1st Draft...be gentle..

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rbarcelo9
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1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby rbarcelo9 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:04 am

The lobby had a distinct smell of aged wood, the floor was scuffed and looked dirty from the countless amount of steps that had been taken down this path. The bars were thick and slightly rusted and screeched when they slid open. I was at Sumter Correctional facility, a prison that housed murderers, rapist, kidnappers and any and all other inmates that the justice system deemed unfit to be amongst us average citizens. My whole life I had been told that this is a place I'd never want to be. That the men behind these bars were to be isolated and feared. Somewhere inside sat Richard Reed, who in 1990 was convicted and sentenced to three life sentences for kidnapping, rape, and murder--this is who I was meeting with.
I nervously sat in a small room with my arms crossed around my case file, scared to make the slightest of movements. Mr. Reed sat across from me, looking at the ground. There was an extended period of silence as both myself and the staff attorney that I was accompanying got settled. The sense of discomfort in the room was overwhelming. Mr. Reed was clearly puzzled, wondering why he was in this room with two people he had never met before. After a brief introduction we told Mr. Reed that we were with the Innocence Project of Florida, and that we would be taking his case in efforts to seek his exoneration. The look on Mr. Reed's face was one of pure joy, one that is rarely seen in everyday life. Eyes that were full of pain and sorrow quickly widened and displayed hope and gratitude. Throughout our meeting, Mr. Reed graciously thanked us numerous times, showing a form of appreciation like I had never before seen or felt. Just as we were preparing to leave, Mr. Reed looked at the ground and began to cry. Before I had a moment to say anything he looked up and whipped his eyes dry. He looked at us and said that this was the happiest moment of his life.
I left Sumter Correctional facility that day a different person. For the first time in my life I felt like I had found my calling. Something inside of me had changed, and I was determined to help Mr. Reed see his family again. I spent most of the next year working on Mr. Reed's case, rummaging through case files, and reading anything and everything I could that was related to the homicide that led to his arrest. This work, which is commonly looked at as the undesirable work of an attorney, was what I loved so much. No one understood why I spent hours reading depositions, or spent weeks tweaking one sentence in the motion or memo I was writing. However, I needed no outside influence or motivation. The fact that the one key statement or piece of evidence that could set Mr. Reed free could be within these documents was all I needed.
This newly found passion and drive is the reason I am applying to law school. I look to further pursue the Innocence Projects mission and continue to assist those who society and the rest of the world have given up on. Throughout my two years at the Innocence Project I have met a handful of exonerees and their families. Many of these individuals have extremely high spirits, and despite being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for years, have faith in the criminal justice system. When in need of motivation or encouragement I think about what exoneree Alan Crotzer told me when I asked him how he could still trust a system that wrongfully incarcerated him for 24 years. He said, I have faith because of people like you, students who are dedicated to the project, and I know you guys are not going to let me down.

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gbpackerbacker
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby gbpackerbacker » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:16 am

The lobby had a distinct smell of aged wood, the floor was scuffed and looked dirty from the countless amount of steps that had been taken down this path. The bars were thick and slightly rusted and screeched when they slid open. I was at Sumter Correctional facility, a prison that housed murderers, rapist, kidnappers and any and all other inmates that the justice system deemed unfit to be amongst us average citizens. My whole life I had been told that this is a place I'd never want to be. That the men behind these bars were to be isolated and feared. Somewhere inside sat Richard Reed, who in 1990 was convicted and sentenced to three life sentences for kidnapping, rape, and murder--this is who I was meeting with.
I nervously sat in a small room with my arms crossed around my case file, scared to make the slightest of movements. Mr. Reed sat across from me, looking at the ground. There was an extended period of silence as both myself and the staff attorney that I was accompanying got settled. The sense of discomfort in the room was overwhelming. Mr. Reed was clearly puzzled, wondering why he was in this room with two people he had never met before. After a brief introduction we told Mr. Reed that we were with the Innocence Project of Florida, and that we would be taking his case in efforts to seek his exoneration. The look on Mr. Reed's face was one of pure joy, one that is rarely seen in everyday life. Eyes that were full of pain and sorrow quickly widened and displayed hope and gratitude. Throughout our meeting, Mr. Reed graciously thanked us numerous times, showing a form of appreciation like I had never before seen or felt. Just as we were preparing to leave, Mr. Reed looked at the ground and began to cry. Before I had a moment to say anything he looked up and whipped his eyes dry. He looked at us and said that this was the happiest moment of his life.
I left Sumter Correctional facility that day a different person. For the first time in my life I felt like I had found my calling. Something inside of me had changed, and I was determined to help Mr. Reed see his family again. I spent most of the next year working on Mr. Reed's case, rummaging through case files, and reading anything and everything I could that was related to the homicide that led to his arrest. This work, which is commonly looked at as the undesirable work of an attorney, was what I loved so much. No one understood why I spent hours reading depositions, or spent weeks tweaking one sentence in the motion or memo I was writing. However, I needed no outside influence or motivation. The fact that the one key statement or piece of evidence that could set Mr. Reed free could be within these documents was all I needed.
This newly found passion and drive is the reason I am applying to law school. I look to further pursue the Innocence Projects mission and continue to assist those who society and the rest of the world have given up on. Throughout my two years at the Innocence Project I have met a handful of exonerees and their families. Many of these individuals have extremely high spirits, and despite being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for years, have faith in the criminal justice system. When in need of motivation or encouragement I think about what exoneree Alan Crotzer told me when I asked him how he could still trust a system that wrongfully incarcerated him for 24 years. He said, I have faith because of people like you, students who are dedicated to the project, and I know you guys are not going to let me down.[/quote]

This is the man with whom I was meeting...

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gin
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby gin » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:27 am

My biggest criticism would be that you don't talk about yourself enough. You do a great job at setting the scene at the correctional, but it might be too long and might be taking space.
Another thing I caught was that you said "we told Mr Reed...", but what I'm not sure of is that if you actually said anything or if the attorney did all the talking. If you have years of experience and they let you take a lot of responsibility, you might want to explain that; otherwise it sounds a little disingenuous to me. It might just be me though, so you might want to listen to others on this specific issue

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downing
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby downing » Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:59 am

I really enjoyed reading this! The story was truly compelling, and your reason for wanting to practice law seems genuine. So far it succeeds in being memorable. I agree with Gin, who said that you don't really talk about yourself enough, although it's an issue that you could easily fix. It should be powerful once it's polished more.

bjc314
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby bjc314 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:36 pm

I think it's a good story that shows why you want to become a lawyer. However, my biggest concern is that you could be, or at least you could give an adcomm the impression that you are, violating client confidentiality. Even though you're not a lawyer, most legal internships require the same degree of confidentiality. I'm sure the man you're speaking of wouldn't mind, but I would run this by your supervisor to make sure. I may be fretting over nothing, and I'm sure it's probably fine, but it never hurts to check. At the very least, get explicit permission from Mr. Reed or omit his name.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:53 pm

Well written but using others' names without their consent may be seen as unprofessional.

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rbarcelo9
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby rbarcelo9 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:30 pm

Thanks for the responses! I thought about omitting the names, or just simply using last names, but then I thought to myself that I am not mentioning anything that isn't already public record. Our clients have all been tried convicted and found guilty. I didn't include any personal information (other than his name), or the victim's name, or anything he told us during the meeting that would relate to the case or that one would give under expected confidentiality. I could see how including his name would be a problem, but I think it would be awkward to refer to him as "our client" throughout the statement.

As far as including more about myself, I'm not sure how I would incorporate that within this statement. When writing, I really wanted to show how the experience changed me personally, and I thought that would be enough. Any suggestions or elaborations on how I should include more about myself, without losing the scope of the statement? Thanks again for the help!

CanadianWolf
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:52 pm

Then your judgment is in question. I doubt that your attorney client meetings are public record. The names of law school admissions offices are also public record. Do you feel comfortable using their names in your PS regarding any conversations or meetings that you have had with them ?

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arism87
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby arism87 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:40 pm

If readers on TLS are uncomfortable with you using his name, an adcomm could easily be as well.

I don't think your statement would lose anything if you removed the names.

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3|ink
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby 3|ink » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:40 pm

Just use 'Mr. H'.

NonTradHealthLaw
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:53 pm

If counselor/client privileges (which I know nothing about) are anything like HIPAA (which I know shitloads about) you better delete even Mr. H. Just say "Our Client."

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rbarcelo9
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Re: 1st Draft...be gentle..

Postby rbarcelo9 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:42 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Then your judgment is in question. I doubt that your attorney client meetings are public record. The names of law school admissions offices are also public record. Do you feel comfortable using their names in your PS regarding any conversations or meetings that you have had with them ?


Are you saying I shouldn't talk about the meeting at all? Even though I didn't include almost anything that was spoken about in the meeting outside of the emotions I felt in the meeting? I know our meetings and what we speak about in our meetings aren't public record, and thats why I didn't include anything we spoke about as it related to his case. I tried to stick to the emotional aspect of the meeting rather than the legal aspect. I will probably omit the names just to be safe.




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