Can I use this as a writing sample?

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gilagarta
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Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby gilagarta » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:32 am

Rising 2L here working at a impact litigation org this summer with a question about writing samples. An attorney had me start working on a memo about an interesting legal question, and I was about 25% done with the writing (100% done with the research) when he asked me to stop. A motion submitted by opposing counsel had revealed that they took a different angle than we expected, so my memo was no longer needed.

My question is: despite this, can I finish writing the original memo in my free time and then use that as a writing sample? I figure it will still be better than anything I did for LRW.

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emciosn
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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby emciosn » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:42 am

I am using something I did at my job this summer for a writing sample for OCI this fall. My impression is that something you did in a really legal setting is more valuable then something from your legal writing class, and would probably reflect the writing improvements you have continued to make this summer. My only suggestion would be to ask you boss first to see if it is ok and redact and names, dates, dollar amounts, etc in the facts section that may give anyone away.

I asked my boss, blacked out the names and stuff and used something I wrote this summer. I also put a paragraph at the top explaining that it was from my work this summer and set the context a little bit.

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gilagarta
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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby gilagarta » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:48 am

Thanks. Also, does anyone know whether it's OK/a good idea to make changes to what you actually submitted to improve it as a writing sample?

For example, if I wrote a memo on a very theoretical question (ie: we think defendants might argue this and here is how we might respond), and that's what I turned into the attorney, would it be OK to rewrite it once we actually get the defendant's arguments to include their actual wording and more concrete responses instead of hypothetical ones? I guess I'm just worried that a memo based on hypothetical arguments isn't as strongly written as one that is based on the actual arguments made.

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emciosn
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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby emciosn » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:54 am

I think as long as you say something short setting up the context of the memo you are ok. Tell them you started it for a certain reason then was told to stop. Then say you decided to finish it on your own time and incorporate what subsequently happened in the case. Say you wanted to do it this way because this sample is most indicative of you current writing skill. They are all lawyers looking at it, they understand that projects get derailed. They might even like the initiative of making sure you have a current writing sample. If it was not submitted in the form you are giving them, just don't say it was.

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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:00 am

I was under the impression that the context in which the sample was prepared was irrelevant so long as you alone did the research and writing (maybe I've been misled?).

Are you guys finding that most firms are asking for a writing sample? Because I've been surprised at how few are asking for them. Do some firms wait until the callback process to ask for one?

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Whatisthis
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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby Whatisthis » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:01 am

Didn't mean to post that anonymously.

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emciosn
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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby emciosn » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:06 am

Most of the firms coming to my OCI asked (some didn't) and all the firms I am mailing I just include the writing sample. I think a couple of sentences on the context of your writing sample is important. Telling them you completed it during your work this summer could be valuable as well. I think they just want to know where it came from. My legal writing professor told us to type something to set up even the stuff we did for class that I used for my sample.

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gilagarta
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Re: Can I use this as a writing sample?

Postby gilagarta » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was under the impression that the context in which the sample was prepared was irrelevant so long as you alone did the research and writing (maybe I've been misled?).

Are you guys finding that most firms are asking for a writing sample? Because I've been surprised at how few are asking for them. Do some firms wait until the callback process to ask for one?


Yeah, I think it's more common for employers to wait until they actually ask for an interview (or callback) as opposed to with your initial application. I just want to be prepared...




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