Submitting today!! Last minute comments NEEDED!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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piccolittle
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Submitting today!! Last minute comments NEEDED!

Postby piccolittle » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:54 pm

New version of the essay! Please feel free to express all comments and criticisms - thanks!

"The ticking from the clock on the wall was as loud as my heartbeat as the proctor announced the five-minute warning. Looking around, I was certain that almost everyone I saw had an advantage over me with regard to this test. Aside from our educational disparities, I was also the youngest in the room. I was virtually a kid after all – recently turned twenty-two – and I was in the middle of the New York State Bar Exam.

One might assume this achievement was the result of a decision taken at an early age to dedicate my life to the law. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

My father was a British editor working for Reuters, my mother an American doctor. I grew up in the United States but between two very different worlds; my absent father was a giant in my mind and I yearned to follow in his footsteps. I was led by my paternal heritage to the United Kingdom, with the secret ambition of being an editor as he was. I did not intend to practice but I felt that studying law as an undergraduate would give me a new perspective and a highly transferable degree.

It was also an adventure. My class had over thirty countries represented and many of my friends spoke multiple languages. I have been fortunate that my experience included weekend trips to Florence to help a friend stage exhibitions in his family’s art museum, and to Cologne for a christening. I was able to revisit the orphanage in Yaroslavl, Russia where I had volunteered during one summer of high school. I learned conversational Italian and refreshed my French and Russian. I took advantage of every opportunity, except some academic ones. Having studied at one of the best universities in the world, my only regret is that I was not mature or dedicated enough at the time to fully apply myself to the legal curriculum. My fellow students were in the final stages of preparation to become practicing lawyers, and they approached the rigorous course load with the single-minded focus of graduate law students. My undergraduate program was in essence a professional degree, and I still had not accepted the law as my life. However, my journey became a manifestation of the Italian expression “l'appetito vien mangiando.” The appetite comes from eating.

Studying for the bar back in New York was the true turning point in my commitment to the law. My fellow students’ engagement was palpable as I entered the classroom each day. Our first torts lecture began with a hypothetical. I realized I was missing something when I looked up from my furious note-taking to see the whole class giggling at each other. As the professor came to the “punch line,” the package of fireworks exploded, proximate cause was introduced, and I turned to the student next to me. “Sorry, I didn’t catch the name of that case. Did you get it?”

“You don’t know Palsgraf?” he asked, incredulously. “That’s like graduating from college and never having eaten Ramen noodles.”

I realized I was facing an entire legal background that I would not be able to reference, regardless of my performance on the bar exam. I knew the relevant principles, but was lacking the rich details, the precedent and distinctions that were crucial to one’s complete understanding of the law. Speaking with my classmates opened my eyes to the opportunities and realities they were facing as a result of their studies. The experience threw my education into sharp contrast with that of these peers. For the first time, I felt part of a community of future lawyers, miles away both literally and mentally from the dusty, cavernous lecture halls of my British university. I threw myself into studying and, also for the first time, fell in love with the law.

My new determination led me to seek experience in the practice of law, where I found my editorial skills mirrored in legal work. Challenges such as reviewing a 150-page music recording contract for adverse provisions tested my meticulous attention to detail, sharp eye for mistakes, and comprehension of dense material. Of course, the fact that the other party had drafted the contract to favor its own interests only added to the satisfaction of spotting a point of contention. As an editor, I relished making corrections to enhance the author's meaning. But as an attorney, my pen now worked feverishly to identify and reshape the nuances that would determine the practical outcome of the agreement. As I walked out of my most recent internship interview, I reflected on the enjoyment I derived from marking up the contract exercise, red ink running rampant on the page. With seemingly nothing to lose, I had really let loose on that contract – perhaps too much, I remember thinking. An hour later, they offered me the position.

At [global online retailer], I am part of a team that provides crucial support to a company on the cutting edge of technology, facilitating the business and anticipating possibly unprecedented legal issues raised by its innovation. My compliance work ensures that a subtle difference in language – one that would appear innocuous to the lay reader – helps the company avoid an expensive investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority. In a recent commercial deal, negotiating the precise meaning of the word “acquire” provided the key to limiting the company’s liability in case of a future dispute.

I now find myself in the unusual position of being educated in one jurisdiction and licensed to practice in another. Thus, my experiences have led me back to law school. I now appreciate the law’s value and complexity and I want to study it – again – with the focus and maturity that I have since gained. After studying law and working in it as a young person, I have been altered by an awareness of how much I still have left to learn. I am ready to pursue the law as it has pursued me, to gain a comprehensive education that will enable me to be an effective advocate in each of my jurisdictions, and to create more opportunities to practice in my home country. I have discovered my passion, and I want a graduate legal education in the United States to further develop my knowledge and career. I may be an attorney, but I am now ready to be a student of the law."
Last edited by piccolittle on Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:21 am, edited 7 times in total.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:24 pm

piccolittle wrote:Yes, really. PM me if you're willing to critique my essay, which is very much in need of help! Thanks :D


How would an attorney go to law school? Unless, of course, you earned a JD (or something close to it), in another country?

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piccolittle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby piccolittle » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:50 pm

It's all in my statement. PM me if you want to help.

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esq
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby esq » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:55 pm

I don't think he trusts that you are a lawyer.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:57 pm

piccolittle wrote:
TheInquirer wrote:Thanks for the answers everyone.

I´ll be at UCL, so yes they have a partnership program with Columbia but it´s very hard to get into, apparently. Only two spots every year.

In case I didn´t get into that program and chose to do a LLM instead, how would that affect my employability? Could someone with a British LLB and an American LLM stand a good chance for securing a job at a larger law firm?


Hey, I went to UCL too and I'm applying for JDs this cycle. The Columbia program is extremely competitive; my friend who got it was first in our class in first year and the other person was second... needless to say I was frustrated (I'm American, and they were German and Israeli). I would not do an LLM. They are generally considered to be a waste of money, and really don't help employability in the States. It is so good that you are thinking so far ahead. Work your butt off at UCL (and have a great time!), apply for the Columbia program (make sure your first year marks are amazing, if possible), and failing that, begin cultivating good relationships with some of your tutors. I never did, and that is one of my regrets (my LORs might be lukewarm). Some schools like Fordham, Duke and Cornell (and others, though those are the ones I researched) might be willing to give you advanced standing credit of one year for the LLB, so it'll be two years but you have more choices. On the other hand, you might decide, as I did, that an extra year of studying is worth it in exchange for going to the best school possible.

Again, good luck and have fun at UCL! God I miss it there. :)

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piccolittle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby piccolittle » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:00 pm

Wow RP, you're on top of it! lol

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ResolutePear
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:01 pm

I'm always on top. Always.

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piccolittle
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Re: Need help!

Postby piccolittle » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:40 am

No one wants to help? I'm panicking as I am looking to apply ED and the deadline is looming. Definitely need work on tone!

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ResolutePear
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Re: Need help!

Postby ResolutePear » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:43 am

piccolittle wrote:No one wants to help? I'm panicking as I am looking to apply ED and the deadline is looming. Definitely need work on tone!


Perhaps if you post your statement minus names, etc. you'll get more bites. You'll solicit discussion about it, too.

Making somebody go through the work of fishing you for your PS is counterproductive on every level. I just don't understand the huge "secret" behind these things. It's not like a PS is a unique snowflake, different from everybody else.

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piccolittle
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Re: Need help!

Postby piccolittle » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:51 am

ResolutePear wrote:
piccolittle wrote:No one wants to help? I'm panicking as I am looking to apply ED and the deadline is looming. Definitely need work on tone!


Perhaps if you post your statement minus names, etc. you'll get more bites. You'll solicit discussion about it, too.

Making somebody go through the work of fishing you for your PS is counterproductive on every level. I just don't understand the huge "secret" behind these things. It's not like a PS is a unique snowflake, different from everybody else.


Fair enough, it's not that I'm thinking someone's going to 'copy' me like in grade school. Was just concerned that somehow it could be found by some snoopy adcom (again, not that I think they would really waste the time) in an unfinished version that would put them off.

Ah well, will edit first post and include the essay. Thanks, RP.

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piccolittle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby piccolittle » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:28 am

Bump! Anyone? I know it's bad but bring it on! :)

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piccolittle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby piccolittle » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:49 am

Bump again! I'd really like some feedback and I'm happy to read anyone else's if they'd like to send it to me! :)

helfer snooterbagon
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby helfer snooterbagon » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:00 am

I started reading it and was quickly bored. I just don't understand what it is you are trying to accomplish or why.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby The Gentleman » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:17 am

It's well written, but you don't offer many compelling reasons for pursuing a JD. It sounds like you are already quite successful and happy in spite of not having a law degree. So if that's true, then why do you want to invest three years and thousands of dollars in something that is not totally necessary for your professional development?

I'm not trying to be a dick, I'm just pointing out a perceived gap.

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piccolittle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby piccolittle » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:25 am

This is perfect - thanks, guys! I definitely know it needs a lot of help and your comments are helping me see where. Been trying to think of a way to make it more interesting and compelling, but I'm not quite set on the whole 'I need a JD to get a job' honesty bit yet... ;)

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The Gentleman
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby The Gentleman » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:38 am

piccolittle wrote:Been trying to think of a way to make it more interesting and compelling, but I'm not quite set on the whole 'I need a JD to get a job' honesty bit yet...


Why does not having a JD limit you? Are there certain types of docs you can't draft/review? Certain types of motions you can't file? And how does that affect the satisfaction you derive from your job? Are you left wanting more?

Try addressing some of those questions in your essay.

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downing
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby downing » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:48 am

I read through it once and it is interesting. The writing is solid too. You also illustrate episodes in your life that show you have an aptitude for legal education. I really have no critiques. I might be a tad jaded, however, after reading so many Personal Statements detailing the impossible upbringings of under privileged but hyper competitive under represented minorities (I do understand that it's a totally legitimate card to play), this was refreshing.

ohlawl
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby ohlawl » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:59 am

At risk of sounding like an echo, your PS has solid writing and I was interested in finishing reading it. One caveat: in the end you talk about being brought "back to the law," however I think changing it to "law school" might function better.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:04 pm

Very well written--except for a few minor errors--and skilfully crafted, although I am not sure that it will enhance your chances of admittance into a highly ranked law school unless you apply to LLM programs in comparative law.

CONSIDER: Substitute "as well as" in place of "or" when discussing your educational experience in Cologne.

"Studying law as an undergraduate in London was an experience of the foundation of the common law system." This sentence doesn't quite convey your intended message, in my opinion.

"...in addition to thinking a step ahead of the business..." should be rephrased.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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AreJay711
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:15 pm

It is certainly well written but I think as someone already practicing as an attorney you need to be blunt about why you want a JD. That was the punch line I was waiting for the whole time. If you can give a strong compelling reason -- even something as un-sexy like that it will improve your career prospects -- I would imagine your background should help you.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:18 pm

It is not clear as to whether the OP is seeking admittance into a JD program or to an LLM program which might require an LSAT score.

OP: Your eighth & ninth paragraphs present a solid understanding between most undergraduate legal studies programs & law school that explains your desire to acquire an American graduate law degree although it is unclear as to whether you are interested in pursuing study toward an LLM or toward a JD degree.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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piccolittle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby piccolittle » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:25 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:It is not clear as to whether the OP is seeking admittance into a JD program or to an LLM program which might require an LSAT score.


Sorry, I'm applying for JDs... should I specify that in my PS?

Thanks to all of you for your advice - I really appreciate it so keep it coming! :)

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vanwinkle
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:28 pm

piccolittle wrote:Sorry, I'm applying for JDs... should I specify that in my PS?

The question everyone keeps asking is, why do you need a JD? I think adcomms will wonder this too.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:30 pm

Have you confirmed your eligibility for JD programs with any of the top 20 law schools ? My suspicion is that you will be redirected to LLM comparative law programs even though you earned an undergraduate law degree focused on common law.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Attorney going to law school...

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:36 pm

Another option may be to secure a position as a legal writing instructor at a law school that will also permit you to enroll as a JD or LLM student. I make this suggestion because many may wonder why you want and, possibly, need to attend law school after passing the New York bar exam and becoming a licensed attorney. The truth, after all, is that the primary purpose of a JD education is to teach law students to be able to teach themselves; it is not to educate law students as legal specialists.

Have you encountered legal positions that specifically require a "JD degree" in addition to a state bar membership ?
Additionally, although you have adequately explained the reasons behind your desire to attend law school even though a licensed attorney in New York state, you may wish to share any need for a JD degree in your situation.




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