Sexual abuse...too much for a personal statement?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
legalized
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:45 am

Sexual abuse...too much for a personal statement?

Postby legalized » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:19 pm

Is using your trials/accomplishments/future goals and how law school gets you there despite/since sexual abuse at the hands of a family member and even homelessness for about a week and a half a great personal statement that shows if you can get to THIS point (starting college at 16, graduating magna cum laude, in graduate school for a master's, articles published in a foreign newspaper and published poetry in the U.S., all with divorce and two kids) through all that you can get through law school as well?

Since the point is to show them you can handle the toughness of law school?

Or is it going to make people's skin crawl and run, not walk, away from your application?

And unlike what seems to be a large number of people, I know exactly why I want to go to law school.

People are constantly asking me for help with their immigration/family law (Florida's) issues, and i have helped someone whose daughter got raped in their home country get their daughter a green card writing the facts and despair of her situation in a very convincing letter (they told me what happened, I even called down to the police in their country to get the case number and other names and facts needed to make a complete argument, and I made it sound as heartwrenching as necessary to get the INS/BCIS off their a**es, after they paid a few lawyers thousands and had their case shuffled around with no green card in sight, so what I did, they told me, would have cost them $5,000 at least in lawyers fees, and I got in done in one day). Aside from that I have seen too many cases of poor or broke people and friends who get shafted or get unnecessary criminal records because they simply did not know their rights or options and/or had no money to enforce these. I've been taken advantage of myself because I couldn't afford a lawyer to take the time to fight to the bitter end for me. I have gone to court pro se with some success, and I have done my own citizenship filing with obvious success, and do not find the material hard to understand.

To that end, if I am doing $5,000+ worth of work for free just taking dictation and finding them the correct immigration form to file (they knew which one they needed, just didn't know how to navigate the immigration department's website and how to understand the form)...I could be getting paid for that and more, and avoiding things like problems affording housing after the economy sucked up my job chances after graduation (the no place to live, bouncing around issue last August actually prevented me being prepared for last September's exam, and after research I realized i had no chance of doing this right if i didn't sit out a cycle, as I am doing and getting ready for June's LSAT).

My aim is solo practice and future legal consulting in my home country (not all at once), after some experience as a public defender and possible continuing pro bono work in that area, because ignorance of the law seems to affect black men especially and it bothers the hell out of me.

Why public defender? See the black men issue above, and the fact that poor or broke people facing criminal charges should have just as much chance to prevent the worst as the rich guys. U.S. constitution says equal justice for all so people need to be getting that. AND it gives me plenty of litigation/defense experience, which is critical in immigration because of that little area called deportation defense.

I want to do immigration and family law (often related anyway), as well as indigent and deportation defense (also often related anyway). To do this, and actually get paid for it, I need to be licensed to practice law, and to do that, I need to get a JD so I can sit the bar and be eligible to be licensed.

So here I am.

Is this too much, comments, questions, concerns? All appreciated. Should my goals for law be in a separate "why law" or "why xyz university" or should it be in my 2 or 3 page PS?

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Relientkate
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:42 pm

Re: Sexual abuse...too much for a personal statement?

Postby Relientkate » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:47 pm

Sexual abuse is fine to write about in a personal statement, according to the law school reps that I've spoken to. The advice I've gotten is just to stick to the facts as much as possible.

deadatheist
Posts: 234
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:55 am

Re: Sexual abuse...too much for a personal statement?

Postby deadatheist » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:13 pm

i want to write you a sincere response to such a serious topic, but i had a tough time understanding exactly how this all related to sexual abuse in a ps reading your post. And to be honest, i was lost on many points mentioned; i.e. "see the black men issue above" and your wanting to be paid to find people forms and find yourself housing? Do these issues relate to discussing sexual abuse in your ps?

anyways, in an attempt to be constructive, if sexual abuse has affected you in such a way that you feel it is absolutely relevant to your personal statement, then it is your story to tell. However, i must admit people here can give you better feedback if you help us understand how or why you would want to write about sexual abuse not affecting your goals or accomplishments. Did it make you become homeless? graduate early? want to protect others from similar circumstances? did you try to press charges against your abuser and were ignored, which made you want to pursue law? I ask because I might gather as much from what you wrote, however, you don't actually make that/these connections clear.

Perhaps too you can work on your ps draft, or a general outline of what you want to discuss on this topic, and people can give you better feedback from there.

And one last thing. sexual abuse is a tricky subject to write about in a ps format, in general, esp. because it puts the narrative in such a passive voice. However, you'll want to try to remember to use an active voice in your ps as well. I only mention this bc i noticed you use the passive voice a bit (the economy "sucked up" your job chances, for example).

gl.

legalized2
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Sexual abuse...too much for a personal statement?

Postby legalized2 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:39 pm

deadatheist wrote:i want to write you a sincere response to such a serious topic, but i had a tough time understanding exactly how this all related to sexual abuse in a ps reading your post. And to be honest, i was lost on many points mentioned; i.e. "see the black men issue above" and your wanting to be paid to find people forms and find yourself housing? Do these issues relate to discussing sexual abuse in your ps?

anyways, in an attempt to be constructive, if sexual abuse has affected you in such a way that you feel it is absolutely relevant to your personal statement, then it is your story to tell. However, i must admit people here can give you better feedback if you help us understand how or why you would want to write about sexual abuse not affecting your goals or accomplishments. Did it make you become homeless? graduate early? want to protect others from similar circumstances? did you try to press charges against your abuser and were ignored, which made you want to pursue law? I ask because I might gather as much from what you wrote, however, you don't actually make that/these connections clear.

Perhaps too you can work on your ps draft, or a general outline of what you want to discuss on this topic, and people can give you better feedback from there.

And one last thing. sexual abuse is a tricky subject to write about in a ps format, in general, esp. because it puts the narrative in such a passive voice. However, you'll want to try to remember to use an active voice in your ps as well. I only mention this bc i noticed you use the passive voice a bit (the economy "sucked up" your job chances, for example).

gl.


Hi, thanks for the input.

lol @ the correlation or lack of. I think I should have added a clarifier before the bottom 2/3 of that post.

Part 1 was me asking if using the experience and the motivation I maintained to rise above its effects and other external "handicaps" will show if I can make it through xyz I can and will do well in law school.

Part 2 was explaining what types of challenges I have seen facing OTHERS (to make it less selfish me/me/me), particularly URMs (since I am one) that makes me want to even go into law in the first place...

Going into public interest law and wanting to be a public defender one can't help but be aware of the vast discrepancy between the URM population and the URM prison population, ESPECIALLY black MALES. So, as a URM I feel a strong need to do something about it.
The only way I could help people in situations like many I read of or sometimes find a friend in, is to become a public defender.

But I don't plan on doing JUST indigent defense my whole life...PD experience will go well with handling deportation defense, a significant part of immigration law, which, along with family law, is what I want to do with my future solo practice, and therefore the reason I'm trying to go to law school.

I just chopped up the ideas to try NOT to make my post so long (lol, oh well) to get you more experienced folks' opinions on what I am worried about but feel is definitely a story of overcoming adversity. I have heard overcoming adversity works great on personal statements, but I didn't want to do the cliche "overcoming some challenge solely associated with being URM/overcoming being URM" 'cause my URM status actually has not been held against me overall (with some pointed exceptions) and I have lived in majority non-URM neighborhoods ever since coming to America (and that's another thing I was not a minority until I came here...and was put 2 years ahead, nearly 3, so the powers that be clearly didn't feel I was "minor" either)...aside from the abuse the biggest issue was really marrying the wrong guy, not being URM, and that happens to women of any race. But I have seen URM status affect others in life, and have faced discrimination under other legally protected status (and that was BY another minority, an employer, so again, my life is less a "me the URM vs. the man" story and more a story that could happen to anyone).

Basically just because I haven't suffered something else terrible like parents strung out on drugs or in prison since my birth doesn't mean I don't see problems happening to others, particularly those who look like me, that I would like to help resolve.

I wanted to tie in the point of even bringing a painful past up in a PS (overcoming) with my observations of the world at large and what between the two makes me both want to become a lawyer (which will also include some explanation of why xyz school is the school I want to help me do this) and an applicant who will do well with the rigors of law school.

Noted on passive.

Please note folks, everything typed here will be organized into a personal statement, but these posts are not my actual statement! Haven't even started writing it yet, just jotted down ideas for it, and just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to scare the admissions folks.

Do you see a link now or do you feel Part 1 should be a PS and Part 2 maybe a diversity statement?

legalized2
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Sexual abuse...too much for a personal statement?

Postby legalized2 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:46 pm

On questions into the details of the incident: not comfortable going into all that here, but the experience is a big part of what makes me want to do family law yes. My own experience with divorce and trying to deal with modifications necessary while having the worst pro bono set of student lawyers (and their supervising attorney) ever is also what makes me want to go into family law to add one more person who cares about doing a great job on every case, not just the cases where they get money.

Many reasons for each part of law I want to practice (I'm an immigrant, been through the process, so have many of my friends, hence the interest in immigration law), and yes, I intend to condense and link the more relevant points into 2 or 3 DS pages...but I hope going into some detail here helps peopel decide if/what I should say out of all this.

(And, thus far, I have noooo intention of putting my PS on the internet for all to see. Only if it's anonymous and I've already gotten into law school. lol)

Thanks again!




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