Super Rough First Draft -- Hit Me

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
attackpizza
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:48 pm

Super Rough First Draft -- Hit Me

Postby attackpizza » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:00 pm

My legal career began as a giant failure. I headed to law school straight out of college in 2005 with not a clue as to what I was doing and heaps of pre-economic crash optimism. I was on my own in the city for the first time in my 21 years, after having spent my four undergraduate years living at home and working full-time as a grocery cashier. I was a bit sheltered, a bit coddled and ultimately incapable of balancing a rigorous legal education with the bright lights of the big city. Predictably (to anyone but me), I missed the curve at the end of my 1L year. I was gutted, devastated, horrified – all those feelings of complete and utter failure. I had missed the curve by one hundredth of a GPA point. But I could have missed by a mile because I had so many lessons left to learn.
Two days before getting my final grades, I was offered a summer position as a Jane-of-all-trades for a solo practitioner and alum of my now-former law school. It was my first office job and I quickly spent the last of my student loan cash on professional attire at H&M. Al is the best teacher I ever had. He handed me a binder on my first day that contained “Action Plans,” carefully drafted, step-by-step guides for keeping his practice afloat. I learned the difference between calendar days and court days, learned that civil clerks really are not all that civil and had constant “Oh, that’s what my Civil Procedure professor was talking about!” moments. As much as I loved working for Al, as a solo practitioner, he never held on to assistants for long in a city with such a high cost of living. After about a year, it became necessary to move up and out of his small, shared office space.
I worked for a time with attorneys who represented the San Francisco Housing Authority in effecting recent gang abatement injunctions won by the City Attorney. We kept the front door to our office locked, our process server started carrying a gun and San Francisco police would stop by every other day. I made the jump to large firm life with a job in a satellite office of an East Coast class action securities litigation firm. I became fluent in federal civil procedure and the intricacies of the exacting Central District of California local rules. I made it through my first (of many) midnight filings, dabbled in document review and developed a ready familiarity with Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
During this time, I did a lot of falling down and dusting off. No one’s family is perfect, but mine skews toward the more hellish side of dysfunctional. I cut off contact with my parents completely and fell into a very dark place, which involved getting behind on rent, feeling desperately lonely and turning to alcohol for comfort. You can’t tell a depressed person to snap out of it and it is their long and desolate road to wander towards healing and recovery. My road turned out to lead to a winter of total despair after a sexual assault the day after Christmas, which I quickly self-medicated by throwing myself into an alcoholic stupor, resulting in a DUI arrest shortly after New Year’s Day. If I believed in rock bottoms, that would have been it. It took a few more months of forcing myself to deal with a dark reality, but it felt wonderful when I finally started taking responsibility for my actions. I showed up to my alcohol education classes, did my work release at the SPCA and navigated the DMV bureaucracy. I moved to a new apartment, reconnected with friends I had forgotten in my own loneliness and started to really believe in myself.
Then I made it big – I was offered a Biglaw job, complete with my own cubicle instead of the reception desk and a comfortable salary. A friend set me up with the chef at her restaurant. We were married two years later and we just welcomed our first child. Through the failures in my past, I have ended up not with a new start, but with a new jumping off point. At 30, I cringe at the immature and naïve girl I once was, but I am also thankful to her. Her failing has brought to where I am today – a strong woman with a good head on her shoulders, ready to take on law school once again and succeed.

lawschool2014hopeful
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:48 pm

Re: Super Rough First Draft -- Hit Me

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:03 pm

I am really confused about your statement

#1) What the hell is the curve? Did you fail?
#2) Did you get offered a job after you failed?
#3) What is the purpose of this? What are you trying convince the readers? A story of challenge? If so, what were the lessons exactly? Other than just a "general maturity"?
#4) You got a job at a big-law firm but you want go back to law school? What is the point of this?

Mechanically, your statement became a heavy list entering second paragraph, of what you have done, which is not that bad.

But, your whole depression stanza is quite abrupt? Where did it come from? You had jobs then you went depressed? How is being assaulted related to any of this?

I think you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a clear purpose of your statement, because it seems like a bit of a ramble.

User avatar
attackpizza
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:48 pm

Re: Super Rough First Draft -- Hit Me

Postby attackpizza » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:36 am

1) the curve was instituted by the school and if you didn't make a certain GPA, you were academically DQ'd.

All the other stuff is just a ramble. I had no idea where to start and was just throwing stuff out to see what stuck. The list thing started to annoy me as I was writing, so I definitely want to work on that. I worked the assault in to put the DUI in context, not that I'm not taking responsibility for fucking up, but maybe it's best addressed in an addendum.

Might just scrap it and try again from a different tack. This was the product of sitting myself down and just getting something committed to paper.

Thanks for the response!

NanaP
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:29 pm

Re: Super Rough First Draft -- Hit Me

Postby NanaP » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:01 am

I actually thought you were a dude. I too am confused. Were you in law school? Did you drop out? Are you re-applying to law school? Can you even do that? I agree you need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what message you want to convey....

lawschool2014hopeful
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:48 pm

Re: Super Rough First Draft -- Hit Me

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:02 am

attackpizza wrote:1) the curve was instituted by the school and if you didn't make a certain GPA, you were academically DQ'd.

All the other stuff is just a ramble. I had no idea where to start and was just throwing stuff out to see what stuck. The list thing started to annoy me as I was writing, so I definitely want to work on that. I worked the assault in to put the DUI in context, not that I'm not taking responsibility for fucking up, but maybe it's best addressed in an addendum.

Might just scrap it and try again from a different tack. This was the product of sitting myself down and just getting something committed to paper.

Thanks for the response!


Unfortunately I think thats what you have to do. I am sure you can use some of the information in this statement, but you definitely need to think through of a coherent story to tell. Nonetheless my first drafts are often much worse, so no worries. Rambling is better than blank.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.