Legal Career Toolkit – Writing Samples
A writing sample should reflect your current writing abilities. A memo or brief from your first year writing skills works fine.Review your sample to see if it needs editing to reflect improvements in your writing and analysis.
You do not need to submit the entire brief or memo. Writing samples are typically 7-10 pages long. If your potential writing sample is much longer, consider using an excerpt (e.g., one argument from a longer brief) and providing a brief explanatory note.
Create a cover sheet for your writing sample. It can have a simple heading – your name centered at the top of the page and "Writing Sample" centered underneath it. Use your cover sheet to give any necessary background information about your writing sample. For example, give the name of the class and a brief description of the assignment. If your assignment contained forced limitations (the type of research you are allowed to conduct, the side the argument you are required to take, etc.), explain those limitations on your cover sheet. If you are excerpting from a longer document, add whatever background is necessary to make the excerpt understandable.
Writing Sample Cover Sheet Example:
11 Fisherville Road
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 225–3498 firstname.lastname@example.org
I am attaching a copy of seven pages of the argument section of an appellate brief that was submitted to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. I wrote this brief for the Appellate Defender course in which I was enrolled Fall, 200–. As supervising attorney, Professor Chris Johnson edited the brief, and signed the final form. Professor Johnson has given me permission to use this brief as a writing sample and has done minimal editing of the argument section.
I am attaching a copy of a memo on trademark infringement I prepared in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire School of Law's Trademark Course. This memo was prepared in October, 200– and updated in August, 200–.
Attached is a copy of an argument section of my Spring, 200– Moot Court brief on constitutional free speech guarantees. I wrote the attached section, while the subsequent sections and facts were written by my partner. Please contact me if you would like a copy of the entire brief.
I am attaching a seven–page section of a copy of a patent application I drafted this past summer. My supervising attorney, Hillary Sanchez, has authorized me to use this application as a writing sample.
The attached copy of a contract is one I designed for the business with which I worked during the 200–/0– school year. Also attached is a copy of the business memo outlining the significance of the contract's elements to the business. Ying Flynn, president of DIOS, Inc., has granted me permission to use this as a writing sample.