Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

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Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:45 pm

I'd appreciate some thoughts on which writing sample to use. I have a sample from my 1L summer firm job or my LR note/article/comment to choose from. My 2L firm won't let me use any of my writing from the summer. What to do? The 1L memo is on a technical issue from UCC art. 3/4/5. It's really dry and boring. The LR piece is, I think, better. But it's lengthy.

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ph14
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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby ph14 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'd appreciate some thoughts on which writing sample to use. I have a sample from my 1L summer firm job or my LR note/article/comment to choose from. My 2L firm won't let me use any of my writing from the summer. What to do? The 1L memo is on a technical issue from UCC art. 3/4/5. It's really dry and boring. The LR piece is, I think, better. But it's lengthy.


In my opinion, whatever piece you can discuss at length and defend and whatever piece is higher quality. You can always excerpt the LR piece to just the analysis section or something. How lengthy is lengthy? I'd imagine a normal law review note of ~20 pages wouldn't be too lengthy.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:03 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd appreciate some thoughts on which writing sample to use. I have a sample from my 1L summer firm job or my LR note/article/comment to choose from. My 2L firm won't let me use any of my writing from the summer. What to do? The 1L memo is on a technical issue from UCC art. 3/4/5. It's really dry and boring. The LR piece is, I think, better. But it's lengthy.


In my opinion, whatever piece you can discuss at length and defend and whatever piece is higher quality. You can always excerpt the LR piece to just the analysis section or something. How lengthy is lengthy? I'd imagine a normal law review note of ~20 pages wouldn't be too lengthy.


OP. It's 38 double spaded pages, single spaced footnotes. When it's formatted for publishing it will be ~20 pages, I imagine, and that is all single spaced.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby ph14 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd appreciate some thoughts on which writing sample to use. I have a sample from my 1L summer firm job or my LR note/article/comment to choose from. My 2L firm won't let me use any of my writing from the summer. What to do? The 1L memo is on a technical issue from UCC art. 3/4/5. It's really dry and boring. The LR piece is, I think, better. But it's lengthy.


In my opinion, whatever piece you can discuss at length and defend and whatever piece is higher quality. You can always excerpt the LR piece to just the analysis section or something. How lengthy is lengthy? I'd imagine a normal law review note of ~20 pages wouldn't be too lengthy.


OP. It's 38 double spaded pages, single spaced footnotes. When it's formatted for publishing it will be ~20 pages, I imagine, and that is all single spaced.


20 law review pages? That sounds like a reasonable writing sample length to me. I'd also submit in law review format as that seems to add a little gravitas to your writing sample.

Disclosure: I'm a 3L.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:09 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd appreciate some thoughts on which writing sample to use. I have a sample from my 1L summer firm job or my LR note/article/comment to choose from. My 2L firm won't let me use any of my writing from the summer. What to do? The 1L memo is on a technical issue from UCC art. 3/4/5. It's really dry and boring. The LR piece is, I think, better. But it's lengthy.


In my opinion, whatever piece you can discuss at length and defend and whatever piece is higher quality. You can always excerpt the LR piece to just the analysis section or something. How lengthy is lengthy? I'd imagine a normal law review note of ~20 pages wouldn't be too lengthy.


OP. It's 38 double spaded pages, single spaced footnotes. When it's formatted for publishing it will be ~20 pages, I imagine, and that is all single spaced.


20 law review pages? That sounds like a reasonable writing sample length to me. I'd also submit in law review format as that seems to add a little gravitas to your writing sample.

Disclosure: I'm a 3L.


OP. Yeah, 20 LR pages. The reduction from 38 --> 20 (maybe 25) is just from formatting for publication. I also think it looks better.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby ph14 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
OP. Yeah, 20 LR pages. The reduction from 38 --> 20 (maybe 25) is just from formatting for publication. I also think it looks better.


I vote for the LR note then.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:13 am

As a current clerk who just helped his judge hire a clerk after reviewing 150+ applications, here is what I have to say: try to keep it to 10 pages (I didn't read past that, judge didn't either). Legal memos/pleadings/etc. are much better than LR pieces. I find the latter to not be representative of what you'd be doing as a clerk, as does the judge.

But, really, as long as they are 100% perfect and well written, substance and analysis won't matter too much (unless it's clearly wrong or clearly missing things). This is very important--especially making sure they are 100% perfect--because a good writing sample won't get you hired, but a bad one can get you dinged. We had a candidate whose CL and resume looked perfect, but then her writing sample was atrocious and riddled with typos, spelling mistakes (cringe), and Bluebook errors. I looked at the first two pages of it, told the judge why I said no, and that was that.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:As a current clerk who just helped his judge hire a clerk after reviewing 150+ applications, here is what I have to say: try to keep it to 10 pages (I didn't read past that, judge didn't either). Legal memos/pleadings/etc. are much better than LR pieces. I find the latter to not be representative of what you'd be doing as a clerk, as does the judge.

But, really, as long as they are 100% perfect and well written, substance and analysis won't matter too much (unless it's clearly wrong or clearly missing things). This is very important--especially making sure they are 100% perfect--because a good writing sample won't get you hired, but a bad one can get you dinged. We had a candidate whose CL and resume looked perfect, but then her writing sample was atrocious and riddled with typos, spelling mistakes (cringe), and Bluebook errors. I looked at the first two pages of it, told the judge why I said no, and that was that.


OP. Thanks for the comments. I had heard that 10 pages was about as long as a writing sample should be. I'm simply underwhelmed by my 10 pager--because it's so uninteresting.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby ph14 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:As a current clerk who just helped his judge hire a clerk after reviewing 150+ applications, here is what I have to say: try to keep it to 10 pages (I didn't read past that, judge didn't either). Legal memos/pleadings/etc. are much better than LR pieces. I find the latter to not be representative of what you'd be doing as a clerk, as does the judge.

But, really, as long as they are 100% perfect and well written, substance and analysis won't matter too much (unless it's clearly wrong or clearly missing things). This is very important--especially making sure they are 100% perfect--because a good writing sample won't get you hired, but a bad one can get you dinged. We had a candidate whose CL and resume looked perfect, but then her writing sample was atrocious and riddled with typos, spelling mistakes (cringe), and Bluebook errors. I looked at the first two pages of it, told the judge why I said no, and that was that.


I assume that you're a district court clerk? I think perhaps district and circuit judges might want different types of writing samples, as I found many circuit judges wanted a more academic writing sample, though not all.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby emciosn » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As a current clerk who just helped his judge hire a clerk after reviewing 150+ applications, here is what I have to say: try to keep it to 10 pages (I didn't read past that, judge didn't either). Legal memos/pleadings/etc. are much better than LR pieces. I find the latter to not be representative of what you'd be doing as a clerk, as does the judge.

But, really, as long as they are 100% perfect and well written, substance and analysis won't matter too much (unless it's clearly wrong or clearly missing things). This is very important--especially making sure they are 100% perfect--because a good writing sample won't get you hired, but a bad one can get you dinged. We had a candidate whose CL and resume looked perfect, but then her writing sample was atrocious and riddled with typos, spelling mistakes (cringe), and Bluebook errors. I looked at the first two pages of it, told the judge why I said no, and that was that.


OP. Thanks for the comments. I had heard that 10 pages was about as long as a writing sample should be. I'm simply underwhelmed by my 10 pager--because it's so uninteresting.


I second the shorter writing sample (I am also a current clerk, not COA). I really think you should try to stick to less than ten pages. Maybe you could exerpt the LR article? There is a pretty decent thread on writng sample length here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=220258.

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As a current clerk who just helped his judge hire a clerk after reviewing 150+ applications, here is what I have to say: try to keep it to 10 pages (I didn't read past that, judge didn't either). Legal memos/pleadings/etc. are much better than LR pieces. I find the latter to not be representative of what you'd be doing as a clerk, as does the judge.

But, really, as long as they are 100% perfect and well written, substance and analysis won't matter too much (unless it's clearly wrong or clearly missing things). This is very important--especially making sure they are 100% perfect--because a good writing sample won't get you hired, but a bad one can get you dinged. We had a candidate whose CL and resume looked perfect, but then her writing sample was atrocious and riddled with typos, spelling mistakes (cringe), and Bluebook errors. I looked at the first two pages of it, told the judge why I said no, and that was that.


I assume that you're a district court clerk? I think perhaps district and circuit judges might want different types of writing samples, as I found many circuit judges wanted a more academic writing sample, though not all.


I have heard this as well. I am not a COA clerk so I can't speak intelligently to that point. There are some posters in the thread I linked to above that make a similar comment.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby lolwat » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:33 pm

I think this varies so widely from judge to judge that it's difficult to conclusively say you should do one or the other... The only thing I've fairly consistently heard was to try and limit it to 10 pages if possible. I personally submitted my LR Note which was like 20 pages double-spaced (in regular, not LR, format) because--in my opinion--there was no way to make any excerpt make enough sense without the context of the remaining parts. I got enough interviews with district judges that I think it was acceptable as a writing sample, but I had no other writing samples that I was comfortable using (and again, I felt there wasn't any way to make this any shorter).

I would suggest using your LR Note. See if you can excerpt it, since I don't think anyone's going to read a 40-page one. If absolutely not, use the published format to make it appear shorter.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:15 pm

Apologies for the massive bump, but this thread is the most relevant I've found. My note on a very current issue is being published, and I'd like it to be my writing sample. But it's about 50 law review pages (70 pages in a word document w/ double spacing, etc).

Should I send the whole thing? Excerpt the conclusion and provide an abstract - that would be about 10 pages? Any other thoughts? Right now, I'm applying to COA, but district is on the horizon.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Apologies for the massive bump, but this thread is the most relevant I've found. My note on a very current issue is being published, and I'd like it to be my writing sample. But it's about 50 law review pages (70 pages in a word document w/ double spacing, etc).

Should I send the whole thing? Excerpt the conclusion and provide an abstract - that would be about 10 pages? Any other thoughts? Right now, I'm applying to COA, but district is on the horizon.


I'd recommend sending an excerpt. I'm a current COA clerk, and I didn't see anyone submit their entire note as a writing sample when we reviewed applications. An excerpt of 10-15 pages is much more typical. I'd recommend picking an excerpt that shows your ability to conduct legal analysis (so, your conclusion may not be the best thing to use). On your cover page, you can offer to provide the entire piece upon request.

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Re: Writing Sample--LR note/article/comment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I'd recommend sending an excerpt. I'm a current COA clerk, and I didn't see anyone submit their entire note as a writing sample when we reviewed applications. An excerpt of 10-15 pages is much more typical. I'd recommend picking an excerpt that shows your ability to conduct legal analysis (so, your conclusion may not be the best thing to use). On your cover page, you can offer to provide the entire piece upon request.


Thanks - that's where I'm leaning. The "conclusion" is actually my synthesis of information in the first forty pages, which includes First Amendment issues, statutory history/analysis, and a description of a current COA split. The concluding section uses that information to inform about 10 pages of analysis, but what I'm submitting is certainly not just a summary of what the first parts examined.




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