First Daft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

First Daft

Postby anubis1911 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:40 pm

Please lmk what you think. Naturally there is still a long way to go. Thanks! I'm not censoring any of it because I'm not going to pretend like you don't all have access to google anyways.


**NOTE** I understand that this is a very volatile issue, please do not comment in regards to that*****

Unlike many other future lawyers, I would never have though myself to be applying to law school at the age of five. I had grown up wanting nothing more than to serve my country valiantly as a military officer. However, as time progressed and I realized the gravity of war, I felt it best if I turned down my appointment to the United States Naval Academy in pursuit of a more intellectual career.
A few days after I graduated from Lubbock High School, I was contacted by a representative from the National Rifle Association. The representative informed me that because of my outstanding marksmanship career in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, the NRA would be honored if I would serve as the lead plaintiff on two cases, James D’Cruz v Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and James D’Cruz v McCraw (In his official capacity as Director of Texas Department of Public Safety). The former case was focused on challenging the federal ban of citizens between the ages of 18-21 from purchasing pistols or pistol ammunition from a federally licensed dealer, noting that such a purchase was legal if bought from a private party. The latter focused on allowing the same group of citizens to then carry those pistols concealed with the proper licensing and background checks.
I didn’t agree with the NRA on many different issues, but I found myself aligned to this particular issue and agreed to join the lawsuit since I felt as though I had been better trained in the handling and safety of firearms than most. I knew that the case would be volatile and a debate would likely ensue, but I believed that the debate needed to take place in order to determine the limits of the Second Amendment.
What I failed to realize is that the other side of the debate may not desire to speak on the issue, and soon I witnessed my Facebook profile on every major news outlet. I had a photo of my Halloween costume in which I had dressed up as John Dillinger in honor of Public Enemies and had taken a picture with a replica Thompson M1928. When the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence and Mothers Against Gun Violence saw this photo, they decided to couple it to many of the military quotes I had posted from movies, books, and friends in the military at the time.
Suddenly, the debate was polarized in a way I could have never predicted. The debate was not over the facts of the case, but over my personality and whether I had the right psychological mindset to own a firearm at all. While I was never given the opportunity to rebut the issue publicly, I continued to fight for what I believed to be the right of all citizens in my age group. Shortly after the hysteria died, my sister had fallen victim to a seizure and I felt compelled to move to Florida to be closer to home, removing me from the case.
The average observer saw my willingness to fight for the rights of the ignored without caring for my own reputation. What they didn’t see was how I found my love for law. As the affidavits kept coming for my signature, I found myself reading every word, attempting to understand the code of lawyers. I became addicted to checking on my cases and reading the opinions of similar ones. I was stunned by the way a judge could change standing laws decades after their passing by the stroke of a pen. Even after I moved to Florida, I began school again and promptly took a class that would complete the infection- Constitutional Law. From the moment the professor walked into the room, I felt something I had never felt when I was in a military setting-like I belonged. The work was tremendously vigorous, and I struggled to reach the top of the class. I found myself reading the textbook for my personal enjoyment, attempting to retain all of the knowledge it could bestow on me.
Although James D'Cruz v BATFE and James D’Cruz v McCraw may have fallen to the 5th district court in the end, I do not regret standing up for the rights of the forgotten. I never had a problem waiting until I was 21 to buy a pistol, but rather I joined the case to stand up for those who didn’t live in a nice neighborhood where the police hesitated to go. Those citizens will never have their story told, and so it is left to people like me who are willing to fight for their equality that must risk everything. I fell in love with the law not because I want to be a lawyer, but because I want to be part of a process of justice that is blind to race, ethnicity or social status.

bmore
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: First Daft

Postby bmore » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:02 pm

Couldn't get past the first para. I too did not plan to apply to law school at the age of 5. Neither actually applying at 5 or thinking about it. Huh???? You can't pursue an intellectual career from the Naval Academy? Really??

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haus
Posts: 2833
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: First Daft

Postby haus » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:34 pm

You may want to reconsider the reference to the UNA. Come up with a better take on the subject or leave it out, as currently it sounds like you came to understand that there was more to military service than wearing a fancy uniform. Stopped reading at this point.

But I like the subject line... "First Daft"

anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Re: First Daft

Postby anubis1911 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:54 pm

Unlike many other future lawyers, I would never have though myself to be applying to law school at the age of five. I had grown up wanting nothing more than to serve my country valiantly as a military officer. However, as time progressed and I realized the gravity of war, I felt it best if I turned down my appointment to the United States Naval Academy in pursuit of a more intellectual career.
A few days after I graduated from Lubbock High School, I was contacted by a representative from the National Rifle Association. The representative informed me that because of my outstanding marksmanship career in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, the NRA would be honored if I would serve as the lead plaintiff on two cases, James D'Cruz v Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and James D'Cruz v McCraw (In his official capacity as Director of Texas Department of Public Safety). The former case was focused on challenging the federal ban of citizens between the ages of 18-21 from purchasing pistols or pistol ammunition from a federally licensed dealer, noting that such a purchase was legal if bought from a private party. The latter focused on allowing the same group of citizens to then carry those pistols concealed with the proper licensing and background checks.
I didn't agree with the NRA on many different issues, but I found myself aligned to this particular issue and agreed to join the lawsuit since I felt as though I had been better trained in the handling and safety of firearms than most. I knew that the case would be volatile and a debate would likely ensue, but I believed that the debate needed to take place in order to determine the limits of the Second Amendment.
What I failed to realize is that the other side of the debate may not desire to speak on the issue, and soon I witnessed my Facebook profile on every major news outlet. I had a photo of my Halloween costume in which I had dressed up as John Dillinger in honor of Public Enemies and had taken a picture with a replica Thompson M1928. When the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence and Mothers Against Gun Violence saw this photo, they decided to couple it to many of the military quotes I had posted from movies, books, and friends in the military at the time.
Suddenly, the debate was polarized in a way I could have never predicted. The debate was not over the facts of the case, but over my personality and whether I had the right psychological mindset to own a firearm at all. While I was never given the opportunity to rebut the issue publicly, I continued to fight for what I believed to be the right of all citizens in my age group. Shortly after the hysteria died, my sister had fallen victim to a seizure and I felt compelled to move to Florida to be closer to home, removing me from the case.
The average observer saw my willingness to fight for the rights of the ignored without caring for my own reputation. What they didn't see was how I found my love for law. As the affidavits kept coming for my signature, I found myself reading every word, attempting to understand the code of lawyers. I became addicted to checking on my cases and reading the opinions of similar ones. I was stunned by the way a judge could change standing laws decades after their passing by the stroke of a pen. Even after I moved to Florida, I began school again and promptly took a class that would complete the infection- Constitutional Law. From the moment the professor walked into the room, I felt something I had never felt when I was in a military setting-like I belonged. The work was tremendously vigorous, and I struggled to reach the top of the class. I found myself reading the textbook for my personal enjoyment, attempting to retain all of the knowledge it could bestow on me.
Although James D'Cruz v BATFE and James D'Cruz v McCraw may have fallen to the 5th district court in the end, I do not regret standing up for the rights of the forgotten. I never had a problem waiting until I was 21 to buy a pistol, but rather I joined the case to stand up for those who didn't live in a nice neighborhood where the police hesitated to go. Those citizens will never have their story told, and so it is left to people like me who are willing to fight for their equality that must risk everything. I fell in love with the law not because I want to be a lawyer, but because I want to be part of a process of justice that is blind to race, ethnicity or social status.


There I fixed the point of debate. Sorry for that.

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haus
Posts: 2833
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: First Daft

Postby haus » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:18 pm

anubis1911 wrote:Unlike many other future lawyers, I would never have though myself to be applying to law school at the age of five. I had grown up wanting nothing more than to serve my country valiantly as a military officer. However, as time progressed and I realized the gravity of war, I felt it best if I turned down my appointment to the United States Naval Academy in pursuit of a more intellectual career.

...

There I fixed the point of debate. Sorry for that.

No, you seem to have posted the exact same first paragraph.
Last edited by haus on Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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guano
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Re: First Daft

Postby guano » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:43 pm

haus wrote: I like the subject line... "First Daft"

This


It's a great subject, even if it may alienate some people. But you might want to soften your stance a bit.
Oh, and the opening paragraph sucks.
Before rewriting this, give yourself an exercise: write a gripping first sentence. Keep working at that until you're happy with it. Only then continue on. Put most of your effort into the opening and closing paragraphs.

A good opening paragraph will pull the reader in, and a good closing paragraph will seal the deal, even if the middle is a bit weaker - particularly because of the subject matter

erik the viking
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:06 am

Re: First Daft

Postby erik the viking » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:14 am

Yeah, I would cut out the part about the military. From one perspective it offers a counterpoint to the idea that you're defined by the gun issue, it makes you look more complex, but you're more likely to just alienate people that like the military in addition to gun control advocates. I suppose that's something of an accomplishment though.

I understand that you want to talk about this because it means a lot to you, but a personal statement doesn't need to define you, it just needs to get you into law school. Discretion is the better part of valor. That said, it would definitely set you apart... You're going to really freak out some adcomms.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: First Daft

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:17 am

Okay, so I see from your posting history that you're an AA male with a 3.6/165. You're already sitting pretty. The main thing you have to do at this point is not alienate adcomms with your PS -- which is exactly why you should scrap this essay.

I understand that the experience is uncommon and is of importance to you, but you have to know your audience. No one is immune to their own biases and emotions, and issues like gun control and abortion rights provoke visceral responses in just about everyone. This is just an utterly needless risk for someone in your position. The piece is obviously a little rough, being a first draft (hate the first paragraph), but it's clear from reading it that you write well. So write well about another topic. Treat this as a warm-up.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: First Daft

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:04 pm

I don't know, I like the firearms angle. Ballsy, and not one you hear every day. If I were an adcom I'd think "here is someone whose viewpoint actually does add to diversity." Plus it shows genuine interest in the law, not just in vague ideas about the law. But I'd drop the military intro -- it kind of leads the reader in the wrong direction -- "I always knew I wanted to be in the military...but then I changed my mind"

anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Re: First Daft

Postby anubis1911 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:47 pm

I am definitely dropping the military stuff and pretty much incinerating the whole intro. Naturally I am worried that this topic will cause my application to be rejected, but at the same time, this is what got me wanting law school. I'm looking for something to stand out and to put me above the other AA males applying to the schools I am. It's my understanding that the adcomms will want people from both sides of the isle. This is something that really affected me, not just some political stance.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: First Daft

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:49 pm

anubis1911 wrote:I am definitely dropping the military stuff and pretty much incinerating the whole intro. Naturally I am worried that this topic will cause my application to be rejected, but at the same time, this is what got me wanting law school. I'm looking for something to stand out and to put me above the other AA males applying to the schools I am. It's my understanding that the adcomms will want people from both sides of the isle. This is something that really affected me, not just some political stance.


I say go for it. Be who you are. An essay you care about is going to come off better than one you don't. Even if one adcom is put off, another one will probably say "hey, an AA gun rights guy, that's not an applicant we see every day" and be intrigued.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: First Daft

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:46 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:I don't know, I like the firearms angle. Ballsy, and not one you hear every day.


Of course it's ballsy. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. (And you've given some pretty lousy advice recently: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=213908.)

If I were an adcom I'd think "here is someone whose viewpoint actually does add to diversity."


That's great, but he shouldn't base his decision on what you would think as a hypothetical adcomm. He should assess his current position (very strong) and then make an intelligent cost-benefit analysis of different approaches to his PS -- an analysis that will be mindful of the fact that adcomms are human beings just like everyone else and will consequently be affected by their own predispositions in ways they do not even consciously perceive, just like everyone else. In this case, an intelligent analysis strongly counsels against a high-risk PS. He also has absolutely no need to show viewpoint diversity, because he's an African-American male with competitive numbers. If he were showing viewpoint diversity on something that wasn't among the most polarizing of American political issues, then perhaps it would make sense, but he has little to nothing to gain with this topic and potentially a hell of a lot to lose.

Plus it shows genuine interest in the law, not just in vague ideas about the law.


This isn't even necessary in a law school PS. The most effective statements hardly ever ground themselves in a specific legal issue.

anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Re: First Daft

Postby anubis1911 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:57 pm

Ti Malice wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:I don't know, I like the firearms angle. Ballsy, and not one you hear every day.


Of course it's ballsy. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. (And you've given some pretty lousy advice recently: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=213908.)

If I were an adcom I'd think "here is someone whose viewpoint actually does add to diversity."


That's great, but he shouldn't base his decision on what you would think as a hypothetical adcomm. He should assess his current position (very strong) and then make an intelligent cost-benefit analysis of different approaches to his PS -- an analysis that will be mindful of the fact that adcomms are human beings just like everyone else and will consequently be affected by their own predispositions in ways they do not even consciously perceive, just like everyone else. In this case, an intelligent analysis strongly counsels against a high-risk PS. He also has absolutely no need to show viewpoint diversity, because he's an African-American male with competitive numbers. If he were showing viewpoint diversity on something that wasn't among the most polarizing of American political issues, then perhaps it would make sense, but he has little to nothing to gain with this topic and potentially a hell of a lot to lose.

Plus it shows genuine interest in the law, not just in vague ideas about the law.


This isn't even necessary in a law school PS. The most effective statements hardly ever ground themselves in a specific legal issue.


Do you honestly believe I'd be able to get into HYS with just my numbers alone? My softs are just that-soft. This is something that puts me apart from everyone else. What else could I write about? My Model UN experiences?

In other news.... Here is a new attempt at the first paragraph. It'll take the place of the first two paragraphs on the version you all have seen.

It was 6:30 in the morning when the phone rang. Half asleep, I answered and was greeted by a woman claiming to be a representative from the National Rifle Association. She informed me that the NRA had discovered me after I qualified to compete in a national rifle competition with my Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps team and that they wanted me to be the main plaintiff in two lawsuits. One of the lawsuits, later to be named James D’Cruz v Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, sought to challenge the prohibition on a citizen between the ages of 18 and 20 from buying a pistol or pistol ammunition from a federally licensed dealer, despite it being legal for an individual as young as 18 years old to purchase a pistol through a private sale. The second lawsuit, James D’Cruz v McCraw (in his official capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety), sought to allow the same group of individuals to then carry those firearms concealed after progressing through the proper training and background checks.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: First Daft

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:09 pm

anubis1911 wrote:I am definitely dropping the military stuff and pretty much incinerating the whole intro. Naturally I am worried that this topic will cause my application to be rejected, but at the same time, this is what got me wanting law school. I'm looking for something to stand out and to put me above the other AA males applying to the schools I am. It's my understanding that the adcomms will want people from both sides of the isle. This is something that really affected me, not just some political stance.


It's your app. While I understand that it's important to you, the risk-reward calculus here suggests it's not a very good idea. Most people in law school admissions are going to be on the liberal side. Probably all of them will regard themselves as above injecting their own biases and politics into the evaluation of applications, but this is not something that's entirely avoidable. It might not cost you anything (probably won't), but it's more likely to hurt you than to help you. If conservative viewpoints provided a boost in admissions (they don't), then you would see more than the tiny number of conservative students there are at YHS, Columbia, and NYU. If you were throwing Hail Marys and just hoping to land a T14 at all, then a high-risk PS might be the way to go. But that's not the case. You have strong numbers, and you write very well. The smartest play for someone in your position is to submit a PS that runs no risk of alienating any adcomm.




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