Please critique personal statement !! **GOOD KARMA WITHIN**

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
average_speller
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:21 pm

Please critique personal statement !! **GOOD KARMA WITHIN**

Postby average_speller » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:43 pm

Hello all, I have many deadlines soon approaching so I am hoping to have some honest opinions about how my personal statement reads. I am happy to trade proofreads with anyone else who is looking for the same. I have had my parents and relatives proofread but I am pretty sure they tell me it is good no matter what. So I am looking for honest opinions from strangers. :)

To give you a little information about myself, I am 28, been out of school and working/living for about 6 years, and want to attend law school to study contract law/real estate law to continue the career path I have started in the real estate field. My undergraduate years were not the greatest, my GPA was 2.8, my LSaT was 149 (I took the test back in 2008). I decided pretty late in the game that I wanted to go back so unfortunately it was too late to retake the test. I am going into this banking on the strength of my resume and experiences since college and aiming for schools in the Tier III category,

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“Please, I just want someone to listen to me!” the man sobbed into the phone. I was working my first “real” job as an

intern for the City of ____ Assessor’s Office. My supervisor had warned not to become emotionally involved with

city residents who called our office as it was often a ploy for sympathy. But this call seemed different; I sensed this man’s

pain was real. He described meeting a real estate investor one year prior. Shortly thereafter, the investor called him and

said he had found a new investment, a “great deal,” and needed to free up funds to make the purchase. The investor

wanted to know if the caller would like to purchase a triplex he currently owned. He promised him a great price, but the

deal must close quickly; cash only, no lawyers, no realtors, and no inspections. The caller had recently received an

inheritance and also had valuable stock options from his employer. He felt this property could be a good investment and

agreed to purchase the triplex for about $650,000. Now one year later, the peak of the real estate market had passed and

property values were plummeting quickly. Ultimately the caller paid $650,000 for a building which was maybe worth

$550,000 the day he bought it and $375,000 by the day of our conversation. To make matters worse, this “investor” had

intentionally inserted language into the contract to cloud the title and was demanding even more money to file a quit

claim. The caller was out of options and desperate—all his money was tied up in this investment, and he couldn’t refinance

due to the title issues. It would take decades for him to recoup his losses. Competent legal advice would have prevented

the caller from experiencing this predicament.

I felt an intense urge to help this individual but was unsure as to what approach to take. I had read accounts of fraud in newspapers before, but on this day I wasn’t a detached third party. This was a real live person I felt empathy towards who had his emotional and financial wellbeing hanging in the balance. This phone call was the start of my examination of law as a field of study and career choice.

I knew my education was not complete when I graduated from college. However, the next steps after earning my bachelor’s degree were initially unclear. My skills and interests spanned many areas and topics. The possibilities felt endless and I daydreamed of trying every profession and becoming an expert at each. I spent countless hours completing career assessments and occupational skills testing. However, the more I examined the study of law the more it clicked in my mind as the correct fit for me based on my skills, interests, and background. The practice of law offers me the intellectual stimulation and variety I seek. The multidisciplinary study will satisfy my natural curiosity, and the work will remain fresh and interesting with unique cases and complex interpretations of case law and legal codes. In summary, law offers the lifelong challenge that I desire.

After high school I chose to pursue the field of geography as I had always been intrigued with maps, mapmaking, and travel. I enrolled in the University of _____’s geography department and focused my studies in the City Systems track examining the interdependence between city and place-all of the factors that determine how and where cities develop. My coursework explored numerous disciplines including the field of law as well as earth science, history, architecture, and political science. During my sophomore year I completed a course titled “Freedom of Speech.” In this course we took a comprehensive look at the history of the 1st Amendment dating back to the Revolutionary War period. For the first time I learned of the role case law takes in judicial proceedings and legal interpretations, and closely examined legislative intent and the role it plays in interpreting legal statutes.

After college I spent the next several years exploring the United States. I lived and worked in Denver, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Phoenix and met others from around the globe in youth hostels. International trips to Guatemala and China led to an interest in contract law and property rights. For instance, while on a mission trip in Guatemala I lived and worked with a poor family in a squatter community. I learned that as squatters the residents did not own the land around or under their homes and that the government could demolish their homes and reclaim the land at any time. Therefore, they lived in fear and did not make needed investments in their homes or sanitation systems. As a communist country China has similar issues. Citizens have no private property rights and no input on land use decisions. An example of this situation is the current construction of a subway line in the city of Nanjing. The residents in its path were forced to move with little warning and no remuneration. I feel my travel experiences have been extremely valuable in my personal life and appreciation for the American legal system. I have also gained new insights into human behavior and relationships, improved my strategic planning skills, and increased my resourcefulness and self sufficiency.

I am fortunate to have work experience in several different industries including sales and marketing, financial services, and real estate. I earned professional designations in these fields and studied hard to increase my knowledge. Through sales and marketing I further developed my verbal communication abilities and refined my core of “soft skills” including interpretation of body language, negotiation prowess, and comprehension of human decision making. I see strong similarities between a sales presentation and an argument before a judge or jury and feel the experience I possess will be highly translatable. My work as a commission-only insurance agent and operation of an online rare coin business gave me valuable entrepreneurial experience. This experience taught me to work independently and fine-tuned my ability to attract new clients and business. My real estate experience has allowed me to gain proficiency in legal reading and writing and provided a solid foundation for first year law school courses. My current employment includes extensive proofreading and analysis of contracts, insurance policies, government records, plat maps, and surveys as part of a small team which reviews written disputes of real estate appraisal results. I must ensure information supplied by clients is relevant and that information sent to appraisers is within Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice Guidelines.

The phone call I described was the impetus for my examination of law as a graduate school option and career choice. My research identified law as an excellent fit for me given my background and experiences. I bring to the program a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and solving problems, a wide variety of work and travel experiences, and most importantly an eager mind. Significant time, thought, and effort have led up to this application and I have no doubt that I am making the correct choice. I look forward to being an asset to your program.

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Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Please critique personal statement !! **GOOD KARMA WITHIN**

Postby Ramius » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:02 pm

Your PS started off strong enough with the anecdote regarding that experience and how it piqued your interest in law school, but after that the whole statement quickly derails. You fell into the typical pitfall of giving a play-by-play of your resume/life experiences and your strengths and interests as you see them. This doesn't paint a great picture of who you are and why a school should be interested in you. Please do more to show the qualities you want to convey to the ADCOMs.

I want to avoid being too harsh, but truthfully speaking, this PS needs to be heavily refined and refocused. Given how late you are in the game to begin with, revamp the statement and also consider studying for a retake on the LSAT. A better PS will help some, but a big improvement in LSAT will help infinitely more.

average_speller
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:21 pm

Re: Please critique personal statement !! **GOOD KARMA WITHIN**

Postby average_speller » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:05 am

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Could you please expand on what you mean by "Please do more to show the qualities you want to convey to the ADCOMs." I am wondering if you mean this in a general sense of if there is a particular part of the essay you are referring to. Thanks!

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Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Please critique personal statement !! **GOOD KARMA WITHIN**

Postby Ramius » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:48 pm

It's fairly simple if you just consider your PS as a sort of sales pitch of you. I don't know much about you and how you'll be a strong candidate for my class if I'm an ADCOM reading this.

Since I don't really know what your strengths are, I'll use myself as an example. I wanted to take my personal experiences in the military and focus primarily on my leadership abilities and intellectual curiousity, so I used a very personal anecdote SHOWING this instead of TELLING them how I had these qualities. These strengths are also reflected throughout my application (diversity statement, resume, etc). This way my application presents one coherent message. It might not be a message they want to ultimately hear, but at least it's consistent and never gave them pause in making a decision about my file.

I would say I had a fairly successful cycle with this approach and have seen it work for others. Your PS should evidence some self-reflection and self-assessment into your strengths and how your experiences have led you to law school, will lead you through law in the future, will help you succeed in law, etc. It doesn't have to be all of those things, but it should be coherent with the rest of your application.

Do some soul searching, find a device that shows ADCOMs who you are in a light you'd want them to see and go from there. Be prepared to go through MANY drafts before you have a finished product. I tinkered with my PS for probably 3-4 months before submitting and completely rewrote it at least 3 times.

HTH




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