Here's my second draft, any input is greatly appreciated:
The summer before my junior year of college, I had my first conversation with an attorney. As I anxiously awaited the arrival of the senior partner to begin my interview for a file clerk position, I kept taking nervous glances between the door and the massive wall of books that framed his impressive cherry desk. Before this day, my closest interaction 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 just to tread water at the poverty line did not lend itself to any situations for interaction with attorneys.
That day, 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 that the firm primarily handled. I found myself immersed for hours in what many would consider mundane. This propensity to get lost in statutory minutia did not assist me much in being a file clerk. However, this propensity led to the self-discovery that my intense curiosity for learning law was based on an awakening realization of the impact law can have on the lives of others.
Ultimately, I was promoted to a paralegal position for one of the partners at the firm. I reveled in the additional responsibilities that came along with the position and I seized every opportunity to impress upon the partners that I wanted progressively more responsible tasks. I can still vividly recall the Tuesday afternoon, at 3:00 p.m., when I heard and felt the loud thud of a file hitting my cubicle desk. I looked up from the phone call I was on and saw 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. What I found, however, was a small note on the file front that read "This is what you asked for, hearing is on Friday, good luck - V."
The initial rush I felt when entrusted with this responsibility was soon tempered by anxiety and fear. While this was an excellent opportunity to prove myself, for me it was only that, an opportunity. But to the infant claimant I would be representing, this was the culmination of approximately three years of disappointment and heartache. This was her second attempt at security Social Security disability benefits. She waited over two years on her first application before receiving a denial, and then over a year for a second administrative law judge hearing. At this moment, I knew, this is what being an attorney is about, helping those who are unable to help themselves.
I looked back in retrospection and realized just how lucky my mother had been to not need legal representation for her or me. With a severely limited income and little to no access to affordable representation, our family would have been at the mercy of a legal system that is immensely, confusingly complex.
I needed to ensure that the claimant obtained the best possible resolution to her case, so I spent the next two days reviewing the enormous case. I poured through page after page, trying to find something in the voluminous file that could establish that she was entitled to disability benefits under the Code of Federal Regulations. 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 she had been waiting on for so long.
The following day, I experienced the greatest feeling of accomplishment I'd ever had as we emerged from the hearing room following the statement by the judge that it should take about three months for the claimant to begin receiving her disability benefits and Medicaid eligibility. Three months and she could see specialist to which she otherwise would have no access. Through streaming tears, the claimant explained that she was crying because of the benefits she had been awarded, and also because of the affirmation that came from someone caring enough to passionately argue her case.
Until that moment, I had been undecided where my life would take me. This single case, the first of many I would handle for the firm, was the impetus I needed to realize that law was the only career I wanted to pursue. I have been involved in many disparate types of law in the past sixyears and my passion for the law continues to grow. Attending law school and becoming an attorney is the culmination of a decade-plus long journey during which my desire to help others, through the law, has continued to grow.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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