How important are writing samples?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273425
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How important are writing samples?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:18 pm

I am ready to start mailing firms. However, I'm stressing over how "polished" my writing sample needs to be. I've done a lot of good work this summer, but unfortunately, most of the good stuff is confidential and will have to be redacted severely if I use it so I'm stuck using something from my legal writing class. It's been edited and appears to be "fine." I'm tempted to butcher it some more and make it into something better, but I've been told by several recruiters/lawyers/interviewers/etc that they often don't even read it/ask for it. Is this true? Thoughts?

hiima3L
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:26 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby hiima3L » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:55 pm

In general it seems they are important, but the degree of how important they are varies. My writing sample got me my 2L job and a few writing/research gigs, and my post-grad employer said it was a big factor in their decision to hire me.

That said, your writing sample should be absolutely flawless. I think most employers look at it as proof of your (in)ability to write and edit something to the point of it being perfect.

chasgoose
Posts: 715
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:18 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby chasgoose » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:09 pm

hiima3L wrote:In general it seems they are important, but the degree of how important they are varies. My writing sample got me my 2L job and a few writing/research gigs, and my post-grad employer said it was a big factor in their decision to hire me.

That said, your writing sample should be absolutely flawless. I think most employers look at it as proof of your (in)ability to write and edit something to the point of it being perfect.


THIS. It's much more important that the style and grammar of your writing sample is flawless than the quality of the actual content. They aren't expecting amazing substance and assume most people's legal writing work is garbage. Don't waste time on the actual quality. Make sure your writing is good and there are no glaring editing errors.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273425
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:15 pm

Is there an advantage to using "real" work over school work?

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby fatduck » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is there an advantage to using "real" work over school work?

yea, it's probably a lot shorter

Myself
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:36 pm

.

Postby Myself » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:32 pm

.
Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

myuniverse
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:49 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby myuniverse » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:38 pm

fatduck wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there an advantage to using "real" work over school work?

yea, it's probably a lot shorter


It'll depend on how well it reads post-redaction, but that's why I'm tempted to use a writing sample from work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273425
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:41 pm

for OCI/biglaw, not important whatsoever

Myself
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:36 pm

.

Postby Myself » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:43 pm

.
Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby BarbellDreams » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:45 pm

The firm I got an offer from 1L summer looked at my writing sample during the interview. One of the attorneys conducting the interview literally just flipped the pages for like 7 seconds and then put it down. I assume for a clerkship or other jobs it is different, but at least in my experience firms dont care too much.

User avatar
eandy
Posts: 2725
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:07 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby eandy » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:46 pm

ajax adonis wrote:It probably depends on what type of job you're applying for. When I applied to the DA, my interviewer said, "We don't really care about that stuff." I'm sure a judge would look at it a lot more carefully and give it more weight, though.

My DA's office did care . Individual mileage may vary.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273425
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:for OCI/biglaw, not important whatsoever


can others confirm or deny?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273425
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:49 pm

I've heard it might matter for White & Case (NYC) but not sure if this is total fiction.

lawyerwannabe
Posts: 945
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:39 pm

Re: How important are writing samples?

Postby lawyerwannabe » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:for OCI/biglaw, not important whatsoever


can others confirm or deny?


Have heard that NYC BigLaw does not care much (if at all) but DC BigLaw seems to care, at least a little (have heard that Covington takes the writing sample seriously).

Disclaimer: Have not gone through BigLaw; above is all anecdotal evidence.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.