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Report: Employer Preferences for Writing Samples Based on Data Gathered from the New Legal Writers Survey

24 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2014  

Alexa Z. Chew

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law

Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Independent

Date Written: August 22, 2014

Abstract

The New Legal Writers Survey (NLWS, http://nlws.web.unc.edu) is an anonymous, IRB-approved, online survey of legal employers. The purpose of the survey is to gather data about three main areas of inquiry: (1) writing samples preferred by employers: survey questions inquired about writing sample preferences tied to employer size and type (e.g., public or private sector) and stage of a law student’s career (e.g., 1L or recent graduate). (2) Document types that new legal writers write: survey questions inquired about the types of documents (i.e., “genres”) that new legal writers are expected to write at different phrases of their early careers. Questions also inquired about the methods that legal employers expect new legal writers to employ when approaching unfamiliar document genres. (3) Supervision of new legal writers: survey questions inquired about the methods used by legal employers when supervising new legal writers, the challenges faced by legal employers when supervising new legal writers, and the good and bad moves that new legal writers tend to make on the job.

This Report analyzes the preferences regarding writing samples only, expressed by legal employers who took the NLWS in the fall of 2013. The Report breaks down their responses into three areas of inquiry: (1) preferred document length; (2) preferred document type (i.e., genre); and (3) preferred document topic. We cross-referenced these preferences with employer type (e.g., private firm or public interest) in order to provide advice to law students who are applying to jobs so that they can best tailor their writing samples to the preferences of employers. The survey remains open on the NLWS website if you would like to participate.

Keywords: legal writing, legal supervising, supervising lawyers, law practice, legal education, empirical legal research, law practice, genre theory, legal genres

Suggested Citation

Chew, Alexa Z. and Pryal, Katie Rose Guest, Report: Employer Preferences for Writing Samples Based on Data Gathered from the New Legal Writers Survey (August 22, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2485577 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2485577

Alexa Z. Chew (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States

Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Independent ( email )

United States

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