Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

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Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:55 pm

I asked a recruiter for a Biglaw Firm about what he expects out of a writing sample. The following is his response.

"First, it is rare that most will even read the writing sample – primarily because we all assume that it has been vetted by TA’s and profs. Most students use their first year memo or appellate brief. In the three years that I was on the hiring committee, plus my time doing OCI, and doing in-office interviews, I can count the number of them that I have read on one hand. Now, I do not represent all, but I suspect that I probably represent most. I typically only read them when the person is close or there is some question about their abilities or we are stuck between a couple people. Thus, I suggest that you go with your best work, as that is the norm.

But if there is another trend that your guidance counselor is recommending, then you are free to disregard my advice. I just think your best is always the better road as anything less is subject to have errors. Plus, at worst, they say you overworked it and ask you for another sample."

Anonymous User
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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:48 pm

I did an interview at Weil as a 1L and the hiring partner had read my entire writing sample and asked me specific questions about it. :oops:


oh and no bragging intended from the firm name-dropping; I didn't get a sniff from anyone willing to throw a dollar my way after grades came out.

Anonymous User
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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:59 pm

had a partner reading my writing sample DURING the interview and ask questions after each paragraph...

firm is Sidley DC

mrsmartypants
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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby mrsmartypants » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:07 pm

I'm a partner (not biglaw) with a hand in recruiting. I read writing samples. My feeling--along the lines of what was suggested in the other thread--is that they don't really help you a whole lot, because everyone knows that they're the product of unlimited time and review. Given those assumptions, a less than flawless sample can certainly hurt you, at least if I'm interviewing you.

I'm thinking about having serious candidates produce some kind of writing sample under somewhat controlled conditions--probably with some form of compensation for their time--in order to get a better sense for raw writing ability under a bit of pressure, which is what actual practice requires. Haven't yet figured out the logistics of this, though.

guyplus
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...........

Postby guyplus » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:10 pm

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Last edited by guyplus on Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:23 pm

I'm not the partner above, but no one's going to read a 30pp writing sample, so you might as well save everyone the time and excerpt it to begin with.

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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby Pokemon » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:30 pm

guyplus wrote:
mrsmartypants wrote:I'm a partner (not biglaw) with a hand in recruiting. I read writing samples. My feeling--along the lines of what was suggested in the other thread--is that they don't really help you a whole lot, because everyone knows that they're the product of unlimited time and review. Given those assumptions, a less than flawless sample can certainly hurt you, at least if I'm interviewing you.

I'm thinking about having serious candidates produce some kind of writing sample under somewhat controlled conditions--probably with some form of compensation for their time--in order to get a better sense for raw writing ability under a bit of pressure, which is what actual practice requires. Haven't yet figured out the logistics of this, though.


I'm thinking about using using a a 30+ page CLE manuscript my 1L summer job had me author as my writing sample. It's a pretty comprehensive manual on Medical/Personal Injury Liens for the state I live in. It involves ERISA, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. First, is this a good idea at all considering that it's such a dense topic and lengthy sample? Second, would it be a good idea to use this for firms that do mostly corporate transactional work since the topic is very litigation oriented?


Too long. Just use the first 10 pages or the best 10 pages....

mrsmartypants
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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby mrsmartypants » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:02 am

Concur that 30 pages is overkill and that excerpting is prudent. If the reader finds the topic scintillating s/he can ask for the rest.

guyplus
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...........

Postby guyplus » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:20 am

........
Last edited by guyplus on Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat
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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby lolwat » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:48 am

I'm thinking about having serious candidates produce some kind of writing sample under somewhat controlled conditions--probably with some form of compensation for their time--in order to get a better sense for raw writing ability under a bit of pressure, which is what actual practice requires. Haven't yet figured out the logistics of this, though.


I believe Judge Agee does something like this as part of his clerkship hiring process actually. But I haven't gone through that, so I don't know how it actually works.

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Re: Writing sample advice from Biglaw recruiter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:49 am

lolwat wrote:
I'm thinking about having serious candidates produce some kind of writing sample under somewhat controlled conditions--probably with some form of compensation for their time--in order to get a better sense for raw writing ability under a bit of pressure, which is what actual practice requires. Haven't yet figured out the logistics of this, though.


I believe Judge Agee does something like this as part of his clerkship hiring process actually. But I haven't gone through that, so I don't know how it actually works.

The state judge I clerked for did this when he was on the fence about a candidate. He'd give the candidate an appeal with one or two very basic issues (I think he had one he kept specifically for this purpose) and I think they got a week to write it up (it might have been a little less, I just can't remember). So it was pretty much exactly the work you'd do as a clerk in that court. There weren't any restrictions on research or anything like that, but they weren't supposed to get any help. (The one time he did this exercise when I was there, the candidate turned the exercise in late, which was pretty informative in itself.) No compensation, of course! The timeline for the exercise was based on the kinds of timelines you'd face in the clerkship, so not necessarily the same timeline you'd want for a firm position.




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