How To: Writing Samples for Law Positions.
January 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM
Imagine applying to jobs and externships to later find out that you had addressed the wrong companies in the address line. That is exactly what happened to Professor Michael Flynn in his law school days. Although he has found humor in his mistake now, he recounts it being a devastating experience. We got the treat of hearing from him along side Vicki Huebner and Professor Patricia Rauch regarding how choose successful writing samples. The following are the top ten things to consider before submitting a writing sample:
1. Make sure the sample is tailored to the specific firm or company that you are considering. Try and find a piece that is somewhat related to the type of work you will be doing.
2. Professor Flynn recommends that you keep your sample between five (5) to ten (10) pages if no limit is given. However, if you have a limit of three (3) pages make sure to follow those direction.
3. Make sure to always state if your writing sample is an award winner.
4. Keep it recent. Of course there can be exceptions-if you wrote something wonderful as an undergrad that would have a lot of relevance to the specific position, go ahead and use it. Remember its always wise to ask someone about their opinion before submitting.
5. It is always OK to provide contextual information.
6. Make sure its blue-booked.
7. ETHICS!-Professor Flynn mentioned that once your integrity is gone, its gone for a very long time. If your paper was confidential or written for a specific job, make sure to get permission before submitting it.
8. Take advantage of any assistance your LAWRAW professor offers you.
9. EDIT! EDIT! EDIT! Make sure that your writing sample is polished and mistake free. Even if you have edited your writing sample before, make sure to look it over again before submitting it to a firm.
10. Finally, Our last words of wisdom are, make sure to address the right companies.