Plain English Awards

celebrate New Zealand's clearest communicators

Susan Kleimann, PhD

Judge: Best Plain English Legal Document category


President, Kleimann Communication Group, USA

For Susan, language has power: the power to help people live better lives. This core belief is the foundation of her firm, Kleimann Communication Group, where — since 1997 — she has developed and tested high-impact plain language documents that touch millions of people. Her work often focuses on the juncture of public policy and the documents that must convey that policy clearly and easily to consumers. With expertise in user-centred design and qualitative research methods, she champions the importance of ‘listening’ to consumers to ensure comprehension that goes beyond words to concepts and trade-offs.

Dr Kleimann oversaw the development and testing of the Model Financial Privacy Notice, now used by nearly every US financial institution. She also led the development and testing of the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure (or TRID) for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, documents now used for all home purchases in the US. Dr Kleimann often serves as an expert witness on the clarity of communication to the public. She is currently Chair of the Center for Plain Language, and speaks frequently nationally and internationally. With other international plain language experts, she is developing international standards on plain language, including the need for evaluation as central to those standards.


2017 Plain English Awards judges