boasts some of the world’s foremost experts in plain language, information design, and user testing.

The Center is named for Joseph Kimble, a distinguished professor emeritus and internationally recognized expert on plain language and legal drafting. Professor Kimble taught legal research and writing at WMU–Cooley for more than 30 years and serves as a drafting consultant to the Standing Committee on Federal Court Rules. His work in restyling the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence earned him two prestigious Burton Awards for Reform in Law. He has also earned a ClearMark Award and the State Bar’s John W. Reed Lawyer Legacy Award. Professor Kimble was a founding director of the Center for Plain Language, has authored three books on the value of plain language in the law and government, and has edited the Michigan Bar Journal’s “Plain Language” column for nearly three decades.

The WMU-Cooley Law Library is home to an entire collection dedicated to Plain Language. 


Board of Advisers

Peter Butt
Emeritus Professor of Law
University of Sydney​, Australia
https://www.plainlanguage.org/ 

Janice (Ginny) Redish
Consultant in content strategy, plain language &​ user experience
Bethesda, MD, USA
https://redish.net/  

Anne-Marie Chisnall
Deputy Chief Executive
Write Limited
Wellington, New Zealand
https://www.write.co.nz | writemark.co.nz 

Karen Schriver
Former professor, Carnegie Mellon University                    
President, KSA Communication Design & Research, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
https://www.karenschriverassociates.com

Martin Cutts
Director, Plain Language Commission
Whaley Bridge, UK
https://www.clearest.co.uk 

Rob Waller
Director, The Simplification Centre, UK
President, International Institute for Information Design
https://www.simplificationcentre.org.uk  

Caroline Jarrett
Forms and Survey Specialist & Artificial Intelligence Feasibility         Investigator
Effortmark Ltd
Leighton Buzzard, UK
https://wwweffortmark.co.uk 

Helen Xanthaki
Professor, University College London
Dean, Postgraduate Laws Programmes
     University of London
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/people/prof-helen-xanthaki