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Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:33 pm
by Anonymous User
Can I use an article I am writing for a law review as my clerkship writing sample? It may be unpublished by the time I apply.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:38 pm
by WinterComing
Yes.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:58 pm
by nothingtosee
Careful though, some judges do not want a sample that has been edited by others. So it'd be better if it was a draft before you worked it with the note editors imo

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:13 pm
by mjb447
Sure. Some judges might prefer that you use something closer to a doc prepared for use in litigation, but you can use an article (may also want to use an excerpt if it's long).

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:05 pm
by rpupkin
Law review articles generally don't make great writing samples, particularly for district-court clerkships. If you're going to use a law review article, make sure that it contains a section with a relatively straightforward summary of the state of the law. An article that seems relatively unconcerned with the state of the law (but which seems eager to tell its readers what the law should be) is dangerous.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:02 am
by KissMyAxe
WinterComing wrote:Yes.
I think it's right to say you can use that. However, I would advise against doing so. As the others have said, judges typically want someone who can write logically and concisely about concrete legal issues. Law review articles typically do not do that. Because of that, I really think memos and briefs are the way to go. Basically, I agree with pupkin that the one thing you need to avoid for 99% of judges is sounding like head in the clouds academic with no grasp of basic legal writing.

Of course, there are a handful of judges who care most about "norms" and theory, and may really like one of those pieces (a couple require academic writing). But a strong brief or memo is better for pretty much any district judge and 99% of Circuit judges.

Re: Clerkship Writing Sample

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:00 pm
by WinterComing
I interpreted the OP's question to be one of permissibility rather than advisability.

I concur with the posters above that a brief or memo might be a safer choice. But I think the No. 1 rule should be to use your best writing. If this article is far and away the best thing you have to show, I'd use it.