Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
adevotchka
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 4:50 pm

Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby adevotchka » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:59 pm

Getting ready to start drafting and I've narrowed it down to three possible topics. Honest opinions on which ideas suck least would be really appreciated. Thanks guys.


1. Basic story of my life
I grew up in a pretty impoverished rural area, single mom who got pregnant at 15, dad left, food stamps, all that jazz. I read a lot as a form of escapism when I was younger, worked at BK throughout HS (wasn't as cool back then, no funnel cake fries or RIBS WITH REAL BONES), got full ride to college, waitressed throughout college, saved $$$ from kissing butt and shucking oysters at restaurant, moved to NYC after graduation, got good job here (legal assistant briefly then left to be an assistant at hedge fund). Basically, I was always SO ashamed of my upbringing until recently (a trip abroad helped, cliched, but it did) where I've come to appreciate certain facets of my unideal (I won't say shitty) background. All in all, I'm pretty proud of what I've accomplished--just being able to live alone in NYC, pay my own bills and rent, send some money home to mom, have real health and dental insurance for the first time in...forever, makes me content with with my life to date, but I'm ready to get back to work, so to speak, and let law school own my ass.

Pro: This is is my pure, unadulterated life story.
Cons: Worried it's too sprawling a topic and too "snowflake syndrome-y." Honestly, if I wrote this I would NOT make it all "wah, look at all my faux-adversity" but more "I'm a hard worker, I do not expect things to be given to me without merit, and I am proud of where I am from and what I've achieved as a result"


2. Something more academic
In undergrad, I spent a semester in Prague and ended up writing my dissertation on the Sudeten German issue (Czechs exiled them after WWII for a variety of interesting reasons). The issue is many of these people and their relatives have been wanting to reclaim their "heimat" or homeland (the connotation is actually extremely different than how we'd interpret homeland) because they still feel especially connected to it, and of course the Czechs aren't buying it, won't budge, etc. Anyway, I'd like to craft a story about my interesting experiences talking to some of the Sudeten Germans about their own interpretations of heimat, and relate it back to my own mixed feelings about my "heimat." I also volunteered at an orphanage there and that itself made me reflect on my relationship with my mother and my connection to my area/physical home, aside from just being an incredibly FUN and genuinely awesome experience.

Pro: It's a unique idea and if executed properly could showcase my more academic side as well as my personal side.
Cons: One of my friends said this was "too controversial" because of its connections with Nazism? Also, too dry? Hokey?

3. I used to do stand-up comedy, created/wrote a comedy webseries that got picked up by a production company.
I would kill to work in entertainment law (yeah, almost impossible, I know) for a variety of reasons, but these two are a large part of my interest in EL. I remember pouring over the surprisingly huge contract I had to sign when I relinquished my rights to the webseries, and I really found the entire process fascinating. I have such a desire to do work that allows me to be tied to the entertainment industry, but also allows me to work in law.

Pros: Honest connection to why I want to practice law
Cons: Could easily sound retarded, everyone claims to be an "artist," more special snowflake syndrome, etc.

Thanks guys!

Southernlaw57
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:46 am

Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby Southernlaw57 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:06 pm

adevotchka wrote:
Pros: Honest connection to why I want to practice law



This one sounds like what a personal statement is supposed to accomplish. Also, its a unique experience that will help you stand out.

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djjf39
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Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby djjf39 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:09 pm

OP, I would avoid option 1 and 2 like the plague. 1 could be saved if you focus heavily on how overcoming your adversity has made you the person who wants to go to law school

Option three could work, but you need to be careful not to get into a discussion of the law. Rather I would explain why you are motivated to study law within the confines of your cool background as a comedian.

Keep thinking though, writing a kick ass PS takes time and lots of drafting.

miamiman
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:55 pm

Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby miamiman » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:11 pm

Go with (1). It's a winner.


My advice: There are several different perspectives on this, none privileged over the other, but I thought it was important in mine to lay out coherently how my journey motivated my application to law school. If you are able to directly address this question, rather than fill up space with empty platitudes (e.g. "I argue well", "I'm interested in helping people), I definitely think it enhances the overall message.

Example, not mine:
Pursuing a career in the law strikes me as the ideal means by which I can leverage my creative talents towards the improvement of society. Whether in the drafting of a recording contract, a commercial contract of sale, or similar transactional matter, the law encourages and, indeed, demands that lawyers not only possess the technical know-how necessary to see a motion from start to completion but that they have the creative savvy needed to bring both sellers and buyers to the table on mutually-agreeable terms, finalize the terms of a corporate workout, or have the vision necessary to pursue and consummate a strategic acquisition. These are the tried-and-true tools of a transactional attorney and precisely the same tools that I have honed over 20 years of career experience. Although it has taken me two decades, two careers, and a failed marriage to reach this place in my life, I am stronger because of it and it is only because of these experiences that I am uniquely positioned to excel at and contribute to the _____ School of Law.



voila.

adevotchka
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby adevotchka » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:17 pm

djjf39 wrote:OP, I would avoid option 1 and 2 like the plague. 1 could be saved if you focus heavily on how overcoming your adversity has made you the person who wants to go to law school

Option three could work, but you need to be careful not to get into a discussion of the law. Rather I would explain why you are motivated to study law within the confines of your cool background as a comedian.

Keep thinking though, writing a kick ass PS takes time and lots of drafting.



Not saying I won't agree with you, but why should I avoid 1 and 2? Are they really that cliched?

lawcycle2010
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:32 am

Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby lawcycle2010 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:21 pm

Topic 3- Personnal Statement

Topic 1- Diversity Statement

Done and Done

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jackalope11
Posts: 265
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Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby jackalope11 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:24 pm

lawcycle2010 wrote:Topic 3- Personnal Statement

Topic 1- Diversity Statement

Done and Done



TITCR...

Hey-O
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Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby Hey-O » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:37 pm

Consider combining one and three. I would stay away from two.

Write about why you want to study law, and see if you can work in your background as well. I would imagine that where you came from also influenced your ability to study law.

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hobbsey
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Re: Three Viable Topics: Which to Choose?

Postby hobbsey » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:36 am

I liked topic 1, but agree that it will make a good diversity statement also. Topic 3 reminded me strongly of the example on this page of TLS: http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html, if you scroll down to the bottom it’s the first example, the guy with the startup company. Maybe you can look there to get some ideas on how to make it into a great statement and avoid the “cons” you listed. I would say try to go ahead and write 1 and 3 and just see which one feels like the stronger statement. For 2 I feel like you would spend too long on the details of the project, and not enough time on yourself.




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