June 06, 2011 Articles

Administrative Law Judging: This Much I Know

There's more to being a well-rounded administrative law judge than having good writing and analytical skills.

By Hon. Joan Davenport

The “seasoned” Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) knows that there are essentials to judging that include good writing skills and analytical skills. But there is more to being a well-rounded ALJ that we may have forgotten because we may presume that we are good writers with well-developed analytical skills based on our years of experience. Below are some other essentials to evolving as an ALJ—a role you may currently hold or may wish to pursue in the future.  

Writing and Analytical Skills The ability to write well is crucial. Decisions must be clear and concise, outlining the key Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. An ALJ must analyze all issues relevant to the case, carefully separating the wheat from the chaff by focusing on the information that is most relevant and material to the issue(s) and separating the immaterial and other extraneous information.  Also key to writing a solid decision that will withstand appellate review is a well-developed understanding of the applicable law or regulation.

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