Duquesne University School of Law

Drafting Statutes and Rules: Pedagogy, Practice, and Politics

Event Date: 
Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 9:00am to 4:30pm

Event Location:

Event Audience:


5th Annual "Colonial Frontier" Legal Writing Conference

The least common, but perhaps most important, advanced writing subject addressed in law schools is the drafting of statutes, ordinances, regulations, and rules (for public laws or governance of non-governmental entities). Instruction focuses almost exclusively on the repercussions of poorly written statutes or rules, on the courts’ efforts at application and interpretation of statutory language, and on scholarly criticism of statutes.  Instead, law schools should teach students and practitioners how to better draft statutes and similar documents to avoid confusion, ambiguities, disagreements, and litigation. 

Duquesne University School of Law's 2016 legal writing conference offers attendees an opportunity to hear from academicians who teach how to write statutory materials, practitioners who craft statutes and similar rules, and other scholars who study all forms of legislation. Join us for Drafting Statutes and Rules: Pedagogy, Practice, and Politics. 

Possible topics about pedagogy include:

  • Structuring statutory drafting courses
  • Simulation courses designed using mock legislatures or committees
  • Course linkages with real-world legislators and special interest organizations
  • Service learning or clinical opportunities for law students
  • Courses focused on law reform efforts
  • How to employ Plain-English principles in statutory and rule drafting
  • Theoretical perspectives on statutory drafting
  • Involving political realities in law school drafting courses
  • Teaching practical aspects of drafting that addresses theories and principles of statutory interpretation and construction

Possible topics about practice include:

  • Unique challenges of drafting laws and/or regulations in specific areas such as criminal law, environmental, health law, etc.
  • Lawyering for non-profits, federal and state agencies, local governments, and other clients in frequent need of rule-drafting
  • Practicing in employment law, health law, environmental law, and other heavily regulated fields where private clients require rule and policy drafting
  • Non-legal drafting opportunities, such as sports league rules, industry trade group policies, and university rules

Possible topics about politics include:

  • Political influences affecting legislative drafting
  • Direct democracy and the unique challenges of drafting initiatives and referenda
  • The implications of special interests driving drafting decisions
  • Polictics and its influence on legislative history
  • Lobbyists as legislative drafters

Review the conference call for proposals. The Duquesne Law Review, which has published papers from two previous Colonial Frontier events, plans to devote space in its Summer 2017 symposium issue to papers from the 2016 conference.

Continuing Legal Education

Continuing legal education credit of approximately four hours will be offered, depending upon the sessions included in the final agenda. 


Attendance will be free for presenters and $50 for non-presenters with an academic affiliation; the cost for other attendees is $250.


Coming Soon


Please contact the conference organizer, Professor Jan Levine, levinej@duq.edu.