Conflicting writing sample advice

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Anonymous User
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Conflicting writing sample advice

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:19 pm

Is it a terrible idea to use the note I wrote for write-on as a writing sample? I thought it was okay but I've heard completely opposite opinions ("it's totally fine as long as it's good" "I would never hire someone based on something other than a memo or brief"). My LRW memo and brief (and grade) are solidly mediocre - I'd have to rewrite half for either to be good enough (is that even allowed?). The write-on note is 7 pages, and talks about how one issue from a specific case should have been analyzed differently based on previous case law and policy.

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NinerFan
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Re: Conflicting writing sample advice

Postby NinerFan » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it a terrible idea to use the note I wrote for write-on as a writing sample? I thought it was okay but I've heard completely opposite opinions ("it's totally fine as long as it's good" "I would never hire someone based on something other than a memo or brief"). My LRW memo and brief (and grade) are solidly mediocre - I'd have to rewrite half for either to be good enough (is that even allowed?). The write-on note is 7 pages, and talks about how one issue from a specific case should have been analyzed differently based on previous case law and policy.


With regards to rewriting it- yes, you can do whatever you want to prep your writing sample (and should). I revised mine on the basis of my professor's comments and had them look over it again after I revised it. You should read and revise whatever you choose to use.

Renzo
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Re: Conflicting writing sample advice

Postby Renzo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:11 pm

Generally, write-on notes aren't very good because they are so artificial, and they don't tend to be very good since they are often written under duress. I think you are better off polishing one of your other pieces; it will be better when you are through, and it is better to have something that looks more like what someone would be hiring you to write.

jkay
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Re: Conflicting writing sample advice

Postby jkay » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:16 am

NinerFan wrote:you can do whatever you want to prep your writing sample (and should).


Emphasis added.

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ggocat
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Re: Conflicting writing sample advice

Postby ggocat » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:12 pm

FWIW, I've hired interns for judicial/court internships, and this is what I look for in a writing sample:

1. Correct or mostly correct citations, grammar, and style following The Bluebook and Texas Law Review MOUS.
2. Diligent research and the ability to synthesize. (For example, don't submit a memo that is answered by one or two cases).
3. Overall organization and word choice; the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently.
4. Lack of flaws in reasoning.
5. Independent work. (That is, not substantially edited or guided by others).

Although academic papers often satisfy those enumerated items, I'd rather see a brief or memo because those are most similar to an intern's duties. In particular, I'd like to see a brief or memo that was prepared for a legal job (rather than for a class project). This helps me get a better idea of what you can produce without two or three months of time (and sometimes coddling by a professor). The problem, of course, is that most students put more effort and time into their class memos and briefs compared to documents prepared for a legal job, so classwork appears more polished and better researched.

Whatever you submit, I would recommend including a disclaimer that the document has not been (substantially) edited by others. Especially when I see a note/comment without that disclaimer, I am sure to ask this question during the interview because academic work is sometimes heavily edited by others.




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