Is this decent?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
thand42292
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:30 pm

Is this decent?

Postby thand42292 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:19 pm

Hey guys so I was thinking of working the character sketch angle on my PS along with some light personal experience. If it helps I have a 3.92 UGPA and I don't know my LSAT but I think its (~170). Thank you for your criticism.
His face had clearly changed tone since he was born. He was no longer a particularly Irish pasty white but had developed a reddened skin. His physical features are otherwise relatively bland: average height, average weight, patches of grey hair. However, he has a devil-may-care smirk that was approximately as effective as Captain Kirk’s phaser at disarming most people. In a weird way, he was good at making people believe they were on his side, even when he was not. I suspect he would've made a great salesman.
To be clear this man is my father. When it came to discipline he had an unnatural ability to play the good cop. As kids, when we asked him how he was able to settle disputes like that. Apparently, it was a Hand secret transferred from generation to generation from which our (very distant) cousin Learned’s wisdom sprang. Sure, growing up I saw bursts of anger occasionally but like a splash in calm seas they had a certain way of fading away.
At the same time he had it, something I always worried I lacked: the Hand Charm. In my awkward years when I saw the ease with which he was able to use his wit with everyone around him from acquaintances to waitresses. Having been the first in his family to go to college he eventually earned a Master’s Degree which made him seem like the smartest person ever when I was 11.
However, my father didn't live happily ever after. He became a public sector worker, just like his father and his brother, and worked in wide array of fields. At various points in my childhood he had been a social worker, high school teacher, Board of Elections employee, Assembly ombudsman, and judicial employee. We were never rich. He always worked hard often times working a second job as a process server or doorman or security guard to make ends meet.
Somehow, it all didn't seem fair. It didn't always seem like education was worthwhile watching him do what he did with his Master’s degree. I kind of aimless drudged on knowing what I wanted. I wanted the American Dream: something better than my parents had.
When I got to college I had the option of working in the Chambers of Justice Peter J. O’Donoghue over a summer and landed an occasional gig helping out a small process serving firm in my neighborhood. In both positions I got to meet and work with attorneys and in many ways a lot of them reminded me of my father. They had the same self-assuredness I had noticed, and admired, years ago and carried the same intellectual with the regular guy polish that comes from working with the public often.
There was one huge difference: they may not have all been graduates of Law Schools as esteemed as yours but they all had a license to work in the field of their choice and to shape their services to please clients and make society a better place. They didn't seem like they had to please any political machine just to stay in business and put bread on the table for their family. I learned more and more of their field, from drafting orders for the judge, to locating flaws in attorneys’ submissions to doing legal research on WestLaw to noticing details about how they wrote as I explained documents to defendants with little education I learned one thing: this stuff was interesting. It reminded me of my Game Theory, Research and Industrial Organization classes.
For the first time in my life I felt confident. I know there isn't an exact one-to-one correlation between my work experience and an attorney’s job. Still I felt that I had found something: a career that would fulfill me intellectually and take me beyond where my father got stuck. I still remember what he told me when I told him I wanted to go to law school: “Son, I know you can do something great with it.”

CourtneyJoann
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:19 pm

Re: Is this decent?

Postby CourtneyJoann » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:37 pm

I think my main concern with this ps is that it doesn't give me a good sense of who you are as a person and potential law student. A ps is a place for us to really establish ourselves and convince an adcom that we are the person they want at their law school. I would refocus your statement on yourself. Also, your language seems a little contrived and flowery. It's good overall, but comes off as a tade fake in some spots. If you'd like me to edit a future draft or go through this one more in depth, pm me. I'm currently typing on my phone, so I'm not writing as much as I usually would.

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Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Is this decent?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:20 pm

This isn't that good. You should consider starting from scratch. And if you are going to name drop Learned Hand in your personal statement, do it in a more subtle, less douchey way.

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NoodleyOne
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Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: Is this decent?

Postby NoodleyOne » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:08 pm

Agree with the above poster, and here's why. The "name-dropping" is... in a way impersonal. Also, it strikes me as a long "Why Law" PS, which isn't bad for sure, but it has a very impersonal tone to it. Why Law? Because it's better than the other options. Not a good answer, in my opinion.

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Davidbentley
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:49 am

Re: Is this decent?

Postby Davidbentley » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:17 pm

Trying too hard.

thand42292
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:30 pm

Re: Is this decent?

Postby thand42292 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:39 pm

Alright guys,

I kind of knew I had problems-I'd rather write about anything from Plato to describing genital Herpes than write about myself-but I'm curious as to whether you guys think a better structure would inherently be better.

Instead of doing a character sketch, I was thinking of a story. I was going to write about first reading Learned Hand's biography and finding someone I felt nerd-kinship with as a dorky 12 year old but that felt even more histrionic. I was also thinking of writing about my work on political campaigns as a preteen/teen especially my old man's campaign but I was having trouble tying that in. I was also, and I haven't made drafts about these, thinking about writing about that judge internship exclusively or my academic research. **** none of it is really inspiring or fascinating so I have no clue.

Sweating this hard bros/broettes.

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NoodleyOne
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: Is this decent?

Postby NoodleyOne » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:41 pm

I believe in general schools want to know about you now, so unless there's something REALLY formative in your childhood, I would stick with you as an adult (as that is who they are admitting). An internship or something academic can certainly work, you just have to write it in a compelling way.

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Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Is this decent?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:25 pm

thand42292 wrote:Alright guys,

I kind of knew I had problems-I'd rather write about anything from Plato to describing genital Herpes than write about myself-but I'm curious as to whether you guys think a better structure would inherently be better.

Instead of doing a character sketch, I was thinking of a story. I was going to write about first reading Learned Hand's biography and finding someone I felt nerd-kinship with as a dorky 12 year old but that felt even more histrionic. I was also thinking of writing about my work on political campaigns as a preteen/teen especially my old man's campaign but I was having trouble tying that in. I was also, and I haven't made drafts about these, thinking about writing about that judge internship exclusively or my academic research. **** none of it is really inspiring or fascinating so I have no clue.

Sweating this hard bros/broettes.


I can very much relate--I absolutely hate writing about myself. Based on what you wrote above, I think something like the following could work: Like you mentioned, you can start off with a very, very brief story about reading Learned Hand's biography and feeling a connection, even though you recognize now it was a bit silly to feel that way to a distant relative who you had zero contact with. That connection, though, led you to think you wanted to be a lawyer. Once again, in retrospect, that idea to be a lawyer wasn't some well thought out decision based on what lawyers do, but rather a desire of a kid to be great like a relative. Since then you have actually spent significant time making sure if a legal career is right for you (mention internship stuff here). Based on those experiences and the exposure you've had to lawyers, you feel like this is the right career for you. Optional: Add in corny line about how silly ideas that we have as kids can be on the right path after all.

It's a pretty plain personal statement, but it's easy to execute.




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