Very rough first PS draft, advcie?

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abbottsbar
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Very rough first PS draft, advcie?

Postby abbottsbar » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:41 pm

After lurking forever I wanted to have you all rip my PS to shreds. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

It was not until the summer before my junior year of college that I had my first conversation with an attorney. As I anxiously awaited the arrival of the senior partner to begin my interview for the file clerk position, all I could do was to take cursory glances between the door and the massive wall of books that framed the impressive cherry desk. Until this point in my life, the closest I had ever been to interacting with an attorney was watching Matlock at my grandmother's house. Growing up in one of the most impoverished areas of __________with a mother struggling to work two jobs, yet falling well below the poverty line, did not lend itself to many situations for interaction with attorneys.

I managed to overcome my intimidation to secure the position with the firm. Immediately upon starting work I became enamored with reading the statutory provisions that governed the Social Security disability cases the firm primarily handled. I found that what many would consider mundane I found myself immersed in for hours. This propensity to get lost in statutory minutia did not assist me much in being a file clerk, often working to my detriment. However, it was the intense curiosity that I demonstrated for learning the law that led to my discovering my deeply-rooted love of the law and the impact it can have on the lives of others.

I can still vividly recall that Tuesday afternoon. Having been promoted to a paralegal for one of the partners at the firm, I was enjoying the additional responsibilities that came along with the position. I took every opportunity I had to impress upon the partners that I wanted to take on additionally progressive tasks. It was approximately 3:00 p.m. when I not only heard the loud thud of the file hitting my cubicle desk, but also felt the reverberations through my keyboard. I looked up from the phone call I was on only to see the partner walking away. After hanging up the phone I grabbed the file, anticipating instructions on what medical records to request, a bifurcation letter to be sent, or a consultative examination to schedule. However, what I found was a small note on the front that read "This is what you asked for, hearing is on Friday, good luck - V."

The initial rush that I felt when entrusted with this responsibility was soon tempered with anxiety and fear. While this was an excellent opportunity for me to prove myself, it was only that, an opportunity. However, to the claimant I would be representing, this was the culmination of approximately three years of disappointment and heartache. This was her second attempt at securing Social Security disability benefits, having waiting over two years on the first application, only to be ultimately denied, and now having waited over a year for a second administrative law judge hearing. It was at this moment that it struck me, this is what the being an attorney is about, helping those who are unable to help themselves. I looked back in retrospection and realized how just how lucky my mother had been to have not had a situation arise where legal representation would have been needed. With a severely limited income and little to no access to affordable representation, our family could have been at the mercy of the oftentimes immensely complex legal system.

With a pronounced vigor to ensure that the claimant obtained the best possible resolution to her case, I spent the next two days reviewing of a case file that had grown to encompass an entire accordion folder. I poured through page after page, trying to find something in the voluminous file that could establish, through the Code of Federal Regulations, that she was entitled to disability benefits. Bleary-eyed, after two entire evenings consumed with the case file, I became ecstatic to find a small detail in the record that showed, in fact, that she was due the benefits that they had been waiting on for so long.

The following day, I felt what can only be described as the greatest feeling of accomplishment I had ever had. Emerging from the hearing room, having been advised by the judge that it should only take three months before the claimant would begin receiving her disability benefits and Medicaid eligibility that would allow her to see specialists she otherwise would have never had the opportunity to do so, the tears began to flow down her cheeks. Through the tears she explained that she was crying not just due to the benefits she had been awarded, but also because of a affirmation that came along with someone believing in her enough to passionately argue her case.

Until that point in my life I had been undecided where my life would take me. This single case, the first of many that I would handle for the firm, was the only impetus I needed to realize that law was the only career that I wanted to pursue. Having been involved in many different disparate types of law in the past 6 years, my passion for the law continues to grow. Attending law school and becoming an attorney is the culmination of a journey that has only seen my desire to help others, through the law, continue to grow.

jnordlander
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Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:08 am

Re: Very rough first PS draft, advcie?

Postby jnordlander » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:15 am

Congratulations, this is a good place to be. You have concrete experiences to reference for why you want to attend law school. Alot of people tell stories with really ancillary relevance to law school.

Condense the first two paragraphs into one. Were you really enamored with reading the statutory provisions of the CFR? That shit is boring, but interest in the law is good. Change deeply-rooted love of the law.

Generally, I think your statement needs to be more concise. Some schools set a limit of two pages, and yours appears to be considerably longer.

The claimant anecdote is great example to build your statement around.

"It was at this moment that it struck me, this is what the being an attorney is about, helping those who are unable to help themselves". Although possibly true, I think this sentiment can be expressed in a more effective way. Adcoms have to read alot of these types of sentences. Weaving in your mothers situation and lack of access to representation is a good theme.

"Emerging from the hearing room, having been advised by the judge that it should only take three months before the claimant would begin receiving her disability benefits and Medicaid eligibility that would allow her to see specialists she otherwise would have never had the opportunity to do so, the tears began to flow down her cheeks."
Run on sentence, and an example of passive voice that you should correct.

Dont start a sentence with Having. I'd conclude with a return to the theme of providing representation to those who otherwise would not have the means to obtain it.

This is a pretty good start. And its interesting to read a PS from someone whose done Social Security law. My PS, incidentally, starts with a man I represented.

I would try to be more specfic. Explain exactly what about the law you find interesting. And really, really, think aboutgeneral statements about loving the law and wanting to help people. If there is a specific area of law that you want to practice, it can make helping people more compelling.

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PDaddy
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Re: Very rough first PS draft, advcie?

Postby PDaddy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:27 am

jnordlander wrote: Generally, I think your statement needs to be more concise. Some schools set a limit of two pages, and yours appears to be considerably longer.


Actually, I don't think it's that long. Some people think "double-space means the style that we used in undergrad. Grad and professional schools often prefer "block style" double-spacing. This means paragraphs can be single-spaced with between 5 and 10 "lines" each - not "sentences", but LINES, as in vertically counted lines - vaired of course, with the paragraphs averaging about 7-8 lines, and then double-spaced once between paragraphs. A page should have five to seven of these paragraphs in 11 or 12-pt. font.

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abbottsbar
Posts: 191
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Re: Very rough first PS draft, advcie?

Postby abbottsbar » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:36 pm

Thanks for the feedback, I knew it was going to need to heavy edits. I threw this together quickly and hadn't really proofed it well.

As far as length it's close to 2.5 pages. I'm hoping with the edits it will bring it closer to two.




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