Writing Sample Question

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Anonymous User
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Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:06 pm

While I was a summer associate, a partner gave me an assignment to write a chapter for a book that she was asked to contribute. She provided me with some guidance of what subject matter she wanted to cover, but I researched and drafted the entire chapter, without any editing or revision from the partner. The book was published, with my chapter included, though with the partner's name at the top (I at least got a shout out). Can I use that chapter as a writing sample since it was me who drafted and edited?

Anonymous User
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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:12 pm

Ask the partner. This is not a hard question.

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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ask the partner. This is not a hard question.


Can't. I'm still at the same firm and looking to lateral. Don't want to let on that I'm searching around, and asking this Q would tip them off.

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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:21 pm

Then, no, you can't. It's not your IP to be able to use with permission, among other things.

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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Then, no, you can't. It's not your IP to be able to use with permission, among other things.


Odd conundrum. During preliminary discussion with possible lateral firms, I mentioned that I wrote this chapter, and they said they would definitely like to read it since its my meatiest and most substantive writing experience in the area I'm looking to transition into (I'm looking to change practice groups, and I felt that it would really be a great hook to show that I'm not totally lost or unfamiliar with the subject matter of my target group, as the chapter clearly demonstrates).

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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:42 pm

If the partner herself were to say that its totally fine for me to use the chapter as a writing sample, would it even matter? I assume that the publisher has full reproduction rights over the book, and I would need their express permission. Guess I will reach out to the publisher's legal department, and hopefully they will just let me reproduce for a fee (or perhaps for free) once I explain the rather innocuous situation.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:07 pm

I don't think the publisher has anything to do with it. I wouldn't view this as an IP problem. The main issue is that the partner is holding this out to the world as her own work. You can't start going around telling people you ghostwrote her work without her permission.

(TINLA, etc.)

sparty99
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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby sparty99 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:While I was a summer associate, a partner gave me an assignment to write a chapter for a book that she was asked to contribute. She provided me with some guidance of what subject matter she wanted to cover, but I researched and drafted the entire chapter, without any editing or revision from the partner. The book was published, with my chapter included, though with the partner's name at the top (I at least got a shout out). Can I use that chapter as a writing sample since it was me who drafted and edited?


Yes.

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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:27 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I don't think the publisher has anything to do with it. I wouldn't view this as an IP problem. The main issue is that the partner is holding this out to the world as her own work. You can't start going around telling people you ghostwrote her work without her permission.

(TINLA, etc.)


I'm not entirely sure why I wouldn't be able to say that, assuming its true. If I were to say that I wrote it for her, and she gave the final sign off, that would be the truth. So why would I need her permission to tell someone that? Sure, maybe its more of a moral thing and avoiding burning bridges, but I don't see how it would cause any issue beyond that.

But I think I may be able to speak with her and get express permission anyway. I don't currently work in her practice group, and she is as nice as they come. if she were to gather that I'm looking into opportunities elsewhere, she isn't gonna torpedo me. Though as a matter of practice, I'd like to keep that entirely under wraps.

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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:19 am

Since the people who are considering hiring you know where the excerpt comes from, there's a very real chance that they will reach out to the partner in any case. Much better that the news you are using the chapter as a writing sample comes from you and not a third party. I don't think there's any way around talking to the partner in question.

I think most partners would be understanding. After all, nearly all associates leave at some point (unless this isn't biglaw).

Anonymous User
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Re: Writing Sample Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:Since the people who are considering hiring you know where the excerpt comes from, there's a very real chance that they will reach out to the partner in any case. Much better that the news you are using the chapter as a writing sample comes from you and not a third party. I don't think there's any way around talking to the partner in question.

I think most partners would be understanding. After all, nearly all associates leave at some point (unless this isn't biglaw).


Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it wouldn't be a problem to discuss and ask. This partner is in my desired practice area (which my current firm won't let me break into for reasons I'm not gonna get into). And I worked for that partner in the past and she knows of my strong desire to end up in that area. So if I tell her that I'm still pursuing that path, but perhaps at a diff firm, I don't think she would object if I asked to use the chapter as a writing sample. Its a real important hook for me, since I will need to convince other firms to allow me to lateral over into a new area, so I need to show that I am at least somewhat versed in that area, even though I haven't been working in it for the past year or so.




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