Writing sample issues

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Borhas
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Writing sample issues

Postby Borhas » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:56 pm

I'm trying to use a few sections of my moot court brief as my writing sample for Spring 2012 internships. First, and I kind of hate myself for asking this, but does the diversity of citation methods help a writing sample look better? I generally just do pin cites, none of that See, But See sorts of cites or footnotes. Second, should I include a few paragraphs just explaining the context, or is the issue certified by the Court sufficient? I can't include my statement of facts cause that would be too lame and take up too much space. Lastly, they didn't give me any page counts, so what is a nice number to shoot for? 5? 10? 3?

I'll be sending it to Fed PD offices if that matters at all

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Unitas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Unitas » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:03 pm

Borhas wrote:I'm trying to use a few sections of my moot court brief as my writing sample for Spring 2012 internships. First, and I kind of hate myself for asking this, but does the diversity of citation methods help a writing sample look better? I generally just do pin cites, none of that See, But See sorts of cites or footnotes. Second, should I include a few paragraphs just explaining the context, or is the issue certified by the Court sufficient? I can't include my statement of facts cause that would be too lame and take up too much space. Lastly, they didn't give me any page counts, so what is a nice number to shoot for? 5? 10? 3?

I'll be sending it to Fed PD offices if that matters at all


You don't use signals? It's important to use them and the use of them is irrelevant to the use of pin cites.. If you cite a case to illustrate how you are using precedent on your facts you should have a see. Right?

question 2: My school says: Whatever writing sample you select, remember to attach a cover page, which should include:

o A description of the document’s use when you drafted it;
o A statement ensuring that it is your own work;
o The grade you received for it, if it is a Georgetown Law research or exam paper; and
o A statement that you obtained permission before providing it and, ideally, the name and contact details of the partner who granted that permission (if it is a research memorandum from your previous employer).
http://www.law.georgetown.edu/graduate/ ... erials.htm

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Borhas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Borhas » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:23 pm

I wouldn't say it's irrelevant to the use of pin cites. I take "See X v. Y" to cite a general theme that runs through the case w/o a specific pin cite. I tried using "See X v. Y (short description of holding and facts)" that way, but I found it to be really clunky. And I also thought that using "See" would be inappropriate because it's not really a general theme, but an actual holding that I could pin down.

Thanks for the link though, that clears up that question very well.

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npe
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby npe » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:43 pm

Then you're using "see" incorrectly. Review BB Rule 1.2.

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Borhas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Borhas » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:08 pm

hmmmm I think you're right

that's what I get for refusing to use BB... though all in all I don't regret it

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npe
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby npe » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:14 pm

Well, in response to your initial question, one big way to make your writing sample "look better" is to fix the citations.

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Borhas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Borhas » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:42 pm

well I kinda figured that... Anyway, do you (or anyone else) know of a good way to talk about circuit splits, without requiring a string of clunky cites (may have to cite 4 different cases for 4 circuits)? Or barring that, what's the least clunky way to do it?

Would a See X, Y, Z, but see A work?

the "but" seems out of place though cause it's not really running counter to the sentence that cites it (since the sentence states there is a circuit split).

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npe
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby npe » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:58 pm

A compare/with string cite with an explanatory parenthetical for each case is probably the best way to go.

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Unitas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Unitas » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:28 pm

npe wrote:A compare/with string cite with an explanatory parenthetical for each case is probably the best way to go.


The "but see" is a different citation sentence if I recall correctly. "Compare X and Y with R and S" is better if equal circuit split. But see is better if the majority are on your side and one seems like an outlier.

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npe
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby npe » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:57 pm

Unitas wrote:
npe wrote:A compare/with string cite with an explanatory parenthetical for each case is probably the best way to go.


The "but see" is a different citation sentence if I recall correctly. "Compare X and Y with R and S" is better if equal circuit split. But see is better if the majority are on your side and one seems like an outlier.


I read Borhas as asking which signal is appropriate after a sentence like "There is a circuit split on this issue." There, "see" and "but see" signals wouldn't be appropriate, because the cases themselves don't support the proposition that there's a circuit split.

ohnowtf
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby ohnowtf » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:38 pm

A lot of practitioners use signals incorrectly, or don't use them when they should.

Spend a few minutes with your bluebook, and make sure your citations are perfect. You don't want to risk a BB perfectionist finding errors in your writing sample.

Have somebody proof read your writing sample. Just like your resume, you want another set of eyes looking for grammatical errors and/or things that don't read clearly or make sense.

As other posters have pointed out, you always need to include a description of your writing sample. Some employers will specify length, and others do not. I have been told, in the event an employer doesn't specify length, that approximately 10 pages is good.

Renzo
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Renzo » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:01 am

Borhas wrote:
that's what I get for refusing to use BB...


This, above all, is going to be the problem with your writing sample.

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beaverfuzz
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby beaverfuzz » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:36 am

Depends on the job, but in my experience, practitioners don't care about whether you have faithfully followed the Bluebook, so long as your citations are uniform throughout.

I agree with the above posters re: signals; they are important. And parentheticals are also important, especially in persuasive writing (for example, where listing a string of cases applying the seminal rule, it is helpful to give short fact statements so that the reader can easily orient the holdings of those cases to your argument).

But by and large, in a writing sample employers are looking for a flavor of your writing style and whether you can communicate ideas effectively, not your memorization of the citation rules. Hope that helps.

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Borhas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Borhas » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:57 am

beaverfuzz wrote:Depends on the job, but in my experience, practitioners don't care about whether you have faithfully followed the Bluebook, so long as your citations are uniform throughout.

I agree with the above posters re: signals; they are important. And parentheticals are also important, especially in persuasive writing (for example, where listing a string of cases applying the seminal rule, it is helpful to give short fact statements so that the reader can easily orient the holdings of those cases to your argument).

But by and large, in a writing sample employers are looking for a flavor of your writing style and whether you can communicate ideas effectively, not your memorization of the citation rules. Hope that helps.


It does help.

It's just that I really hate it. I hate the bluebook. I hate the prissy ivy league editors that keep updating it. I hate the publisher that printed it. And I hate myself for not finding a way to download it from pirate bay for free.

400+ pages to codify a citation system? Retards.

ok now I feel better.

what's the consensus on footnotes? I suppose there's a rule against exclusively using footnotes.

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Unitas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Unitas » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:02 am

Borhas wrote:
beaverfuzz wrote:Depends on the job, but in my experience, practitioners don't care about whether you have faithfully followed the Bluebook, so long as your citations are uniform throughout.

I agree with the above posters re: signals; they are important. And parentheticals are also important, especially in persuasive writing (for example, where listing a string of cases applying the seminal rule, it is helpful to give short fact statements so that the reader can easily orient the holdings of those cases to your argument).

But by and large, in a writing sample employers are looking for a flavor of your writing style and whether you can communicate ideas effectively, not your memorization of the citation rules. Hope that helps.


It does help.

It's just that I really hate it. I hate the bluebook. I hate the prissy ivy league editors that keep updating it. I hate the publisher that printed it. And I hate myself for not finding a way to download it from pirate bay for free.

400+ pages to codify a citation system? Retards.

ok now I feel better.

what's the consensus on footnotes? I suppose there's a rule against exclusively using footnotes.


I assume you've read this: http://joshblackman.com/blog/?p=6524&ut ... 7s+Blog%29 ?

I agree with you on the 400+ pages filled with stupid crap that doesn't matter that ends up changing LRW grades, see f.3d vs. f .3d. But signals are not the problem with the BB. And the book itself is cheap, like $20-40 out of $140,000 for school.

I personally do not use footnotes in my briefs, unless I am referencing something that is related only tangentially to the brief. I've never used a footnote for the sole purpose of citing a case that should be in a citation sentence in the brief. Someone else will probably know if it is a bb rule or not, but I can't imagine using all footnotes in a brief is going to be a good thing - I've read quite a few briefs and the footnotes are usually subsequent history of statues that isn't applied to the instant case, scientific findings that no one really cares to read anyhow, and such. I'll look for a rule later.

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Borhas
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Borhas » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:54 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Renzo wrote:
Borhas wrote:
that's what I get for refusing to use BB...


This, above all, is going to be the problem with your writing sample.

Yup. Just do accurate Bluebooking, bro.

Nobody loves the Bluebook. So I get your frustration. But I assume you are a 1L, and therefore have no basis upon which to complain about the fact that BB was recently revised. By all accounts, the 19th ed. is the first one you have encountered. And honestly, even if it isn't, the changes from the 18th ed. are minor.

Second, you are attending law school, also known as professional school. You will graduate and work as a professional. Professionals pay for their books; they don't pirate them. So that might be a nice thing to stop griping about. You can get a used bluebook online for less than $10.

It is not hard to apply the basics of the Bluebook. Those take up only a small # of overall pages (really just the first 15 rules or so, and not even all of those). The bluepages, which address state- and country-specific citation methods, take up a huge chunk, as do citations for online services, etc., none of which seem relevant to your writing sample. So your objection is a bit like complaining that a judicial opinion is too long to read even though it has a two page section that addresses exactly what you need to know.


listen, bro, just because I have a lesser reason to hate it than others, doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a good hatin'. I mean, I get it, this is your life, your trade, you must deal with it day in and day out. I understand your sensitivity as an A3 Clerk. I don't even want to imagine the banalities you have to deal with. W/ that said, I got plenty o' hate for the both of us, so you can sit back and relax, and I'll hate on the BB for all the reasons you have for hating it.

Anyway,

The 19th ed came out just when I started school, so there were no used copies then (I obviously checked). So, I did have to shell out $45 for "minor" changes that either a) don't apply to me or b) do apply but should have never been changed in the first place. If a) then I fucking hate the BB for costing me any amount of money. If b) I fucking hate the BB for making changes to basic shit that should have stayed the same (and they DID make some basic changes). And, regardless $10 is too much to pay for this crap, let alone a version that only contains "minor" changes. BECAUSE I'm a 1L I wouldn't know what the changes would be, would I? I wouldn't know if they were significant, or not, would I? What possible basis would I have had for knowing whether to get the old one or not?

Lastly, EVEN IF I WASN'T a law student I'd hate the bluebook for what it is: LR circle jerk session... whether or not those 400 pages apply to exactly what I want doesn't really matter in this context. First, wtf does HLS LR want with my money? They should post this crap online and make their editions there. Second, the fact that the industry standard gets clunkier and clunkier after every edition is an embarrassment, though mostly for the people responsible for its creation and standardization.

BTW: Law school is a professional SCHOOL, as in it has students. Professionals may pay for their books, but I'm not a professional. I'm a student becoming a professional. Maybe I'd be happy to pay for a copy of the BB when I'm actually a professional instead of student (though I have a hard time imagining lawyers buying an updated edition of the BB ever again once they graduate), but we'll cross the bridge when we get there. [And really, I'm pretty comfortable saying all or nearly all the reasons against pirating copyrighted material probably don't apply to the BB.]


Unitas wrote:
I agree with you on the 400+ pages filled with stupid crap that doesn't matter that ends up changing LRW grades, see f.3d vs. f .3d. But signals are not the problem with the BB. And the book itself is cheap, like $20-40 out of $140,000 for school.

I personally do not use footnotes in my briefs, unless I am referencing something that is related only tangentially to the brief. I've never used a footnote for the sole purpose of citing a case that should be in a citation sentence in the brief. Someone else will probably know if it is a bb rule or not, but I can't imagine using all footnotes in a brief is going to be a good thing - I've read quite a few briefs and the footnotes are usually subsequent history of statues that isn't applied to the instant case, scientific findings that no one really cares to read anyhow, and such. I'll look for a rule later.


No, I actually never read that blog. hahaha Posner coming through w/ the hatin' too. I like it.

Thanks for the help btw, much appreciated


"A grim capitalist logic thus drives the malignant growth of The Bluebook" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anonymous User
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Re: Writing sample issues

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:29 pm

I used a maritime law policy paper as a writing sample for an AG's office. It did have BB citations, but was more of an economic and efficiency analysis than a paper full of legal arguments.

I got the job. :lol:




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