Political Ideology -- too risky?

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vsl89
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Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby vsl89 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:39 pm

So, for my personal statement, I will be talking about a recent Supreme Court case and about an ideological element of the law. My positions will clearly indicate a certain political bias and my question is, is it not wise to use this as my topic? I'm not necessarily lecturing the AdCom, but I'm just stating how my life experiences (which I will vividly illustrate) predispose me to viewing the law in a certain way. I mean, on my resume, I mention my extensive campaign work as well. I lean left rather right and so should I be worried at all about 'political discrimination'? I'm largely focused on NYU, CLS, UPenn if it helps to put the politics question in perspective at all.

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Knock
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby Knock » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:43 pm

vsl89 wrote:So, for my personal statement, I will be talking about a recent Supreme Court case and about an ideological element of the law. My positions will clearly indicate a certain political bias and my question is, is it not wise to use this as my topic? I'm not necessarily lecturing the AdCom, but I'm just stating how my life experiences (which I will vividly illustrate) predispose me to viewing the law in a certain way. I mean, on my resume, I mention my extensive campaign work as well. I lean left rather right and so should I be worried at all about 'political discrimination'? I'm largely focused on NYU, CLS, UPenn if it helps to put the politics question in perspective at all.


Did you mean to say you lean left rather than right? Most institutions of higher learning have a decidedly liberal bias, with obvious exceptions of religious schools, but even if you leaned right, I don't think it would hurt you.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, while there might be biases on the part of the adcomms, I think they do a good job for the most part of not letting it affect their decisions. But, like all things PS related, it really depends on how you write it. If your PS is about how this Supreme Court case affected you personally and you develop this to show why you are interested in law school and why you would be a good candidate, it could work well. If, on the other hand, your PS is a political rant, then obviously that isn't going to work out well for you (not saying that this is your case at all, but just giving an example).

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neimanmarxist
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby neimanmarxist » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:46 pm

just FYI a number of the admissions books caution strongly against talking about the law in your personal statement. Even if the reason you're doing it is that you, personally, feel strongly about a particular issue. The reason why is that it's hard to give it a treatment that isn't sophomoric in the eyes of the adcomm. Susan Estrich said something to the effect of : "Asleep, I know more about international law than the applicant trying to express their erudite and passionate views about topic x or y. what I don't know is what the applicant's experience growing up has been like."

just a friendly warning :)

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby Jack Smirks » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:51 pm

Yeah I would strongly urge against writing your whole topic about a particular legal issue. No matter how versed you may think you are on the issue adcomms will probably view your understanding as glib and possibly even downright wrong. I think you're trying to take on a pretty risky approach to your PS.

vsl89
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby vsl89 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:32 pm

naterj wrote:Yeah I would strongly urge against writing your whole topic about a particular legal issue. No matter how versed you may think you are on the issue adcomms will probably view your understanding as glib and possibly even downright wrong. I think you're trying to take on a pretty risky approach to your PS.


I'm started to get a little worried based on your comments and the comment of the poster above. Basically, in my PS, I tlk about a particular experience I had and how it made think about issues of justice versus individual liberties in the law. I just mention a recent ruling to cite as an example of this ongoing discussion. I say that my experience makes me lean towards justice, but in law school, I am eager to explore issues of justice in the law. Does that sound too pretentious on my part? I try to make my opinion on the law abstract, rather specific, and I try to tailor my view to my experience.

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straxen
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby straxen » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:44 pm

vsl89 wrote:
naterj wrote:Yeah I would strongly urge against writing your whole topic about a particular legal issue. No matter how versed you may think you are on the issue adcomms will probably view your understanding as glib and possibly even downright wrong. I think you're trying to take on a pretty risky approach to your PS.


I'm started to get a little worried based on your comments and the comment of the poster above. Basically, in my PS, I tlk about a particular experience I had and how it made think about issues of justice versus individual liberties in the law. I just mention a recent ruling to cite as an example of this ongoing discussion. I say that my experience makes me lean towards justice, but in law school, I am eager to explore issues of justice in the law. Does that sound too pretentious on my part? I try to make my opinion on the law abstract, rather specific, and I try to tailor my view to my experience.


Don't make your PS into a position paper, whether legal or philosophical, or go into analysis about justice, liberty, blah blah blah. If you want to cite a case that has affected you personally or has influenced your decision to go to law school, that might work if well done, but the point is that your PS should be about YOU first and foremost.

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clintonius
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby clintonius » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:58 pm

My guess is that there's some sort of contrast between "issues of justice versus individual liberties in the law"? I think that's not going to go over well at all if you start trying to bring in actual case holdings.

vsl89
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby vsl89 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:04 pm

I would like to spell out in greater detail the PS, b/c I think that while I talk about a bigger issue, I also keep relating back to my experience. So, I open by mentioning my experience as a tutor for underprivileged minorities. I then mention a specific incident in which I realized that I couldn't do enough by myself to fix the justice issue in education, i.e. economically disadvantaged lack resources. I then transition to the law and how it could play a factor in leveling the field. I point out how by citing a book I read how individual liberty is the consideration that discourages us from promoting equality. (I can take out the book ref. to avoid seeming too pretentious). Finally, I get into why my perspective working w/ the students who I have makes me believe that justice should be a more prominent ideal in guiding our efforts in intepreting the law. I acknowledge that there is my nuance in my position and that I am eager to more deeply probe this issue once in law school.

How does that sound? Too position paper-y? Or do the references to my life preserve its story-telling ability?

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clintonius
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby clintonius » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:13 pm

It sounds much better there than your above summaries did. I would certainly remove the reference to the book, and also the last bit, because I can imagine expressing opinions on legal interpretation and how that should be changed would rub adcomms the wrong way. Change that to simply realizing how the law can be a useful tool on a macro scale, as opposed to your micro-scale experience before, and you've got a fair outline.

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philosoraptor
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Re: Political Ideology -- too risky?

Postby philosoraptor » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:20 pm

Write it and post it. Much depends on your writing ability.




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