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Writing Samples

What Can Be Used As A Writing Sample?

Pick your best legal writing piece for your writing sample. The employer wants to see what you might be able to produce for them. Use a readable typeface.

Why Your Writing Sample is Important

In any law-related position, whether as a summer law clerk or as a new associate, your clear, concise and timely research and writing will establish your reputation. If you have excellent research and writing skills and the ability to complete assignments well within the specified time, you will gain increasing levels of responsibility.

Recognize the importance of what you will be doing when you are in practice. At a firm, what you will be writing will be your advice to a client. Someone will be relying on it and someone will be paying for it.

Choose Your Best and Most Appropriate

Be sure that your sample reflects your best writing and that it is your unedited work. You may use class assignments as long as you are the person who did the final revision. Make sure your sample is letter-perfect. Carefully check the grammar, spelling and readability.

Be smart. Work hard on your research and writing assignments. This is your time to learn. Carefully consider your instructor’s comments and rewrite your assignment as many times as necessary.

If you are a third year student, use your Appellate Advocacy paper or something you wrote for an employer instead of your first year Legal Research and Writing class assignments.

Rules For Your Writing Sample

  • Submit your most persuasive legal writing.
  • Pick something recent.
  • Make sure it is easily understood and easy to read.
  • Provide your own work.
  • Keep it short if possible. (About 10 pages)
  • Avoid lurid subjects
  • Take out confidential/sensitive information

First year students probably will need to prepare a writing sample from their Legal Research and Writing class. Do not use a paper with corrections marked on it or with a grade. Make a clean copy and try to keep it at 10 -15 pages at the most.

If you have had anything published, make sure you bring a copy to an interview. If it is short enough, you might use it as your writing sample. Check with your Legal Research & Writing instructor or professor.

Second and third year students may be able to use something from their summer experience. Keep copies of your work at the firm. Get permission from the firm or attorney involved, and again, make a clean copy. Black out identifying material.

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