A writing sample is sometimes required when applying for jobs. Generally, you should only provide a writing sample if it is requested by the employer. This document should highlight your best research and writing abilities.
If you are applying for a legal position, the topic of the writing sample should preferably be legal. Appropriate documents to use for a writing sample are memos or briefs written for a class, internship, volunteer position or clerkship. Writing samples submitted as evidence of your legal skills should be wholly original work. Where the writing was done with others, your contribution should be clearly identified. Writing samples from law-related employment must be masked adequately to preserve client confidentiality and used only with the permission of the supervising attorney.
Your writing sample should be 5-10 pages long. It is appropriate to use regular-quality paper— resume-quality paper is not necessary.
It is important that you proofread your writing sample very carefully. Typos reflect poorly on you. If you are using a document that was prepared for a class, make sure to ask the professor for suggested improvements and incorporate these suggestions.