What writing sample to use for 1L application?

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Use Law Review article as writing sample?

Yes
4
36%
No, use a legal writing class sample
7
64%
 
Total votes: 11

AP-375
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:18 pm

What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby AP-375 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:48 pm

I was fortunate to coauthor a paper in college that was published by a law review at a T10, and I'm wondering if there is any reason I shouldn't use that as my writing sample to apply for 1L firm jobs (which, yes, I know, are hard to come by.)
My hesitation is that it is pretty academic and not related to the area of law I'm interested in.
My only other option would be one of the random memos from my legal writing class, none of which turned out very well.
Thanks.

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ph14
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Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby ph14 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:51 pm

AP-375 wrote:I was fortunate to coauthor a paper in college that was published by a law review at a T10, and I'm wondering if there is any reason I shouldn't use that as my writing sample to apply for 1L firm jobs (which, yes, I know, are hard to come by.)
My hesitation is that it is pretty academic and not related to the area of law I'm interested in.
My only other option would be one of the random memos from my legal writing class, none of which turned out very well.
Thanks.


Let's see. A publishable quality paper, or a random memo "which didn't turn out very well."

AP-375
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:18 pm

Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby AP-375 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:57 pm

ph14 wrote:Let's see. A publishable quality paper, or a random memo "which didn't turn out very well."


You're right, I shouldn't have shown my bias so much. But my OCS advisor seemed really down on the idea because employers want to see more structured legal writing, and an attorney told me that law review articles make poor writing samples, so I'm second-guessing myself, and now crowdsourcing my confidence.

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ben4847
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Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby ben4847 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:04 pm

Well, your crowdsourcing didn't work too well. Only I answered, and I have no idea.

The thing I'd wonder, is the fact that you co-authored it. If I was an employer, I'd be wondering to what extent it reflects your writing and analysis abilities.

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ggocat
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Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby ggocat » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:13 pm

I'm not against law review articles in general, but I wouldn't use one that you (1) coauthored (2) during undergrad, especially when (3) you have a law school memo.

I enumerated #2 because I assume you did not Bluebook the article. If you did, however, and there is a portion of the article that is completely your work without edits from others, then you could use it (with a note explaining these facts). Nonetheless, I think submitting a coauthored article in general may raise some eyebrows.

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traehekat
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Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby traehekat » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:40 pm

Agree with what pretty much everyone has already said, the fact that it is coauthored and it isn't exactly what employers are looking for in a writing sample lead me to believe it wouldn't be a good idea to submit the law review article.

AP-375
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:18 pm

Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby AP-375 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:23 pm

traehekat wrote:Agree with what pretty much everyone has already said, the fact that it is coauthored and it isn't exactly what employers are looking for in a writing sample lead me to believe it wouldn't be a good idea to submit the law review article.

Thanks for the responses, which have confirmed my reservations. I have a 4 page section of the article, which is entirely my writing. I think I'll either paste that section into its own Word doc, or I'll just send a .pdf excerpt from the article in its original formatting.
Anyone think that's a terrible idea?

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Bildungsroman
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Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby Bildungsroman » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:10 pm

AP-375 wrote:
traehekat wrote:Agree with what pretty much everyone has already said, the fact that it is coauthored and it isn't exactly what employers are looking for in a writing sample lead me to believe it wouldn't be a good idea to submit the law review article.

Thanks for the responses, which have confirmed my reservations. I have a 4 page section of the article, which is entirely my writing. I think I'll either paste that section into its own Word doc, or I'll just send a .pdf excerpt from the article in its original formatting.
Anyone think that's a terrible idea?

Sounds like everyone + career services think it's a bad idea. What exactly are you looking for now?

GMVarun
Posts: 190
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:48 pm

Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby GMVarun » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:19 am

If you have a published Law Review article, you should definitely include that on your resume. However, four pages is too short (most places want closer to ten pages, and even the most restrictive ones I applied to wanted five pages). Furthermore, your sample will be out of context and contain no legal analysis. In my opinion, it will not serve as the best writing sample.

You could just edit one of your memos? I am assuming you got feedback from your professor. If not, arrange an appointment and ask your professor to do this; in my experience, they are more than willing to sit down with you and go over a memo. If you can do this now, that's fine. Otherwise, just spend one or two days of your winter break editing and improving your writing sample. Then send out applications.
Last edited by GMVarun on Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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IAFG
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Re: What writing sample to use for 1L application?

Postby IAFG » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:21 am

GMVarun wrote:If you have a published Law Review article, you should definitely include that on your resume. However, four pages out of context and of no legal analysis will not serve as the best writing sample in my opinion.

You could just edit one of your memos? I am assuming you got feedback from your professor. If not, arrange an appointment and ask your professor to do this; in my experience, they are more than willing to sit down with you and go over a memo. If you can do this now, that's fine. Otherwise, just spend one or two days of your winter break editing and improving your writing sample. Then send out applications.

+1




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