leg drafting             Art_Rynearson
Legislative Drafting Step-By-Step   Arthur Rynearson


The International Law Institute is pleased to announce the co-publication, along with Carolina Academic Press, of Legislative Drafting Step by Step, by Arthur J. Rynearson.

For 26 years, Arthur Rynearson worked at the non-partisan Office of Legislative Counsel of the United States Senate as a professional drafter of legislation, turning policy proposals into bills drafted to fit seamlessly into the existing body of law. When he retired, the Senate passed a resolution commending his exemplary service as "the primary drafter of all legislation relating to international relations, international security, immigration, and the State Department, and all matters related to Senate consideration of international treaties."

Drawing on his expertise as a legislative drafter, the author has written a book designed to teach and illustrate the best practices in legislative drafting, and how to avoid drafting pitfalls which may end up in legislation that is ambiguous or confusing.

Arthur Rynearson serves as course advisor and principal lecturer for ILI's programs: Workshop on Legislative Drafting and Advanced Workshop on Legislative Drafting. He also serves as a key instructor in ILI's program on Legislative Strategic Planning and Management. 

Mr. Rynearson teaches and consults domestically on state and national legislative matters.

Mr. Rynearson also travels to share his experience and technical knowledge internationally. Recently, in conjunction to with ILI special program initiatives, Mr. Rynearson conducted specialized training for Members of the Lagos State Assembly on Legislative Strategic Management, customized to fit the needs of the State Assembly. Mr. Rynearson also conducted a workshop on legislative drafting for the National Institute for Legislative Studies, the training institute for the Nigerian National Assembly.


AR_Constitutional_Reform_Committee                     AR_LEG
Nigerian Senate Constitutional
Reform Committee
  International Conference on Law Reform
and Law Making Process, Abuja, Nigeria 

ILI is very proud of our relationship with Mr. Rynearson and is very thankful for his generous sharing of knowledge and practical solutions in the most important role of drafting of law.

spoke with Mr. Rynearson on the release of his forthcoming publication, Legislative Drafting Step by Step:


Why did you write Legislative Drafting Step-by-Step?

  AR:   Two reasons, closely related, drove me to write the book. First, I wanted to pass on to beginning and intermediate-level drafters the skills and best practices that I acquired over more than 25 years as a professional legislative drafter in the U.S. Senate. Second, I wanted to fill the knowledge gap, and remove the fears, of many legislative staffers about legislation and legislative drafting. Only by understanding the basics of legislative drafting can a legislative staffer hope to collaborate effectively with veteran drafters to produce well-written legislation. In short, the book aims to make a contribution towards legislative capacity-building. The methods and practices described in the book are not confined to the U.S. Congress, but may be applied to any democratic legislature. This is entirely in keeping with ILI's rule-of-law mission.
How do you see the book being used?

  AR:   In two ways: The book can be read cover-to-cover, since it provides a comprehensive framework of analysis for converting legislative policy proposals into a bill, resolution, or amendment.  But it may also be used as a reference work in which the reader can research particular drafting issues to see how I would approach them. Either way, I would encourage every reader to try the drafting exercises in the book and test their writing skills.
How is Legislative Drafting Step-by-Step different from other books on the topic?

  AR:   The book is unique in that its 5-step approach to drafting legislation is exclusively my own, but also because the connections drawn between well-written legislation and rule-of-law values represent my own thinking. The book is, hopefully, concise, easy-to-understand and user-friendly, with many illustrations and examples to illuminate the text. This helps make the book different from other drafting manuals.
Does the reader need any background in drafting legislation in order to profit from reading the book?


No. Legislative Drafting Step-by-Step does not require the reader to have any prior experience with legislative drafting. Each chapter begins with basic information on the topic, becoming progressively more technical and detailed. So the book serves both as an introduction to legislative drafting and also to provide additional layers of understanding for intermediate-level drafters. The book not only teaches drafting techniques, but also explains the reasons behind the techniques, of which some drafters are unaware.

The book is designed to assist anyone who is handling legislation or statutes, so the readership should be quite broad, encompassing not just legislators and their staffs, but also lobbyists, lawyers in private practice, and law professors teaching statutory law. The book also describes how statutory law fits into our constitutional system. The subject of statutory law is overlooked by many law schools, and many lawyers are not skilled at using statutes. They should benefit from reading the book.

Will the book be useful in connection with other legislative systems besides the U.S. Congress?

  AR:   Absolutely. The book attempts to demonstrate that drafting techniques cannot be taught in a vacuum. There is a relationship between well-written legislation and certain enduring rule-of- law values such as transparency and accountability. These are universal values which should be embedded in the legislation of any democracy. It is my belief that foreign legislators and legislative staff, particularly in emerging democracies, can benefit from the book just as well as legislators and their staffs in the U.S. Congress. Legislative Drafting Step-by-Step is an effort to enhance legislative capacity-building without regard to a particular legal system, so long as it is democratically based. 
What do you wish readers to take away from Legislative Drafting Step-by-Step?


First, I want readers to learn the best practices in writing legislation. I also want readers to become aware that sound drafting practices and rule-of-law values go hand-in-hand. To draft legislation that is not transparent or that does not promote accountability is to draft legislation poorly. And there are other democratic, rule-of-law values discussed by the book that are equally important.

Legislative Drafting Step by Step is available for purchase through Carolina Academic Press, and should be released during May, 2013.  Learn More or Purchase HERE.

External Link: Arthur Rynearson - Biography