Clerkship Writing Sample

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Clerkship Writing Sample

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 20, 2017 1:35 pm

In the process of applying for SSC and DJ clerkships and trying to pick a writing sample. Career services seemed fine with me using my note excerpt (best work) but I am getting neurotic. My note makes it clear I'm pretty liberal (governmental regulation of the poor) and I'm wondering if that will be a red-flag. Second choice would be an appellate reply brief from 2L. Other considerations: my note advisor is writing a rec so am wondering if submitting it is redundant. Also, is this the sort of thing where a note would be better for SSC because its academic/appellate-y while the brief is better for district courts? Thx.

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Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Postby mjb447 » Sat May 20, 2017 1:59 pm

Different judges have different preferences, but all other things being equal I'd almost always use something written in the course of litigation (even faux litigation - can't tell if you mean a reply brief from a 2L class or from 2L summer) rather than an academic sample, as it's generally closer to the work you'll be doing at a court. I don't know how much "better" your note is than the brief though. (Also, if you do use the reply brief, make sure there's enough there for a legal reader to evaluate your writing and analysis skills. Reply briefs can be pretty short and cursory.)

ETA I don't think it's a problem if your note argues in favor of gov't regulation - lots of judges don't have strong preferences that their clerks be liberal or conservative. There's a limit, of course - if you were arguing in favor of communist overthrow of the government, that would probably be a problem.


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Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Postby lolwat » Sat May 20, 2017 4:03 pm

Id say use your best work ... got plenty of dct interviews with my note as writing sample.

I do think its a plus if your best work is a brief though. Even better if it's an appellate brief.


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Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Postby Barrred » Mon May 22, 2017 11:46 am

We used to hate getting academic writing samples, because they are often long, heavily edited, and aren't a good indicator of how a future clerk would write actual orders/opinions.

On the political point, you're probably fine, as most judges are either liberal themselves, or okay with hiring liberal clerks even if they are conservative. All bets might be off if your sample's argument is really radical, even for liberal judges (I'm not sure what "governmental regulation of the poor" is ... do you argue poor people need to be more heavily regulated? what does that even mean. If you argue on the other hand that government over-regulates the poor in comparison to the rich, that seems like a libertarian view, not so much a liberal one).

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Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 22, 2017 12:54 pm

Thanks so much for the feedback! Love this website sometimes.

Since I have time, might as well clean up the brief and go with that. its on a more accessible issue and seems like there really is a preference against academic writing. Just to clarify the note topic, think along the lines of-should the government be more involved in regulating sub-prime mortgages? Followed by some analysis pushing back bc the poor are highly regulated/criminalized (some hybrid of liberal & libertarian).

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