I got some really helpful advice from posting my first draft on here, so I'm hoping you guys can help me again. I really appreciate it.
The first time I ever really interacted with a lawyer was in 8th grade. I cannot remember his name and, in a way, I don’t want to. Attaching a name to the face seems unnecessary, a distraction from his actions and how they impacted me. To me he is simply the lawyer who helped me in 8th grade and, by simply doing his job, changed my life.
It all started in mid-December 2000. A bully had attacked me in gym class, sparking a fight that got out of hand. We both hurt each other quite badly and could’ve been charged with assault. My family was initially content to let the matter go and focus on the school disciplinary procedures. The bully’s family, however, decided to press criminal charges against me. It seemed that everything was falling apart. I was 14-years-old and I was convinced my life was already over. I had never been so terrified.
To completely grasp why this was so terrifying, you need to understand how my life had been up until that point. From a young age I had received nothing but praise and success. I was showered with words like ‘brilliant’ or ‘gifted’. Suddenly all that changed. I was removed from school, looked down upon, labeled with terms such as ‘dangerous’ and ‘threat’. Each new person I met as part of the process seemed bent on passing judgment on me. I have never felt more worthless in my life. Then I met with the lawyer my parents hired. Instead of judging or labeling me he listened as I recalled what had happened and then, in a clear and friendly manner, he explained what the law was and what I could expect to happen next. Just that simple act of kind professionalism made a world of difference to me.
Then there was the appearance in court. While I sat in front of the judge, stewing in my own anxiety, the lawyer stood and spoke, clearly, confidently, like I, who had yet to overcome a speech impediment, always wished I could. The settlement resulted in a suspended sentence contingent upon me completing bit of community service. I walked out of that courtroom thrilled. No more worrying about what would happen, no more fear over possibly going to juvenile hall. I felt liberated. The lawyer congratulated me and my parents and walked off. To him it was likely just another case. To me, it meant the world.
It was then that I realized I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m the type of person who places an emphasis on making a difference. To many aspiring lawyers that may mean convicting a notorious criminal or going after a corrupt corporation, but I know that you don’t have to be operating on that grand a scale to make a difference. If things had turned out differently for me back at age 14, I would be a completely different person. What that lawyer likely regarded as one simple case changed my life. I want a chance to make that kind of a difference.
So I set myself to developing the skills that would help me become a lawyer. Of particular benefit was high school debate. It allowed me to hone my argumentation skills, to develop my ability to think and respond quickly, and to work to overcome my speaking problems. In debate I developed from an inarticulate child with no grasp of argumentation to a skillful, persuasive, and articulate speaker. My senior year, I finished second overall in Northern Virginia in Congress style debate, third overall in the entire Washington DC area, and was an NCFL national quarterfinalist.
However, upon graduating from college, I knew I was not yet ready for law school. While I thrived in competitive environments, I lacked the level of discipline and drive needed to succeed when I wasn’t directly pitted against someone. So to develop it I put myself into a series of challenging, largely thankless jobs, such as knocking on doors for a political campaign, filing documents at the local Circuit Court, or processing people’s tax returns. In these unglamorous, uncompetitive jobs I initially had to consciously push myself to excel. But over time that drive for excellence has become second nature. I no longer have to push myself to excel, I simply do.
I now know that I am ready face law school. I am eager to begin working towards a career in law, a career that will allow me to have the kind of positive impact on the world that I want to. I now have the discipline and dedication needed, and with hard work and perseverance I know that I will one day change someone’s life, like mine was, just by doing my job.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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