Federal, state, and local governments issue hundreds of thousands of administrative decisions annually. Considering the number of encounters the public has with administrative appeal agencies, administrative decisions may be the largest category of legal writing and reading interaction the public has with the legal system. Many of these agencies have identified writing quality - however they define it - as a priority in their strategic plans, but the overwhelming number of hearings and decisions, coupled with regulatory guidelines for timeliness, may subordinate this goal to other management priorities. Improving the quality of administrative decisions at these agencies presents a practical legal business challenge as well as the theoretical challenges embedded in the nuances of legal writing pedagogy. Amidst the pressure of issuing a large volume of decisions, agencies must contend with improving the varying skills of writers; delivering well-reasoned, clear, and reader-friendly decisions to the public; and measuring organizational performance based upon the quality of its written products. This article proposes that a formal holistic assessment program can be an effective tool for confronting these challenges.
Roger J. Klurfeld and Steven Placek,
Rhetorical Judgments: Using Holistic Assessment to Improve the Quality of Administrative Decisions,
31 J. Nat’l Ass’n Admin. L. Judiciary
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/naalj/vol31/iss2/3