Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Anonymous User
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Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:16 am

I sorta think the first 2-3 paragraphs could be shortened/combined, but I can't quite figure out how. Also perhaps a bit repetitive in a couple parts. And I need to "clean it up" a bit, if you will. Just curious at to the thoughts of others.


Q: The legal profession plays a vital role in the pursuit of justice and in sustaining the institutions of society, including governments, private corporations and organizations, nonprofit organizations, families and individuals. Please write a statement discussing why you want to become a member of the legal profession and why you think you are prepared for the ethical, professional, and time demands of the profession.

“You know, you should be a lawyer”. It seems I’ve heard it a million times throughout my life, from people who know me well and people who barely know me at all. I used to just shrug off the notion, thinking that those who made the suggestion were ignorant as to the realities of being an attorney. I’m not sure what it is about me that elicits that same response from such a variety of people. Admittedly, I enjoy debating on a wide range of subjects, though always more in an informational rather than adversarial way. Many people assume that verbal argument is the essence of being an attorney, since that’s how it is often portrayed on television, but I know better than that. I’m well aware that charismatic closing arguments or incisive cross-examinations are not the stock in trade of most lawyers, and that being able to formulate a strong argument does not mean one would make a great attorney.

I know this because my father is a lawyer. Lineage alone serves as a calling to the profession for many, but for me, it had the opposite effect. Growing up, I watched my father spend his evenings reading through thick books or large files, jotting notes down on a legal pad, dictating documents for his secretary in a jargon I couldn’t fully understand. Even in his spare time, he’d read books about legal theory or legal history. It seemed tedious and unfulfilling to me, but he assured me it wasn’t, because he enjoyed his work.

Now, as an adult, I understand why what seemed dull to me as a teenager was something my father enjoyed: because he had a passion for it. And after plenty of self-reflection and self-discovery, I’ve ultimately come to the same conclusion that my father did. That the law is my passion, and the legal profession is the right one for me.

The path to my decision was not without much deliberation and some doubt along the way. I’ve strongly considered law school before over the last few years, but told myself that I couldn’t commit to it unless I was positive it was what I wanted. I have read the New York Times articles chronicling the struggles of law school graduates. I know law students who enrolled not because they wanted to become attorneys or had a strong interest in the law, but because they “needed to do something”, and I figured whatever choice I eventually made, it had to be for the right reasons. Having an attorney for a father allowed me to see firsthand what a legal career entails, and I knew if my heart wasn’t fully in it that I shouldn’t even take the first step. But, fortunately, two unfortunate events gave me the insight to quell all of the doubts I felt.

My mom’s only brother, my uncle, passed away unexpectedly in November of 2009. It was a devastating loss, as I have a very small family, and it was the first time I had lost someone close to me. It took a heavy emotional toll; because of the pain I felt, and because of the unimaginable sadness my mom and grandparents were enduring. I fell into a deep depression shortly thereafter, a combination of apathy, numbness and anger. About 8 months later, at the behest of my parents, I began to see a psychologist. After a few sessions of him getting to know my history, I was diagnosed with not only acute depression, but also cyclothymia, a less severe form of bipolar disorder. He suspected that I had lived several years of my early adulthood under a mild, persistent depression. I rejected that notion at the time, thinking it was just “the way I am”, but in hindsight I’ve come to realize that he was right.

While many may view such a diagnosis as a burden, for me it served as an epiphany of sorts. Diagnosis helped me better understand myself, both past and present. I had always held a pessimistic view of my abilities, be it in a work, academic, or social context. That self-doubt was one of the biggest roadblocks for me in making the commitment to pursue a legal career. I was unwilling to take on such a financial burden without being certain that it was a worthwhile investment, and I couldn’t ensure myself that it was. After continued therapy and a few months of medicinal treatment, my acute depression subsided. Not only that, through therapy I learned habits and skills that helped me alleviate the lingering melancholy that had afflicted me for so long. It felt as though a dark cloud had been lifted from over my head. For the first time in a long time, I was genuinely optimistic about my future.

Shortly thereafter, I tore my Achilles tendon in a freak accident. I accidentally gouged the tendon out of the back of my foot on the edge of a metal stair—it was as ugly as it sounds. Even worse, it was my right foot that I injured, rendering me unable to drive for nearly 6 months. Beyond the physical ramifications, the injury also severed me from my employment and from any semblance of a social life.

Prior to becoming cognizant of my mental health issues, I have little doubt that this sudden, drastic change in my life would have sent me into a bout of depression. Admittedly, the isolation was difficult at times. But I maintained a positive outlook throughout the months in a cast, walking boot, and rehabilitation that followed. I even started an internet marketing consultancy within about a month of my injury, relying on relatives and friends to drive me to meet with potential clients. Not only that, my injury gave me plenty of time to thoroughly examine exactly where my passions were and what career would allow me to make the best use of them.

For years, I envisioned myself as a future legislator. I care deeply about politics and public policy, and believe that well-crafted, just laws can affect positive change over large swaths of society in a way that few other things can. But the more I see and learn about modern politics, the more I find it to be the antithesis to the kind of life I want to lead. Politics too often ignores or perpetuates injustice, so long as those injustices impact only the few and the powerless. And it is those victims of injustice; the wrongly convicted death row inmates, the 16 year olds labeled sex offenders for having a 15 year old partner, and the multitudes of others ignored by our political system; that are ultimately the reason I desire to practice law.

doing_it_in_a_car
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Re: Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:07 am

I would say more if I had time - haven't given much thought to the depression aspect, but regarding the big picture:

1. Whenever possible focus on the positive and avoid speaking negatively about anything/anyone. I realize you want to contrast yourself with those who have not thoroughly thought through the decision to go to law school - but it's hard to make that not sound snobbish on paper. Don't put down other applicants and don't make sweeping generalizations. Just focus on the positive and the facts that apply to your unique situation. I like the detail you use in describing memories of your dad - you could build upon that and talk about a specific case that he worked on that inspired you to pursue law.

2. This needs structure. It seems to ramble on through a number of law-related topics, but it doesn't really build to anything. You conclude by stating that you want to practice law to correct injustice - but none of the rest of your essay corroborates those reasons - so it comes off as disingenuous. It simply does not work when you try to write about all the things. Do you want to (1) talk about law as your passion? If so, you need to develop that a lot more than just "my dad has a passion for it and so do I". Alternatively, do you want to write a PS about correcting injustice, as you fleetingly mention in your conclusion? Or about how you believe law can improve politics and public policy? Can you see how unconvincing it is to run through the gamut of these three big ideas without concrete, personal details to back them up? These are all very different personal statements.

I think your best bet is framing the statement around your experience being incapacitated by your achilles tendon injury. It's interesting and it sounds like you achieved and matured a lot. To me, that sounds like the most exciting story you can tell here - with physical action verbs and concrete details that can show your growth over time.

Good luck!

cgw
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Re: Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

Postby cgw » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:48 am

I agree with the previous poster, this is pretty rambling and disjointed. I also don't think it answers the question that has been posed to you. In what way have these experiences prepared you for the ethical, professional, and time demands of the profession? The best response to this question would involve an ethical question that you have faced, preferably one that required or was a catalyst for personal growth. It should also allow you to demonstrate your professionalism and time management. Since you've been given such a specific prompt, I think it is advisable to address it as directly as possible. I can definitely see how the experiences you describe here may imply these characteristics, but that's not what they're asking you to do. They want you to demonstrate them clearly, they don't want to have to search for them.

I also think you skirt around the second issue, why you want to be a member of the legal profession. You use a lot of space, probably too much, assuring us this was not a rash decision, that you thought it through. But we are given a very limited insight into your actual thought process. It seemed tedious and unfulfilling and then suddenly it didn't? What actually happened? I think you sort of get at it in the conclusion, but not soon enough and not in a way that connects to the question.

I think you should open with your conclusion. It gets right to the point of the WHY. If you want to emphasize that you were not initially drawn to law, you can still do so in the next paragraph, but you have to show the impetus to your change of heart if you do so. This at least starts to demonstrate the passion you claim to possess earlier in the essay.

The only recurring grammar issue I spotted on first glance is the use of contractions. I would scrap those.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:08 pm

First four paragraphs are boring. The rest covers way too much, and I don't really know where you're going with most of it. The conclusion is TOTALLY random as you basically had never brought any of that stuff up until the very end. Pick one topic, and stick to it. Even if you're talking about how your passion is being a lawyer (which IMO, isn't a fantastic topic anyway), it's better than having 9 topics thrown together all at once.

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:10 pm

CorkBoard wrote:First four paragraphs are boring. The rest covers way too much, and I don't really know where you're going with most of it. The conclusion is TOTALLY random as you basically had never brought any of that stuff up until the very end. Pick one topic, and stick to it. Even if you're talking about how your passion is being a lawyer (which IMO, isn't a fantastic topic anyway), it's better than having 9 topics thrown together all at once.


+1

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BerkeleyBear
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Re: Submitting ASAP! GUT MY PS FIRST PLEASE!

Postby BerkeleyBear » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:12 pm

CorkBoard wrote:First four paragraphs are boring. The rest covers way too much, and I don't really know where you're going with most of it. The conclusion is TOTALLY random as you basically had never brought any of that stuff up until the very end. Pick one topic, and stick to it. Even if you're talking about how your passion is being a lawyer (which IMO, isn't a fantastic topic anyway), it's better than having 9 topics thrown together all at once.


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