Creating a Writing Sample While your cover letters and resumes are obvious writing samples, you should be prepared to submit a formal legal writing sample as well.
For the same reason that interview answers should reflect how you can meet the needs of the employer, the writing sample should show how you can be successful in the particular legal environment where you seek employment.
Consider both the type of writing and the subject matter contained in your writing sample. For example, although it may be the paper you are most proud of, a brilliant analysis of an arcane subject for a seminar or law review is not necessarily the strongest writing sample.
An internal memorandum or pleading that you drafted as a law clerk or extern may be the stronger choice because it will better highlight your practical skills. Employers want to make sure that you have the practical legal writing skills that attorneys use in everyday practice; employers often complain that students are unable to make the leap from the law school typed or written exam analysis to the writing used daily in legal practice.
The ideal writing sample addresses substantive legal issues pertinent to the employer to which you are applying; however, many times you will not have had the opportunity to do this.
In this instance, you should use a form of writing pertinent to types of employers; i.
Be sure to get explicit permission from a previous or current employer before using a work document as a writing sample. Failure to do so can be detrimental to your representation in the legal community.
Your writing sample should demonstrate that you pay careful attention to detail. It must be accurate and free of typographical errors, grammatical errors and other mistakes.
The following points will guide you in making decisions about what to submit and how to prepare a final product for submission to the employer. A note about Bluebooking. When should I provide a writing sample? Only when requested to do so by the employer.
Always be prepared, however, by bringing a copy of your writing sample to an interview, but do not offer it unless the employer asks. What should I use as a writing sample? If you are allowed the opportunity, ask the employer what type of writing sample they would like to see.
Good writing samples are legal writing -- persuasive writing that allows the employer to evaluate advocacy skills based on effective legal research. Among your best choices for a writing sample is a memorandum of law or a brief.
A bench memorandum for a judge is also appropriate because it reveals practical research and writing skills.
Never submit an opinion that you drafted for the judge as your writing sample. Regardless of how much of the opinion you drafted, it is improper to represent an opinion, issued over the signature and by the authority of a judge, as your own.
Another choice would be a paper that simulates a real world legal problem such as a moot court brief or memorandum for a lawyering skills course.
The amount of time spent on a scholarly note is out of proportion to the time available in practice. For example, a writing sample that discusses a Maryland issue of law may be helpful if you are applying for positions in Maryland. Similarly, if you are applying for a clerkship with a federal judge or government agency, your ideal writing sample will address an issue of federal law.
Avoid using a writing sample that contains lurid material. Choosing a writing sample with lurid material will distract the employer from the merits of the writing and make an unfavorable impression. How long should it be? Ideally, a good writing sample should be approximately five to ten pages in length.
Please be careful to read the job posting carefully and follow the directions to meet the wishes of that particular employer. Employers are most interested in your analytical abilities; that is, your ability to apply law to fact and to draw correct legal conclusions.
When it is necessary to edit a document to create a more manageable length, do not delete necessary context.SAMPLE WRITING SAMPLE COVER SHEET #2 WRITING SAMPLE Serena Southerlyn Box New Haven, CT () The attached writing sample is an excerpt from a brief submitted for the Morris Tyler Moot Court of.
The LSAT Writing Sample is a minute ungraded essay with an assigned topic. That's right—the essay section has absolutely no effect on your overall LSAT score. But, copies of your writing sample will be sent to law schools, along with your LSAT score, as part of your official report, so youll.
The first “before” and “after” pair is a general law school personal statement. The second “before” and “after” pair is a law school application diversity statement. Most students' legal writing improves greatly over the course of law school, so selecting a recent piece of work should demonstrate your current strength and give employers confidence that they will see similar skills exercised on their behalf.
The writing sample should allow an employer to assess your work. If the writing sample is a brief or other document signed by a supervising attorney, you should explain in . By reading the sample law school essays provided below, you should get a clear idea of how to translate your qualifications, passions, and individual experiences into words.
You will see that the samples here employ a creative voice, use detailed examples, and draw the reader in with a clear writing style.