Golden Pen Award 2000

The Golden Pen Award 2000

In January 2000, the Institute presented its first Golden Pen Award to Arthur Levitt, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, for his leadership in requiring plain language in financial-disclosure documents. The Commission undertook a pilot project with a number of companies, produced its own Plain English Handbook, and then adopted regulations that require investment prospectuses to be written in plain English. (17 C.F.R. § 230.421(b), (d). As the award itself stated, “Chairman Levitt and the SEC have proved that good legal writing can make even the most complex legal documents easier to understand.”

The award was presented at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C. Besides Chairman Levitt, three of the other four SEC commissioners attended, and the award received national and international publicity. The remarks from all the speakers at the presentation, including Chairman Levitt, are published in Volume 6 of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.