2nd try - Please Critique

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Anonymous User
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2nd try - Please Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:45 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

mmbt123
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby mmbt123 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:49 pm

First off, I think you're a good writer. Secondly, I don't know if you want to focus on this subject for your PS. Towards the middle and the end, it sounds like a schedule in paragraph form as you give times for specific events in the seminar. This part tells me nothing about you as a person or law school applicant. Furthermore, you'll have room to talk about these achievements in your resume so it would seem like a waste to talk about it in your PS (especially if you can get your employer to write you a recommendation, he/she should mention all this). Additionally, while I understand that having to switch a speaker at the last minute is tough and trying to plan a high stakes event is stressful, it doesn't make for a particularly sensational or interesting story.

Figure out exactly what qualities you are trying to underline here and think about framing your work experience in that way. For example, if you want to show that you were a leader, talk about handling a delicate situation stemming from this event or how you motivated your employees.

You should also talk about how this position fueled your interest in the law. They say you don't have to write about why you want to pursue law in your ps but since you were working w/ a firm that does do legal work, i think you should include it.

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mvonh001
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby mvonh001 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:56 pm

While I don't completely dislike the idea of how you handled the situation being ur ps... I kinda dont like how you handled the PS situation. Meaning, when you write about it, you didnt really go into any personal triumph you had, you simply stated that you were up late, but found someone no problem, and the event went off without a hitch. As a story that is supposed to, im assuming, emphasize your resourcefulness and quick thinking, there was little of both...

Anonymous User
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:08 pm

Thanks for the replies. I've revised the essay and pasted it above.

Further comments would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

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mvonh001
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby mvonh001 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:04 pm

on first read i initially felt like you were contradicting yourself, you started off with all of these adjectives describing your state, yet then later in the paper, you state how you were taught to be a "to the point" type of emailer and how effective it was.

But then on the second pass, I realized that You didnt say to be a to the point type of emailer, rather you stated to be proactive -- Just an observation, had i not looked back i would have thought "this guy is retarded? Didnt he just say not to write long explanatory emails and how it was more effective" You dont want Adcomms to think that.

persimmon
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby persimmon » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:38 pm

This is just a personal reaction, but I do think it's related to the comments you've gotten so far. As I read your essay, it seems that you saw the speaker's cancellation as a major crisis. Your reaction was necessary to save the day. And I absolutely agree that, from the inside, in the moment, especially at a Big Law firm, it would feel that way.

But... stepping back a bit, as a member of the rest of the world, I'm not so sure that I care very much whether your seminar went absolutely flawlessly, or was maybe a little worse because you had 3 panelists instead of 4. I don't think that means you can't write about this event, because you definitely did a cool thing and it taught you something about the work environment that you like, but you don't want to frame your essay in a way that feels grandiose from the outside perspective.

Another thing to keep in mind: while the work you did for this seminar was high-stress and high-stakes, it was more logistical than substantive, right? That makes sense, because that's what paralegal jobs are often like. But I assume that you're going to law school because while paralegal-ing can be awesome in its own way, you want more. Right now, your conclusion basically tells us you want to keep doing the same thing. But, hopefully, you know that lawyers get to apply this same energy and diligence to actual legal work.

In conclusion: I think this story can work, but you need to reframe it a little, especially in your conclusion. Yes, you're right to tell us that this incident taught you more about the excitement of working under pressure. In fact, based on your story, I think that you actually enjoy the way that Big Law creates pressure that may sometimes be artificial or out of proportion to the common-sense, real-world stakes. You're interested in a no-excuses, perfection-at-all costs work environment that achieves success by making no distinction between the little failure and the big. That's something valuable to know about yourself. Just make sure your PS reflects that, now that you're self-reflecting outside the Big Law bubble, you have some perspective and you do understand the difference. And, hopefully, you have ambition to apply the no-excuses system to the bigger work you want to take on.

muskies970
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby muskies970 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:54 pm

persimmon wrote:This is just a personal reaction, but I do think it's related to the comments you've gotten so far. As I read your essay, it seems that you saw the speaker's cancellation as a major crisis. Your reaction was necessary to save the day. And I absolutely agree that, from the inside, in the moment, especially at a Big Law firm, it would feel that way.

But... stepping back a bit, as a member of the rest of the world, I'm not so sure that I care very much whether your seminar went absolutely flawlessly, or was maybe a little worse because you had 3 panelists instead of 4. I don't think that means you can't write about this event, because you definitely did a cool thing and it taught you something about the work environment that you like, but you don't want to frame your essay in a way that feels grandiose from the outside perspective.

Another thing to keep in mind: while the work you did for this seminar was high-stress and high-stakes, it was more logistical than substantive, right? That makes sense, because that's what paralegal jobs are often like. But I assume that you're going to law school because while paralegal-ing can be awesome in its own way, you want more. Right now, your conclusion basically tells us you want to keep doing the same thing. But, hopefully, you know that lawyers get to apply this same energy and diligence to actual legal work.

In conclusion: I think this story can work, but you need to reframe it a little, especially in your conclusion. Yes, you're right to tell us that this incident taught you more about the excitement of working under pressure. In fact, based on your story, I think that you actually enjoy the way that Big Law creates pressure that may sometimes be artificial or out of proportion to the common-sense, real-world stakes. You're interested in a no-excuses, perfection-at-all costs work environment that achieves success by making no distinction between the little failure and the big. That's something valuable to know about yourself. Just make sure your PS reflects that, now that you're self-reflecting outside the Big Law bubble, you have some perspective and you do understand the difference. And, hopefully, you have ambition to apply the no-excuses system to the bigger work you want to take on.


I don't really agree with this analysis. Most people applying to law school don't have grandiose experiences to relay, and showing that you take your work seriously is definitely a positive benefit of the way you currently have drafted your Personal Statement. You showed that you can work well under pressure, with a team, and tied it in to why you want to work in law, I wouldn't change much at this point.


My small suggestions would be:

1. Though stressful at the time, I look back on moments like this fondly, confident that I’ve come out stronger, both personally and professionally, on the other side.
This sentence has a lot of commas, especially for your conclusion. also I'm not sure if "on the other side" really makes sense.

2. Your first paragraph every sentence starts with "I", that's a little much for me even for a personal statement. You can just change the sentence structure to fix that.

3. " I realized the stakes were high." I would say "I knew the stakes were high"

4. "Stressful episodes like this have not dissuaded me from practicing law in a large firm, as you might expect." I don't think you need to write "as you might expect".

5. " is something I’ve come to enjoy". I think you can word that better too. instead of the high stakes atmosphere is something i've come to enjoy maybe just is a work environment i've come to enjoy.
or I've realized the high stakes atmosphere... is a work environment in which I thrive and that I enjoy.

Overall awesome PS though, it definitely won't hold back your application and I think will definitely help.

Anonymous User
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:20 pm

muskies970 wrote:
persimmon wrote:This is just a personal reaction, but I do think it's related to the comments you've gotten so far. As I read your essay, it seems that you saw the speaker's cancellation as a major crisis. Your reaction was necessary to save the day. And I absolutely agree that, from the inside, in the moment, especially at a Big Law firm, it would feel that way.

But... stepping back a bit, as a member of the rest of the world, I'm not so sure that I care very much whether your seminar went absolutely flawlessly, or was maybe a little worse because you had 3 panelists instead of 4. I don't think that means you can't write about this event, because you definitely did a cool thing and it taught you something about the work environment that you like, but you don't want to frame your essay in a way that feels grandiose from the outside perspective.

Another thing to keep in mind: while the work you did for this seminar was high-stress and high-stakes, it was more logistical than substantive, right? That makes sense, because that's what paralegal jobs are often like. But I assume that you're going to law school because while paralegal-ing can be awesome in its own way, you want more. Right now, your conclusion basically tells us you want to keep doing the same thing. But, hopefully, you know that lawyers get to apply this same energy and diligence to actual legal work.

In conclusion: I think this story can work, but you need to reframe it a little, especially in your conclusion. Yes, you're right to tell us that this incident taught you more about the excitement of working under pressure. In fact, based on your story, I think that you actually enjoy the way that Big Law creates pressure that may sometimes be artificial or out of proportion to the common-sense, real-world stakes. You're interested in a no-excuses, perfection-at-all costs work environment that achieves success by making no distinction between the little failure and the big. That's something valuable to know about yourself. Just make sure your PS reflects that, now that you're self-reflecting outside the Big Law bubble, you have some perspective and you do understand the difference. And, hopefully, you have ambition to apply the no-excuses system to the bigger work you want to take on.


I don't really agree with this analysis. Most people applying to law school don't have grandiose experiences to relay, and showing that you take your work seriously is definitely a positive benefit of the way you currently have drafted your Personal Statement. You showed that you can work well under pressure, with a team, and tied it in to why you want to work in law, I wouldn't change much at this point.


My small suggestions would be:

1. Though stressful at the time, I look back on moments like this fondly, confident that I’ve come out stronger, both personally and professionally, on the other side.
This sentence has a lot of commas, especially for your conclusion. also I'm not sure if "on the other side" really makes sense.

2. Your first paragraph every sentence starts with "I", that's a little much for me even for a personal statement. You can just change the sentence structure to fix that.

3. " I realized the stakes were high." I would say "I knew the stakes were high"

4. "Stressful episodes like this have not dissuaded me from practicing law in a large firm, as you might expect." I don't think you need to write "as you might expect".

5. " is something I’ve come to enjoy". I think you can word that better too. instead of the high stakes atmosphere is something i've come to enjoy maybe just is a work environment i've come to enjoy.
or I've realized the high stakes atmosphere... is a work environment in which I thrive and that I enjoy.

Overall awesome PS though, it definitely won't hold back your application and I think will definitely help.


Thank you both of your comments! The bolded (above) is all I'm really hoping for, given that I don't have a particularly interesting personal story, and I want to continue to work in corporate law after law school (which, IMO, can be difficult to articulate in a personal statement, especially compared to some others who are getting a JD for "nobler" reasons). If I can come up with a PS that is somewhat interesting to read, well written and shows off some of my strengths, I'll be happy.

If any others have thoughts, I'd be happy to hear them as well.

Ti Malice
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The bolded (above) is all I'm really hoping for, given that I don't have a particularly interesting personal story, and I want to continue to work in corporate law after law school (which, IMO, can be difficult to articulate in a personal statement, especially compared to some others who are getting a JD for "nobler" reasons). If I can come up with a PS that is somewhat interesting to read, well written and shows off some of my strengths, I'll be happy.


Just so you know, don't feel like you need to understate your interest in corporate work due to its "less noble" stature. I'm not saying you're doing this, and you don't necessarily need to say more -- I just wanted to point out that it's okay for that to be a clear interest of yours. Unless an applicant has something more than a minimal background in public interest work, adcomms generally assume that claims of noble career goals in public interest lawyering are bullshit.

My take on the PS is something in between the comments of the last two posters. I don't think it's a great PS, but it's also far from being bad. It's certainly good enough not to hurt you, and it shows that you can write well. Where are you applying? This PS would likely only be problematic at Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley. If those schools are among your targets, then I think a more macro-level revision is in order. Otherwise, you're fine.

As for the little stuff, I only read the PS once, but a few things jumped out. I thought it took a little too long in the first paragraph to get to the actual problem you were facing. I think it would read more smoothly if you eliminated one of the sentences/independent clauses in the beginning and possibly combined two other sentences. I would go with something like: [First two sentences unchanged.] "I rested my forehead on my palm, pausing for a few moments, and then began to formulate a strategy." Five independent clauses before the "mental roadmap," most of them involving your physical actions, strikes me as excessive. I also think "gritting teeth" is cliché and a bit overdramatic, so that's the first of the physical reactions I would chuck.

I didn't count, but my impression was that you slightly overuse the colon. See if you can get rid of a couple of them. The colloquial "you" is okay in the early part of the essay, but I don't care for the use of it in the final paragraph, where it more directly references the reader. I thought you did a good job of illustrating strengths through the details of your story, as opposed to simply telling the reader what they are, with one exception: the beginning of the second-to-last paragraph ("I quickly developed a reputation among the attorneys in my area as a diligent worker, a reliable and dedicated colleague, and a leader among peers") is a classic example of telling rather than showing, and it needs to go. Your promotion naturally shows some of these things (leadership more than anything else). If you want to drive the point home further, or to expand the point, find another illustrative event. Just don't name the personal/professional qualities the events illustrate. Doing so weakens the force of your writing, even if events you're describing support what you're saying.

Anonymous User
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:06 am

Ti Malice wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The bolded (above) is all I'm really hoping for, given that I don't have a particularly interesting personal story, and I want to continue to work in corporate law after law school (which, IMO, can be difficult to articulate in a personal statement, especially compared to some others who are getting a JD for "nobler" reasons). If I can come up with a PS that is somewhat interesting to read, well written and shows off some of my strengths, I'll be happy.


Just so you know, don't feel like you need to understate your interest in corporate work due to its "less noble" stature. I'm not saying you're doing this, and you don't necessarily need to say more -- I just wanted to point out that it's okay for that to be a clear interest of yours. Unless an applicant has something more than a minimal background in public interest work, adcomms generally assume that claims of noble career goals in public interest lawyering are bullshit.

My take on the PS is something in between the comments of the last two posters. I don't think it's a great PS, but it's also far from being bad. It's certainly good enough not to hurt you, and it shows that you can write well. Where are you applying? This PS would likely only be problematic at Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley. If those schools are among your targets, then I think a more macro-level revision is in order. Otherwise, you're fine.

As for the little stuff, I only read the PS once, but a few things jumped out. I thought it took a little too long in the first paragraph to get to the actual problem you were facing. I think it would read more smoothly if you eliminated one of the sentences/independent clauses in the beginning and possibly combined two other sentences. I would go with something like: [First two sentences unchanged.] "I rested my forehead on my palm, pausing for a few moments, and then began to formulate a strategy." Five independent clauses before the "mental roadmap," most of them involving your physical actions, strikes me as excessive. I also think "gritting teeth" is cliché and a bit overdramatic, so that's the first of the physical reactions I would chuck.

I didn't count, but my impression was that you slightly overuse the colon. See if you can get rid of a couple of them. The colloquial "you" is okay in the early part of the essay, but I don't care for the use of it in the final paragraph, where it more directly references the reader. I thought you did a good job of illustrating strengths through the details of your story, as opposed to simply telling the reader what they are, with one exception: the beginning of the second-to-last paragraph ("I quickly developed a reputation among the attorneys in my area as a diligent worker, a reliable and dedicated colleague, and a leader among peers") is a classic example of telling rather than showing, and it needs to go. Your promotion naturally shows some of these things (leadership more than anything else). If you want to drive the point home further, or to expand the point, find another illustrative event. Just don't name the personal/professional qualities the events illustrate. Doing so weakens the force of your writing, even if events you're describing support what you're saying.


This is really helpful analysis and I agree with all of your critiques. To answer your question, I'm applying to HCCNP and a few other t14s probably, with the hope of getting back to big law.

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lastsamurai
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Re: 2nd try - Please Critique

Postby lastsamurai » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:08 pm

The sentences starting with "I" could be re-worked, but other than that, I think it's a good statement. Definitely appreciate your writing style




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