Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

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Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:25 pm

Below is the 2nd draft of my personal statement. I'd appreciate any help I can get! My numbers are pretty good, and I want to make sure I have a well-written, but 'safe,' personal statement. Thanks!

I did not want to be a lawyer growing up. I had no family career history in law, I knew very little about being an attorney would entail, and I generally thought of it as a job for old, white males. The female role models in my family tended to enter the medical field or the education field, and even as a young child, they encouraged me towards those fields. As squeamish as I was, as uncomfortable as I was with the physical nature of a nursing career, I turned my gaze towards the natural alternative, teaching. I loved reading and literary analysis. I wrote creatively, and I derived a lot of satisfaction from it. By high school, I had decided to pursue a career teaching English at the high-school level.
Then, in college, I took a range of classes that shook my world up. As I enrolled in everything from anthropology to computer science, my focus shifted instead to the vastness of the multitude of options in front of me. It was frightening and exciting. Until halfway through my sophomore year, when I had to set my decision in stone, I discussed dozens of options with my advisor. Finding myself unable to make a certain, unwavering decision about what else I would want to do, I continued pursing my English degree and a Sociology minor, while continuing to take a variety of classes in order to further explore my various interests. Although I enjoyed and thrived in my major classes, I grew doubtful about my projected career path as an English teacher. Ultimately, I found that my interest lay more in the quiet, detail-oriented work of literary analysis than it did in creating lesson plans and classroom management strategies.
After exploring a variety of disciplines, I graduated unsure of myself. I knew I had to explore my interests more in depth before committing myself to a career that I was increasingly unsure about. With my interest recently sparked by a Legal Studies course in my senior year at school, I applied for positions at law firms around Atlanta to explore that idea more seriously.
As a new case assistant at **********, I was assigned to a litigation team on a national case quickly approaching trial. By necessity, I adjusted quickly to my new role as part of a large legal support team. Throughout the last year, I’ve had my hands on hundreds of review binders and trial exhibits. I’ve followed cases closely, and watched them morph out of the discovery phase, into a deposition phase, and into the exciting and demanding task of preparing for trial.
While this job further cemented my interest in a legal career, this job also humanized a system that can seem so mechanical and callous from an outside perspective. On a daily basis, I witness attorneys from all types of backgrounds, moral perspectives, and passions work together in order to do their best by their client while upholding the law in an honest and ethical way. As I become more invested in each project, I develop a deeper passion for the work. Seeing the positive and sometimes life-changing impact that lawyers can make on our clients is heartening and encouraging. Trying to navigate our complicated legal systems often leaves people overwhelmed, and I look forward to guiding people through the legal process. Rather than experiencing growing insecurity, I grow more certain of my decision to pursue a legal career the longer I work in the field.
It can be a great thing when life doesn’t go according to plan. In this case, I am facing the challenge of law school with the confidence and dedication to begin learning the skills and gaining the experience I need to become the type of attorney that I would want to have as a client.

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Re: Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

Postby KatyMaddux » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:23 pm

I'm happy to critique yours too if you'd like!

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Re: Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:22 pm

I think no one has commented on this because it's a decent but unremarkable PS. It's better than the large majority of personal statements I've read here, but I'm not going to remember it next week.

In general, it's a bit mundane, but the second half does a good job of establishing that you have experience in the legal field - so that you know what you're getting yourself in for, etc.

Could you work some kind of example or concrete details into the second half -- a client or case that stands out to you, perhaps?

There are also some minor phrasing and word-choice issues, but there always are.

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Re: Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

Postby KatyMaddux » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:05 am

That's kind of what I kind of worried about, but figured was going to happen. I was basically going for a safe PS, but it's so freaking boring that I don't even want to read it. The problem is that a lot of what I actually do at my job is pretty mundane kind of stuff, so I was trying to go more in depth as to what I was thinking and feeling about the experience, but I did it at the expense of concrete details that people could remember.

I'll try to change things around to make the case I'm talking about come to life better.

Thanks for the help!

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Re: Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

Postby xmbeckham » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:03 am

I think your current draft is "safe" as long as your numbers are indeed pretty good as you said. Some suggestions:

1. You can probably condense your college exploration to one short paragraph and fully develop on your experience at the law firm. In particular, provide one or two concrete examples/events that finally triggered your change of plan.
2. The word "explore" appears too frequently. Consider other interchangeable words.

I hope you can critique mine, but it's still under construction. Can I PM you when I have my draft ready? Thanks!!

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Re: Personal Statement Critique - T14 applications

Postby KatyMaddux » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:35 am

Feel free to PM whenever it's finished! I'd be happy to help. Thanks for the critique! My numbers are 169/4.0. So they're safe-ish....My LSAT score could be better, but I feel comfortable enough. It's a bonus if it helps, but I just don't want my Personal Statement to hurt my application.

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