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Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:27 pm
by Absurd
Two possibilities -- which should I use?

The first is an excerpt from a brief. I feel that the writing is great -- interesting, good and identifiable style, punchy sentences. But it's somewhat short and unimpressive on legal analysis: its arguments are mostly policy- and logic-based, and it's a fairly straightforward and uncomplicated issue.

The other is an excerpt from a motion. The writing itself is a lot more plain, almost formulaic, but the content and analysis is a lot more complex. It's on a somewhat novel issue, so there's lot of analysis, analogizing and distinguishing of cases, discussion of legislative history, etc.

Is one better than the other? In reading the writing sample, do judges/clerks look more for quality of writing or analysis?

And how often is the WS used as a topic of discussion in interviews? Because I feel I can have a better substantive legal discussion with the second sample than the first...

All input appreciated, especially from current and former clerks.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:43 pm
by TheFriendlyBarber
Use whichever one is better.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:45 pm
by Absurd
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:Use whichever one is better.

The whole reason for my post is that each is "better" than the other in different respects...

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:32 pm
by TheFriendlyBarber
Absurd wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:Use whichever one is better.

The whole reason for my post is that each is "better" than the other in different respects...


Then use whichever is best.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:14 am
by Absurd
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:What kind of clerkships are you applying to?

Everything. Can't afford to limit myself. But district courts are definitely more my target given that COA is probably nothing more than a pipe dream.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:05 pm
by Anonymous User
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
Absurd wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:Use whichever one is better.

The whole reason for my post is that each is "better" than the other in different respects...


Then use whichever is best.


You sir, seem brilliant

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:18 pm
by johndhi
Irony: the way you phrased the poll (i.e. the style of the poll) pushed me to choose "content" because it sounds a hell of a lot better than "style" when we're talking about judges.

Maybe you could consider conducting an Erie analysis to determine whether the issue is substantive of procedural.

Anyways... from what I know of judges, it seems they do have a predilection for interesting styles and a punchy/plucky attitude. However, I have the feeling many judges aren't looking for this in their clerks; likely, they want you there to make sure their analysis is solid. But who knows. I imagine solid procedure is wiser for some judges and solid substance is wiser for others. I can't imagine you want to research all of them to find this out, so IMO go with the solid analysis. GL.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:28 pm
by Absurd
johndhi wrote:Irony: the way you phrased the poll (i.e. the style of the poll) pushed me to choose "content" because it sounds a hell of a lot better than "style" when we're talking about judges.

Thanks for the input.
And I've changed the wording of the poll.