Necessary to send "background" info for writing sample?

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Necessary to send "background" info for writing sample?

Postby blong4133 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:26 am

Just curious if it is necessary to always provide background for a writing sample you are submitting to a firm along with a resume and cover letter. I wrote the brief last year, and while the issues themselves are pretty straightforward (Establishment Clause, Free Speech, Forum analysis) I'm not sure if the brief will be as useful if the reader doesn't know the facts. But If I give some background, i know that I'll end up just writing a different version of my statement of facts, which I cut out, along with the forum analysis, for the sake of keeping the writing sample under 20 pages.

But at the end of the day, I also realize that the person who will be reading it is mostly checking for my reasoning/analytical/research/writing skills etc. etc.

Is this a good practice, or is it just something you do if you've got an extremely complex legal brief you're sending?


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Re: Necessary to send "background" info for writing sample?

Postby lawschoolisfun2012 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:52 am

I usually include a cover sheet that explains the background. Think about it. If you picked up your brief, and had no idea, what would help the reader? Give them like two-three sentences to get their head in the right place....maybe your paper already does that. Also, 20 pages is WAY too long. I'd go 10, and highlight key sections.

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Re: Necessary to send "background" info for writing sample?

Postby Drake014 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:46 am

I didn't. I still got a job. It can't hurt though to include one and it might hurt not to.

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Re: Necessary to send "background" info for writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:51 am

I've been told by a previous government employer that the most important thing to him is actually the fact section and not the legal issues. He said something along the lines of "any moron can do legal research, but you need to actually understand what you're doing to pick out the key facts that are relevant to the issues and condense those down into a readable narrative."


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Re: Necessary to send "background" info for writing sample?

Postby anon168 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:58 am

More than once when I've received an explanatory sheet about someone's writing sample, it had either (1) a typo or (2) was poorly written.

In other words, if you are going to send an explanatory sheet, just understand that that also becomes part of your writing sample.

Whether you send one or not, is really irrelevant because your writing sample should really be able to stand on its own.

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