Insight from Dan Koh, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Labor

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In your opinion, what are one or two key elements of strong policy writing?

The ability to clearly distill (in one page or less) the question at hand and the current debate or consensus on the issue.  Using concise bullets with bolded key passages allows a reader to quickly understand the material.

If you were to give advice to a student or rising policy analyst, what would you say are the best practices of policy writing?

The ability to understand where a memo reader may be confused about a concept or issue and write to avoid ambiguity is an incredibly difficult task and a true skill.

Can you think of an example from your work where this lesson was learned for you?

Principals I have worked for advised that I start with the summary of the issue and the recommendation (if applicable) at the top.  This helps internalize the message of the memo quickly for the reader.