Can you use a complaint as a writing sample?

Can you use a complaint as a writing sample?

First, determine if the document you intend to distribute has been publicly filed. In general, publically filed documents are your safest bet for writing samples. Filing requirements vary by jurisdiction, but most require that you publish notice of the filing in a local newspaper or other publication within a certain time frame. The notice also needs to include information about how people can access the file if they want to review it before it is made public.

If the document has not been filed with the court, then you will need to find another way to obtain copies. State bars may have rules about releasing information about their members, and some companies keep files on their employees which contain confidential information about those employees. However, if you do identify someone else as a source for copying documents, be sure to get their permission first. Also remember that even if you aren't allowed to release the document, the court might allow you to show it to representatives from other parties involved in the case.

Copying documents isn't just for lawyers. Members of the media may receive permission from courts to copy documents related to a pending case. Judges may give these copies to jurors as part of their instructions at the end of a trial.

What do you say when a job asks for a writing sample?

How should I go about selecting a writing sample?

  • Research papers from a job or class.
  • Narrative papers from a job or class.
  • Other writing assignments.
  • Blog posts.
  • Press releases.
  • Articles or other contributions.

What is a good writing sample for a legal job?

A memo or brief you wrote for a lawyer seminar might serve as a good writing example. Employers are searching for legal writers and analysts that can write and analyze in a clear and effective manner. Both an objective internal memo and a persuasive brief are suitable venues for displaying your writing and analysis skills.

An objective memo reports facts, analyzes information, and makes recommendations without expressing an opinion on the matter at hand. For example, a corporate attorney might draft an objective memo reporting that another company has filed for bankruptcy protection, explaining why this is significant to the company's shareholders, and suggesting ways the company might better manage its financial affairs.

A persuasive memo expresses an opinion on the matter at hand. It argues for one position over another, reviews cases supporting each side of an argument, or describes how certain facts affect which view should prevail. For example, an attorney who supports her client's case by citing relevant laws may want to include a persuasive memo outlining these laws and why they favor her client.

In both examples, it is useful if the memo is well-written and easy to understand. Specific details such as proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling help readers assess your knowledge of the law and how to apply it effectively. A sample document or outline is also helpful because it shows that you have thought about how to organize information into a logical structure.

Finally, be sure to follow standard office etiquette when sending out samples.

What should you use as a writing sample?

Here are some ideas you might want to think about:

  • Research papers from a job or class.
  • Narrative papers from a job or class.
  • Other writing assignments.
  • Blog posts.
  • Press releases.
  • Articles or other contributions.

About Article Author

Colleen Tuite

Colleen Tuite is a professional editor and writer. She loves books, movies, and all things literary. She graduated from Boston College summa cum laude where she studied English with Creative Writing Concentration.

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