Controversial Writing Sample

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Controversial Writing Sample

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:19 pm

I have a writing sample that is a fake court opinion declaring a recent action by the Trump administration to be unconstitutional. It is purely a constitutional analysis, not political, but is this a bad idea as it could rub some people the wrong way?

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koval

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby koval » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:36 pm

If you have a different writing sample of equal quality I'd go with that. Why risk it.

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mjb447

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby mjb447 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:43 pm

I'd use something more run-of-the-mill.

ETA A little curious if you think there's some upside to using this as a sample or if it's just what you happen to have on hand right now.
Last edited by mjb447 on Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OutCold

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby OutCold » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:45 pm

Agree with the above, or if no other option, at least rearrange into another format that reads more like a straightforward memo. I would also explain the assignment on a cover sheet if applicable.

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anon sequitur

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby anon sequitur » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:46 pm

I would avoid judicial fanfic. Present it some other way, as a memo or something.

jd20132013

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:16 pm

The issue here isn't the topic it's that the fake opinion is kind of weird

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radio1nowhere

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby radio1nowhere » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:26 pm

jd20132013 wrote:The issue here isn't the topic it's that the fake opinion is kind of weird


In addition to being a little weird: putting your writing sample in the exact format judges spend their careers producing makes it super easy for a judge to pick it apart, even if just for looking different from the way the judge wants their opinions to look.

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mjb447

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby mjb447 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:13 am

radio1nowhere wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:The issue here isn't the topic it's that the fake opinion is kind of weird


In addition to being a little weird: putting your writing sample in the exact format judges spend their careers producing makes it super easy for a judge to pick it apart, even if just for looking different from the way the judge wants their opinions to look.

This is where the subject matter does make a little bit of difference for me. IME judges tend to be extra cautious in politically charged cases; if a judge might pick apart a "fake opinion" under any circumstances, I think that tendency is enhanced in a context where the judge would be especially cautious about the scope of the opinion, the word choice, etc.

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:06 pm

FWIW, I got both a district and COA clerkship with a mock SCOTUS opinion (albeit for a non-controversial case). I don't think a mock opinion is necessarily a bad idea, as long as it's done well. Subject matter could be a concern though, especially if they don't buy the reasoning.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Controversial Writing Sample

Postby Pneumonia » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:16 pm

If you produced this for a class then I think it's ok to use. But your cover sheet should make clear the extent to which the topic/format were assigned. If you can say "written Spring 2017 for Prof Y's Constitutional Theory Seminar; the topic and format were assigned," that is a lot better than "written as part of a creative legal writing class," or worse, "written in my spare time."



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