PS Draft- Please critique unless you are Wade Phillips

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PS Draft- Please critique unless you are Wade Phillips

Postby jr8966 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:59 am

My Dallas Cowboys are done for the year, which gives me more time to finish my law school apps. Please critique my PS. Thank you for taking the time to review. I will be more than glad to return the favor.
Imagine growing up without the rule of law. My rural neighborhood along the Texas Mexican border was like a town depicted on an Old Western movie. Gangs and drug dealers roamed free to manage their illicit activities while corrupt police officials turned a blind eye. My community was not best known for having law abiding citizens either. As Mexican Americans we lived side by side with undocumented immigrants, owed uncollectable debt, and at least every household had a former convict. As a result most residents shared a natural distrust of legal system. Lost in this suspicion was an opportunity for reform.
During my freshman year in college I pursued a paralegal position with a local law firm. I eagerly accepted the responsibility of preparing cases for trial as an opportunity to understand a legal system I avoided all of my life. With this new challenge I discovered a structured adversarial process full of hundreds of legal documents. Initially formal legal writing appeared incomprehensible and rigid, but I quickly became aware of the differences between various filings. Ironically, it was within the confines of legalese where I discovered a more interpretive approach to the law. The mental chess game of the litigation process was forcing me to think with an open mind. So impartial that words and sentences took on multiple meanings. Understanding the complexities of law was empowering.
I took my newfound confidence and worked tirelessly. Each case held a personal story of hardship, but collectively represented the social issues prevalent in my Hispanic community. As part of the litigation team I was tasked with chronicling these unique situations through traditional legal filings. For two years I spent every hour outside of class sifting through shades of grey to find the one relevant court decision or obscure statute that would provide our client with additional leverage. In many instances the team was able to bring about a successful resolution to a dispute, but a substantial number of defeats were painful. I began questioning the objectivity of Texas’ politicized judicial system. Elected judges had political agendas that at times conflicted with my community’s issues. My solution to this new barrier was to join the political discussion. During my senior year of college I moved to Washington, DC as part of the University of [School] Fellowship. I never overlooked the timeless lessons I learned at that small firm. The skills I gained would be helpful as I transitioned to a new legal body: the US House of Representatives.
After a year as an intern and another working for a tax law publication, I accepted a staff position working for my hometown Congressman. My experience as a paralegal allowed me to adapt seamlessly to Capitol Hill’s formalities, however, this new opportunity came the biggest responsibility of my career. As a congressional staff member I was personally responsible for representing the diverse views of over 500,000 constituents at committee hearings and events. Discussing the poor conditions of Colonias in South Texas to a staff member from Brooklyn was like teaching a foreign language. While I dealt with many of these issues throughout my life, most Members of Congress and their staff had a limited knowledge of these situations. I was able to overcome this barrier by finding common ground much like a lawyer does when searching for relevant cases. Colonias became “rural housing” issues and remittances turned into “financial services.” This was a very successful approach as many regional issues shared common characteristics that transcended race and locality. Eventually the 111th Congress proved to be one of the biggest social experiments of the last decade. I worked on energy, financial, and financial reform all in span of a few months. The halls of Congress were full of celebratory parties after each major passage, but I knew the journey was just beginning. The debate would now shift to our nation’s legal system as society adapted to these new laws.
Observing the formulation of law in the chambers of Congress and its application in the courtroom I have seen the impact attorneys can have on society’s greatest issues. Representing a cause or individual before the court of law is one of the most honorable duties one can fulfill. Obtaining my doctor of jurisprudence at [law school] would allow me to continue working on issues that I have contributed most of my professional and academic career to resolving. [Describe relevant clinic and research]. After law school, I envision returning to Washington, DC where I am determined to apply my analytical skills and adaptive thinking to our nation’s issues.

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Re: PS Draft- Please critique unless you are Wade Phillips

Postby crysmissmichelle » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:15 am

It is well written and a good read. I worry that most of what is written in the last three paragraphs is basically rephrasing things they will already see in your resume. Everything I have read says that you need to tell a story or show them something about yourself that they cannot get just from your resume.

Ivey describes it as using each piece of your application to showcase a different aspect of you and that the PS is your chance to showcase personality. I think you started out doing that very effectively from the beginning when you were showcasing dedication and overcoming obstacles of your community, but then diverged when you started listing other accomplishments.

Maybe you could limit it to the experience in one or the other (law firm/intern) as related to overcoming limitations of community/background.

As an aside, it sounds like you have a very strong application going here. Is your resume talking these things up effectively?

I envy your background!

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Re: PS Draft- Please critique unless you are Wade Phillips

Postby nataliejane38 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:36 am

Very good, but I agree with the above poster that the bulk of the essay talks about what should be on your resume, you should reveal more about yourself.

Also this:
and at least every household had a former convict.

I don't think "at least every household" sounds right, maybe "most households" would work better here.

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