Question on Personal statement topic

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Finalflash013
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Question on Personal statement topic

Postby Finalflash013 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:43 pm

I'm really on the fence about this topic, and I am leaning toward no, but I was wondering what the people here would think. I'm having a very tough time coming up with a personally statement. I've had a pretty uneventful, yet happy life. I work a part time job at a deli and commute to school so I don't have any interesting stories there. There is one thing that changed the entire structure of my extended family.

My Mom's side of the family was a pretty tight group, always eating dinner at my grandparent's house every Sunday, until my Aunt started cheated on my uncle, which happened several times, and led to divorce, despite my uncle's best attempts to keep the marriage going. This all happened when I was twelve, and within the year to another pair of my aunt's and uncle's getting divorced, and one of them developing bipolar disorder, kind of ripping the family apart. During the divorce settlement, I remember my uncle really got screwed, despite wanting to take the kids, and being fully capable, his ex wife (my aunt) ended up with the the house, the kids, and a ton of money in child support. This instance is what made me want to enter law, as I always sympathized with my uncle, and felt his attorney could have done a better job, and wanting to detract from the ratio of bad lawyers by becoming one of the good ones.

The reason I'm leaning against this is because I don't feel like it would be a big deal to anyone else. Divorce is almost as common as marriage nowadays, so I'm not sure it would have the emotional impact I want to anyone outside of a close family like mine used to be.

Any advice would be great.

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curiouscat
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby curiouscat » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:03 pm

I vote no. Too much about uncles, too little about you. If you want to talk about this issue, find a way to shift the focus on yourself and how it's shaped you, otherwise you're running the risk of writing a soap opera instead of PS.

You don't need to find an "interesting" story - go for insight & thoughtfulness over drama for drama's sake.

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Finalflash013
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby Finalflash013 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:11 pm

Thanks, that helps. I'll brainstorm a bit and come back in a week or so.

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icecold3000
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby icecold3000 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:27 am

I think it could work as long as the focus is on you. Do not go into extensive detail about the divorce or your uncle, just enough to give context to the reader. You summed it up quite clearly above. All and all, it really depends on how well it is written. Maybe you should jot down a few lines about how this motivated you to study law, specifically family law and see where it goes.

kublaikahn
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:25 pm

No.

lcw
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby lcw » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:02 pm

I think you can write more generally about your commitment to a practice in family law (which includes divorce).

My approach to personal statements is a bit different than the majority in that I don't think an applicant needs some catchy hook or perosnal story to spice up their statement. I feel like, as a school, I would want to know:

1. What your reasons are for wanting to go to law school and what career you hope to build after graduating?
2. How you can benefit and add value as a student at this institution?
3. Whether you are genuinely committed to pursuing a legal education?

If you can answer these questions within the context of your interest in family law, then I think you can have a very good start to your statement.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:07 pm

lcw wrote:I think you can write more generally about your commitment to a practice in family law (which includes divorce).

My approach to personal statements is a bit different than the majority in that I don't think an applicant needs some catchy hook or perosnal story to spice up their statement. I feel like, as a school, I would want to know:

1. What your reasons are for wanting to go to law school and what career you hope to build after graduating?
2. How you can benefit and add value as a student at this institution?
3. Whether you are genuinely committed to pursuing a legal education?

If you can answer these questions within the context of your interest in family law, then I think you can have a very good start to your statement.

A personal statement doesn't have to be so explicitly about law school. It's a 'personal' statement, not a 'why law' statement. The adcomms don't need to be told that you want to go to law school, because otherwise why would you be applying? They want to learn about you as a person. If the story you tell about yourself happens to involve your motivations for pursuing a legal education, either implicitly or explicitly, then that's great. But it's not mandatory by any means. Plenty of successful applicants don't even mention the word 'law' in their essays.

lcw
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Re: Question on Personal statement topic

Postby lcw » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:36 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:A personal statement doesn't have to be so explicitly about law school. It's a 'personal' statement, not a 'why law' statement. The adcomms don't need to be told that you want to go to law school, because otherwise why would you be applying? They want to learn about you as a person. If the story you tell about yourself happens to involve your motivations for pursuing a legal education, either implicitly or explicitly, then that's great. But it's not mandatory by any means. Plenty of successful applicants don't even mention the word 'law' in their essays.


I agree that it is by no means mandatory, and I didn't mean to imply that was the case, but I do think (and this is where reasonable persons will disagree) that writing a "why person A wants to go specifically to law school X" can be a boon to an application. I'm not advocating a theoretical "why law" statement, but rather a personal statement about why a specific person wants a legal education from that school. It's true that a law school will want to familiarize itself with an applicant as a person, but they will also be primarily interacting with that person in an institutionalized setting as educator and student, and as such, will want to know something about how that particular relationship might play out. By writing about why an applicant wants a legal education and what the applicant expects from the school, the law school can gain a keen sense of what its relationship may be like with that applicant. Again, this is not mandatory but I think it can be helpful.

A caveat to all of this is that one should write a statement that fully and completely answers the prompts, if any, on a given law school's application. It's no good writing a fantastic personal statement if the statement doesn't answer the questions the application was asking.




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