Washington County Judge to Be Honored by State Bar for Promotion of “Clarity” in Legal Writing

HARRISBURG (June 1, 2006) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association Plain English Committee will honor Washington County Senior Judge Thomas J. Terputac with its 2006 Clarity Award for his commitment to promoting the use of clear writing by professionals in the legal field. The award will be presented during the association’s annual meeting June 8 in Hershey.

The PBA Plain English Committee created the Clarity Award to recognize “those who have done the most to foster Plain English in the legal field.”

In his nomination, Washington County lawyer Charles C. Keller said Terputac was “a pioneer in encouraging the use of ‘Plain English’ in legal writing.”

In 1988, Terputac published A Handbook of English Usage – A Guide for the Bench and Bar. According to Keller, “His book catalogs some amazing examples of complex usage and style. Written in handbook format, it is an easy-to-use reference for correct usage of even the most difficult words and phrases.”

After graduating from Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Terputac developed his writing skills as a law clerk and as a successful legal practitioner in Washington County. He then honed his writing skills as a common pleas judge in Washington County for thirty years.

In the foreword to Judge Terputac’s book, former Superior Court Judge John Brosky wrote, “I applaud Judge Terputac on his courageous effort to awaken us from our grammatical complacency and to point us in the direction of his command to return to the essentials of formal writing. “