Elisabeth Ulmer, 2014 graduate of Villanova University School of Law, recently received the Irvin Stander Award for Excellence in Administrative Law from the Philadelphia Bar Association for her contributions to Notice and Comment while in law school. Below she discusses the practical benefits of writing for Notice and Comment and how it will impact her future.
1. How has writing for the blog influenced your understanding of administrative law?
Researching regulations for the blog reemphasized just how many different aspects of our everyday lives are regulated by administrative law and agencies. This point also underscored how important it is for the public to participate in the rulemaking process and to share their comments, which many people currently do.
Furthermore, reading the rationales for rules provided me with concrete examples of how the administrative rulemaking process works. For instance, some new rules are implemented to bring existing rules into accordance with older laws – such as the FDA’s move to update serving sizes in compliance with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. Along those lines, I became more aware that the advances of technology frequently necessitate updated versions of rules – such as the FCC’s new rule permitting in-flight calls because that technology is now available. Exploring the background of rules offered me greater insight into the ways in which policy and law intersect.
2. Have you gained skills from writing for the blog? If so, what kind?
While writing for the blog, one skill that I am honing is the ability to take a 50-page regulation and condense it into about 500 words. I must make strategic decisions about how to summarize a rule in a concise and understandable manner, and I enjoy figuring out how to write my blog in a way that will motivate people to check out the rule further and perhaps comment on it.
3. How do you plan to use those skills in your career?
Writing will no doubt be a large part of my future, and today’s world is placing increasing priority on clear and concise writing. I am confident that the skills I am developing while writing for the Notice and Comment blog will serve me well throughout my career.
If you would like to write for Notice and Comment, please e-mail Lynn White for details on how to become a contributor.