Authorship credit question

(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: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:24 pm

Hello TLS,

I worked in the London office of an American firm last summer. While there, I wrote an academic article for a partner, who had been asked to contribute to a journal.

The article is now being published, and I've obtained a copy of the version that the partner sent to the journal. It is identical to the version I wrote for her. The partner made zero substantive changes.

Yet, the partner still listed herself as the sole author for the publication. She did thank me in a footnote for my "assistance" in preparing the article. Yeah, "assistance" = writing the entire thing.

Here is my question: can I list the article as a publication on my CV and on my firm bio? (I am going to a different firm) Maybe I can formulate it like, Contributing Author to [Partner's Name], "Title", etc.

(To top it all off, this stupid firm thought that my work was good enough to publish unchanged under its name, but did not think that I was good enough to offer me a summer associate position for next summer, but that's another story).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:30 pm

You wouldn't be able to list it on your CV/resume as your own publication, but you CAN use it as a writing sample. I wrote a chapter for a book, which was also pubilshed under the partner's name with me given a footnote shout out (even though I wrote and researched the whole thing top to bottom). I can't list it under my publications, but I absolutely note on my resume that I drafted a chapter for a book on X law, and submit it as a writing sample.

Was told that this is totally acceptable since pretty much all junior writing for journals, books, blogs, etc. will be in the partner's name. They said that, so long as its genuinely your work with minimal alterations, it can still be a writing sample, and you can of course note it as a relevant project/experiential bullet on your resume. And if/when you submit it as a writing sample, just note that you wrote it for the partner to have published, and that there were little to no alterations from your original work.

But "publications" are limited to those things genuinely published in your name, or at least with you as a co-author.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You wouldn't be able to list it on your CV/resume as your own publication, but you CAN use it as a writing sample. I wrote a chapter for a book, which was also pubilshed under the partner's name with me given a footnote shout out (even though I wrote and researched the whole thing top to bottom). I can't list it under my publications, but I absolutely note on my resume that I drafted a chapter for a book on X law, and submit it as a writing sample.

Was told that this is totally acceptable since pretty much all junior writing for journals, books, blogs, etc. will be in the partner's name. They said that, so long as its genuinely your work with minimal alterations, it can still be a writing sample, and you can of course note it as a relevant project/experiential bullet on your resume. And if/when you submit it as a writing sample, just note that you wrote it for the partner to have published, and that there were little to no alterations from your original work.

But "publications" are limited to those things genuinely published in your name, or at least with you as a co-author.


Thanks for the reply.
As a writing sample I have already been submitting a MS Word version of the draft with a cover page explaining that it will be published in __ Journal. Now that it is actually published, can I submit the published journal version with a cover page saying, "The attached article is a reproduction, with minimal alterations, of my draft. My contribution has been acknowledged in footnote 1" or something like that?

And on my resume, could I list it as a bullet point in this way, "Wrote article on X topic, published as [Partner's Name, Title, etc.]"? I want to make clear that the actual published version is my work, so people can go out and evaluate it for themselves.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:08 pm

I think the cover sheet approach makes sense to introduce the piece, let them know where it was published, etc. As for the resume, I don't even note that its in the partner's name. I just note that I wrote an article that was recently-published in a book on hospitality law. Any lawyer will know that some summer or first year isn't getting their work published in books absent a "sponsor" to stamp the page with their name. Note it on the cover page to the piece, but no need to get that nitty gritty in the resume.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:55 pm

Great. Thank you.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1395
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think the cover sheet approach makes sense to introduce the piece, let them know where it was published, etc. As for the resume, I don't even note that its in the partner's name. I just note that I wrote an article that was recently-published in a book on hospitality law. Any lawyer will know that some summer or first year isn't getting their work published in books absent a "sponsor" to stamp the page with their name. Note it on the cover page to the piece, but no need to get that nitty gritty in the resume.


What? If you're not named as an author you aren't published, period. Fuck no you don't list it on a resume as "you wrote it". Sure you can say you "assisted" Joe Blow write his article, but it is terrible form (not to mention ridiculous, unprofessional and lacking discretion) to ever tell another lawyer "yeah I basically wrote all that but Joe Blow just put his name on it" - that is, unless you get permission from the author to go ahead and tell people that the article is basically all your writing even though you are not listed as an author. Good luck with that.

Your cover letter approach screams of being improper. How does anyone know you're not just lying, claiming credit for the work? It's great you wrote it, but it was published under another author's name. At that point, you lost your rights to claim it as yours.

If someone came to me in an interview and told me, either in writing or in the interview, anything like "I basically wrote this entire article but the named author did not list me as an author", I'd ding you immediately for lack of discretion. Now if you actually also said "the author has given me permission to reveal this fact," then maybe I'd let it slide. But its weird to me.

And even if you just provided it as a writing sample and never mentioned it was published, that's still weird. Sorry, you can't claim a published author's work as yours even if it is, that's just how the world works. It's sort of like a question of proof - your interviewer will have no idea if you're lying, and if they actually pull the article and see you mentioned as "assisting" in the footnote, you'll sound like your inflating the amount of your contribution.

Let it go. Write something else that you sign.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1395
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You wouldn't be able to list it on your CV/resume as your own publication, but you CAN use it as a writing sample. I wrote a chapter for a book, which was also pubilshed under the partner's name with me given a footnote shout out (even though I wrote and researched the whole thing top to bottom). I can't list it under my publications, but I absolutely note on my resume that I drafted a chapter for a book on X law, and submit it as a writing sample.

Was told that this is totally acceptable since pretty much all junior writing for journals, books, blogs, etc. will be in the partner's name. They said that, so long as its genuinely your work with minimal alterations, it can still be a writing sample, and you can of course note it as a relevant project/experiential bullet on your resume. And if/when you submit it as a writing sample, just note that you wrote it for the partner to have published, and that there were little to no alterations from your original work.

But "publications" are limited to those things genuinely published in your name, or at least with you as a co-author.


Thanks for the reply.
As a writing sample I have already been submitting a MS Word version of the draft with a cover page explaining that it will be published in __ Journal. Now that it is actually published, can I submit the published journal version with a cover page saying, "The attached article is a reproduction, with minimal alterations, of my draft. My contribution has been acknowledged in footnote 1" or something like that?

And on my resume, could I list it as a bullet point in this way, "Wrote article on X topic, published as [Partner's Name, Title, etc.]"? I want to make clear that the actual published version is my work, so people can go out and evaluate it for themselves.


You've been telling people that your writing sample is going to be published, when in fact it was eventually published in some other author's name and you aren't even listed as an author? Do you not see the problem with that? DING. Jesus christ no.

And to the bolded above - its only acceptable if the person WHO IS THE AUTHOR tells you can take credit for work that is, on it's face, credited to him / her. Maybe I'm weird, but you don't fuck around with taking credit for published work when you aren't the author even if its true those are your words unless the author says "go ahead, tell the world the work under my name actually isn't my work."

It's just like you do not tell people that while interning for a judge, the judge decided to incorporate some of your writing verbatim. Yes, that happens all the time and everyone knows, but you DO - NOT - TAKE - CREDIT - FOR - PUBLISHED - WRITING - OF - SOMEONE - ELSE (unless they tell you its ok).
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:53 pm

So long as you only note that you "drafted" the article, you are fine. I worked for a judge, and wanted to note that I wrote judicial opinions (on which the judge of course stamps her own name). She told me that I could note that I "drafted" them (and that I could of course use an opinion I drafted as a writing sample).

Was told the same about the article I drafted. If juniors could only note or submit pieces on which they get top billing, or co-credit, almost no junior would be able to note any writing experience, or be able to submit any representative writing samples from the first few years at the firm (and certainly not from a summer). Was told its entirely fine and accepted to note that you "drafted" a piece (but you cannot claim you "wrote" or "authored" it). Its entirely commonplace for juniors to draft pieces for partners or senior associates. And it can be representative and useful example of your writing for others to see. Just make sure to clear up any possible misconception.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1395
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So long as you only note that you "drafted" the article, you are fine. I worked for a judge, and wanted to note that I wrote judicial opinions (on which the judge of course stamps her own name). She told me that I could note that I "drafted" them (and that I could of course use an opinion I drafted as a writing sample).

Was told the same about the article I drafted. If juniors could only note or submit pieces on which they get top billing, or co-credit, almost no junior would be able to note any writing experience, or be able to submit any representative writing samples from the first few years at the firm (and certainly not from a summer). Was told its entirely fine and accepted to note that you "drafted" a piece (but you cannot claim you "wrote" or "authored" it). Its entirely commonplace for juniors to draft pieces for partners or senior associates. And it can be representative and useful example of your writing for others to see. Just make sure to clear up any possible misconception.


Yeah this sounds ok - but like you said, if speaking about something that has someone else's name, you have to get that person's permission.

User avatar
Desert Fox
Progressively loosing literacy
Posts: 14440
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hello TLS,

I worked in the London office of an American firm last summer. While there, I wrote an academic article for a partner, who had been asked to contribute to a journal.

The article is now being published, and I've obtained a copy of the version that the partner sent to the journal. It is identical to the version I wrote for her. The partner made zero substantive changes.

Yet, the partner still listed herself as the sole author for the publication. She did thank me in a footnote for my "assistance" in preparing the article. Yeah, "assistance" = writing the entire thing.

Here is my question: can I list the article as a publication on my CV and on my firm bio? (I am going to a different firm) Maybe I can formulate it like, Contributing Author to [Partner's Name], "Title", etc.

(To top it all off, this stupid firm thought that my work was good enough to publish unchanged under its name, but did not think that I was good enough to offer me a summer associate position for next summer, but that's another story).



Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:06 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So long as you only note that you "drafted" the article, you are fine. I worked for a judge, and wanted to note that I wrote judicial opinions (on which the judge of course stamps her own name). She told me that I could note that I "drafted" them (and that I could of course use an opinion I drafted as a writing sample).

Was told the same about the article I drafted. If juniors could only note or submit pieces on which they get top billing, or co-credit, almost no junior would be able to note any writing experience, or be able to submit any representative writing samples from the first few years at the firm (and certainly not from a summer). Was told its entirely fine and accepted to note that you "drafted" a piece (but you cannot claim you "wrote" or "authored" it). Its entirely commonplace for juniors to draft pieces for partners or senior associates. And it can be representative and useful example of your writing for others to see. Just make sure to clear up any possible misconception.


Yeah this sounds ok - but like you said, if speaking about something that has someone else's name, you have to get that person's permission.


I'd agree that its the best policy to get permission first. Of course, its not required, since its entirely true to say "I drafted this, and it went through very minimal edits by the partner before the partner had it published" (I don't think I would ever say that it just got a complete rubber stamp, even if that was the case). If the partner wouldn't like you mentioning this to others, then perhaps the partner should have drafted the article himself. That being said, I always ask just in case (and I've literally always gotten permission).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273481
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Authorship credit question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So long as you only note that you "drafted" the article, you are fine. I worked for a judge, and wanted to note that I wrote judicial opinions (on which the judge of course stamps her own name). She told me that I could note that I "drafted" them (and that I could of course use an opinion I drafted as a writing sample).

Was told the same about the article I drafted. If juniors could only note or submit pieces on which they get top billing, or co-credit, almost no junior would be able to note any writing experience, or be able to submit any representative writing samples from the first few years at the firm (and certainly not from a summer). Was told its entirely fine and accepted to note that you "drafted" a piece (but you cannot claim you "wrote" or "authored" it). Its entirely commonplace for juniors to draft pieces for partners or senior associates. And it can be representative and useful example of your writing for others to see. Just make sure to clear up any possible misconception.


THis. I worked for a judge too and I could never say I wrote an opinion even if i did. I just say I helped draft the opinion. But when I do use it as a writing sample, I say here is an opinion I drafted and I will note the extent of edit from other people (like proof read by co-clerks for spelling error and etc) and redact any identifying information from the writing sample. Maybe you can do the same thing. But I highly advise against saying you wrote something when you did not get publication credit. It is not something you want to explain, it's a no win situation for you. It sucks and the partner is a douche for not including you as a co-author but at this point the best you can say is assisted with drafting of an article published on xyz (which is what the footnote reaffirms). I would consider sneaking it in as a writing sample saying its a draft like I mentioned above




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.