PS -- please tear it to shreds!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
southeastlaw
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:50 pm

PS -- please tear it to shreds!

Postby southeastlaw » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:49 pm

Please tear it apart! Also, FYI, I have a DS that more to answer the "why I want to be a lawyer" question.


Ambulance Chasers. I still remember the day in fifth grade when one of my classmates first used those words to describe my parents. Initially, I was confused; what was an “ambulance chaser”, and how does it apply to my mom and dad? A few months later, after I had resolved to learn more about my parents’ job, I identified the basis for the insults; mom and dad sue big companies for money when people get injured. As the slurs and smears continued throughout middle school, I finally decided to write down a list questions that I wanted to ask my parents about their work: “Doesn’t all of this ‘ambulance chaser’ criticism bother you? Why don’t you respond to your critics? If the critics are right, why don’t you just get a new job?” Although these questions were often on my mind, I never did muster up the courage to bring them to my parents; looking back, I think I was afraid of what the answers might be. Nonetheless, throughout most of my childhood, my questions about my parents’ law firm went unanswered.
As I made my way through high school, I began to see and understand more of what my parents did. I heard more about their cases, I got to watch them in court, and I even met some of their clients. I saw two lawyers who did not seem like the ambulance chasers that I had heard about. Instead, I saw two lawyers who firmly believe that their practice brings justice to their clients, and I saw how that belief fueled their tireless passion and dedication to each case. In the end, all of the questions that I had as a child were answered through my own observations; I saw that my parents are able to have a fulfilling law career because they believe that what they are doing is right, and nobody else’s opinion can take away their sense of justice.
Although I believe that my parents’ career has given me a valuable perspective of the law, I also realize that their profession imbued me with a one-sided view of the legal field. In college, and especially after of my summer internships at both the Department of Justice and the United States Supreme Court, I saw that the law offers many different paths, most of which I did not fully understand. In order to gain a more balanced perspective before entering law school, I decided to work as a paralegal at (law firm) LLP in the firm’s White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement Group. Soon, I found myself sitting in case meetings surrounded by dozens of attorneys, digging through thousands of documents as part of discovery, and adapting to the pace and long hours that characterize life in a big firm. Along with an understanding of the culture and demands of firm life, I gained an appreciation for the value of the services that we provide to our clients. From the businessman for whom we helped negotiate a favorable plea deal, to the energy corporation that we advised on regulatory compliance, I saw that our firm’s services were not just effective, but often times wholly necessary for our clients’ well-being.
Despite my appreciation for the value of the work that I was doing at (law firm), I did not have the same passion and dedication to the firm’s work that I saw in my parents’ law practice. In search of that enthusiasm, I got involved in the firm’s extensive pro-bono program. I began accompanying attorneys to the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH), a free legal clinic that provides local low-income residents with legal services. At WLCH, I manned the client intake table and spoke with dozens of people eager to talk with one of the clinic’s volunteer attorneys. From the elderly woman who had just been evicted from her home without warning, to the large family that was trying to find a suitable place to live, I saw people in search of the most basic human needs waiting sometimes for hours just to speak with an attorney. I was inspired both by the power of the legal system and by the confidence that these people placed in it, and I found myself eager to go back and help others in their struggle for basic rights and needs. Of all of the legal experience and practical knowledge that I have gained at (law firm), I believe that the most valuable piece of information that I learned has been about myself; I found that in order to have a fulfilling legal career, whether it be in politics, government, or private practice, I need to have the opportunity to improve the lives of others by advocating for and protecting their most basic, fundamental rights.
I’ve had a close up view of several different paths that one can take with a legal education. Through it all, I’ve identified a very simple principle that will guide my legal career; I will follow my passion, and as long as I am working to realize my sense of justice – no matter what stands in my way – I will be fulfilled.

southeastlaw
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: PS -- please tear it to shreds!

Postby southeastlaw » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:59 pm

anyone? bueller?

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: PS -- please tear it to shreds!

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:05 pm

Very effective in several respects. Well written, interesting & sincere. Nevertheless, the final 24 or so words need to be revised, in my opinion. For example, it seems that one with your extensive pre-law school legal experience should be able to offer a better explanation of your concept of justice. Consider as an alternative ending: "...so long as I am working toward becoming a more effective advocate I will be fulfilled.".

southeastlaw
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: PS -- please tear it to shreds!

Postby southeastlaw » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:38 am

Good advice... I think I like your ending better. Thanks!

Anyone else???

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: PS -- please tear it to shreds!

Postby canarykb » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:26 am

I did not like this as much as the previous poster, and kind of question whether this is a good topic for a personal statement. Here are my thoughts.

1. The first paragraph is a little weird. Just starting with "Ambulance Chasers" makes it read like a free write on a concept. The tension/struggle you set up, being curious about your parents job, but not being brave enough to ask about it is odd. It doesn't really say anything positive about your character, and it isn't really news you, know? As kids grow up they get a fuller sense of what career options there are and what certain jobs mean, its not really a big surprise that you were confused when you were 10.

2. You spend a lot of time focusing on accusations that your parents were "Ambulance Chasers" and very little time explaining how they were not. I mean, ambulance chasing (barratry) is illegal & unethical. So your explanation that your parents, "believe that what they are doing is right, and nobody else’s opinion can take away their sense of justice," isn't quite enough, you know?

3. There is a lot here about your parents and what they do, when it should be about you. You end with " I will follow my passion, and as long as I am working to realize my sense of justice – no matter what stands in my way – I will be fulfilled." But like the previous poster mentioned, we don't have a sense of YOUR idea of justice, we actually have a much clearer picture of your parents'.

4. Finally, a lot of this essay is about you discovering what the law profession is, rather than why you want to be a lawyer. Do you see that distinction? Every potential law student should have a clear conception of the profession, that is expected. What a PS should say is why that profession is right for you. You give the impression (from omission of any other explanation), that you want to be a lawyer because your parent's were, rather than a clear motivation of your own.




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