Please share your thoughts and suggestions

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:37 am

"I am interested in the law for what it is and not what it will allow me to become. This is what separates my thought process from the thought processes of those who think my future law studies is in indication of my success. My family, my friends, and especially the media once led me to believe in aspects of the legal profession that are entirely untrue, too often romanticized, exaggerated, and exploited for profit. This is why I didn’t go to law school directly from my undergraduate studies. I needed to know that I was not in search of someone else’s dream, but my own.

I care about justice, equality, and freedom for all. The noise that surrounds this in forms of luxury suits, dinner parties, high salaries, and often that superior attitude simply remains noise. I find the legal profession appropriate for myself because I care more about what I can offer the law as opposed to what the law can offer me.

When I enlisted in the United States Navy I did not think to myself that I was doing this in order to become an American hero or idolized patriot and I certainly wasn’t doing it for the money. I enlisted because I wanted to serve and learn about my country. I desired the perspective of the man on the ground fighting for his freedom. The idea of solely being the philosopher pondering upon things from an Ivory tower was not what I wanted. I desired the opportunity to understand my people so that I could better take care of them.

Serving these same people in a legal capacity is what I desire now. I needed time to reasonably think upon this decision to go to law school and one day serve as an attorney. I held this decision with the utmost importance. Within that time I’ve hiked the Great Wall of China, I’ve taught English in Hangzhou, I’ve worn the cloth of my nation, and I’ve learned about many of the reasons on why I should be a lawyer.

It’s the justice, equality, and freedom. That is my calling, and that is what I wish to enforce, protect, and amend when needed. As a potential candidate at your school I urge you to provide the opportunity for me to once again serve my countrymen."

Is it too short?
What can I fix?
Should I expand on a particular idea?
What would you have liked to see more of?

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Re: Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby jselson » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:48 am

All tell, no show.

One thing that particularly worries me about this PS is how negative it is. You don't need to bring in strawmen to put down to show your good qualities. It just makes you sound insecure about what your reasons actually are for going to law school.

Dude, you were in the Navy. You have to have some awesome, meaningful stories that you can tell that show who you are. Use em.

Anonymous User
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Re: Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:08 am

Thanks man. I'll have to keep thinking then. I'm 0 and 2 now.

Anonymous User
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Re: Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:12 am

One thing I'm not really sure how to do is to incorporate what I'm doing now in the Navy into my law school personal statement.

How do I go about talking about interviewing the Commanding Officer of ______ while telling the admission council that this has inspired my decision to go to law school. These two things are entirely unrelated.

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Magical Trevor

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Re: Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby Magical Trevor » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:27 am

That's certainly not the only experience you've had in the Navy. You have to have had something happen that started you down the path to your current desire to serving the people in the field of law instead of the military.


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Re: Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby coldweather » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:41 am

Your PS does not have to be a why law statement. Think about qualities that you would bring into a law school. Leadership, determination, analytic skills and so on. Demonstrate these skills through personal stories and experiences. At the end of the day you want the adcom to think, wow this person would be a great addition to our law class.

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Re: Please share your thoughts and suggestions

Postby Ramius » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:36 am

Sorry to say it man, but this needs to be a complete rewrite. Reading through it, I learned nothing substantive about you as an applicant. Like Jselson said, it was all tell, no show, which makes the reader just think, "glad you think of yourself that way, but how do I know what you're telling me is true?"

What was your rate in the Navy? Where have you served? I understand if you don't want to share this publicly, but if you want to PM me about your specific time in the Navy, I might be able to give some suggestions of good starting points for an essay to think about.

As others have mentioned, find a personal anecdote from your past that will help you demonstrate one of a few things about you as an applicant:

1) Your intellectual abilities and mental faculties. This can be particularly effective if you want to help eclipse a less than stellar metric like GPA or LSAT. It won't give you any substantive boost in those categories, but if the admissions committee has some reason to say you've distanced yourself from that number (GPA) or one is more representative of your actual academic abilities than the other (either one), then you might be able to convince them to take that number with a grain of salt.

2) Leadership or other character attributes. This is a fairly common tactic used by many coming from the military in my experience both reading and writing these. If you reached any level of seniority or was in charge of a group of people or specific project, using that to demonstrate your potential for leadership both in the law school class and in the legal profession will definitely be looked at favorably. ADCOMS will believe you about your abilities as a leader due to your time in the military, but you have to give them good justifiable reason to believe it too.

3) Growth. Also a fairly common tactic by people in writing a PS. Picking one formative experience in your development into who you are today can be very effective at showing your ability to adapt and evolve in this world, which implies your ability to understand the world around you and how your experiences affect real change in you.

4) Why law. This is what you seemed to be attempting here, but you need to fire with much better effect when you do a why law. This again comes down to picking an anecdote from your past that caused you to say to yourself, "wow, this really made me want to be a lawyer." If you don't have anything in your past that galvanized your view on the profession or lit a fire in you to pursue the law as a profession, avoid this approach altogether. Some circuitous, vague "I've always believed in justice and I've wanted to be a lawyer ever since the first I saw The Rainmaker" will never suffice. It's shallow and will present you horribly as an applicant.

This list isn't by any means all-inclusive and you can pick a completely different approach if you see fit, but these are decent places to start when thinking about how you want to hone your PS.

Although LSAT and uGPA are far and away more important in law school admissions than the PS or any other aspect of your application usually (unless you did something substantially impactful on the world), the PS is an excellent opportunity to give your application three dimensions. Use it as an opportunity to sell your character and your personality to this room full of people who have never met you before. They may still say no if your LSAT and uGPA are outside where they are aiming, but that doesn't have to stop you from making them say to themselves, "damn, I would love to admit this guy." It might not be a game changer, but you never know: it could be.

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