Career Development

Writing Samples and Transcripts

Writing Samples

Some employers request that you submit a writing sample as part of your application.  When submitting a writing sample to a prospective employer, think about the following guidelines:

  • If an employer specifies a certain format, be sure to comply with those requirements.  If the employer does not have specific requirements, follow the guidelines below.
  • A writing sample should be no more than 10-pages in length.  It can be an excerpt of a longer work.
  • When excerpting a longer writing sample, be sure to include a cover sheet explaining:  a) the sample’s original purpose (i.e. a legal writing class assignment, a court pleading, etc.); b) when and for whom the sample was written; and c) the nature of the longer document, including the issues you addressed.  You can also include a cover sheet for writing samples not excerpted from a longer work if you think a cover sheet provides helpful context.
  • Your writing sample should demonstrate your ability to research and analyze legal issues, such as the argument section of a brief.
  • If you submit a document that has been redacted for confidentiality or privilege purposes, you should identify the steps taken (redactions, name changes, consent obtained from the employer or client) to preserve the confidential or privileged nature of the document.
  • Be sure to proofread the document well, and if possible, ask someone else to proofread it as well.  However, if you submit a heavily edited writing sample, you should explain the extent of the editing.  It is preferable to submit writing samples that have only had minor revisions made by outside reviewers.
  • Include a header or footer with your name on each page, and include page numbers.
  • Preferably, your writing sample should have been written in the last two years.
  • If you have no writing sample that meets the above criteria, there is nothing inappropriate about submitting a writing sample developed for the express purpose of a job application.

Watch a video recording of hiring attorneys discussing writing samples.


Many employers require that you submit a transcript either with your initial application or later in the employment process. A copy of your transcript can be obtained from the Registrar’s office.  You may give permission to allow Career Development to request your transcript and scan it into a PDF document that you can receive via email.  To upload your transcript onto the Symplicity database you must scan your transcript into a PDF document.  In order to receive your transcript, you MUST have a buckeyemail account.