late applicant- any feedback on PS would be great!

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Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:04 am

late applicant- any feedback on PS would be great!

Postby waldosone » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:08 am

here it is, 2nd draft:

I entered the receipt number for the I-539 Application on the United States Citizen Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”) case status website. Nearly three weeks had passed since we submitted our request for expedited processing of this case. Three weeks and several follow up phone conversations with USCIS officers, and I still had little information—little resolution—to offer our client. His wife remained in India, barred from re-entry into the United States for the next ten years, unless we could do something. The page finished loading. “On July 27th, 2011, USCIS…” I stopped reading and immediately minimized the page. That was today’s date. The case had been adjudicated. My stomach dropped. As my palms began to sweat, I mentally rehearsed how I could possibly break the news to our client.

I had been assigned this case two months earlier as a first-year Paralegal at XXXX Law Firm, a firm specializing exclusively in immigration law, with the caveat that it was likely to be denied. Our client’s wife, Mrs. S, had first entered the United States in 2009 as his dependent. A month before our client retained our services, however, Mrs. S. had traveled to India to introduce the couple’s newborn daughter to their extended family abroad. She departed the U.S. unaware that she had overstayed her Visa and authorized status over 365 days. This oversight, which could had been prevented if the couple had previously received proper legal advice, resulted in her bar from re-entering the United States for 10 years. The couple had assumed, incorrectly, that because Mrs. S.’s status was directly dependent upon her husband’s, it would be automatically extended with his as well. Unfortunately this was not the case and, as a result of this misunderstanding, Mrs. S. was now inadmissible to the United States.

We made sure our client was aware of the likelihood of a denial for this case. In order to file an I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status the applicant is generally required to be currently in the U.S.. As Mrs. S. had already departed the U.S., we would need to construct a novel argument demonstrating both her eligibility to be re-instated, and her basis for filing the I-539 while she was abroad. This would be no easy feat. After being made fully aware of the slim chances of approval, Mr. S. still wanted us to try. I shared his sentiment. Part of what makes law so appealing to me is that even seemingly overwhelming obstacles can be overcome if approached critically and creatively.

For weeks I worked with the attorney drafting and redrafting the memorandum for the petition. All the while acting as the primary point of contact with Mr. S. and collecting all of the necessary documentation needed for the memorandum. During one of my daily phone calls with Mr. S. he informed me that his fourteen-month-old daughter had been admitted to the hospital for dehydration in India. Knowing that the outcome of this case would rest solely on the discretionary decision of the USCIS adjudicating officer, I searched online medical journals for articles that correlated dehydration with high temperatures. It had been an unusually hot summer in Chennai, India, and I wanted to appeal to the empathy of the USCIS adjudicating officer by demonstrating that the child’s return would be substantially better for her health. The attorney seemed enthusiastic about this approach and we included the argument in the NPT memorandum and our request to expedite the processing.

Back at my computer, I maximized the page and continued to read. I recalled the sadness in Mr. S.’s voice and the understandable longing for his family’s return. I reminded myself that a denial could surely not come as a surprise to him—we had certainly prepared him for it. I continued to read, “On July 27, 2011 USCIS approved this I-539 Application…” I doubt I will ever forget the experience of sharing the incredible news of the approval with Mr. S.

My contribution to this case, and the pride and accomplishment I felt from its outcome, further strengthened my desire to attend law school and one day practice law. As a result of my interdisciplinary undergraduate coursework, I was able to analyze some of the ways in which American culture and its legal system intersect. This culminated in the completion of an honors thesis on asylum cases based upon the applicant’s sexual orientation. My research of the adjudications in these cases contributed to my eagerness to continue to examine the law within this critical framework while in law school, particularly within the field of immigration.
Upon graduating with a B.A., it felt natural for me to seek employment at an immigration law firm. My time spent working at XXXX has been particularly productive—not only in terms of cases, but also in my own professional development. The firm’s practice of allowing its paralegals to draft the initial drafts of legal memorandums has allowed me to build upon my analytical and argumentative skills I gained throughout my undergraduate career. I look forward to mastering these skills further in my pursuit of a Juris Doctor.

I truly believe that attending XXXX University will provide me with the foundation necessary to practice law, and will grant me a unique, informed theoretical and practical approach to the American legal system. Beyond my hope to become a practicing attorney within the field of immigration law, I am also fascinated with how the American legal system both shapes and is shaped by our society. My ultimate goal is to not only help people navigate this complex, and sometimes intimidating, system, but also to address and examine the position our legal system puts people, like the S. family, in.


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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:52 am

Re: late applicant- any feedback on PS would be great!

Postby geauxsaints » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:41 am

I think your PS is great. Great structure, grammar, and punctuation. No overuse of adverbs/adjectives. I think it is ready to be submitted. My only concern is its length. It is 950 words and 3 full pages double spaced. Most applications say "no more than 3 pages" so you will be okay for those, but some will limit you to 750 words or 2 pages. If you are limited to 2 pages, you will have to trim some fat. You could potentially remove some of the procedural descriptions of the immigration process. The last paragraph can also be removed in my opinion. I think you can add "My ultimate goal is to not only help people navigate this complex, and sometimes intimidating, system, but also to address and examine the position our legal system puts people, like the S. family, in." to the prior paragraph and end there.

I think this is a well written and solid personal statement that demonstrates your interest in law and ability to write. Great PS and good luck!

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