PS Topic Question

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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winning
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PS Topic Question

Postby winning » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:43 pm

Hi all,

I was considering writing my PS on a personal story I had while I was living abroad in a developing country. The themes I was hoping to highlight were persistence and determination in the face of major obstacles and resourcefulness during challenging events. But part of the story involves me bribing someone to get something that I absolutely needed done. Would it be inadvisable to use this story because of this? I personally don't feel I acted unethically, but could it be interpreted as unethical?

Thanks!

MumofCad
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby MumofCad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:57 pm

A bribe is unethical under any circumstances IMO. There are laws in the US that prevent US corporations involved in foreign countries, even where corruption is prevalent, from engaging in corrupt behavior. I am uncertain how this applies to the actions of US citizens, but I would not choose this as a topic for a law school PS.

Sorry, I may be over-sensitive to this given my work experience in developing countries. I've seen all sorts of excuses for the giving and taking of bribes - its always a crime if someone else does it, its always justifiable if you have to do it. Its never alright. It tears down the institutions of the state and perpetuates a system of norms and morals that leave people helpless in the face of institutions that are supposed to serve them.

This does not show perseverance or determination. It shows that you are willing to engage in unethical, illegal acts in order to get what you want. I believe the Bar review also gets your application and this may very well give you a huge problem in proving your character and fitness for practice.

I don't want to sound harsh, but the mentality that bribes are acceptable for some and not for others can be....more than aggravating to some.
Last edited by MumofCad on Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:00 pm

MumofCad wrote:A bribe is unethical under any circumstances IMO. There are laws in the US that prevent US corporations involved in foreign countries, even where corruption is prevalent, from engaging in corrupt behavior. I am uncertain how this applies to the actions of US citizens, but I would not choose this as a topic for a law school PS.

Sorry, I may be over-sensitive to this given my work experience in developing countries. I've seen all sorts of excuses for the giving and taking of bribes - its always a crime if someone else does it, its always justifiable if you have to do it. Its never alright. It tears down the institutions of the state and perpetuates a system of norms and morals that leave people helpless in the face of institutions that are supposed to serve them.

This does not show perseverance or determination. It shows that you are willing to engage in unethical, illegal acts in order to get what you want. I believe the Bar review also gets your application and this may very well give you a huge problem in proving your character and fitness for practice.


?????

MumofCad
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby MumofCad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:06 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:
?????


What are you confused about? I think my response is pretty clear. I'm not saying that everyone shares it, but I think it would be unwise to risk it. If I was an adcomm, I could totally see myself taking an application with a story about giving a bribe and automatically dinging someone with otherwise qualifying numbers.

I don't want to sugar-coat my gut reaction for OP.

The only exception I can think of is if the person's life was literally on the line. Then a bribe would be justifiable. From OP's description this is not what he was saying.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:09 pm

MumofCad wrote:
Blessedassurance wrote:
?????


What are you confused about? I think my response is pretty clear. I'm not saying that everyone shares it, but I think it would be unwise to risk it. If I was an adcomm, I could totally see myself taking an application with a story about giving a bribe and automatically dinging someone with otherwise qualifying numbers.

I don't want to sugar-coat my gut reaction for OP.


I'm confused about the harangue attached to what should be a simple answer.

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winning
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby winning » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:14 pm

MumofCad wrote:A bribe is unethical under any circumstances IMO. There are laws in the US that prevent US corporations involved in foreign countries, even where corruption is prevalent, from engaging in corrupt behavior. I am uncertain how this applies to the actions of US citizens, but I would not choose this as a topic for a law school PS.

Sorry, I may be over-sensitive to this given my work experience in developing countries. I've seen all sorts of excuses for the giving and taking of bribes - its always a crime if someone else does it, its always justifiable if you have to do it. Its never alright. It tears down the institutions of the state and perpetuates a system of norms and morals that leave people helpless in the face of institutions that are supposed to serve them.

This does not show perseverance or determination. It shows that you are willing to engage in unethical, illegal acts in order to get what you want. I believe the Bar review also gets your application and this may very well give you a huge problem in proving your character and fitness for practice.

I don't want to sound harsh, but the mentality that bribes are acceptable for some and not for others is....more than aggravating.


I could have done with only the bolded sentence. I'm always surprised by how quick some folks on this board are to judge people without knowing the context for their actions, but I have no desire to get into a debate about whether or not bribes are justified under certain circumstances. Thanks for your input.

newb
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby newb » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:14 pm

I wouldn't try to brag about being a criminal just because you (I assume) didn't get caught, arrested, and made into a felon.

newb
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby newb » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:14 pm

winning wrote:
MumofCad wrote:A bribe is unethical under any circumstances IMO. There are laws in the US that prevent US corporations involved in foreign countries, even where corruption is prevalent, from engaging in corrupt behavior. I am uncertain how this applies to the actions of US citizens, but I would not choose this as a topic for a law school PS.

Sorry, I may be over-sensitive to this given my work experience in developing countries. I've seen all sorts of excuses for the giving and taking of bribes - its always a crime if someone else does it, its always justifiable if you have to do it. Its never alright. It tears down the institutions of the state and perpetuates a system of norms and morals that leave people helpless in the face of institutions that are supposed to serve them.

This does not show perseverance or determination. It shows that you are willing to engage in unethical, illegal acts in order to get what you want. I believe the Bar review also gets your application and this may very well give you a huge problem in proving your character and fitness for practice.

I don't want to sound harsh, but the mentality that bribes are acceptable for some and not for others is....more than aggravating.


I could have done with only the bolded sentence. I'm always surprised by how quick some folks on this board are to judge people without knowing the context for their actions, but I have no desire to get into a debate about whether or not bribes are justified under certain circumstances. Thanks for your input.


I suspect you will enjoy the sacratic method.

shoeshine
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby shoeshine » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:15 pm

It think it depends on the incident and who you were bribing.

Bribing a U.S. Customs Official =/= Bribing A Corrupt Chechnyan War Lord (do these still exist?)

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Blessedassurance
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:17 pm

newb wrote:I wouldn't try to brag about being a criminal just because you (I assume) didn't get caught, arrested, and made into a felon.


Art thou an alt?

Wait, don't tell me...lemme guess...

shoeshine
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby shoeshine » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:18 pm

newb wrote:I suspect you will enjoy the sacratic method.

It is like the Socratic method only with more sarcasm.

See what I did there?

MumofCad
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby MumofCad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:19 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:
MumofCad wrote:
I'm confused about the harangue attached to what should be a simple answer.


I think I made that overtly clear as well: "Sorry, I may be over-sensitive to this, etc."

I also did not want to give him a placid, "I don't recommend it." I think its a little more serious than that with bigger ramifications for his/her future. I wanted to let them know how serious the reaction could be to this topic in order to strongly recommend against pursuing it. Especially, since I am fairly certain some (maybe even a majority) will follow with a "sounds fine to me."

MumofCad
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby MumofCad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:23 pm

winning wrote:
I could have done with only the bolded sentence. I'm always surprised by how quick some folks on this board are to judge people without knowing the context for their actions, but I have no desire to get into a debate about whether or not bribes are justified under certain circumstances. Thanks for your input.


You are right. It was a waste of space in your case. I am sure the trolls will come out and try to convince you this is a fine topic. I was probably better off letting them sway you instead of trying to help and impress how important it was not to write on this topic.
Last edited by MumofCad on Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

newb
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby newb » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:26 pm

Just find the right interviewer and bring an envolope, and yeah they'll LOVE that story..... :shock: :wink:

shoeshine
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby shoeshine » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:27 pm

newb wrote:Just find the right interviewer and bring an envolope, and yeah they'll LOVE that story..... :shock: :wink:

WTF?

MumofCad
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby MumofCad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:30 pm

shoeshine wrote:
newb wrote:Just find the right interviewer and bring an envolope, and yeah they'll LOVE that story..... :shock: :wink:

WTF?


He/She is implying OP should bribe the adcomms too if I'm not misreading.

I think your sacratic method joke went over my head though.

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winning
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby winning » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:31 pm

MumofCad wrote:
winning wrote:
I could have done with only the bolded sentence. I'm always surprised by how quick some folks on this board are to judge people without knowing the context for their actions, but I have no desire to get into a debate about whether or not bribes are justified under certain circumstances. Thanks for your input.


You are right. It was a waste of space in your case. I am sure the trolls will come out and try to convince you this is a fine topic. I was probably better off letting them sway you instead of trying to help and impress how important it was not to write on this topic.


I would have actually appreciated if you had spoken with detail about the negative impact this could have on how AdComms view my application, which is what I was asking about in the first place. But instead I got a lecture on why you thought bribes were wrong.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:32 pm

Just change the locale to the US & call the bribe a political donation & you'll be fine.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:35 pm

MumofCad wrote: I think I made that overtly clear as well: "Sorry, I may be over-sensitive to this, etc."

I also did not want to give him a placid, "I don't recommend it." I think its a little more serious than that with bigger ramifications for his/her future. I wanted to let them know how serious the reaction could be to this topic in order to strongly recommend against pursuing it. Especially, since I am fairly certain some (maybe even a majority) will follow with a "sounds fine to me."


You don't know the specifics of the case and your assumptions are unwarranted.

It's a bad idea to write about bribing someone in a personal statement. What has that got to do with ethics, your work in developing countries, institutions, morals, governmental responsibility etc?

I don't feel like arguing though. Preach on.

jamesireland
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby jamesireland » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:36 pm

MumofCad wrote:A bribe is unethical under any circumstances IMO.


I hope that this is either hyperbole, or else involves serious implicit restrictions regarding what counts as a bribe as well as the class of relevant circumstances.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:38 pm

Learn to use the term "consulting fee".

newb
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby newb » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:43 pm

winning wrote:
MumofCad wrote:
winning wrote:
I could have done with only the bolded sentence. I'm always surprised by how quick some folks on this board are to judge people without knowing the context for their actions, but I have no desire to get into a debate about whether or not bribes are justified under certain circumstances. Thanks for your input.


You are right. It was a waste of space in your case. I am sure the trolls will come out and try to convince you this is a fine topic. I was probably better off letting them sway you instead of trying to help and impress how important it was not to write on this topic.


I would have actually appreciated if you had spoken with detail about the negative impact this could have on how AdComms view my application, which is what I was asking about in the first place. But instead I got a lecture on why you thought bribes were wrong.


If that's the KneeJerk responce people give on it (and assumeing you are dealing with human profs reading your application)
Don't you think they too will have the same responce?-No, of course you don't. You are better than everyone else and only those in authority will understand your true import and if they don't then screw them since they must be beneath you too. -Narcasism in lawstudents? Nah, I REFUSE to believe it! :x

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Blessedassurance
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:46 pm

newb wrote: If that's the KneeJerk responce people give on it (and assumeing you are dealing with human profs reading your application)
Don't you think they too will have the same responce?-No, of course you don't. You are better than everyone else and only those in authority will understand your true import and if they don't then screw them since they must be beneath you too. -Narcasism in lawstudents? Nah, I REFUSE to believe it! :x


I don't know if you know this, but if you see red lines under certain words you type, it means they need to be fixed for whatever reason before hitting "submit".

On second thought, troll away.

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winning
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby winning » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:55 pm

newb wrote:
winning wrote:
MumofCad wrote:
winning wrote:
I could have done with only the bolded sentence. I'm always surprised by how quick some folks on this board are to judge people without knowing the context for their actions, but I have no desire to get into a debate about whether or not bribes are justified under certain circumstances. Thanks for your input.


You are right. It was a waste of space in your case. I am sure the trolls will come out and try to convince you this is a fine topic. I was probably better off letting them sway you instead of trying to help and impress how important it was not to write on this topic.


I would have actually appreciated if you had spoken with detail about the negative impact this could have on how AdComms view my application, which is what I was asking about in the first place. But instead I got a lecture on why you thought bribes were wrong.


If that's the KneeJerk responce people give on it (and assumeing you are dealing with human profs reading your application)
Don't you think they too will have the same responce?-No, of course you don't. You are better than everyone else and only those in authority will understand your true import and if they don't then screw them since they must be beneath you too. -Narcasism in lawstudents? Nah, I REFUSE to believe it! :x


Yes, you're right, because one person's personal views are reflective of the personal and institutional views of all law school AdComms. I apologize for my narcissism...

MumofCad
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Re: PS Topic Question

Postby MumofCad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:09 pm

winning wrote:
I would have actually appreciated if you had spoken with detail about the negative impact this could have on how AdComms view my application, which is what I was asking about in the first place. But instead I got a lecture on why you thought bribes were wrong.


You shouldn't take comments so personally. Unless of course you feel they imply to you specifically. I was talking about bribes in general and the reasons people give for taking/giving them, trying to give you an idea of what very well might go through an adcoms mind as they read your PS. Anyhow, you are free to ignore my moralizing and personal views and to proceed as you had planned. I hope you do.

jamesireland - I've lived much of my adult life in developing countries. At 18, I was held at gunpoint on the Syrian-Turkish border trying to cross to Turkey over some cigarettes and tobacco the Syrian bus driver and customs agent had bought to smuggle across the border using my American passport. And that is by far not the most frightening experience I have had with foreign military or police. I'm not immune to the difficulties one can face in developing countries, nor the fear that can be invoked to encourage someone to pay a bribe. But it is illegal and unless the context is probable death or bodily harm (and determination and perseverance do not imply such situations to me), you will be judged in the same manner by others and the legal system, on the internet or in very real life situations. Beyond that context, no, I do not think it is acceptable. And as I stated before, I have seen every excuse and extenuating circumstance under the moon. When you talk about this showing perseverance and determination, I can think of only one thing, try a quick read of this and feel free to throw around all the moralizing, justifying jargon you want: Robert Gordon, "Professionalisms Old and New, Good and Bad," Legal Ethics, Vol 8, No 1.

With that, I can't see anything productive coming out of this thread so please continue without me.




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