Submitting TOMORROW- Please Vote/Critique

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

Is my personal statement...??

Very Strong
0
No votes
Strong
0
No votes
Decent
5
50%
Weak
3
30%
Very Weak
2
20%
 
Total votes: 10

Anonymous User
Posts: 273443
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Submitting TOMORROW- Please Vote/Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:59 am

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.

A:

“You know, you should be a lawyer”. It feels as though I have heard it a million times in my life, from friends and strangers alike. I presume the sentiment is a byproduct of two things: my interest in politics—issues that people are reliably willing to engage about—and the skills imparted in me from my father, who is an attorney. With my dad, even the most mundane of household debates required me to formulate positions that were reasonably sound, if not particularly strong. Though I would usually “lose” the argument, the skills I learned stuck with me. Because many people assume that verbal argument is the essence of being an attorney, and because of my proclivity for such debate, they conclude that I am a perfect fit for the profession. But I am well aware that charismatic closing arguments or incisive cross-examinations are not the stock in trade of most lawyers, and the ability to construct a solid argument is not sufficient to make one a good attorney. It also requires a dedication I was unsure I possessed, until I faced hardships that forced the introspection I needed to determine what my goals truly are.

Having an attorney for a father has allowed me to see firsthand what a legal career entails: the long hours, personal sacrifice, managing impatient clients, and ultimately a strong commitment to the law and the profession. Growing up, I recall watching my dad spend his evenings reading through thick books or large files, dictating documents for his secretary in a jargon I could not fully comprehend. It seemed tedious and unfulfilling to me. Though he specializes in labor law, I remember him once taking on a divorce case for a longtime friend, a father faced with the prospect of his children moving out of state with their mother. The work seemed particularly laborious, because it was law he was less familiar with, and therefore required extra preparation. When the case ended with a favorable ruling for my father’s side, I remember him telling me that moments like those were the most rewarding part of practicing law. He felt he had prevented an injustice, and the satisfaction he derived from that is something I haven’t forgotten to this day.

Because I had seen up close what a legal career requires, I was reluctant to embark on the journey unless I was absolutely positive it was what I wanted. Ultimately, it was the consequences of two rather unfortunate events that gave me the clarity and confidence I needed. In November of 2009, my only uncle passed away unexpectedly. The loss was devastating, 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, and shortly thereafter I fell into a deep depression. About eight 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, which is a chronic, less severe form of bipolar disorder. He suspected that I had probably lived several years of my early adulthood under a mild but persistent depression. I rejected that notion at the time, thinking it was just “the way I am”, but in hindsight I have come to realize that he was right.

After continued therapy and a few months of medicinal treatment, my acute depression subsided. Shortly thereafter, I accidentally gouged the Achilles tendon out of the back of my foot on the edge of a metal stair—it was as ugly as it sounds. Beyond the physical ramifications, the injury also prevented me from driving for nearly 6 months, severing me from my employment and from any semblance of a social life. I have little doubt that this sudden, drastic change in my life would have sent me into depression prior to becoming cognizant of my mental health. But I maintained a positive outlook throughout the months in a cast, walking boot, and rehabilitation that followed. I recalibrated my routines and set some simple goals I could strive for as I was recovering. I even started to do some internet marketing consulting work within about a month of my injury, relying on relatives and friends to drive me to meet with potential clients when necessary. My attitude through recovery only served to further reassure me that the progress I had made regarding my mental wellbeing would endure.

While many people may view being diagnosed with something like cyclothymia as a burden, for me it was an epiphany of sorts. Diagnosis helped me better understand myself, both past and present. I had always held a pessimistic view of myself and my abilities, be it in a work, academic, or social context. I attributed my successes primarily to external factors, while my failures were entirely of my own making. That lack of self-esteem was the single biggest roadblock for me in making the decision to pursue a legal career. I was hesitant to take on the financial and time commitment without being sure that it was a worthwhile endeavor, and my ingrained doubt and anxiety would not allow for such certainty. My psychologist assisted me in overcoming this self-defeating perspective, and gave me the confidence that I can excel in law school provided I put in the hard work that I know is necessary.

For many years, I envisioned myself as a future legislator. I have long cared greatly about politics and public policy, because it is my belief that well-crafted policies and just laws can affect positive change over large swaths of society in a way that few other things can. However, the more I learned about modern politics—about how the sausage is made, if you will—the less desirable a political career became. Politics too frequently seems to ignore or perpetuate injustice, so long as those injustices impact only the few or the powerless. Where they diverge, politics more often shows allegiance to what is popular than what is right. I believe the legal system generally, and lawyers in particular, act as a counterbalance to the whims of politics. It is ultimately my desire to serve as that counterbalance, to pursue justice even when justice is unpopular, that serves as my motivation for wanting to practice law. Although it took some time and turmoil to realize it, after several years of reflection and self-discovery I now know that the pursuit of justice for those who are unable to pursue it themselves is how I can best give back to the world.

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

Re: Submitting TOMORROW- Please Vote/Critique

Postby Davidbentley » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:40 am

Anonymous User wrote: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.

A:

“You know, you should be a lawyer”. It feels as though I have heard it a million times in my life, from friends and strangers alike. I presume the sentiment is a byproduct of two things: my interest in politics—issues that people are reliably willing to engage about—and the skills imparted in me from my father, who is an attorney. With my dad, even the most mundane of household debates required me to formulate positions that were reasonably sound, if not particularly strong. Though I would usually “lose” the argument, the skills I learned stuck with me. Because many people assume that verbal argument is the essence of being an attorney, and because of my proclivity for such debate, they conclude that I am a perfect fit for the profession. But I am well aware that charismatic closing arguments or incisive cross-examinations are not the stock in trade of most lawyers, and the ability to construct a solid argument is not sufficient to make one a good attorney. It also requires a dedication I was unsure I possessed, until I faced hardships that forced the introspection I needed to determine what my goals truly are. This is a version of the "people say I Should be a lawyer because I like to argue" bit. It's always terrible. There is a general sense that you are going to rebut this presumption--that good lawyers are good debaters--but, in the end, all you do is say that good lawyers also work hard. The last sentence is cumbersome. Split it up and make the statement more affirmative.

Having an attorney for a father has allowed me to see firsthand what a legal career entails: the long hours, personal sacrifice, managing impatient clients, and ultimately a strong commitment to the law and the profession. Growing up, I watched my dad spend his evenings reading through thick books or large files, dictating documents for his secretary in a jargon I could not fully comprehend. It seemed tedious and unfulfilling to me. Though he specializes in labor law, I remember him once taking on a divorce case for a longtime friend, a father faced with the prospect of his children moving out of state with their mother. The work seemed particularly laborious, because it was law he was less familiar with, and therefore required extra preparation. When the case ended with a favorable ruling for my father’s side, I remember him telling me that moments like those were the most rewarding part of practicing law. He felt he had prevented an injustice, and the satisfaction he derived from that is something I haven’t forgotten to this day. An okay, if a bit bland, anecdote and paragraph. It's worth remembering though 1) You told me that you would be revealing some deep and pivotal introspection, but you begin with a story about your Dad. And, 2) As noted, this story is about your dad. It tells me nothing about you. You could have told me everything I could possible learn from this story by just saying, "Though my Dad's law practice often seemed tedious to me, I have never forgotten the palpable sense of satisfaction he exuded when he was able to rectify or prevent an injustice. These moments of justice rewarded his passion, and they have inspired mine."

Because I had seen up close what a legal career requires, I was reluctant to embark on the journey unless I was absolutely positive it was what I wanted. Ultimately, it was the consequences of two rather unfortunate events that gave me the clarity and confidence I needed. In November of 2009, my only uncle passed away unexpectedly. The loss was devastating, 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, and shortly thereafter I fell into a deep depression. About eight 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, which is a chronic, less severe form of bipolar disorder. He suspected that I had probably lived several years of my early adulthood under a mild but persistent depression. I rejected that notion at the time, thinking it was just “the way I am”, but in hindsight I have come to realize that he was right.

After continued therapy and a few months of medicinal treatment, my acute depression subsided. Shortly thereafter, I accidentally gouged (accidentally is not necessary) the Achilles tendon out of the back of my foot on the edge of a metal stair—it was as ugly as it sounds. Beyond the physical ramifications, the injury also prevented me from driving for nearly 6 months, severing me from my employment and from any semblance of a social life. I have little doubt that this sudden, drastic change in my life would have sent me into depression prior to becoming cognizant of my mental health. But I maintained a positive outlook throughout the months in a cast, walking boot, and rehabilitation that followed. I recalibrated my routines and set some simple goals I could strive for as I was recovering. I even started to do some internet marketing consulting work within about a month of my injury, relying on relatives and friends to drive me to meet with potential clients when necessary. My attitude through recovery only served to further reassure me that the progress I had made regarding my mental wellbeing would endure.

While many people may view being diagnosed with something like cyclothymia as a burden, for me it was an epiphany of sorts. Diagnosis helped me better understand myself, both past and present. I had always held a pessimistic view of myself and my abilities, be it in a work, academic, or social context. I attributed my successes primarily to external factors, while my failures were entirely of my own making. That lack of self-esteem was the single biggest roadblock for me in making the decision to pursue a legal career. I was hesitant to take on the financial and time commitment without being sure that it was a worthwhile endeavor, and my ingrained doubt and anxiety would not allow for such certainty. My psychologist assisted me in overcoming this self-defeating perspective, and gave me the confidence that I can excel in law school provided I put in the hard work that I know is necessary.

For many years, I envisioned myself as a future legislator. I have long cared greatly about politics and public policy, because it is my belief that well-crafted policies and just laws can affect positive change over large swaths of society in a way that few other things can. However, the more I learned about modern politics—about how the sausage is made, if you will—the less desirable a political career became. Politics too frequently seems to ignore or perpetuate injustice, so long as those injustices impact only the few or the powerless. Where they diverge, politics more often shows allegiance to what is popular than what is right. I believe the legal system generally, and lawyers in particular, act as a counterbalance to the whims of politics. It is ultimately my desire to serve as that counterbalance, to pursue justice even when justice is unpopular, that serves as my motivation for wanting to practice law. Although it took some time and turmoil to realize it, after several years of reflection and self-discovery I now know that the pursuit of justice for those who are unable to pursue it themselves is how I can best give back to the world.

Overall, your PS is not great. It lacks a dominant and consistent theme. You are doing the journey to redemption thing but you are doing it in a way that is light on detail in the most crucial parts and is out of order. You are supposed to say, "My Heart was broken, You saved Me, Now I can Live." What you are saying is, "Now I Can live because you saved me. Prior to that, My heart was broken." It's the same story, but it lacks all of the rhetorical effect. In general, the mental health PS is risky. You are about to embark on what is, for many people, an incredibly stressful time. Ask yourself, if I am an adcom and I am looking for a reason to say no, does your PS give me a reason or not? This PS does not leap at me and say "we need to admit this guy." I voted decent. It does not move me, but I don't hate it, which for me, is a bit of an achievement.

XLogic
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:22 am

Re: Submitting TOMORROW- Please Vote/Critique

Postby XLogic » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:58 am

I agree with the previous post. You write well, but I think you are trying to pack too many things in here; consequently, you lack a major theme.

Also, I don't think you really answered "Why I want to be a lawyer". Though it is not necessary, to answer this question explicitly in your PS, you structured it in that way without answering the question..

User avatar
northwood
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: Submitting TOMORROW- Please Vote/Critique

Postby northwood » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:56 am

I agree with the above posts. I will also say that it may be in your best interests to sit out this cycle, spend time fine tuning your personal statement and submitting the application on September 1st.

Generally, what is it about the legal profession that makes you want to spend 100k+? How can you manage your time and resources effectively, and can you demonstrate a time where you have done this? If you have always wanted to be a lawyer, how can you effectively tailor those time management sklls to law school, and later, the bar?




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