Write-on submission as a writing sample?

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Anonymous User
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Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:16 am

Has anyone ever done this or heard of someone doing it? I am tired of using my washed up A memo from Writing. I would preface it by saying what the rules were and the deadline to give the reader an idea of the context.

It earned me a spot on my flagship and probably has better bluebooking and grammar than my other works. It definitely has its flaws, but it at least will show some writing that wasn't teacher guided and had a fast-paced deadline.

What do you guys think? Obviously I would prefer to use something from work or from researching, but I haven't written anything I would really want to use yet.

cfr1225
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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby cfr1225 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:27 am

I know a few people who graded on to my school's flagship that used their written component as a writing sample. They all got jobs, but it's hard to say how much anything else mattered given their killer grades.

I guess the conclusion I draw from those stories is that employers are not unfamiliar with the submission of journal tryout materials as a writing sample. If yours was at the top of the pile quality wise, I guess it might be worth a shot.

My caveat: don't submit something with flaws. Clean it up first.

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bk1
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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:29 am

1. Make sure it's okay per your school's writing competition rules.

2. It initially sounds like a bad idea since submissions are usually done in a time crunch. Look at both and try to objectively determine which is better. If necessary, spend some time cleaning up the submission.

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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:37 am

bk1 wrote:1. Make sure it's okay per your school's writing competition rules.

2. It initially sounds like a bad idea since submissions are usually done in a time crunch. Look at both and try to objectively determine which is better. If necessary, spend some time cleaning up the submission.


I have been advised a few times to intentionally pick a writing sample that was a time crunch. The rationale is an employer cares more about what your 72 hour work looks like than your 1 and a half month, teacher guided memorandum.

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bk1
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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:1. Make sure it's okay per your school's writing competition rules.

2. It initially sounds like a bad idea since submissions are usually done in a time crunch. Look at both and try to objectively determine which is better. If necessary, spend some time cleaning up the submission.


I have been advised a few times to intentionally pick a writing sample that was a time crunch. The rationale is an employer cares more about what your 72 hour work looks like than your 1 and a half month, teacher guided memorandum.

This is terrible, terrible advice. An employer can't know whether you've spent 72 hours or 72 days on something. Submit the best, most polished piece of legal writing you have. Period.

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.

Postby Myself » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:46 am

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Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TooOld4This
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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby TooOld4This » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:36 am

bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:1. Make sure it's okay per your school's writing competition rules.

2. It initially sounds like a bad idea since submissions are usually done in a time crunch. Look at both and try to objectively determine which is better. If necessary, spend some time cleaning up the submission.


I have been advised a few times to intentionally pick a writing sample that was a time crunch. The rationale is an employer cares more about what your 72 hour work looks like than your 1 and a half month, teacher guided memorandum.

This is terrible, terrible advice. An employer can't know whether you've spent 72 hours or 72 days on something. Submit the best, most polished piece of legal writing you have. Period.


Agree. When I read writing samples, I assume I am looking at the best case scenario for your work product.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:50 am

I agree with all the reasons above why not to use your write-on submission. Also, think about what your submission is - at many LRs you write some kind of mini-note or at least case analysis (this case is wrong and here's why). I think employers would rather see an example of practice-based writing where you apply law to facts, than something more theoretical. (Your LR might be the exception and ask for a practice-type submission, but that seems unusual.)

Will you not have anything from your summer gig that you can use?

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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:16 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I agree with all the reasons above why not to use your write-on submission. Also, think about what your submission is - at many LRs you write some kind of mini-note or at least case analysis (this case is wrong and here's why). I think employers would rather see an example of practice-based writing where you apply law to facts, than something more theoretical. (Your LR might be the exception and ask for a practice-type submission, but that seems unusual.)

Will you not have anything from your summer gig that you can use?


I might, I came up with a relevant topic that may be worth writing a 5-6 page memo on. It I just funny that people are saying, "I won't know how much time you spent." Well I would obviously have a cover page explaining any memo I turned in. Why would any employer give a shit about what your writing looks like that you spent a month on and had critique from your professor and TAs?

I would want to see what I can expect from work product on the job. I would understand if the reasoning of the writing sample is just a ruse and the employer is using it for more of a test and isn't really interested in how you actually write.

I would be pissed if I hired some kid who had a perfect writing sample and he ended up being fucking awful at it in practice.

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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:30 pm

I promise I am not trying to be confrontational. It just seems there is a logic gap, which is easily filled with "yeah it is bullshit, but you gotta do it."

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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:47 pm

i had success by basically doing this. what made me go for it was that the writing sample wasn't requested before the interview, but was requested during the interview. so i just asked my interviewer if they would prefer to see something i had worked on all semester or something i worked on in a condensed time period (i then described the process). the interviewer enthusiastically requested the latter, so that's what i submitted, and i got an offer.

i don't see why a cover letter couldn't serve the same function in theory, but it does seem like there's a higher probability that whoever's reviewing writing samples skips/skims the cover letter. (as compared to my situation, where the interviewer asked for it). my guess is a lot of cover letters make reference to the writing sample, and if i've seen hundreds of those and never read anything other than "My Writing Sample Is About ____. I Argue ____. _____." then i'd probably be more likely to miss the few that actually add details i care about, like your situation.

it seems like higher risk higher reward than recycling a typical writing sample. law students are typically very risk averse ite, so i think that explains what you perceive to be the logic gap. it probably makes more sense where risk of a no offer is already high and less sense where likelihood of an offer is already high.

(not that i was being strategic about it--i was just being a clueless 1L. "um i wrote three things this year, why don't you just choose your own adventure??" blind squirrel, meet nut)

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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I might, I came up with a relevant topic that may be worth writing a 5-6 page memo on. It I just funny that people are saying, "I won't know how much time you spent." Well I would obviously have a cover page explaining any memo I turned in. Why would any employer give a shit about what your writing looks like that you spent a month on and had critique from your professor and TAs?

I would want to see what I can expect from work product on the job. I would understand if the reasoning of the writing sample is just a ruse and the employer is using it for more of a test and isn't really interested in how you actually write.

I would be pissed if I hired some kid who had a perfect writing sample and he ended up being fucking awful at it in practice.

I mean, anyone can be like "Oh yeah sorry forgive my mistakes it had a really short deadline." It basically means nothing. Employers want to see potential.

Also LOL @ the idea that every single attorney is going to carefully read your CL and take note of the fact that it had a deadline, account for it in their reading, and cut you some slack if it's not as good as someone else's teacher-guided month-and-a-half memo. Not gonna happen dude.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:36 pm

The thing is, really, I just don't think the content of any write-on submission is especially compelling for a writing sample. They're incredibly artificial closed-universe exercises with a very narrow definition of success - you get on LR. Admittedly, LRW assignments are artificial, too, but I think there's at least an effort to make a LRW memo/brief less artificial. And I still haven't seen any examples of a write-on being a practice document - employers want to see writing for a specific context, and the write-on is not that context. Purpose and audience matter a lot, and there are plenty of people who could write a good law review article but not a good legal memo or brief.

(Of course, this all matters only to the extent the employer actually cares about writing samples, which is the flip side of the argument, I guess. But having actually read write-on submissions, I haven't seen any that I would want someone to use as a writing sample.)

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Re: Write-on submission as a writing sample?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:53 pm

I guess I was wrong. Please see my post entitled "writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter"




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