Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
pb0820a
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby pb0820a » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:34 pm

Its a little rough right now but let me know what you think.


As complex and impersonal as the law can seem, it remains true - and therefore inspiring - that a single person in a single lawsuit - really can change the world. Schools were desegregated because a single lawyer and some very brave clients made the choice to take bold action. Similarly, our rights to privacy, the press, assembly and speech have all been protected or expanded because, ultimately, one person and his or her dedicated attorneys made the choice to stand up for all of us. The law and the larger society were changed as the result of one simple case.
Amazing as it may sound, I had the opportunity to work on one such case. Last year, while doing a semester abroad in London, I interned at the law firm Gottesman Jones & Partners LLP and more particularly, its senior partner Edward Gottesman. Even at the ripe age of eighty-three, Mr. Gottesman was pouring his heart and soul into a case that will have far reaching implications, implications that may eventually shape my own practice of the law.
The specific case involved a man suing to recover his family’s art collection from a museum. The museum obtained the art from a donor, but it seems as though the donor had obtained the art indirectly through theft perpetrated by the Nazis.
The case involves many elements similar to that of a work of fiction: long-lost heirs, an inheritance, stolen art, international intrigue, and a determined lawyer. More than that though, it involves the struggle of the individual against the larger forces (both evil and seemingly altruistic ones) of society. Its outcome will potentially reveal a great deal about the way that modern society views individual liberty. Will the Court side with the individual, standing in the place of his relative who was, without question, wrongfully deprived of his possessions to feed the craven greed of a truly evil government? Or, will the Court choose to side with the legitimate interests of the museum - an institution that took no part in the theft and one that makes the art available for the whole world to see? It’s a tough choice.
What makes the case particularly interesting is that I can eventually see myself involved in similar litigation in the years to come. As the Communist dictatorship in Cuba teeters toward oblivion, it is inevitable that many Cubans, both in that nation and in the United States, will advance claims to recover art and other property confiscated by the Castro regime. Some of these claimants may even be members of my own family.
I cannot honestly say I know how the case of the museum art should turn out. I have a gut instinct, but it is, at this point, uninformed by any real knowledge of the law or of the policy considerations that form the basis of the law. As I obtain more understanding of the law, and as my insights become more refined, I will continue to wrestle with the competing interests that I came to see during my internship. I now realize that the law, in a world that has to balance both individual and collective needs, can never truly be clear-cut. Nuance pervades every case and every judicial decision. That is why my most pressing ambition over the next three years is not so much to learn the law as a set of facts to be memorized but instead as a process and an outlook that needs to be developed and cultivated. In that way, I can perhaps eventually answer some of my own questions and also be a more useful advocate in litigating on behalf of individuals and institutions whose legitimate rights and interest come into conflict.

User avatar
oaken
Posts: 339
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:27 am

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby oaken » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:39 pm

IBTL ?

pb0820a
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby pb0820a » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:46 pm

No idea what that means. I just want to know what you think.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13918
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:03 pm

Doesn't tell the reader anything about YOU as a person. Unless the essay prompt is "write about a legal case you found interesting," this completely misses the point of a "Personal Statement."

lats19nys
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:26 pm

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby lats19nys » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:06 pm

The problem with this personal statement is that 1. it is not very personal despite describing a case you were involved with and 2. it comes off as rambling. Everything is written as "well, it might be important." "Well, it might be something I care about" "Well, it might be something I become involved in." It's very detached and truthfully you should really focus on a single message. If it learning about the "process" you allude to towards the end, I would have had no idea that was the point until you stated it-more than a pg into your statement. You really need a singular focus that is clear that will shine through from start to finish.

bobbyh1919
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:40 pm

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby bobbyh1919 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:39 pm

I agree with the responses. Personal stories are always good, especially ones that neatly tie into why you are applying to law school, but this essay is focused almost entirely on this one case, with you making the occasional appearance. Work on reversing that.

pb0820a
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby pb0820a » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:58 pm

Thanks for the replies. Do you think I should write an entire new essay or work off this one? do you think i can apply with this current essay to schools outside the t-14 without negative consequences?

I am a urm (Cuban/Puerto Rican) with a 159
gpa: 3.59 lsdas: 3.43

bobbyh1919
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:40 pm

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby bobbyh1919 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:17 pm

"Outside the t-14" is pretty broad, but with your numbers I'd say you want your personal statement to be outstanding. I certainly can't recommend that you submit this essay to anywhere you want to go, as personal statements need to much more than just "good enough."

User avatar
89vision
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: Help!! Critique my Personal Statement

Postby 89vision » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:51 pm

This is a pretty rough version. You should have your adviser review it.

I personally don't think you should say things like "I can honestly say." Why do you need to insert "honestly?" You could cut out a lot of those types of terms ("the specific case"= the case, etc;)

"The law can seem"= the law is.

You use single three times in the first three sentences, which is repetitive (although I understand you are trying to emphasize the importance of an individual). Also, wasn't more than one lawyer advising Brown in Brown v Board? I don't think one single lawyer worked on the case independently.

"but it seems as though the donor had obtained the art indirectly through theft perpetrated by the Nazis."= but it appears that the donor obtained the art through an act of theft/etc;-try to say things as concisely as possible. The admission committee will be thankful.

"The case involves many elements similar to that of a work of fiction"=The cases involves elements similar to a work of fiction.

"have a gut instinct, but it is, at this point, uninformed by any real knowledge of the law or of the policy considerations that form the basis of the law."

Isn't a gut instinct, by definition, not based on fact? You probably don't need to define a term that most people understand.

You use the passive voice in the last part, you may want to avoid that.

In the opening, you say "one single attorney," and then you say a person and their attorneys, which is conflictual.

Don't need "Amazing as it may sound," you use implications consecutively.

You make it sound as if the case you worked on was unique, but weren't there similar cases involving stolen art years ago?

Are cases in London decided by the court or a jury, or do "by court" do you mean "the jury"? I'm not familiar with English judicial systems, and found that a little ambigious.

Why is it inevitable that similar accusations of theft will arise in Cuba?

What is the goal of your essay?

You probably need to revise the essay a couple of times before submitting it.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.