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Writing Samples

When an employer asks for a writing sample, this is your chance to demonstrate your legal research and analysis skills and to customize your application to the particular employer.

 

For 1Ls

Only provide a writing sample when requested by the employer.

When applying to jobs between December and March, include an excerpt from your open memo as your writing sample.  Employers typically prefer 10-15 pages in length, unless otherwise specified.  Include a portion of your Discussion section and provide a cover sheet explaining the memo issue and the excerpt you selected.

When applying to jobs after the completion of your spring brief, you will have a choice to submit either your open memo or your spring brief.  Regardless, select an excerpt that is tailored to the specific employer and adheres to the length requests. 

Again, be sure to include a cover sheet with your name, contact information, and a short abstract explaining the content of the sample.  (What was the assignment? If excerpted, which part?)

Looking forward:  If you are not satisfied with your existing writing samples, find an opportunity to write a new one.  Writing competitions and legal publications (especially non-scholarly ones like bar publications and newsletters) are often looking for topical submissions.  Taking a document drafting class or joining Law Review/Journal and writing a note provide other opportunities to create a new writing sample.

 

For 2Ls and 3Ls

Select the best sample of your legal analysis. Only submit a writing sample if requested.

Employers typically prefer somewhere between 10-15 pages in length.  When employers specify a shorter length, be sure to adhere to their request. Providing an excerpt is fine when working within length constraints, but provide an explanation to provide context.

Try to select something relevant to the employer's practice (for example, an employment piece for an employment firm) or your stated practice interest.

Employers typically prefer an unedited writing sample.  Keep this in mind if you consider submitting a Law Review/Journal note. 

Include a cover sheet with your name, contact information, and a short abstract explaining the content of the sample.  (What was the assignment? If excerpted, which part? Were you assisted by others, and by how much?)

If using a work product, be sure to get permission and redact anything that would jeopardize client confidentiality.

Looking forward:  If you are not satisfied with your existing writing samples, find an opportunity to write a new one.  Writing competitions and legal publications (especially non-scholarly ones like bar publications and newsletters) are often looking for topical submissions.  Taking a document drafting class provides another opportunity to create a new writing sample.