My least favorite part of the interview process is the submission of a writing sample to employers that are rude enough to request one. For most rising 2L's, supplying the writing sample is an awful task because the only thing they have to offer is their weak-ass excuse for a first-year memo. But for an internationally recognized author of my caliber, the problem is quite the opposite: How does one select a single short sample from a catalog that boasts literally thousands of possibilities?
The obvious answer, and the one most often suggested by my agent, is that my name alone should suffice as a writing sample. If they haven't seen my work in Le Monde or Hustler, then prospective employers have probably read at least one of my pieces featured in Policy, Policy Review, or The Review of Policy, and even if they missed all of that, they surely got a chance read my essay for Newsweek's "My Turn" section, in which I reflected on my career as a male stripper (Stage Name: Paul Wolfowitz) and how it interfered with my charity work. But what if they're not widely read?
During Spring OCI I went what I thought was the safe route and submitted mostly poetry. To Baker Botts, for example, I submitted a sheaf of poems I'd originally put together with the intention of applying to the Iowa Writers' Workshop; the poems gravitated toward a central theme of incest and copy machine repair, and were not well received. Skadden, on the other hand, was sent a handwritten copy of my adpation of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl: For Carl Solomon" that dealt mainly with the Utah Jazz and was titled "Foul: For Karl Malone." I didn't get that job either, but I hear that a few stanzas from the poem have made their way into the company's recruiting material (and I'd love to get some confirmation on that from any Skaddenites out there).
So, yeah. No poetry this time around. Though I've seriously considered just sending this, I'll probably end up copying something out of a third-tier journal and calling it a day. After all: Good writers borrow from other writers, and great writers are smart enough not to go to law school.