Maria Mindlin's Resumé
Language Specialist & CEO
Davis, CA 95616
- Expert adaptation of legal text to plain language
- Expert evaluation of reading grade level and readability of English and Spanish text
- Court-Certified Spanish Linguist, Certified French Linguist
- Certified French Linguist, Switzerland
- Certified Spanish Interpreter, California
- Language Proficiency Evaluator, using CDE-approved instruments (BSM, LAS, ELD)
- Graduate degree in Education from UC Davis, Language Acquisition emphasis
- Co-teacher, Legal Writing Seminar for 3rd Year Law Students, UC Davis (Plain Language Seminar)
- Certificat de Français, Le Manoir, Switzerland
Expert Testimony, Reports and Experience
- Drafted plain language legal forms for Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts
- Drafted plain language legal forms for Washington State Courts
- Created video training for plain language at www.transcend.net/services/PL.html#lessons
- Built a plain language legal library in English, Spanish, and other languages at writeclearly.org
- Served as expert witness in immigration cases regarding understandability of advisement
- Provided Readability training to court staff and legal services attorneys across the United States, 2010
- Provide Readability training to 3rd Year Law Students, UC Davis, under the direction of Professor Richard Wydick, 2005 and 2006
- Edited Bryan Garner’s Redbook, Design Chapter, 2005
- Provided Readability training to court administrators through the National Center for State Courts tele-teach system, 2006
- Adapted court forms for guardianship for use in Ohio
- Provided Plain Language and translation services to the Supreme Court of Texas for the new Domestic Violence Kit, 2005
- Provided 2-day Plain Language Training and Practicum to the Administrative Office of the Courts of Utah. Currently working to adapt Utah’s Domestic Violence forms to Plain Language, 2005
- Provided Plain Language templates to the Supreme Court of Virginia (Domestic Violence, Small Claims and Traffic), 2004-2005
- Provided Plain Language training the National Legal Aid Defenders Association Annual Conference, 2005
- Provided Plain Language services to the Supreme Court of Virginia (Domestic Violence, Small Claims and Traffic), 2004-2005
- Provided Plain Language training to the Registrars of the Counties of California and the state Pollworker Training Task Force, 2004
- Served as expert witness on readability in LiPuma v. American Express, et al. a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and developed plain language settlement notices
- Served as expert witness on readability in Flores v. Transamerica Corp, No. 310594 (San Francisco Sup. Ct., CA), a class action lawsuit in which readability of financial documents was a central issue
- Served as expert witness on readability in Schwartz v. Visa International, No. 822404-4 (Alameda Sup. Ct., CA), a class action law suit. Developed and field-tested plain language consumer notices and claim forms
- Adapted California Voter Registration Card into plain language for the Secretary of State of California. Field-tested new language and card design to ensure voter comprehension
- Evaluated readability of a Privacy Rights Template for the California Governor’s Office. Created a report that recommended specific language and format changes to make the form more accessible
- Adapted Victim Witness Handbook into Plain Language for California Attorney General’s Office of Victims’ Services. Field tested new handbook to ensure readability and usability
- Advised legislative staff and special interest groups on readability standards. Critiqued readability of privacy notice in California State Senate Bill 1, 2003
- Adapted 30 Domestic Violence forms into Plain Language for the Judicial Council of California. Process included text adaptation, formatting, field testing and legal review. Now adapting 19 Small Claims forms and 9 Civil Harassment forms
- Performed Plain Language adaptation of claim and release form for LifeScan, Inc. Consumer Litigation, No. C-98-20321-JF (S. Jose No. Dist. Ct., CA)
- Provided Readability Evaluations and Reports to private law firms, Departments of the State of California, California Legislature, Legal Aid, and Consumer Advocacy groups
Speaking Engagements and Presentations
- Administrative Office of the Courts of California, Statewide Conference on Self-Represented Litigants, May 2009, Basic and Advanced Readability Seminars
- National Organization Of Elections Officials, provided readability training and templates for notices, provisional voting, and ballot instructions, March 2009
- Administrative Office of the Courts of California, Statewide Conference on Self-Represented Litigants, March 2006, “Plain Language”
- State Bar of California, Pathways to Justice Conference, June 2005, “Plain Language”
- Guest Lecturer, University of California, Martin Luther King Law School, Plain Language and Readability
- Secretary of State, California, “Plain Language Voter Registration Card – Basics”. June 2004
- State Bar of California, Pathways to Justice Conference, May 2002, "Writing for Low-Literacy Readers"
- California Attorney General’s Office and DCA, Consumer Affairs Association Conference, November 2001, "Writing Accessible Documents"
- Judicial Council of California, Training for AOC attorneys, October, 2001, "How to Write Low-Literacy Text"
- Judicial Council of California, Training for AOC attorneys, November, 2001, "How to Produce Accessible Judicial Council Forms"
- California Attorney General’s Office and DCA, Consumer Affairs Association Conference, November 2000, "Plain Language Communication Skills"
- Department of Health Services, Training, August 1999, "Writing and Field-testing Low-Literacy Documents"
- Is Plain Language better? Comparative Readability Study of Plain Language Court Forms, 2005, Maria Mindlin
- Accessible Web Sites: Making web sites accessible to people with disabilities is not that hard, 2004, Gary Mindlin Miguel, edited by Maria Mindlin
- Rx for Better Health Care: Plain Language, 2004, Maria Mindlin and Isabel Mottsmith- Shelton
- Focus Groups: Connecting writers of legal documents with their audience, 2004, Maria Mindlin and Katherine McCormick
- Plain Language Works for Pro Per Litigants , 2004, Maria Mindlin and Katherine McCormick
- Consumer field test template, 2002, Transcend, Maria Mindlin
- Readability , 2001, Transcend, Maria Mindlin, web book
- How to Write Low-Literacy Documents, 1999, Transcend, Maria Mindlin
- Low-Literacy Checklist for printed documents, 2001, Transcend, Maria Mindlin
- Low-Literacy Checklist for web, 2001, Transcend, Maria Mindlin
- Is your English document ready?, 2001, Transcend, Maria Mindlin
Many of these publications are available at our online Library.
English, Spanish, French, and a student of Farsi, Italian, Mandarin, and Arabic.