For future sessions of my First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, as well as for various impromptu joint student-professor brief-writing projects I might set up, I was toying with the idea of selecting students chiefly by giving them a simple editing exercise. What I had in mind was giving them sample passages (likely Summaries of Arguments from briefs) in a style that I thought was good, and ask them to rewrite another such passage — which I thought was not so good — in that style. This, I hoped, would make it more likely that I could find someone whose approach to brief-writing was compatible with my own.
Have any of you had any experience with such attempts to select clinic students or RAs based on such editing exercises, rather than primarily through grades, writing samples, and references? If so, do you have any guidance on whether this would work, and how it can be made to work?
UPDATE: Just to make it clear, these will be briefs that I will sign, as a representative of real clients. I therefore want the briefs to be as effective as possible, and (rightly or wrongly) I’ve concluded that a particular style is the way to do that. When students write law review articles under my supervision, I cut them a good deal of slack when it comes to style (though I insist that they write clearly and precisely), because it will be their name on the articles. But when they write briefs under my supervision, it’s my name on the briefs.