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Career Center: I’ll Take the Pen is Mightier for $500, Alex

It’s inevitable, but at some point during your summer clerkship, you will have to write, and odds are, you will be writing a lot. Words are the currency of lawyers. Once you graduate from law school, you will be paid hundreds of dollars an hour to write brilliant briefs, ironclad contracts, and demand letters that would even make Dick Cheney cry. With that in mind, you will need to proof and analyze everything you write during your summer clerkship –- even if it is as an informal as a one-page memo or quick email.

This week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series focused on helping you develop your writing skills, and is brought to you by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.

Read on for more information on how to manage your written work product as a summer associate….

When you leave your summer clerkship and return to law school, your written work will remain at the firm, and like it or not, it will be a tangible representation of your entire clerkship. It is impossible for you to meet every single partner at the law firm, so your writing product may be the only thing those partners will get to see before they make their hiring decision on you. You do not want to be known as the summer associate who used emoticons in his brief, or the summer associate who wrote about “pubic policy” instead of “public policy” in her memorandum. The pen is mightier than the sword –- don’t allow it to kill your employment chances at the firm.

The Importance of Good Writing: Law schools cannot teach students to be excellent writers. While some new lawyers are excellent writers, excellence for most takes years of effort. Nothing puts you at peril more quickly than sloppy, unfocused, or error-filled writing. Some supervising lawyers are anal-retentive about writing. But that is not unfair in a world where clients pay a literal fortune for legal advice and have the right to expect perfection.

Click here to read more about how to manage your written work product as a summer associate. Don’t forget, for additional career insights as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.

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