Personal Statement critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
pwuflaw811
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Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:10 pm

A risky topic but it's true and I'll have to disclose it at some point anyway. Any type of feedback is welcomed and appreciated...

“We’ve got something. Silver Camaro, dark tint, and XXXXX tags on a Friday afternoon? Suspect is inside. We’ll give it five and we’re moving in. This is it.”

I’ll never actually know what the conversation was among the Narcotics Unit of the XXXXXXX Sherriff’s Office, but I can imagine it was probably something along those lines.

Friday August 13th XXXX was the most terrifying day of my life. Ten days prior, I received a phone call from my childhood best friend, XXXXX, who was living in XXXXXXXX. He asked me to come get him, and said that he wanted to move back to XXXXX to get a fresh start. All I heard was that he wanted to come back to XXXXXX. I was going to have my best friend back.

It was around 3:30pm when I got there. I walked back to his room and he was just laying there on his bed, smiling. I think he was amazed that I actually came. He hadn’t packed a thing, which didn’t surprise me. I told him we had to get going, that it was a long drive. He told me to chill out, that it’d just take him a second.

Then there was the knock on the door.

A loud whisper came from his step-dad. “XXXX, it’s the police!” He jumped up and hid in the closet. I asked what was going on and he said to just lay on the bed and act casual. So I did. However, the casual act came to a halt when I looked up to see three men wearing all black with their guns pointed at me.

XXXX and I were arrested for possession of CDS II with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia. I found out a month later from my attorney that he had sold methamphetamines to an undercover cop, and they were watching his house in an effort to catch the big exchange. I can’t say I blame them for mistaking my arrival for being just that. I’m also sure it didn’t help that I had to tell them the only time I had ever been in trouble was a year earlier when I pled guilty to criminal damage for doing “donuts” with my car in a gravel parking lot – in that very same town while visiting XXXX for his birthday. As the detective raised his eyebrows I realized my innocence wasn’t very convincing.

I was held for nearly 14 hours and was facing charges punishable by five years in prison. Additionally, I was told arraignment wouldn’t even be for another six months. Finally, after my parents posted over $8,000 in credit card collateral I was free. The charges were dropped four months later.

Four months is a long time to wonder every day if you’re going to end up in prison for something you weren’t involved in.
Before all of this took place I was content with my life. I had done just enough to get by in high school, hadn’t even considered going to college, and was working full-time at a job that I didn’t really care for. After seeing how in an instant happiness can be replaced with helplessness, freedom can be replaced with confinement, and innocence can be mistaken for guilt I became inspired to make some changes in my life. The biggest of all was beginning my college career less than five months after the arrest.

Legally I have no obligation to disclose that the trip to XXXXXXXX ever took place. I had it expunged, and there’s no record to be found anywhere. However, it impacted my life in a way that nothing else ever has, and most likely, ever will. It led to my interest in the American legal system and how it works. It has given me a perspective that most aspiring law students don’t enter the classroom having dealt with first hand – the perspective of the falsely accused facing prison time. Finally, it has given me the belief and faith that our legal system is just.

I aspire to one day be a criminal defense attorney that represents others who are suffering from the unwarranted fear and feeling of helplessness that I once felt. My journey since that August afternoon hasn’t been easy, but had it have been I don’t know that I would have done as well as I have. I look forward to challenging myself in XXXXXXX law program, and believe that my determination, unique experience, and academic success make me a viable candidate.

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2807
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby 2807 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:31 pm

Cool. I can run with this. However, I recommend you do a rewrite that does not involve the disclosure of horseplay in the car. And correct ALL of the contractions. NO CONTRACTIONS.

Also, be sure your facts are clear and not deceiving. Were you truly falsely accused? Charges dropped does not mean falsely accused. right? If there is any grey area in there I would just be more diplomatic in the terms I use. And I would not be specific in the hours held, etc... They can hold you for up to 48 hours, and that does not include weekends,(at least in CA) so your time is not an issue. Being held AT ALL is the issue. Don't dilute the power of it with negligible facts.

It is a great idea/story for the PS. The basic story is: You were arrested and the charges were dropped, but through the process you gained the focus and clarity that now defines you.<--USE THAT.

Do you care to take this advice and draw up draft 2 and lay it on me?

There is also some awkward phrasing in the end. The perspective you have that other entering students will not have is icky. Clean that up.

If I keep helping people alot of these PS's are gonna start reading the same... hahahha.

crislaw
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby crislaw » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:35 pm

Nice response 2807 8)

NO CONTRACTIONS anywhere in the personal statement!

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:36 pm

As the detective raised his eyebrows I realized my innocence wasn’t very convincing.


And it still isn't very convincing. The police don't just run into a situation and, evidence or not, arrest everyone. Admit it, you had your crackpipe on you. It's hard to believe that your best friend was a into drugs on that level and that you were totally uninvolved with that scene. I'm also having a hard time believing that this PS can be turned into something that reflects well on you. This is just my two cents, but then again maybe I'm just bias - I never thought too much of teenage kids with nothing better to do than get high.

pwuflaw811
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:45 pm

2807 wrote:Cool. I can run with this. However, I recommend you do a rewrite that does not involve the disclosure of horseplay in the car. And correct ALL of the contractions. NO CONTRACTIONS.

Also, be sure your facts are clear and not deceiving. Were you truly falsely accused? Charges dropped does not mean falsely accused. right? If there is any grey area in there I would just be more diplomatic in the terms I use. And I would not be specific in the hours held, etc... They can hold you for up to 48 hours, and that does not include weekends,(at least in CA) so your time is not an issue. Being held AT ALL is the issue. Don't dilute the power of it with negligible facts.

It is a great idea/story for the PS. The basic story is: You were arrested and the charges were dropped, but through the process you gained the focus and clarity that now defines you.<--USE THAT.

Do you care to take this advice and draw up draft 2 and lay it on me?

There is also some awkward phrasing in the end. The perspective you have that other entering students will not have is icky. Clean that up.

If I keep helping people alot of these PS's are gonna start reading the same... hahahha.


Hmm. Well, I guess they never directly told me they didn't believe that I wasn't involved. However, I did tell them when I was being interrogated before they actually booked me that I knew nothing about what he was involved in and had only been in the town for 5 minutes. There were two other adults there, the home owners (his parents), and they weren't taken away. I interpret that as an accusation, but I see your point. I guess it's safe to be more revealing and tell you it was in Louisiana, so the law is different. I was told arraignment wasn't going to be for 6 months and that I was stuck if I wasn't bailed out. They told my mother the same thing.

I like what you said about not using negligible facts. I guess there's a fine line between being specific enough that it's believable and too specific.

Absolutely I'll let you reevaluate it. Should I repost it on the board or email?

pwuflaw811
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:51 pm

esq wrote:
As the detective raised his eyebrows I realized my innocence wasn’t very convincing.


And it still isn't very convincing. The police don't just run into a situation and, evidence or not, arrest everyone. Admit it, you had your crackpipe on you. It's hard to believe that your best friend was a into drugs on that level and that you were totally uninvolved with that scene. I'm also having a hard time believing that this PS can be turned into something that reflects well on you. This is just my two cents, but then again maybe I'm just bias - I never thought too much of teenage kids with nothing better to do than get high.



I lived 15 hours away and yes, I can most certainly attest to the fact that the police do this. I can also tell you that when I was finally released I high tailed it the heck out of there, and was re-pulled over in a podunk town 20 miles away and accused of dumping off a meth-lab at a closed down gas station 3 miles back. I was re-cuffed and they drove my car back to their small station and I was questioned again regarding the entire situation. It was completely ridiculous and I will never set foot in Louisiana again. If I wasn't a terrified 19 year old kid I would have pressed the issue. I just wanted it dropped.
Last edited by pwuflaw811 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pwuflaw811
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:54 pm

pwuflaw811 wrote:
2807 wrote:Cool. I can run with this. However, I recommend you do a rewrite that does not involve the disclosure of horseplay in the car.



Well I pled guilty to that and will have to submit documentation about it because I'm answering "yes" to the "have you ever been convicted" question. Knowing that should I still leave it out?

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2807
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby 2807 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:57 pm

Well, there are a lot of moving targets in here. Let's just build you a PS that slams it out of the park and not waste energy on criminal law debates. I am a retired cop. I see bad people.

Write up draft 2 and post or PM me for email. I dig the story.

I have no doubt that mistakes are made and cops step over the line. You will not offend me, trust me. I say we craft your PS so that the power of the experience comes through, and nothing else. There are many ways to convey your story, lets choose one that leaves little room for conjecture.

Then pack your bags, their gonna love ya.

Oh, as long as you have a 175+ and 3.9. This is TLS right?


EDIT: Yes, leave out the traffic violation. This is not the time. This could be about anything in your life. Would it be reasonable to crowbar in the traffic cite if this was a PS about saving a drowning monkey? No. Only you see the connection. Stop. One crisis at a time here, friend. :)

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:08 pm

I can also tell you that when I was finally released, I high tailed it the heck out of there and was re-pulled over in a podunk town 20 miles away and accused of dumping off a meth-lab at a closed down gas station 3 miles back.


The it's not me it's them, I'm always just a victim argument that you are using comes off as questionable. I have spent a lot of time in LA, and never once was I arrested as a drug dealer, released, and then accused for drug involvement - dumping the evidence - again in a separate city. I think that you were involved somehow. I also think the story has some holes in it that need to be answered. It's all very sketchy.

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2807
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby 2807 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:20 pm

Ok, if you kids don't knock it off I am going to put this bickering in the PS somehow.

Stay on target here.

DooDoo happens. Who cares. Move on. Kick ass.

Period.

Give me the goods and no one gets hurt.

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:31 pm

Do whatever you want OP, I just think that Mr. "Kick Ass" here is selling you a load of shit. It's extremely hard to believe that any adcom will like the topic that you you've chosen here. I think that it raises more questions about your character than it answers. If I were you, I would find an academic (possibly you have a former professor who could help) to give you his or her take on this PS. I seriously doubt that they are "gonna love ya" and dig this story as much as 2807.

cartercl
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby cartercl » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:32 pm

esq wrote:
I can also tell you that when I was finally released, I high tailed it the heck out of there and was re-pulled over in a podunk town 20 miles away and accused of dumping off a meth-lab at a closed down gas station 3 miles back.


The it's not me it's them, I'm always just a victim argument that you are using comes off as questionable. I have spent a lot of time in LA, and never once was I arrested as a drug dealer, released, and then accused for drug involvement - dumping the evidence - again in a separate city. I think that you were involved somehow. I also think the story has some holes in it that need to be answered. It's all very sketchy.


Oh how naive art thou...

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2807
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby 2807 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:43 pm

esq wrote:Do whatever you want OP, I just think that Mr. "Kick Ass" here is selling you a load of shit. It's extremely hard to believe that any adcom will like the topic that you you've chosen here. I think that it raises more questions about your character than it answers. If I were you, I would find an academic (possibly you have a former professor who could help) to give you his or her take on this PS. I seriously doubt that they are "gonna love ya" and dig this story as much as 2807.



You are grouchy. Relax.

It is a good experience to pull from if you can articulate it properly. If we/he cannot, then move on to plan B. Good grief.

pwuflaw811
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:53 pm

esq wrote:Do whatever you want OP, I just think that Mr. "Kick Ass" here is selling you a load of shit. It's extremely hard to believe that any adcom will like the topic that you you've chosen here. I think that it raises more questions about your character than it answers. If I were you, I would find an academic (possibly you have a former professor who could help) to give you his or her take on this PS. I seriously doubt that they are "gonna love ya" and dig this story as much as 2807.


Well here's the deal:

You begin by telling me that I'm a liar and was undoubtedly involved in the situation, as if you've never showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time before.
Then you continue to tell me that I'm basically full of it and was involved. Awesome.
Then you decide to actually make a meaningful comment and advise me that you think it may reflect negatively and to get more opinions.

I've been registered on here for about 2 hours so I'm not really sure who's advice is worth listening to yet.

So I decided to take a look at your previous posts off of your profile. I can see that all you really do is come on here to make some condescending comments on peoples posts when they are looking for help. I'm not sure if you were picked on a lot between grades 3-8 and this is your way of releasing built up anger or what, but your last 10 have been pretty much useless and mostly insulting.

So my conclusion is that you're an idiot and I'll probably have to study a little harder now after engaging in a conversation with you.

Best Wishes.

cartercl
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby cartercl » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:17 pm

pwuflaw811 wrote:
esq wrote:Do whatever you want OP, I just think that Mr. "Kick Ass" here is selling you a load of shit. It's extremely hard to believe that any adcom will like the topic that you you've chosen here. I think that it raises more questions about your character than it answers. If I were you, I would find an academic (possibly you have a former professor who could help) to give you his or her take on this PS. I seriously doubt that they are "gonna love ya" and dig this story as much as 2807.


Well here's the deal:

You begin by telling me that I'm a liar and was undoubtedly involved in the situation, as if you've never showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time before.
Then you continue to tell me that I'm basically full of it and was involved. Awesome.
Then you decide to actually make a meaningful comment and advise me that you think it may reflect negatively and to get more opinions.

I've been registered on here for about 2 hours so I'm not really sure who's advice is worth listening to yet.

So I decided to take a look at your previous posts off of your profile. I can see that all you really do is come on here to make some condescending comments on peoples posts when they are looking for help. I'm not sure if you were picked on a lot between grades 3-8 and this is your way of releasing built up anger or what, but your last 10 have been pretty much useless and mostly insulting.

So my conclusion is that you're an idiot and I'll probably have to study a little harder now after engaging in a conversation with you.

Best Wishes.


Pwned.

But seriously, adcomms are the perfect people to explain such a situation to because unlike Oscar here, they are mostly practicing attorneys who know the faults of the justice system. If this guy was paying any attention he would realize that THE CHARGES WERE DROPPED!

If he was so damn guilty and the evidence against him was so compelling, why would the prosecuting attorney drop felony charges? Hmm... perhaps because it's just as he said: he's innocent. Drug charges are some of the most open and shut cases in the criminal justice system, so it makes absolutely no sense that charges of this magnitude would be dropped unless the OP was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was little to no evidence that he was actually involved in drug trafficking.

To anyone with common sense and any sort of a logical mind, this is what is going to be what is taken away from your personal statement. Some people on here are just inherently assholes... Don't hold it against them.

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:22 pm

Again, do what you want OP. I just don't think that making this issue bigger by writing a PS about it is a good idea. Put it on an addendum, minimize the damage. I think that Harley Davidson is wrong on this one.

And I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the story that the cops in LA conspired to arrest you and then pull you over in another city shortly later for possession of a meth lab. Conspiracy theories hold little weight. I just tell it how I see it.

pwuflaw811
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:46 pm

esq wrote:Again, do what you want OP. I just don't think that making this issue bigger by writing a PS about it is a good idea. Put it on an addendum, minimize the damage. I think that Harley Davidson is wrong on this one.

And I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the story that the cops in LA conspired to arrest you and then pull you over in another city shortly later for possession of a meth lab. Conspiracy theories hold little weight. I just tell it how I see it.


I shouldn't even be replying to this, but I'm doing so for any future readers that may get the wrong idea after reading your comments.

I don't think they conspired against me. He was guilty. They sent in a dog that found all the stuff. He went to prison. He was calling me to get the hell out of dodge and I wasn't aware of that.
They had nothing on me. They searched me, my car, everything.
I haven't spoken to him since except for when he called me at work after getting out on parole 2 years ago, and I told him I wanted nothing to do with him.
I'm pretty sure the neighboring police were contacted to be on look out to see if they could get any info out of me before I got out of town. I never said the police just decided to arrest me one day for no reason. They were watching him and I showed up. I showed up because he called me. He called me because he probably knew he was in trouble. I don't know because we never discussed it. I don't know why it's a hard concept for you, nor do I care, I just don't want anyone with any useful insight to refrain from commenting after reading your remarks. Just move on and start belittling someone else's post.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby ArchRoark » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:17 pm

IMHO, esq on a whole gives good advice. He helped me a bunch with my essay. I am going to have to agree with him that I personally do not see how this essay topic will help you with your admissions cycle. It leaves a bunch of unanswered questions.


First, like the other person mentioned, do not include the donut incident in your PS. If you are going to have to disclose it then do it in a addendum. That is what they are for. Second, think long and hard what you want the adcomms to know about you. Why bring this topic up if you are not going to have to disclose it? At best you were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time and hang out with people of questionable character. At worse the adcomm could think you are not being entirely honest. Either way, how does this topic paint a picture of you with beneficial qualities? It basically boils down to, poor me I got falsely accused and because of that I want to be a public defender to help others who are falsely accused. Well, for one, as a public defender you won't be able to cherry pick the clients you want to represent. You *will* be representing the full spectrum of possibilities from those wrongfully accused to those who are most likely guilty. I am not saying that this can't be worked into a good PS, but I am saying that as is... it leaves a lot of untied strings. You need to focus more on your beneficial qualities and less on the actual traumatic incident. Pity imho is never really a good sell.

hth

DreamShake
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby DreamShake » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:34 pm

1) Ignore esq. Adcomms are intelligent and socially aware enough to know that police frequently act in an asinine fashion.
2) Your story has promise, but you need to work on relating it to your desire to become a lawyer. You became interested in the system because it held the potential to impact you, but tell me why you made the leap to wanting to become a criminal defense attorney--what made that experience stick, as opposed to its causing you to run away from the system? Tell me a little about what you've done to pursue your interest in "the legal system and how it works." (Unless your resume clearly does this.)
3) Defense attorneys usually deal with clients who are guilty; your emphasis on protecting the innocent may be construed as somewhat naive/idealistic.
4) I disagree about the prior conviction; you'll have to disclose it anyways, and it helps the reader understand your position. There's a big difference between "I've never done anything illegal in my life, and I sure as hell didn't do this!" and "Oh s***, this doesn't look good, and it might not matter what I say because my credibility could have already been impeached..."
5) The experience convincing you of our legal system's justness is mildly ridiculous. You were arrested; your parents had to post bail; you had to go through the trouble of getting it expunged. You lost time, money, and peace of mind...and were never recompensed. That doesn't sound just at all. In fact, your desire to defend others might be interpreted as an implicit acknowledgment of an unjust system (i.e., "Innocent people will go to jail if others don't fight for them, because the system is biased towards conviction.").
6) The first sentence in the third to last paragraph (Four months...) is kind of left hanging by the rest of the paragraph. Was it those four, agonizing months that convinced you to pursue college? Did you go back to school immediately after finding out the charges were being dropped? There's a temporal and logical disconnect.
7) "Viable" candidate?? That's like saying, "Hey, you might not be excited about admitting me, but you probably won't regret it!"
8 ) Proofread for grammar (a few missing commas, clumsy phrasing, etc.).


Edit: Tiva usually gives pretty sound advice, so I'll say this about the topic as a whole: if this is genuinely what inspired you to attend law school, then use it. You need to answer the "Why law?" question, and honesty will typically work in your favor ITE. You will very likely have this episode exposed during character & fitness examination by a state bar, so you may as well start pitching your story now. Moreover--and contrary to esq's opinion--this essay does provide positive insight into your character. It shows you have the ability to proactively pursue a desire; combined with good grades, it will demonstrate excellence in such pursuit. It also shows some semblance of social conscientiousness (though it could be enhanced by acknowledging that most defendants are not innocent). You do need to tread carefully in avoiding a picture that paints you as a victim, but you should be able to say "Look, I had this stupid s*** happen in my life, and it made me realize that I needed to get my own s*** together. It made me want to do bigger and better things with my life. Look what I've done since." The key is focusing on the growth, not its impetus.

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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:56 pm

A PS is supposed to highlight your positive qualities. Demonstrate your academic, intellectual, or professional excellence. This PS doesn't do that. Bottom line. You're emphasizing that which should be downplayed. Maybe you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But a mature person realizes that this does not completely absolve you from guilt. People don't slip on banana peels and fall into trouble. They hover around it -- for example through the company they keep -- and sometimes end up a little too close.

Surely you have other experiences / qualities to support your thesis: that thesis being you hope to be a criminal defense attorney to help the helpless, etc. Focus on those. The exp you focus on in this PS leaves too much room for negative speculation about your maturity, sincerity, and character. Moreover, if this is the only thing that propelled your desire to practice law -- questions are begged, eg, what else were you doing with your life? What were your other interests/passions?


Also, do realize you non-ironically use the phrase "chill out" in your PS. And it's not in dialogue. You're not doing much to distance yourself from the potential stereotype with that one.

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:57 pm

You do need to tread carefully in avoiding a picture that paints you as a victim, but you should be able to say "Look, I had this stupid s*** happen in my life, and it made me realize that I needed to get my own s*** together. It made me want to do bigger and better things with my life. Look what I've done since." The key is focusing on the growth, not its impetus.


I will agree with this assessment 100%. I still think that the overall statement as of now raises more questions than it answers. Because of this, is doesn't come off as honest IMO. Remember, the adcoms that you are writing to are well versed in the Socratic Method. They will question your story. Put the subject matter of your PS, which reads as "I'm innocent, believe me" in your addendum, and focus on what DreamShake pointed out.

pwuflaw811
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby pwuflaw811 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:23 am

DreamShake wrote:1) Ignore esq. Adcomms are intelligent and socially aware enough to know that police frequently act in an asinine fashion.
2) Your story has promise, but you need to work on relating it to your desire to become a lawyer. You became interested in the system because it held the potential to impact you, but tell me why you made the leap to wanting to become a criminal defense attorney--what made that experience stick, as opposed to its causing you to run away from the system? Tell me a little about what you've done to pursue your interest in "the legal system and how it works." (Unless your resume clearly does this.)
3) Defense attorneys usually deal with clients who are guilty; your emphasis on protecting the innocent may be construed as somewhat naive/idealistic.
4) I disagree about the prior conviction; you'll have to disclose it anyways, and it helps the reader understand your position. There's a big difference between "I've never done anything illegal in my life, and I sure as hell didn't do this!" and "Oh s***, this doesn't look good, and it might not matter what I say because my credibility could have already been impeached..."
5) The experience convincing you of our legal system's justness is mildly ridiculous. You were arrested; your parents had to post bail; you had to go through the trouble of getting it expunged. You lost time, money, and peace of mind...and were never recompensed. That doesn't sound just at all. In fact, your desire to defend others might be interpreted as an implicit acknowledgment of an unjust system (i.e., "Innocent people will go to jail if others don't fight for them, because the system is biased towards conviction.").
6) The first sentence in the third to last paragraph (Four months...) is kind of left hanging by the rest of the paragraph. Was it those four, agonizing months that convinced you to pursue college? Did you go back to school immediately after finding out the charges were being dropped? There's a temporal and logical disconnect.
7) "Viable" candidate?? That's like saying, "Hey, you might not be excited about admitting me, but you probably won't regret it!"
8 ) Proofread for grammar (a few missing commas, clumsy phrasing, etc.).


Edit: Tiva usually gives pretty sound advice, so I'll say this about the topic as a whole: if this is genuinely what inspired you to attend law school, then use it. You need to answer the "Why law?" question, and honesty will typically work in your favor ITE. You will very likely have this episode exposed during character & fitness examination by a state bar, so you may as well start pitching your story now. Moreover--and contrary to esq's opinion--this essay does provide positive insight into your character. It shows you have the ability to proactively pursue a desire; combined with good grades, it will demonstrate excellence in such pursuit. It also shows some semblance of social conscientiousness (though it could be enhanced by acknowledging that most defendants are not innocent). You do need to tread carefully in avoiding a picture that paints you as a victim, but you should be able to say "Look, I had this stupid s*** happen in my life, and it made me realize that I needed to get my own s*** together. It made me want to do bigger and better things with my life. Look what I've done since." The key is focusing on the growth, not its impetus.


well....f*ck..

DreamShake
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby DreamShake » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:29 am

I guess this thread has validated the "risky topic" assertion in OP :P

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ArchRoark
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Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby ArchRoark » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:52 am

DreamShake wrote:The key is focusing on the growth, not its impetus.


IMHO this is what it all boils down to.

I wrote on a risky topic but I made sure that I focused on my new life. Risky topics are fine. They stick in the adcomms mind, but make sure like DS mentioned that you focus on the growth.. on what you took away from it... on concrete things you have done to follow in this direction.

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2807
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Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:23 pm

Re: Personal Statement critique

Postby 2807 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:29 am

Well. I sent him a re-write that really downplayed the bad day, and pushed the valuable lesson learned. I am waiting to see what happens. If the risk still outweighs the reward on this most-neutral version that I crafted, then I may agree that we should look at the short list of other PS topics, and try another.

The OP initially asked for help on this risky topic. I am trying that first.

I like all the help from everyone. It shows how different people reading these see such different things.




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