Public Interest Law PS -- Need more examples of injustices?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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clevermoose
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:15 pm

Public Interest Law PS -- Need more examples of injustices?

Postby clevermoose » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:44 am

Thanks for reading this -- I want to use this to apply to Berkeley, Davis, UCLA, USC and Cornell. Is this appropriate/sufficient/typo-free?
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The United States legal system can sometimes prove to be vicious for the underprivileged. After corresponding with hundreds of prisoners at the National Prison Project in Washington, DC, I discovered that there are many challenges that must be overcome in order to present a strong defense case or even to voice their claims of injustice. Whether those challenges concern their command of the English language or their lack of funds for legal resources, such problems inhibited the prisoners from effectively presenting the accurate facts of their case. That is why I believe programs like the National Prison Project of the ACLU or the Community Legal Information Center are important. The indigent and uneducated deserve the strongest representation possible, but it seems to me that that they do not always receive it. I want to dedicate my professional career to changing that trend.

As a student who funds his education through financial aid and scholarships, I understand the value of programs that helps those with need improve their lives. If it were not for the assistance of altruistic foundations, awards, or government programs, it would be incredibly difficult for me to obtain a high quality education. I have much to be thankful for because most of my education was made possible as a result of programs that help people in difficult life situations. In my case, I was helped because of my financial difficulties.

My exposure to the legal field must largely be credited to programs created by the University of California. For example, while participating in the King Hall Outreach Program, I was exposed to the demands of legal education. I met with lawyers, judges, law school students and professors to discover if the field of law was right for me and what kinds of law would interest me most. What most caught my interest were the public service clinics that allow students to get first-hand experience in their field in which a student finds most interesting or important. This aspect of law school is incredibly exciting for me and I am eager to find a law school that encourages its students to participate in public interest law with real world applications.

The education I received at [Random Community College] and [four year CA university] has benefitted immensely by supplementing the theories and concepts learned in the classroom with work done in the real world that enhanced and focused my educational goals. Throughout my collegiate experience, I have sought out several internships in my own community and abroad that focus on helping people receive the aid they need: language acquisition, legal information, or even grant funding for special legal projects. While participating in these programs, I learned that one must have a strong devotion to their chosen field. Complementing this devotion is the necessity to have a persistent internal motivation to work on a strict schedule, combined with a diligent attention to detail. For an organization to operate effectively, its members must be devoted to their cause and work systematically. I have shown I can do these things, and will continue to do them in law school and, eventually, in public service organization.

Legal knowledge is powerful and can affect the lives of many. To have a client entrust a case to you is an incredible responsibility. After working under supervising attorneys, I am undeterred by this responsibility. This is because I believe that passion in one’s chosen field is the most important. Passion, paired with ability and preparation provide for me the spark to make a strong impact in the field of law.

I understand that law school will be very different from other forms of education. A successful law student will need to work and study independently, have excellent research skills, and have an ability to read dense and difficult texts. Additionally, I recognize that law school requires much more preparation and diligence than most undergraduate classes. In law school, both in academic and clinical settings, I plan to devote all of my strength to preparation for working as an attorney in public service. I plan to do this work because it is important and there are many that need my help. My passion and high expectations will provide me strength to flourish in a setting that is both demanding and stimulating. I look forward to the challenge.

frost
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: Public Interest Law PS -- Need more examples of injustices?

Postby frost » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:34 pm

I skimmed over your PS but I honestly don't know what your main point is. Every paragraph seems to be saying something different and I don't see a strong unifying theme. For example, your first paragraph starts out strong but then you talk about how you pay for school through scholarships and financial aid. It seems like a poor transition from or analogy to "the indigent and uneducated." It's not like you were helped by legal means, but grants and loans which are available to countless other college and graduate students.

Your PS would be stronger if you gave specific examples. You started to do that in the middle/end, talking about your internships, but you don't really get into it. It's not enough to just say that you "learned that one must have a strong devotion to their chosen field." How did you learn it? Give specific examples. On that note, I honestly think that your last paragraph is a waste of space. You don't need to tell adcomms what a successful law student must do - they already know you have to read cases, do research, and study independently. Show them that you have these skills by telling stories in your PS. Don't just tell them outright that you have passion and high expectations, convey that message to them through your experiences.

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clevermoose
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:15 pm

Re: Public Interest Law PS -- Need more examples of injustices?

Postby clevermoose » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:32 pm

thanks for this critique! i'll take that into account when revising this week.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Public Interest Law PS -- Need more examples of injustices?

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:59 pm

The adcomms know what public interest law is and how the legal system works. They don't need a lecture on it. What they don't know is anything about your personality or what draws you personally to law school, and in my opinion, they still don't know those things after reading this PS. It's too impersonal. I get that you're trying to convince them that you'd be a good law student, but it reads more like a catalog description of public interest law and a checklist of the program's requirements. What is the King Hall program and how did it expose you to the rigors of legal education? When did you know that you wanted to go to law school? You apparently spent considerable time researching and considering the different legal fields, but the only specific reason you give for wanting to do PI is that there are clinics (which other legal specialties also have). The first paragraph mentions injustices in access to legal representation, but you don't connect it to yourself in any way. Have you witnessed or experienced any of those injustices? A specific anecdote or two from your internships would be much more effective than a list of qualifications like 'attention to detail' and 'ability to maintain a strict schedule.'




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