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Drafting Legal Documents


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Arrangement

1. Prepare an outline. Before you start to draft a set of regulations, prepare an outline to organize the subject matter of the regulations. The amount of effort that you put into this startup phase of a drafting project has great impact on the usefulness of the final product. Without proper organization and arrangement, and the clarity that results from the use of good drafting principles, the major topics of a document can easily be lost. Use of the following principles should make your outline a beneficial tool.

2. Establish a single principle of division and use that principle to divide the subject matter into major topics.

First, establish a principle of division. Consider the one or more audiences that the regulations address. For example, if you are addressing a problem about cats, you would organize the material differently, depending on the audience you are addressing.

EXAMPLES:

  • Veterinarians: What illness does the cat have?
  • Cat breeders: What breed is the cat?
  • Owners of lost cats: What color is the cat?
  • Statisticians: How many cats were lost in the Washington Metropolitan area in 19__?

After establishing the basic principle of division based on the audience addressed, you should organize the subject matter of the document by major topics. In many cases, the major topics are apparent and may influence you to change your principle of division.

3. Arrange the items within a topic in a logical sequence. Once you have established your classifications, you must arrange them in a sequence that is helpful to the audience you are addressing.

Here are some suggestions to help you arrange the information in your regulations:

  • Place general provisions before specific provisions.
  • Place more important provisions before less important provisions.
  • Place more frequently used provisions before less frequently used provisions.
  • Place permanent provisions before temporary provisions.
  • Place administrative provisions (such as effective date provisions) and penalty provisions at the end.

EXAMPLE:
Subpart D -- Citizens Band Radio Service

General Provisions [general provisions]

  • 95.401 What is the Citizens Band (CB) Radio Service
  • 95.403 How do I use these rules?
  • 95.405 How are the keywords in these rules defined?

How to apply for a CB license [more important provisions]

  • 95.409 Do I need a license?
  • 95.411 Am I eligible to get a CB license?
  • 95.413 How do I apply for a CB license?
  • 95.415 Can I operate my CB station while my application is being processed?
  • 95.417 How do I renew or modify my CB license?
  • 95.419 What address do I put on my application?

[specific provisons] -- [less important provisions]

  • 95-421 How do I sign my CB license application?
  • 95-423 How long is my CB license valid?
  • 95-425 What must I do if my name or address changes?

How to operate a CB station [frequently used provisions]

  • 95.455 On what channels may I operate?
  • 95.457 How high can I put my antenna?

[less frequently used provisions]

  • 95.459 How do I use my CB station in an emergency or to assist a traveler?
  • 95.461 Can I operate my CB station by remote control?

Other things you need to know [administrative and penalty provisions]

  • 95.50l How do I contact the FCC?
  • 95.503 Do I need to have a current copy of the CB rules?
  • 95.507 What are the penalties for violation of these rules?
  • 95.509 How do I answer violation notices?

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