Bob Milstein

BA LLB University of Melbourne, Admitted New York Bar

Bob is a lawyer and plain language trainer and document writer. Bob graduated from law school in 1982 and spent several years working in the USA where he was admitted to the New York Bar. In 1984, he returned to Australia to start a legal practice with a focus on medical negligence.

With a background in professional medical negligence litigation, Bob has long been aware that clear communication — or its absence — often lies at the heart of legal disputes. This awareness triggered his original interest in plain legal communication.

Plain-language writer

In mid 2005, Bob prepared plain-language rewrites of the funding agreement (and related documents) that the Australian Government Envirofund enters into with the organisations and people whose environmental projects it funds. Christopher and Bob have worked on various other document rewrite projects.

Bob’s work in writing reports to government, and others, on various health-law matters polished his clear communication skills. The audience and purpose of each of these reports required the documents to be as clear as they could be. Bob’s plain-language credentials were crucial to his being appointed to the tasks.

Highlights of Bob’s plain-language reports include:

  • a guide for doctors to legal issues in general practice computerization, in 2000. Bob prepared the guide for the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging and the computing division of the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners
  • a user-friendly analysis setting out the state of privacy laws throughout Australia for the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care, in 2001
  • a report for the Open Disclosure Consortium commissioned by the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2002. The report outlined legal issues affecting "open disclosure" — that is, the provision by hospitals and doctors of information, and an apology, to persons who have suffered injury during a hospital stay.

Download PDF copy of Bob's CV