A lot of law firms are looking for experienced paralegals to join their team. Being a legal assistant is a great step towards establishing your career as a legal professional, but there is still a lot more you need to do to prove you are capable of handling complex legal matters. One of the biggest requirements is your writing sample. In this article, we will discuss what type of writing sample you should expect to see from a future employer, as well as what you should keep in mind when developing your own sample.
Format And Style
First off, make sure you format your writing sample for the employer. Depending on the industry, you might have to follow certain guidelines in terms of margins and font size. For example, in the real estate industry, you might need to follow the Real Estate Procedures Act (REPA) which prescribes certain requirements for the format of the documents you need to submit. More information about this can be found at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) website:
- Real Estate Procedures Act (REPA)
- Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
- 12 CFR Part 2
As a general rule of thumb, the more complicated the legislation you are dealing with, the more formal your writing should be. The more formal the legislation is, the more likely it is that you will need a lawyer to help you understand it – so be careful about using informal language in legislation!
While it is great to show off your creativity through your writing, make sure you keep it professional and free from spelling mistakes. Spelling mistakes (especially when done on purpose) can be dangerous in legal settings. When employing lawyers to help with legal matters, it is essential that you pay close attention to the small details which might otherwise be overlooked. Spelling mistakes, even when unintentional, can open you up to legal issues and even worse, loss of trust with your attorney (which could end up costing you a great deal more in the long run).
The Perfect Paralegal’s Career Path
Every legal professional’s career is different, but there are always certain steps you need to follow in order to establish yourself in the field. One of the best sources of information about the perfect paralegal’s career path is The Paralegal, a blog which focuses on legal industry news and information:
- The Paralegal
- ABA Journal
- National Law Journal
- Global Legal Newswire
- American Bar Association (ABA)
With over 20 years of experience, this legal career tips blog is an excellent place to find advice on everything from resume writing to dealing with stress. Check out their blog for some excellent tips on how to navigate your way to the top.
Real World Example
A great way to convince an employer that you are capable of contributing to their firm is by demonstrating your competence in real world situations. It is always recommended that you practice dealing with real world issues as much as possible. While this might seem obvious, a lot of legal professionals find themselves faced with complex legal issues that they are not equipped to handle. Being able to speak with experience and offer useful advice is the best way to demonstrate your competence.
When developing your writing sample, it is important not to look at the example provided by your potential employer. Instead, you should set yourself apart from the pack by demonstrating your own unique skills and experience. This way, when employers do turn up, you will already have something impressive to show them instead of having to scrounge for compliments.
To give you some inspiration, here are a few real world examples of what your writing sample might look like: