Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

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darrel99
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Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 11:07 pm

Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Thu May 19, 2011 11:23 am

My Black Pearl

Life is one event following another like pearls on a string. We do not as mere mortals say when Clotho starts the wheel spinning nor do we control Lachesis who holds in her hand the spun strand that holds the pearls of our life, nor can we stay Atropos’ hand when she snips the strand.
Sometimes days a single pearl will be become one that for better or worse will shape the rest of your life. I am going to tell you a story about one of my pearls.
It was spring of 1970. I was an 18 year old Non Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps. I was on the tarmac of Da Nang Republic of South Vietnam waiting to board my flight home. Since I was on what was consider emergency leave and not just rotating back to the world as was the term used I was flying space available on the first transport out.
The next flight out was a U S A F cargo ship a Lockheed C-5 galaxy which at that time and maybe stills is the largest cargo carrier in the airlift command. There was about a squad of us leaving 7 or 8 other Marines the highest rank a Gunnery Sergeant. We were given the command to board and the plane’s crew chief assigned us jump seats which ran along the fuselage, they were the fold down type, blue canvass as I recall.
I was so happy to going to the land of the big PX home of the round eyes and no more gooks that smile and cut your hair at the camp barber shop and in the end are killed, caught in the barb wire being part of an attacking force. About right now you’re probably feeling shocked, my God what kind of man is writing this bigoted xenophobic track that uses such terms. How can I now fairly judge his writing when looking through the prism of my 21 century sensibilities?
Well please understand I am merely trying to add context and texture to my retelling of this day of my black pearl as it were. I think it important to be truthful is these types of endeavors or to the reader it may have no value.
Several thoughts ran through my mind first and foremost was the flight path would overfly Marble Mountain which lie at the south end of runway and remembering those F4 Phantoms I watched sortie out at night kick in the after burners and ride that rocket’s flame out of harm’s way and compared to that we would be low and slow.
I was also thinking of the reason for the emergency leave. My wife who I had married weeks before beginning of my tour had recently told me that she was not as they say ‘with child’ which was the reason for the recent marriage and she wanted a divorce. Getting a Dear John is one thing ,getting one when you are a married is another and worst of all was the receiving of letters from back home informing you of my wife’s lapses of her marital obligations.
Still the feeling of overwhelming relief of going home is sometime I do not have words to describe. We board the planes laughing and feeling like a poker player who just won a pot playing with known cheaters. As we settled in the plane start it rolls picking up speed, hearing the rumble of the tires on the tarmac and then as we climbed at an angle of attack I did not think that war plane could do, and with the ground falling away a great burden was lifting and relaxation was starting spread threw my body like a warm glow I had not felt for many months.
Now the crew chief has started his military version of what we have all heard on takeoff when the flight attends do their spiel. Since this an over the water flight he is telling us what actions we would do to keep the plane in the air to avoid ditching in the water. Most of the action revolved around lightening the load and then he proceeded to point the different items we would jettison and then said of course we would not jettison the bodies. I remembering thinking to myself bodies what bodies? I wasn’t dead.
And then we followed his gaze toward the stern of the plane and there stacked on pallets the width and length and to the ceiling were the silver caskets covered with Old Glory and I knew then I was riding home with the dead. Not a word was spoken from that point on .I could not take my eyes off caskets as if doing who somehow be a shameful act. Hour after hour I stared paralyzed in my thoughts of the reality that going home alive and they were dead.
We landed in the Philippines and the Gunny went into the duty free store and bought a bottle of Jack Daniels and we stood in a circle in turn taking a pull from the bottle and as the bottle got back to the Gunny he said the first words spoken and they were simply “wasn’t that something”? From that point on things started to devolve rapidly. I started to shake and broke out in cold sweat, Gunny realizing that I was in distress called over the MP who called an ambulance and I was taken to a hospital and as I brought into the emergency room a nurse said’ shit we got another one” and MP said” he just came from In Country” then an injection then it all fades to black.
I suffered a splintering of my mind a physic wound and it was not the last for I return the war and had more black pearls add to the strand of my life. Today 41 years later I still ride that jump seat when I close my eyes reliving that moment that forever set in motion events that led to failed marriages loss of jobs and eventually living on the streets estranged from family and friends until I was finally taken to a VA hospital and on intake was given diagnoses P T S D. From that point on back in February 1988 I have been on a journey of return. Until Artopos cuts my string I will keep adding more pearls trying to honor those Marines, Solders Airmen and Sailors known but to God, my companions that I see when I rest from my day’s labors.

Darrel E Mahon

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Thu May 19, 2011 1:27 pm

Um. Wow. I think that this could be an interesting story, but you are getting lost in the words that you're using and the pearl analogy thing. The writing needs to be a lot better. Is there are writing/tutoring center at your university? I think that you could elucidate a bit more on how the deaths of your fellow soldiers affected you and drove you to improve yourself. Right now, your narrative just sort of ends with the fact that you were diagnosed with PTSD. How have you overcome it? What changes have you made in your life? I hate to be with the 'why law school' crowd, but your statement did leave me wondering why you have chosen law school. Perhaps if you reflect on that, it will help you to achieve a cohesive narrative.

Have you taken the LSAT yet? What sort of schools are you looking at?

Best of luck,
MB

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Thu May 19, 2011 10:16 pm

MP I appreciate the feedback. I could easily drop the pearl hook and harpies. I was using the pearls to give the story an arc that tied into the fates story to do two things at once. One was to pick a single day impact on my life and the fates were simply to showcase the liberal art education.
I know I left the narrative abortively and could have flesh it out a lot. I could have talked the 100 plus bar fights my explosive temper got me into during my 20s and 30s. I could have brought up my 3 failed marriages and my continual loss of work with dozens of different employers. There was the constant moving i.e., it hard to hit a moving target. I could have written about that every present feeling of a fore shorting of life or the deep bouts with the blue dog depression. How all that finally brought me to the point in my life where I was homeless spending my nights living under an interstate overpass and by day standing on a corner holding a sign that said Viet Nam vet will work for food. That was my truly low point.
I could talk about the people who help me come back from the abyss. I could talk about the dozen or so stays in a locked psych hospital ward. 5 or 6 that were over 6 months length and the 2 those were over a year in duration.
I could write about the time and effort it took to get my service connection for my stress disorder. I have my 4 year battle with the government and how my case went to Board of Veteran Appeal 3 times and sent back down twice on remand and once with an order for service connection. I could talk about the rating received as a result of that order of 100% disabled both permanently and totally.
Then I have 23 years that followed with the isolation and familial estrangement. I could talk about how for months on end the only human beings I had a face to face conversation longer than 5 minutes was my doctor...
I don’t know who this “why law school crowd” is but I think what I written probably has given them plenty to comment on and to tell you the truth in my heart of hearts I think I am a little afraid that I will get accepted but with 12 rejection letters I might not have to worry about it, However I thought long and hard about this and I want handle the appeals from the Board of Veteran Appeals to the Court of Veterans Appeals.
I know what it means to be damaged in the line of duty and to be rebuffed at every turn. I know what it means to be a 40 year old man spending a week in my parent’s basement writing my stressor letter to the BVA so they can smell the whiff cordite and burnt flesh and feel the heat from the blast of the exploding vehicle in front of me. I know I want to spend what left of my life helping those young vets who are now facing what I faced in making the Government pay the true cost of war and don’t get me started about how I want to help the young Marine who is fixing to get hammered because of a breakdown of command. During my time through the system I spent many nights talking with a man who was at My Lai. So it Vets helping Vets and my biggest fear now is that I will get admitted, graduate and be not up to the job at hand.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 20, 2011 10:53 am

Darrell, I think that is an admirable goal. I would incorporate some of what you have said in your last post into your narrative. For example, you mention that you hit your lowest point while homeless and living under an overpass. How did you change your life going forward? If you are going to discuss previous instabilities and difficulties, the important thing is going to be that you show you have overcome them. You can cover briefly your difficulties with getting benefits from the VA and discuss why you feel that you would make a good advocate for others that find themselves in the same position.

There are some very negative elements in your story, so you will need to be very careful in telling it so as not to give the impression that 1) you have not recovered from your past issues and 2) you are realistic in your abilities to effect change. Again, this will require a high level of writing skill. Can you get assistance from your university's writing center? They may be able to help you shape this into a cohesive and high impact narrative. Right now, it's a bit out there.

A few things that you said later in your last post did make me wonder if this is a good choice for you. You mention that you are afraid that you will be accepted somewhere and that you won't be up to par for the task. If this is a valid concern for you, it may be best to take some time to consider it further, rather than rushing into it. Law school can be a significant investment of both time and money. It should not be a decision taken lightly. Have you taken your LSAT? Have you already applied to schools? There are alot of people on this forum that are very helpful. Definitely take the time to browse the forums and gather the information needed to help you make the right decision for you.

Good Luck!

MB

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life

Postby darrel99 » Thu May 26, 2011 6:25 pm

My Personal Statement
{Revised}

To understand why a man who is 60 years old with a lifetime income from the federal government would want to disrupt his life in a major way to study law you need to understand the life of the man. Only in understanding the context can you understand the resolve the why. The driving force of my application to study law at Hamline University School of Law began a long time ago in a place far way.
A simple heads up here, in this personal statement you will hear terms that viewed from today’s P C would be considered appalling. But to understand the context you must understand what we are talking about. And that is the taking of a Nebraska farm boy and boys like me from across the United States who were being drafted or as in my case volunteered to answer the call to fight in a war and the government had a very short period of time to transit us from a civilized human being to war fighters. To do so is quite simple first you establish our superiority and then degrade the enemy by dehumanizing them. It is a process that the Marine Corp is very good at. The end results are terms and phrases that reflect that training
It was spring of 1970. I was an 18 year old Non Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps. I was on the tarmac of aerodrome in Da Nang, Republic of South Vietnam waiting to board my flight home. Since I was on what was consider emergency leave and not just rotating back to the world, the Land of the Big PX and home of the Round Eyes I was flying space available on the first transport out.
The next flight out was a U S A F cargo ship a Lockheed C-5 galaxy which at that time and maybe stills is the largest cargo carrier in the airlift command. There was about a squad of us leaving 7 or 8 other Marines the highest rank a Gunnery Sergeant. We were given the command to board and the plane’s crew chief assigned us jump seats which ran along the fuselage, they were the fold down type, blue canvass as I recall.
I was so happy to be going home no more gooks that smile and cut your hair at the camp barber shop and in the end are killed, caught in the barb wire being part of an attacking force. About right now you’re probably feeling shocked, my God what kind of man is writing this bigoted xenophobic track that uses such terms. How can I now fairly judge his writing when looking through the prism of my 21 century sensibilities?
Well please understand I am merely trying to add context and texture to my retelling of this day of my life. I think it important to be truthful is these types of endeavors for to the reader
Several thoughts ran through my mind first and foremost was that the flight path would overfly Marble Mountain which lie at the south end of runway and remembering those F4 Phantoms I watched sortie out at night kick in the after burners and ride that rocket’s flame out of harm’s way and compared to that we would be low and slow.
I was also thinking of the reason for the emergency leave. My wife who I had married weeks before beginning of my tour had recently told me that she was not as they say ‘with child’ which was the reason for the recent marriage and she wanted a divorce. Getting a Dear John is one thing ,getting one when you are a married is another and worst of all was the receiving of letters from back home informing you of your wife’s lapses of her marital obligations.
Still the feeling of overwhelming relief of going home is sometime I do not have words to describe. We boarded the planes laughing and feeling like a poker player who just won a pot playing with known cheaters. As we settled in, the plane started it roll picking up speed, hearing the rumble of the tires on the tarmac and then as we climbed at an angle of attack I did not think that war plane could do, and with the ground falling away a great burden was lifting and relaxation was starting spread threw my body like a warm glow I had not felt for many months.
Now the crew chief has started his military version of what we have all heard on takeoff when the flight attendants do their spiel. Since this an over the water flight he is telling us what actions we would do to keep the plane in the air to avoid ditching in the water. Most of the action revolved around lightening the load and then he proceeded to point the different items we would jettison and then said of course we would not jettison the bodies. I remembering thinking to myself bodies what bodies? I wasn’t dead.
And then we followed his gaze toward the stern of the plane and there stacked on pallets the width and length and to the ceiling were the silver caskets covered with Old Glory and I knew then I was riding home with the dead. Not a word was spoken from that point on .I could not take my eyes off caskets as if doing who somehow be a shameful act. Hour after hour I stared paralyzed in my thoughts of the reality that I was going home alive and they were dead.
We landed in the Philippines and the Gunny went into the duty free store and bought a bottle of Jack Daniels and we stood in a circle in turn taking a pull from the bottle and as the bottle got back to the Gunny he said the first words spoken and they were simply “wasn’t that something”? From that point on things started to devolve rapidly. I started to shake and broke out in cold sweat, Gunny realizing that I was in distress called over the MP who called an ambulance and I was taken to a hospital and as I brought into the emergency room a nurse said’ shit we got another one” and MP said” he just came from In Country” then an injection then it all fades to black.
I suffered a splintering of my mind a physic wound and it was not the last for I return the war but it was my first major stressor but certainly not my last for I went back to war after I handled my problem at home.
After that stressor, my mind as a coping mechanism started walling them off only to be recalled by what are known as triggering events. Today 41 years later I can still ride that jump seat reliving that moment that forever set in motion events that led to failed marriages loss of jobs and eventually living on the streets estranged from family and friends until I was finally taken to a VA hospital and on intake was given diagnoses P T S D. From that point on back in February 1988 I have been on a journey of return.
This application is my way of honoring those Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who rode that flight home with me.
I discharged from the Marine Corps in 1971 and while suffering from an untreated mental disorder I went about my life. I married, had children, got an education, a B.A. in History also I developed a drinking problem and with my explosive temper had more fights than most pros. After graduation my life spun out of control. I was constantly getting and losing jobs so money was always a problem. Finally Julie my wife and I decided for the good of the children we needed to divorce. I had another marriage and child that last a very short time and by the mid eighty’s I was completely estranged from my family and different point of my life homeless. You might have saw me ,I was one of those men who stood on the street corner holding a sign that said Viet Nam Vet Will Work For Food. A truly low point in my life .All the while having flash backs and overwhelming feeling of foreshortening of life couple with an emotional numbness allowed for this miserable life continuance.
Finally in an act of desperation I presented myself to the VAMC .After talking to the intake doctor for a feel minutes he said two things that change my life. First he said Mr. Mahon you have residuals problems from Viet Nam and it called P T S D so we are going to admit you to the hospital to get you some help. Then he said after you get settled in I want you to find a service officer and apply for compensation benefits that you rate because you were harmed in the war.
That doctor pulled me from the abyss. I had many problems and setback since then but he was the turning point. For the next 5 years my life was consumed with two things. First and foremost treatment of my PTSD .Treatment was a combination of long in patient stays and outpatient treatment. Some of the stays were over a year in duration some were 6 months. Each were treatment to deal with the different symptoms and to develop coping skills because PTSD is only treatable it is not curable.
The second was to get the claim for compensation processed through the system .A daunting tasks as I encountered pushback from the get go. The service officer who I went to get the claim form filled out and signed at first told me I was wasting his time then when he figure I would not go away told me it would never be approved. However From the time I talked to the first doctor to when I was talking with the service officer I had time to speak with other vets and all said the most important thing was to sign the claim because the establishes the date of connection and if I got connected then I would be paid backdated to that date, so that service officer even though he tried could blow me off could not because I was a man on a mission because I knew if I got connected and was rated 30% my children would receive education benefits .I knew that if I was ever to do what a man does and that to educate his children this was the only way.
Now this was 1988 and at that time the VA was the Veterans Administration and not as it is now a cabinet level department. Also at that time if a veteran got an attorney to help him the fee for the attorney was capped at 10$ and there was no judicial review because the Court of Veteran Appeals was not yet established. Plus congress designed the system to be non-adversarial. The result was that the people who represented the veteran, the service organizations like the American Legion or the Disabled American Veterans, organizations that congress tasked with the responsibility to represent the veteran and the people who made the decisions the workers in the VA were working side by side in a manner of collegiality. Unknowingly the congress created a system that was unfair to the veteran in the attempt to be just that and more.
The system back in 1988 was not bound to the rule of law and had the we know best attitude and despite what the medical side of the VA said you do not have PTSD and if you do have PTSD the service didn’t cause it and even if the service caused it you can’t prove it. Claimed is denied.
My claim was denied at the regional level 3 times and sent back from the Board of Veteran Appeals three times. In the course of all this the people helping with this were the same people doing lunch with the VA decision makers. The whole systems develop a plantation mentality and we were the product. Decisions affecting me and millions of vets like me were made but were not being distilled in the crucible of adversarial conflict. For me the issue was settled when the United States Marine Corps wrote the Broad of Veterans Appeals and said my stressor letter was consistent with my tour of duty.
Congress finally recognized the unfairness of the system and created judicial review by creating the Court of Veteran Appeals. The very court I want to practice in. We are at war again and PTSD has become one of the signature wounds so congress in an effort to maintain public support for the war started to throw money at the problem and I benefited.
When I got service connected I was rated permanently and totally 100% disabled. For 20 years my treatment was bi- yearly doctor visits to refill medications and the occasion hospitalization. 2 and ½ years ago my wife died. Now I know I was divorced over 25 years ago but I am Roman Catholic and it truly is until death do we part. I never decompensated but I was hospitalized to help deal with the situation.
At this point I was offered bi-monthly psychological counseling in addition to medication therapy. To be effective goals were set. My goal was to come out of the cold and pick up my life where it left off when my PTSD became overwhelming. That was 1976 when I graduated from Briar Cliff University and was looking around for a law school to attend. So we set a therapeutic goal of getting accepted to a law school. As I worked with my psychologist that goal became more focus and that was to get a law degree and practice in the Court of Veteran Appeals helping veterans overcome and win the fight I fought. I have a lot of experience and motivation I can bring to the table in helping the new young vets we are making. It can be something that I can dedicate the rest of my life to, I can make a difference in this area of law if given the opportunity.
As I got into this process I started to see where the Court of Veteran appeals was in changing the system and it was not surprising to me to me that number of cases that were decided in favor of the vet for lack of due process and violation basic constitutional rights. What really surprised me was that a lawyer was asked by Chief Justice Roberts the percentage of denials of the government that were unsupported by fact or law and the government lawyer answered 60% for social security and higher for the Veteran. To me that shocks the conscience.
I looked at the rules admitting people to practice before the Court of Veteran Appeals and a lay person under the supervision of a lawyer can do so. I believe that lawyer with my background and motivation can do well in that arena law. I have friends who live near the school and I will be able to set up a program with the VA to continue my treatment .You will find me to be a good hard working student and upon graduation I will have bounty of clients for this war not going to end anytime soon.
In addition to the appeals work in the VA system I want to prepare myself to be able to offer my counsel to the enlisted men and women who are being Courts Martialed. I know from personal experience how a breakdown of command can bring a disproportion response to lower ranks while leaving the overarching failures of the command structured unaccountable. In addition I know how the reality of war can create situation that viewed from the civilian perspective is totally unacceptable yet within the moment of war must be judged by the rules of land warfare.
While in the system I meet many veterans one in particular was one was with Americal Division at My Lai so I know the traditional rule of thumb is to stack as much as possible on the lowest rank. These are the people who I want to be in the position to help.
I truly hope that you will afford me the opportunity to study at your school and learn how to practice law in general and in particular the two areas that I am very interested.
Darrel Mahon

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 27, 2011 8:32 am

Ok. My first thought is that this is way too long. What is the page limit for Hamline? You did add more substantive ideas as to what you want to use your degree for, but I still think that it's really out there. Are you applying to other schools? Does Hamline have a military/veteran's advocacy program? Hamline is a fourth tier law school which means that job opportunities may be limited. Have you researched the advocacy programs/firms that you would like to work for? Where did their lawyers come from? What are their backgrounds? Please do this before spending a ton of money on law school. See where your prospects lie. Would your GPA/LSAT/personal circumstances allow you to apply any higher? I'll try to find the time to do an edit for you. It may be next week sometime before I can complete it though.

Your goal is admirable...I'm just not sure this is the best way to go about it.

MB

blsingindisguise
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri May 27, 2011 8:40 am

If your personal statement is completely accurate about your goal, I would highly recommend talking to a few lawyers who do what you want to do before making the jump to law school.

Going to law school with a single very narrow practice area in mind is dangerous, especially if you're going to be starting your career at 63/64. It may be that there are very few jobs in the kind of law you want to do, and it may also be the case that those jobs are not available to freshly minted law grads (i.e. you'd have to get four or five years of experience elsewhere first, making you retirement age by the time you can actually do what you want). It may also be that a school like Hamline limits your chances of getting where you want. I don't know whether any of these statements are true, but you need to find out for sure before you do this.

Also, aren't there jobs that don't require another degree where you could still help veterans?

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Fri May 27, 2011 1:06 pm

Thanks MB I did a check with Hamline and the recommended length is 3 pages so i am over by 2 so I have a lot of editing to do which is fine, I believe it is easier to take away than to add. As for the narrow focus maybe a little explaining will help you understand a few things in a different perspective. First if I jump through all the hoops and pull down a J.D, I can rest assure that with a little effort I can find clients to represent in the area of law that I want to practice in. For two reasons The VA everyday are miss handling veterans cases and denying benefits to very people with whom congress has charged to help and rehabilitative. And your right i don't need to be a lawyer to do what i want to do. I can work on appeals from the Board of Veterans Appeals to the Court of Veterans Appeals because as I noted in my statement a lay person can practice in the Court of Veterans Appeals if they are doing so as a National Service Officer from one of the service organization or under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney.
In addition I not doing this to get a job, I doing it to stay active do good and make a direct impact of people lives’ I am financially set. My compensation will continue to the day I die. And i am very happy with the life style I can maintain so I am in a position to offer my services on a pro bono basis. The practice at the Court of Veteran Appeals by the very nature of it jurisdiction is done with the telephone video conferencing and a fax machine. In addition to that by the time a veteran is denied at the Board of Veterans Appeals two things are a given one the vets broke and two the representation to date has been unsuccessful. Plus since the VA publishes the decisions every day I don't think I would be violating any ethical rule by contacting the veteran who just lost and offering my service. And I would have the addition bonus of having the opportunity if successful in the appeal of making new law a chance I see as being very intellectually rewarding. And every once in a while one of these case will go to the Supreme Court and that I would fine to be very rewarding.


On to blsingindisquise There no way you can tell from what anyone writes on these boards if they telling the truth so I don't really know how to respond someone who says thing like " I don't know whether any of these statements are true' other than to say you really add nothing to a conversation when stating the given.

So now back to the editing and condensing.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 27, 2011 2:36 pm

Darrell,

It seems that you have a clear plan in mind, but I'm not sure that it's entirely realistic. You want to go to Hamline Law. This costs $17,340 per semester. Almost 35,000 per year! If you want to go to LS in Minnesota (I'm assuming that is where you are now), U of MN only costs 28,824 per year. UMN is a top tier school. Hamline is at the very bottom of the fourth tier. That is the first issue. While Hamline will ultimately get you a JD, it will not provide many contacts or job opportunities. Although I do not know your personal reasons for this choice or your financial status, it seems that it would make more sense to attend a cheaper option with better prospects, should it be available to you. Now, you mentioned that you are interested in pro bono work and that would be the primary reason for getting a JD. If you're going to be paying most of your tuition out of pocket or with loans (not sure about your GI Bill status, or if it even covers advanced degrees) a paying position is going to be necessary. While your living may be comfortable now, the loan payments on 80-100,000 dollars worth of student loan debt are not small and could potentially put you in a very bad place financially. Student loans are non-dischargable debt. You cannot declare bankruptcy or do anything else, short of dying, to get out from under these loans. That is the second problem.

While I am not familiar with the disability requirements for maintaining your status with the VA, it may be worth checking into to see if there are any types of work restrictions. If you are deemed 100% disabled, then it seems logical that they are not expecting you to work and that is why they are paying you. Again, I have no idea how this works, but it's just a thought.

While I understand that there are veterans who are in dire need of help during the petitioning and appeals process, I'm not sure that getting their names from the website and soliciting them is going to be the way to go. The ABA has strict limitations on the type of self-promotion and advertisement that a lawyer can do. Definitely check on that. If you intend to go about this on your own, you're going to be responsible for ensuring that your practice and your activities are within the ABA guidelines. There won't be anyone to 'show you the ropes' when it comes to the actual practice of law.

I realize that this is a passion for you and that you would like to be involved in veteran's rights. Assuming that it is true that you would be able to advocate on behalf of someone while being supervised by an attorney, that may be an avenue to explore prior to getting involved in massive debt to become an attorney yourself. You would have the opportunity to do as you are hoping to do and not have the overwhelming debt. It seems to me like there is no reason for the JD if this is the case. Try to contact some veteran's rights/advocacy organizations. See if there is any way that you can become involved. There are surely attorneys who do veteran's advocacy as a pro bono project. At the very least, if you are fully committed to law school, research and perhaps speak with attorneys that are doing what you want to do. Determine how they got to where they are. Create a better and more sound plan than this one. This one is not good. I haven't said these things to discourage you from helping others, just to potentially discourage you from making what, from all indications, would be a very poor choice.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri May 27, 2011 3:14 pm

darrel99 wrote:
On to blsingindisquise There no way you can tell from what anyone writes on these boards if they telling the truth so I don't really know how to respond someone who says thing like " I don't know whether any of these statements are true' other than to say you really add nothing to a conversation when stating the given.


You misunderstood me -- I didn't mean "I don't know if your story is true" -- I meant "I don't know whether Hamline is going to get you where you want to be, and I don't know whether you can practice this kind of law as a new law grad."

If you have your finances 100% taken care of and money isn't an issue, then yeah you can probably do this as a solo pro bono guy (assuming you can handle the law school debt and the expenses of managing your clients' cases).

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Fri May 27, 2011 3:29 pm

What the I don''t even oh god no.

Seriously though, I can't imagine that a single admissions officer would want to read so much. Anything more than two pages is too much. Trim the fat; streamline the story.

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Fri May 27, 2011 5:06 pm

License would affect my monthly compensation check. My rated is protected it cannot be changed for any reason except for fraud. The protection comes after receiving the same rate for 20 years without change. I have received mine for almost 24 years.

The issue of debt .Here the situation Once a veteran has received a notice of disability of 20% or more, the veteran has 12 years to apply for Chapter 31 Voc Ed benefits which pays books tuition and fees and stipend and at first glance you see I am 12 years too late but for the fact if the disability itself preventions the enrollment in Chapter 31 then the 12 year window of opportunity does not start until the disability You all brought up some very good issue to consider. First me lets address how the obtaining a law impediment to rehabilitation is removed. For me that happens when my doctor says I can be rehabiltated.so I been working the last 2 and half years to get to this point. So if I get accepted and the dollar amount per year is less than $25,000 more with special approval it off to school I go.

The truth of the matter is I have applied so far to 16 law schools. And the results so far 12 rejections 3 pending and 1 acceptance. Of the 3 pending 1 TSU has a letter in the mail and I am just waiting on it. The other two are Oklahoma City and Hamline. The one that accepted me was Concord Law School but the VA kicked on the fact that only California would allow graduates to take the bar and the passage rate was 1 in 5 so I didn't accept it.

On the length of the letter I trimmed it to the 3 page length requirement and sent it in.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 27, 2011 5:42 pm

Ok, here is a rewrite that I worked up very quickly. The main issue is that your issues are very personal, so the style of my writing and the fact that I am not personally connected to them make this draft vastly more matter-of-fact than your first PS draft. In many ways, this is a very good thing. Brevity is going to be your friend on this one. Double spaced, this is a little over a page. I cut ALOT of the imagery/unnecessary facts and ideas because the law school doesn't need to know this. See what you think.

Standing on the beach, we waited for the C-5 Galaxy aircraft that would bring us back home. The other soldiers and I laughed and joked, feeling the euphoria of someone who has cheated death. At eighteen, I was a Non Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps serving in Da Nang, South Vietnam. As we were guided onto the plane and shown our jump seats, the crew chief began the safety briefing. Because this was an over water flight, we were shown the items that we would jettison in the case of an in-flight emergency. Casually, he mentioned that we would not jettison the bodies. I was taken aback by this as my fellow soldiers and I were very much alive. As I looked towards the stern of the plane I saw them. Silver caskets, stacked floor to ceiling, each covered with an American flag. For the duration of the flight, not a word was spoken. Our eyes focused on the caskets in simultaneous reverence and fear. This, along with other atrocities that I witnessed in Vietnam, resulted in a life long struggle with the psychological effects of war. From the time that I returned stateside, I have suffered the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Untreated, this disorder led to many issues for me; divorce, unemployment, separation from family and friends and ultimately homelessness. After years of suffering from its effects, I was desperate for assistance. In 1988, I turned to the VAMC (what is this??). It was there that I learned that I could be treated for PTSD and that I could reclaim my life. Although PTSD is fully treatable, it is difficult for many veterans to receive the care that they require. In my case, it took many years and several appeals to receive the benefits that I needed to make a full recovery and to return to the life I had dreamt of when I returned so many years ago. Through my involvement with the Veteran’s Administration, I have met many veterans such as myself who are still struggling to overcome the physical and psychological difficulties that they have developed as a result of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of my recovery, I set a goal to attend law school so that I may become better able to assist them in receiving the care that they deserve.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Fri May 27, 2011 5:51 pm

Hi Darrell,

Well, I am confused then. If you already sent these in, there is no reason to ask for feedback on your letter. I guess you are still waiting on Hamline then? I think many states require you to graduate from law school prior to taking the bar...I haven't researched it, but I think provisions that allow you to take it without a JD are for those with foreign law degrees. I'm a little surprised that a JD is considered vocational education...

In any case, good luck.
MB

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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Fri May 27, 2011 10:51 pm

MB I read your rewrite and i was very impressed. It is certainly better than my finish product.Bu I never aked and led anyone to believe I wanted some one to write it for me. In the final analzis what I submit is what I wrote but from first draft to the final product each evolution contains all the feedback that i have recieved from you and others. I never said anything not getting a JD, what I did say was Concord Law School is located in Californa and as a graduate I could take the bar in California but only California

As chapter 31 rehabilatation and law school read this:

WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
BEFORE THE
COMMITTEES ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
OF THE
U.S. SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MARCH 4, 2010

Chairmen Akaka and Filner; Ranking Members Burr and Buyer; and Members of the Committees:
Thank you for inviting Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to present our 2010 legislative agenda for the Committees at this joint session. Wounded Warrior Project was founded on the principle of warriors helping warriors, and we pride ourselves on outstanding service programs that advance that principle. Building on the rich legacy of veterans’ advocacy in this country, Wounded Warrior Project has a simple goal – to ensure that this is the most successful, well-adjusted generation of veterans in our nation’s history. We ask you to embrace that goal and help us achieve it.
Historically, the experience of war and the recognition of its toll on our warriors have prompted a grateful nation not only to honor the combatants but – through the Congress – to establish special benefits and programs to help those new veterans readjust, rehabilitate, and rebuild their lives.
We are very fortunate that both houses of Congress have committees dedicated to veterans’ affairs and committee members dedicated to that mission. The Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees have done extraordinary work on behalf of America’s veterans. And yet that work is not complete.
Wounded Warriors’ Needs
I am Andrew Kinard, and I am testifying this morning not only as a Member of the Board of Directors of Wounded Warrior Project but also as one of the many young Americans whose lives have been irrevocably altered in service to their country. Some of us have come to terms with our wounds and successfully readjusted. I myself am a member of the class of 2011 at Harvard Law School, which I’m attending through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ vocational rehabilitation program. But many others are readjusting much more slowly.
As you know, large numbers are struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), often accompanied by depression or other mental health disorders. Often, these brave men and women are not finding the kind of help they need at VA; may be reluctant or fearful of pursuing care; or VA facilities may simply be too distant or too inconvenient to be helpful. Many still experience considerable pain, from physical as well as psychological injuries. Some are self-medicating. Far too many returning veterans are struggling economically. Too many young men and women who demonstrated outstanding leadership in uniform are now unable to find employment, let alone a job that taps their leadership skills. Others face insurmountable barriers to needed vocational training and rehabilitation. Still others, with severe traumatic brain injury, may never be gainfully employed again, and yet seek far greater independence.
I’m among the lucky ones. I survived. In 2006, while leading Marines on a foot patrol in al Anbar Province, Iraq, an IED exploded beneath me. It ripped through my body resulting in amputations of both legs at the hip and massive abdominal wounds, and left me comatose for a month. I endured more than 60 surgeries and went through a year and a half of rehabilitation.
Three experiences stand out in distinguishing my recovery from that of many other wounded warriors. I had the benefit of an outstanding college education at the U.S. Naval Academy. Then, while awaiting medical retirement from the Marine Corps, I had the opportunity to intern in the Office of Legislative Counsel at the Pentagon, and to serve as a military fellow in the office of Senator Lindsey Gra¬ham.
Very few of my brothers and sisters in uniform have had these kinds of advantages. Many are struggling with a constellation of potentially overwhelming problems – pain, depression, nightmares, anger, unemployment, lack of permanent housing and more. Well-intentioned efforts to improve VA services for our warriors have made a difference. A generally robust VA budget for the coming fiscal year is encouraging. But far more fundamental changes are needed to provide the kind of help wounded warriors need and deserve.
While VA administers an array of programs targeted at specific problems, there is little in the way of a holistic, coordinated approach to help a severely injured veteran to thrive again. Much more must be done to achieve the critically important goal of making VA and VA programs truly veteran-centered. One important program that is truly veteran-centered is the Federal Recovery Coordination Program, which assists servicemembers and veterans who were severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families, gain access care, services, and benefits. Established in 2007, the FRC program has proven an exceptional initiative, effectively coordinating care and facilitating re-integration. Yet only about 460 warriors have FRCs. Clearly, a significant need remains.
The FRC program CAN make a difference in the lives of wounded warriors and their families. But on a more fundamental level, VA must change its management, organization, coordination, and business practices with the aim of improving outcomes for veterans, as the National Academy of Public Administration has advised. We urge you to press VA to make those kinds of changes. But we also implore you to re-examine the statutory framework of key VA programs that must serve our wounded warriors better.
Yesterday’s Statutory Programs and Today’s Wounded Warriors
There is certainly much to celebrate in the rich array of veterans’ benefits and services created by Congress over many decades. But prior Congresses could not have anticipated that thousands of servicemembers could have survived the kinds of grievous injuries warriors have sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor would they have imagined that young women would be among those severely wounded warriors. Finally, few would have anticipated that as tens of thousands of combat-injured veterans struggle to reintegrate, those veterans would face the most serious economic downturn since the Depression.
With the high survival rate of those injured in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, unprecedented numbers are returning home with severe polytraumatic injuries -- amputations, extensive burns, blindness, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, as well as severe mental injuries. These complex injuries have sparked needs -- like family caregiver assistance -- that were just not foreseen.
Last year, WWP was honored to testify before both Committees on the need to enact comprehensive legislation to meet the needs of family members who have become caregivers of their severely injured loved ones. We applaud both Committees for the high priority each gave to our legislative recommendations, and for the thoughtful deliberation in crafting strong provisions. We deeply appreciate the care with which you have been working to reconcile the respective caregiver-assistance bills.
Enactment, and successful implementation, of caregiver-assistance legislation will fill a critical gap in the array of important VA programs. But our wounded warriors have other clinical and rehabilitative needs that must be met. In some instances -- particularly, as they involve PTSD and traumatic brain injury, the signature wounds of this war -- our warriors' needs require not only new programmatic responses, but statutory changes. Our testimony today aims to highlight the importance of closing other gaps and eliminating barriers that confront too many wounded warriors on what should be a smooth road, not simply to recovery from their wounds but to thriving – physically, psychologically and economically. Certainly, the signature wounds of this war alone compel us to re-examine statutory provisions that were designed to address the needs of veterans with very different kinds of disabilities. This war surely challenges us to reassess – as Congresses have in the past – whether the statutory benefits and services codified in title 38 of the US Code fully meet the needs of this generation of warriors and their families.
We appreciate your openness to making those needed changes.
Needed Mental Health Legislation
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports record high levels of returning OEF/OIF veterans being seen, diagnosed and treated for mental health problems. Applying lessons learned from earlier wars, VA has aimed to identify those with war-related mental health problems and provide treatment early-on to arrest problems and avoid conditions becoming chronic.

Unquestionably, VA has mounted earnest efforts to identify and treat mental health problems experienced by returning veterans – instituting systemwide mental health screening, expanding mental health staffing, integrating mental health and primary healthcare, adding new counseling and clinical care sites, and conducting trainings on treatment techniques. WWP does not believe these steps, laudable as they are, have gone far enough. In fact, we question whether VA is winning the war for the mental health of this new generation, or whether it even has an optimal strategy in place to do so.
VA has certainly conveyed the impression that it’s doing the job. Of the approximately 945,000 reported to have become eligible for VA health care after deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, VA has stated that through 2008 some 400 thousand (42 percent) had obtained VA health care since FY 2002, and of that number nearly 93 thousand had been diagnosed with PTSD. Observing that this level of utilization of VA health care is historically high, researchers have reported that 37% of veterans who used the VA health system for the first time from April 1, 2002 to April 1, 2008, received a mental health diagnosis.

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby fundamentallybroken » Fri May 27, 2011 10:54 pm

ITT: the crazy runs thick.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri May 27, 2011 11:01 pm

darrel99 wrote:Thanks MB I did a check with Hamline and the recommended length is 3 pages so i am over by 2 so I have a lot of editing to do which is fine...


Yeah, no. That sucker's 7 pages long. You're forgetting to double-space (which is not optional).

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Fri May 27, 2011 11:27 pm

ah crap your right what I sent in was 3 pages and 4 line on the 4th all single spaced. I never write double space so it just never accured to me.Well that why I am posting here I slap up side the head I know better. I may not know but I do learn.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby memphisbelle » Sat May 28, 2011 9:40 am

Yikes...tried to be helpful.

/thread. Please.

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Sat May 28, 2011 11:02 am

{ /thread. Please.} stop thread?
{ /thread Please.} read thread}

I don’t know what it means I think I have answered the all questions and I do thank you for all the advice.

Just one more note on your rewrite MB it was all most painful for me to read because as I am reading it I realize we are doing two different things when I write my first hand emotion bleed through and when you write it the concise conveyance of fact to achieve a goal. Yours was much more appropriate for the admission committee.
Today I expect to receive my letter from TSU and as my app has been setting on the committee desk since Feb25 and they advertise a 4 week rolling admission maybe it a good sign or It may well be they were waiting to see if a more less likely to be approved candidate applies to see who wins the office pool or they truly are giving it a considered reading, They advertised that do give consideration to students who for whatever reason have a long time between collage and law school or midlife change of life direction so I am hopeful.

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby fundamentallybroken » Sat May 28, 2011 4:39 pm

Even if you don't know how to string together words into coherent sentences, I think a few commas sprinkled here and there could vastly improve the readability of your rambling. HTH.

(Also, lol at you saying memphis' writing was hard to read.)

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Sat May 28, 2011 9:16 pm

Findamentallybroken
I have several posts on this thread, some were concerning my personal statement and some were in response to other people posts, their comments or suggestion or inquiries so my participation in this thread is quite extensive. So just making a comment without pointing the particular post that you find intellectually challenging leaves, I for one at a loss how to respond and I certainly will not go and use smaller words and shorter sentence just to make it easier for you to read. Perhaps if you could point to a particular post or paragraph or even a sentence that you find so particularly challenging .And for the record I never said MB writing was hard to read, I said painful so you may want to learn how to write an allegation using the correct statement , this is of conceding you make it to the you hang a shingle because if I was a lawyer and my client came to me and said there is this ass who is misquoting me, in fact making up dam lies and then proceeds to show his evidence, your written statement , well at the least I would force an retraction , but that just me.
Darrel

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby fundamentallybroken » Mon May 30, 2011 10:59 pm

darrel99 wrote: Perhaps if you could point to a particular post or paragraph or even a sentence that you find so particularly challenging .

Sure! Here's one:
darrel99 wrote:this is of conceding you make it to the you hang a shingle because if I was a lawyer and my client came to me and said there is this ass who is misquoting me, in fact making up dam lies and then proceeds to show his evidence, your written statement , well at the least I would force an retraction , but that just me.
Darrel


I mean, yeah, of course this is of conceding I make it to the I hang a shingle. You make total sense there, and I concede.

darrel99
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby darrel99 » Tue May 31, 2011 2:16 pm

Ya that of should not there but you still are an ass and you still lied about what I wrote concerning MB rewrite. Do you remember the show Animal House? One of the characters rode the white horse and do you remember what happened to him? My advice to you don't ever go in the service because that the kind of fate pettifoggers like you run into.

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: Law School optional essays on applicant life effents

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Tue May 31, 2011 3:46 pm

darrel99 wrote:Ya that of should not there but you still are an ass and you still lied about what I wrote concerning MB rewrite. Do you remember the show Animal House? One of the characters rode the white horse and do you remember what happened to him? My advice to you don't ever go in the service because that the kind of fate pettifoggers like you run into.

Ya that of should not there but you still.




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