another draft... FML

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
jtoppe2
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:41 pm

another draft... FML

Postby jtoppe2 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:48 pm

My best friend, Abe, was the most intelligent person I have ever known. He would read Nietzsche and Plato for leisure. He had an opinion about everything, and when he expressed that opinion to you, even if you did not initially agree with it, you would eventually concede to the fact that his opinion was the only correct one. He was the kind of student who, when he got an A- on a test, would feel as though he had failed the course. He was a great person. This is why, when he committed suicide, I was completely taken by surprise.
Abe had such a brilliant mind yet his potential went untapped. He did not realize the great potential that he had. Through his mistakes, I learned. His premature death prompted me to take a step back and reevaluate my life. I needed to think about my future – to explore my options. I wanted to make sure that my potential did not go untapped, as Abe’s did. I researched professions that fit my skill-set: teacher, social worker, musician, therapist. The problem I had was that I did not feel excited or enthusiastic about any of these professions. When I decided to find out more about becoming a lawyer, the lack of excitement vanished. This excitement sparked in me a desire to do as much research into the profession as I could, to ensure that the choice I was making was not a careless one. What I discovered through my research was enlightening.
I have probably spent more time watching introductory torts and evidence lectures on Youtube than any other aspiring law student. I have watched the winning (and losing) oral arguments for national moot court competitions. I have listened to Deans’ opening remarks to first-year law students. I have watched online law school forums. I watched these videos not due to an obsession with becoming a law student, but rather because I wanted to give myself the advantage of knowing what to expect – knowing that I am capable of understanding. OR PERHAPS THIS IS A BETTER SENTENCE: I watched these videos not due to an obsession with becoming a law student, but rather because I wanted to make sure that I understand; that I will not find the material too bewildering. I also wanted to make sure that I would not find my interest fading while attending these lectures this coming autumn.
To further my investigation into the practice of law, I interned at Henslee & Gordon LLC. I wanted to get a taste of what being a lawyer actually entails. I explained to Mr. Henslee that my goal was to come out of the internship with a firm belief of whether or not I still wanted to study law. I attended numerous trials, both jury trials and, more commonly, bench trials. I observed the law in action. I was transfixed by the dynamics between the Judge, the defending and prosecuting attorneys and the jury. I was also inspired by each attorney’s ability to think on his or her feet, so to speak. This was probably the most valuable aspect of the research that I did. Most importantly, I came out of the internship knowing that I still wanted to study law.
The final facet of my research was to look into individual schools. I have spent countless hours researching the idiosyncrasies of individual law schools’, their specific areas of expertise, unique aspects of each law school and the student clubs/organizations each school offers – all tremendously important aspects in choosing the best law institution for me. Examining the law from all of these different perspectives has made me certain that law is the path that I wish to pursue.
Closing paragraph about why law school x is a school to which I chose to apply.


thanks in advance. hope it doesn't blow big (or any size) donkey balls like my last three drafts have.

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esq
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Re: another draft... FML

Postby esq » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:22 pm

I think that you've got some good elements in this PS, but that you need to restructure it to look less like a list of accomplishments, and more like a fundamental understanding of why your accomplishments make you a strong candidate for law school (e.g. It's not enough to simply say that "I know I want to be a lawyer because of my experiences," which is very generic, but you must also highlight some of the more important circumstances that led to principles learned through your experiences - work ethic, compassion, time management, etc.)

I also think it would be good for you to talk about some of the experiences that you had while looking into other career interests. I think that if you could point to some good examples about how you volunteered in the field of teaching, or social work, you would make yourself much less one dimensional and you would also score some brownie points for working towards careers that are seen as much more altruistic.

"This is why, when he committed suicide, I was completely taken by surprise." - You seem to really like commas. Your friend committing suicide, which is very sad by the way, should not be set off by commas as it is a description that is essential to the sentence.

"I watched these videos not due to an obsession with becoming a law student, but rather because I wanted to make sure that I understand; that I will not find the material too bewildering." - Semicolons are used to join two closely related complete sentences. "That I will not find the material too bewildering," is not a complete sentence.

And: "I have probably spent more time watching introductory torts and evidence lectures on Youtube than any other aspiring law student." - Take this out. It comes off as very narcissistic, even if it is something which you could know for certain - which you can't.

jtoppe2
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:41 pm

Re: another draft... FML

Postby jtoppe2 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:00 pm

esq wrote:I think that you've got some good elements in this PS, but that you need to restructure it to look less like a list of accomplishments, and more like a fundamental understanding of why your accomplishments make you a strong candidate for law school (e.g. It's not enough to simply say that "I know I want to be a lawyer because of my experiences," which is very generic, but you must also highlight some of the more important circumstances that led to principles learned through your experiences - work ethic, compassion, time management, etc.)

I also think it would be good for you to talk about some of the experiences that you had while looking into other career interests. I think that if you could point to some good examples about how you volunteered in the field of teaching, or social work, you would make yourself much less one dimensional and you would also score some brownie points for working towards careers that are seen as much more altruistic.

"This is why, when he committed suicide, I was completely taken by surprise." - You seem to really like commas. Your friend committing suicide, which is very sad by the way, should not be set off by commas as it is a description that is essential to the sentence.

"I watched these videos not due to an obsession with becoming a law student, but rather because I wanted to make sure that I understand; that I will not find the material too bewildering." - Semicolons are used to join two closely related complete sentences. "That I will not find the material too bewildering," is not a complete sentence.

And: "I have probably spent more time watching introductory torts and evidence lectures on Youtube than any other aspiring law student." - Take this out. It comes off as very narcissistic, even if it is something which you could know for certain - which you can't.


thanks for reading this. other than the grammatical errors and the basic structuring, does it seem to be on the right track?

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esq
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: another draft... FML

Postby esq » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:03 pm

As I said, I think that you have some great elements, but I really don't think that you approach your PS correctly. Though gaining an internship at a law firm, obsessively watching YouTube moot court competitions, and researching law schools gives you a small glimpse into law school, I don't think that it is an effective way to demonstrate to adcomms that you are prepared for law school - there are many law school hopefuls with the same experiences, and I'm sure that they still haven't the slightest clue about what law school is all about.

I think that what you should be demonstrating about these experiences is that you have learned the principles that will help you succeed as a law student. In my opinion it is the applicant who demonstrates that he/she can be successful in difficult circumstances whether or not they are excited about them that stands out to adcomms. Simply being excited about law school is not enough. What happens when that excitement isn't there anymore?

I think that you would be better served finding an experience from your internship, or from your life in general, that tested your ability to work hard and persevere. Maybe you should use your moot court observations to show an adcomm that you have a specific interest in becoming, lets say, a litigation attorney. And instead of just stating that you have spent too much of your time pouring over the descriptions of different law schools, you could help them to see you as one of their students by describing how you would like to get involved in their specific programs. (e.g. One of the reasons why I am attracted to Baylor University is because of its reputation for training litigation attorneys. I would like to use my education to participate on the school's nationally competitive moot court team, get involved in a specific clinic, eventually become a successful legal professional in San Antonio . . . or something to that effect.)

jtoppe2
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:41 pm

Re: another draft... FML

Postby jtoppe2 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:45 pm

thanks! this is all really helpful.

LSATclincher
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: another draft... FML

Postby LSATclincher » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:18 pm

I think the first para should be a bit stronger. I do like the opening though, and I understood your transition to finding a career for yourself. I thought the research stuff was a bit immature. I'd delete it all. Focus more on the internship, and maybe throw in a personal anecdote to show who you are, and why you might fit well in the profession.

Luckily, the hard part is over. You found your inspiration and your theme. Now, you just need to write a concise, mature piece.

SpaceMonkey182
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: another draft... FML

Postby SpaceMonkey182 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:33 pm

If you keep the part about your friend committing suicide as your opener, you should probably mention something about it at the end, for closure. Something like you honor his memory by reevaluating your life blah blah blah. As the Top-Law-Schools PS Guide says, a narrative should end with "its tail in its mouth".




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