Writing Samples

When an employer asks for a writing sample, they are asking for an unedited writing sample, e.g. one that has not been substantially edited by another person.

  • Review of Writing Samples:  Career Services does not provide critical review of writing samples.  For a formal review of a potential writing sample, you may contact the Legal Research and Writing professors.
  • Length of Writing Sample: Each writing sample submitted should be no less than 5 and no more than 12 pages in length, unless otherwise indicated by the employer.
  • Writing Style: Unless otherwise directed, a traditional legal writing sample should demonstrate superior legal analysis, advocacy (where appropriate), perfect grammar, and formal use of a recognized legal citation method. Whenever possible, try to match the writing sample style and content to that of the employer’s mission and everyday style of writing (e.g., an administrative law memo for a federal agency application or a policy review paper for think tank).

Cover Sheet:  A cover sheet is recommended, but should always be used when submitting only a section of a larger piece.

Type of Writing Sample: Any of the following may be appropriate:

  • Legal Research & Writing Appellate Brief:  Submit only an analytical section of the brief, and attach a cover sheet (see above)
  • Actual Work Product—from your job, an externship or clinic, for example. In doing so, obtain approval from your supervisor to use the work product and to redact all confidential information.
  • Scholarly Work—published articles, law reviews, for example.  As above, the emphasis here should be on providing a sample of your legal analytical and writing skills.