How long should a legal writing sample be?

Asked by: Julian Jakubowski  |  Last update: August 2, 2023
Score: 4.4/5 (9 votes)

The legal writing sample is an integral part of the hiring process for lawyers. Here are tips for preparing the best sample of your legal writing skills. The writing sample should be five to ten pages in length, unless otherwise indicated by a particular employer.

What should a legal writing sample be?

Share your best legal writing.

Examples could include: moot court brief; upper year seminar paper or research project; memo, letter, administrative comments, or advocacy piece from an internship or externship; clinic work sample; or journal note. o Remember that your sample should (usually!) be only 5-10 pages.

How long is the writing sample for clerkship?

  • Follow the employer's directions.
  • Default length: 5-10 pages (10-15 for clerkship applications)
  • Single or double spaced equally acceptable.
  • Select a section of a longer document, if needed, to remain within range.

Can I use a moot court brief as a writing sample?

It can be a memo from a summer job, the writing competition note you submitted for the journals, a portion of a moot court brief, or part of a memorandum or brief that you wrote for class.

Are writing samples single or double spaced?

Writing samples should be double-spaced and can be a combination of one or more writing samples. Be sure to proofread and revise to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your writing. Also, do not forget to add your name to the document.

Legal Writing Basics: Three Key Skills Sample

20 related questions found

How many words is a writing sample?

How long should a writing sample be? In most cases, your writing sample should be around 750 words or between one and two pages. Like your resume, employers have a limited amount of time to review your writing sample. A brief, impactful writing sample is better than a long, less impressive one.

What is the spacing for a writing sample?

Most Writing Samples should be 20–25 pages ( 5000–6000 words). Double-spaced for ease of reading and annotating. Don't worry about citation formats or anything like that; so long as an interested reader can figure out what sources you're working with, you're fine.

What should I submit as a writing sample for a paralegal job?

Provide persuasive writing of your own work (exclude parts written by others) ◆ Provide something recent that reflects your current legal abilities ◆ Provide about 5 – 10 pages of an easy to understand topic ◆ Change or redact confidential/sensitive information ◆ Avoid lurid or hot-button subjects, such as sex, ...

Does moot court look good on resume?

Many employers look favorably on participation in moot court and law review. If litigation interests you, participation in moot court shows potential employers that you are working to hone your litigation skills. It also helps develop your skills in persuasive writing and arguing in front of a judge or panel of judges.

Can I use a court filing as a writing sample?

It is quite common to use documents you have filed in court as a legal writing sample; however, this must be approached carefully because of confidential information. When doing so, you should always check your local rules to see if there are any specifications regarding this issue.

What if my writing sample is too long?

Provide excerpts if your samples are long

Most employers will specify how many pages or how many clips they want. If they don't, then submit 2-5 pages of writing, usually double-spaced (unless it is a clip). This can be a combination of one or more writing samples.

Do law schools read the writing sample?

Although LSAT Writing samples don't receive a score, they are considered by law school admission committees when reviewing individuals' applications. Each law school uses LSAT Writing in its own way. However, most law schools view LSAT Writing samples as an integral part of their admission decisions.

How long should the typical writing sample be and why?

Many employers will specify the desired length of your writing sample. If no desired length is given, choose a writing sample that is two to five pages long. If you'd like to highlight a section of a longer paper, be sure to include your best two to five page selection.

What are the 4 C's of legal writing?

So four Cs: concision, clarity, coherence, completeness… cogent, it should be cogent, as well.”

How do you ace legal writing?

How to Ace Your Objective Legal Writing Memo
  1. Be as boring as possible – legal writing is not creative writing! ...
  2. Outline before you start writing. ...
  3. Connect the dots for your reader – don't shy away from specific facts. ...
  4. Develop effective proofreading habits.

Do writing samples need citations?

You want to make sure that you are giving employers a recent example of the quality of your work. Submit only your own work. If you incorporate others' work, cite your sources.

Can you do both law review and moot court?

Most law schools only allow second and third-year students onto law review, but they might permit first-year students to participate in moot court. In this case, a student could benefit from both experiences during their time in law school without overworking themselves.

What percentage of law students do law review?

Generally speaking, after the first year of law school, law review will invite somewhere between the top 10-20 percent of students to become staff members for the next year's volume.

Can a court hear a moot case?

Mootness arises when there is no longer an actual controversy between the parties to a court case, and any ruling by the court would have no actual, practical impact. If it is determined that all issues in a case being heard in a U.S. federal court have become moot, then the court must dismiss the case.

What if I don't have a legal writing sample?

A memo or brief you prepared for lawyering seminar can work well as a writing sample. Employers are looking for clear, effective legal writing and analysis. An objective interoffice memo or a persuasive brief are both acceptable vehicles for demonstrating your writing and analysis abilities.

Do paralegals have to write a lot?

The basic job function of a paralegal or legal assistant requires professional writing. Whether you are writing a brief, email, correspondence, or research notes, learning to hone your paralegal writing skills will help you save time and become an important asset in your firm.

Do paralegals write legal briefs?

Paralegals handle many tasks traditionally associated with attorneys, such as communicating with clients, drafting briefs, and appearing in court.

What is standard writing line spacing?

For most text, the optimal line spacing is between 120% and 145% of the point size. Most word processors, as well as CSS, let you define line spacing as a multiple. Or you can do the math—multiply your point size by the percentage. (The text in this paragraph has line spacing of 135%.

Do you skip lines between paragraphs in an essay?

Manuscript format is to indent the first line of each new paragraph (and to double space). Don't skip lines when doing this, unless you're indicating a larger break in the story. This is the industry standard, so editors and agents are expecting it.

What is the line spacing for a written report?

Fonts and Spacing

Fonts should be a minimum of 12 point and 1.5 line spacing is recommended unless otherwise specified.