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xferlawstudent

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writing sample
« on: October 16, 2006, 06:19:31 PM »
Is everyone using their 1L appellate brief for the 2L job search writing sample.  I hate mine, and I'm attempting to re-word some paragraphs, but its tough without remembering the entire facts and cases.

I don't know why I'm posting this; I guess just to vent.

dorsia

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 09:17:46 PM »
I used a legal memorandum that I had written first semester of first year throughout, and supplemented it with a motion to dismiss that I had written over the summer.  Although it worked out in the end, I probably would have just used the motion to dismiss because it was shorter, it better reflected my legal writing skills, and it was real, whereas my legal memorandum was based on the most ridiculous set of facts imaginable. 

jacy85

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2006, 09:21:55 PM »
Did you not do anything over the summer related to legal work?

You shouldn't use your 1L appellate brief for 2 reasons:

1.  If its what you turned in for legal writing, many employers require (and I'd bet most would prefer) work that is created and edited by you.  Work done for legal writing usually gets extensive comments and feedback from your instructor, and is toeing the line re: independently created work.

2.  What did you do over the summer?  You hopefully learned things and built on your legal skills.  A writing sample from work product you produced will demonstrate that you could apply what you learned in class to a real practice situation.

If you have confidentiality issues, see if you can talk to your employer.  I know people who edited facts and names, but were able to keep their writing and legal analysis intact.

xferlawstudent

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2006, 10:02:43 PM »
yeah, thanks for the comments.  I did work at a firm this summer, but the attorney had me mainly make notes about cases and write paragraphs here and there.  I don't think there would be anything more than a page or so on the same topic, so I doubt that will suffice.

Thanks for the comments, I'll have to think about this some more.

gibbsale

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2006, 02:49:51 AM »
I have never heard of a ban on writing materials created for class. I have heard that for judicial clerkship purposes you should not use a journal article, because judges know that those pieces are heavily edited. But that is not comparable to an appellate or trial brief submitted for a class. I think those are safe.

jacy85

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2006, 07:13:42 AM »
I have heard that for judicial clerkship purposes you should not use a journal article, because judges know that those pieces are heavily edited.


Not sure where you heard this, but its wrong. 

xferlawstudent

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2006, 08:54:37 AM »
I see your point Jacy, but career services at both my schools suggest using a legal writing document as a writing sample.  Even my legal wrting professor suggested we do this.

Jumboshrimps

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2006, 09:14:20 AM »
I think the writing sample issue is simple. Use the best piece of legal writing you've ever created.

gibbsale

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Re: writing sample
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2006, 03:32:10 AM »
I think it was on judicialclerkships.com. Regardless, it seems (intuitively) a stronger point than favoring work created in a writing class. There was very little feedback on anything I wrote for legal writing. Every deadline I have for the journal results in editing by 8 people, and in the end faculty approval. I find it hard to believe that comment pieces are more independent than submissions for class. 

 Of course, it also depends on the prospective reader. A judge or professor will probably have a higher tolerance for comment pieces than a prosecutor or a recruiter for a law firm. In any event, I say go with the piece that reflects your best work.