Only one response? Anyone else have an opinion to share?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:25 pm

Re: Only one response? Anyone else have an opinion to share?

Postby SoCalKevin » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:44 am

existenz wrote:Here's my viewpoint, take it or leave it.

First, you need to step back and think about the key purpose of your PS. What are you trying to say? Even with the revisions, 75% of your essay is about why you wanted to go into entertainment, and what you accomplished while you were there. Law doesn't show up until the last few paragraphs, with not a lot of depth behind your motivation or reasoning. Is it really that your inner teenage voice is telling you to try something new? I know that's the theme of your essay, but I don't like it. Teenagers are immature, you're a grown man (or woman) now, you surely have better reasons to go into law other than a desire to experiment.

In other words, your essay does a better job of explaining why you wanted to go into the entertainment business than it does of explaining why you want to go into the practice of law. That's not a good thing.

On the plus side, you have amazing entertainment business experience that will definitely make you a prime candidate for entertainment law. Even with all the problems with this essay, you would stand out somewhat. I like your descriptions of your successful career, as well as the sentences explaining your interest in various aspect of entertainment law. Good stuff. But you'd help yourself by doing a major revisions to the overall essay.

I would start by eliminating the first paragraph entirely. It isn't a very well written story and sounds a bit too generic. Apparently you developed your love for storytelling at this convalescent home, but the old/sick folks who live at this home are never mentioned or made real. It feels too much like a cliched personal statement attempt to tie a childhood story into your reason to go to law school. Forget that. You've lived a long time since then, and this essay isn't about why you want to go into entertainment. It's about going into law. If you want to start with a story, I'd start with a story that highlights the moment when you decided law was for you. I can't imagine what that story would be. It's your life, perhaps you have a great "a-ha" moment that adcomms might like.

Instead of a story, your could write an intro paragraph that plays up your strengths and lays out the essential thesis of your PS -- which SHOULD be something along the lines of "I've achieved success in entertainment, but I am drawn to enter the legal side of the business for XXX reasons".

2nd paragraph could lay out, briefly, your career in entertainment. The skills and knowledge you have learned, the experience you have. Don't bother with name-dropping, though you could mention some companies you worked for if they are very well known (though remember that your resume should contain this stuff as well).

Third paragraph, detail your interest in entertainment law. I like the stuff you wrote about practicing in LA, specializing in copyright and union issues and studio deals and what not. This shows you are serious and have thought about what you want to do. It separates you from the typical "I want to save the world" applicants.

Fourth paragraph -- Summary. Tied into your thesis, and the story in the first paragraph if you have one. The people reading the essay want to know what makes you tick, what kind of person you are, how committed you are to practicing law. Don't treat these as questions you have to specifically answer, but as guidelines to direct your summation. Let the real you come out somehow, even if it's just your writing style.

I think you have a lot going for you, but your current essay doesn't do you justice. Good luck!

Great notes, they address the lingering doubts I've had about the PS. Thanks!


Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:25 pm

Re: Only one response? Anyone else have an opinion to share?

Postby SoCalKevin » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:18 am

OK, a complete revision, based on the last set of notes, that focuses solely on my career success and ties it more into my decision to go into law:


Some people approach life with the attitude that there’s nothing they can’t do. But a great approach doesn’t bring results without great execution. When I made the decision to follow the dream of being in the entertainment industry I didn’t just want to work in the profession, I wanted to make a mark in it. Twenty years later, I can look back and say I did just that.

Entertainment can bring together complete strangers to sit in a theatre or in front of the television and laugh or cry, feel proud or anger them into action. It can make people want to fight the man or step up to help their fellow man, convince them to back a war or rise in protest against it. Like a successful attorney, mastering the art of persuasion will set a television and film professional apart from the rest of the pack. That power to persuade and motivate inspired me early on, and I knew right away I would have a career in the industry.

Early on I worked for the most respected and influential television branding agency in the world. During my tenure I worked with broadcasting and cable executives to launch channels around the globe, with clients in the US, Great Britain, Japan, France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. When I later accepted the top management position at another agency, the company had only five employees and billings totaling just XXX. I knew that I was risking a lot to move from a secure position at a proven, successful corporation to a completely unknown startup, but I could see the potential in this small group of people and I knew that with an incredible level of dedication hard work, the reward could be great. Now, eight years later, that once-tiny startup is a forty-person operation that grosses more than $XXX a year. Even in the recent economic downturn, when many of my competitors were closing their doors, I was able to grow my business. Now my clients represent nearly every major television brand and movie studio in Hollywood, and they engage us to help them launch hundreds of millions of dollars in entertainment properties worldwide. The industry has recognized my company with dozens of awards, and I am asked to speak on entertainment marketing all around the world—most recently in Singapore, Mumbai, and New York. As it turns out I may not have been convincing the masses to rise up and fight the man, but I was successfully convincing millions of them to tune into my client’s network, watch their show, or get off the couch on a Friday night and pay ten dollars to see one of their movies.

It is this ability, combined with two decades of executive experience, that will set me apart now as a great entertainment attorney. I have been on the client side of the table, in dealing with contracts, licensing, intellectual property and union issues, and can now more fully understand and appreciate what my future clients’ concerns will be. I have spent years developing skills that are critical to the field, in negotiation, persuasion, organization, verbal and written communications and in managing and motivating people and personalities of all types. All of this constitutes the backbone of my job in entertainment, and it’s what I enjoy the most. That’s why migrating these skills to the law profession is a natural progression in my career. I plan on staying in California, and I know that XXX’s highly reputable Entertainment Law program, combined with the number of high-level relationships I have made along the way, will help me advance much faster than I could have as a young undergraduate. They are critical components of that decision to move forward.

Things have never been handed to me nor have they always come as easy as it might seem. I am only the third generation of my family born in the United States and the second one of them to attend college. I was born in a small, blue-collar neighborhood in XXX, and it was through incredibly hard work that I am where I am today. As I continue to push myself forward, I am confident that at this point in my life I can bring a great deal of world experience to my work in law, honor and recognition to my future alma mater, and greater philanthropy to my community.

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Re: Only one response? Anyone else have an opinion to share?

Postby existenz » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:26 pm

Good stuff. I like it.

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