Hello, I am a brand new member to this great site. I found you a few days ago after taking my October LSAT and I've learned quite a lot. I am excited to be a part of this community With that in mind, I ask for your honest opinion on my personal statement. Thank you and I will undoubtedly return the favor!
For some, the decision to attend Law School is predicated on what they “should” do by an outside party or what they need do because they “cannot think of anything else.” My decision to apply to your law school depends on neither of these, but instead on many different factors. Ever since I moved to the U.S.A. approximately 15 years ago, I have been caught between two cultures and seemingly two different worlds; the Brazilian and the American one. This existence seems to be something I was destined to do, perhaps, since the same thing happened with my grandfather Johannes, though under entirely different circumstances.
Johannes was approximately seven years old when he was exiled to Brazil with my great-grandfather Max and great-grandmother Maria from Germany in 1939. My great-grandfather Max was, at the time, a respected judge in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the city of Offenburg and was happily married to a Catholic German woman, Maria. To marry in the Catholic Church, both parties are required to be Catholic. Maria was Catholic by birth while Max was a newly Christened convert. However, in the eyes of the German government at the time, he was what his parents before him were and what he himself was before his conversion; he was a Jew. Thus, through shrewd thinking and a premonition of things to come, Max, his wife Maria, and his son Johannes narrowly escaped the fate that fell upon Max’s own parents a few days after his rushed escape to Brazil through Switzerland: the Gurs concentration camp in France. Thus, Max, once a respected judge, never practiced law again. His son Johannes was torn away from his homeland of Germany and deprived from ever seeing two of his grandparents again. Though Max received reparations from the German government in his later years, the damage done to his psyche through this cultural uprooting was irreparable. The magnitude of the injustice and he and his family endured is really quite unfathomable to today’s generation; and I sincerely hope it remains that way. We now live in privileged times: The utter bewilderment he must have felt at having to decide whether to leave or face imminent death is a feeling I will never truly understand. His story is one that has stuck with me on my path to Criminal law, and understandably so, for it directly shaped our family’s history and is perhaps why the majority of my family in Brazil consists of criminal lawyers, judges, and district attorneys.
Though my own story is wholly apart from that of my grandfather Johannes, as my parents moved here to the U.S.A. voluntarily, I have always related to him in a special way, since we share the experience of being preadolescent aliens in our adopted countries. This feeling of cultural detachment from everyday society has manifested in me since I was able to understand it and continues to reside in me to an extent. Though this feeling of detachment hindered me before in my adolescence, I now see it as an advantage that I would never wish to be deprived of. I can now be a chameleon of sorts, speaking in a São Paulo accent when intermingling with Brazilians or speaking in a Californian accent when talking to Americans. In accordance with these experiences, I have always had an outside perspective on issues that neither my American-born and raised friends nor my Brazilian-born and raised friends have had. This multicultural perspective is what draws me into law, as it is an occupation in which you must be able to relate to multiple sides of a story from an objective standpoint. As the world becomes further intertwined economically through NAFTA, the EU, and MERCOSUR and as the United States becomes more ethnically diverse, we need lawyers that are multicultural themselves in order to best serve their clients. My residency in Brazil and the United States, along with my travels in Argentina, Uruguay, and much of Western Europe have allowed to gain perspectives and understanding that I could never have gotten from a book. By virtue of these experiences, I am fully fluent in Portuguese and English and conversational in Spanish, German, and French.
Thus, in order to fully utilize my strengths and to follow in the footsteps of my family through our joint inspiration of personal social injustice, I would like to pursue a career in Criminal law.
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