Talking about race in a PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
mcleemz
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:36 pm

Talking about race in a PS

Postby mcleemz » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:29 pm

Hi, 2015-16 applicant here, 3.81, took Feb '15 LSAT, will retake in June if I have to.

The narrative of my PS is basically:

I got married & moved across the country. Going through major life changes caused me to earnestly examine the world around me for the 1st time, and when I did, I didn't like everything I saw. Ferguson/Cleveland/Oakland/Florida/New York/etc was all happening, and I grew more and more restless. My wife suggested that if I wanted to make a difference, I could go to law school. "Ha ha, yeah right," I thought, but the seed was planted. Then the grand jury (and by extension, the NYDA) decided not to indict Eric Garner's killer. I slumped over at my desk in grief. After a minute, my resolve to become a lawyer was catalyzed: Not only do I want to do something, but I must do something. Becoming a lawyer and working for a fair, honorable application of the law--not necessarily to punish "killer cops," but to address the reasons why things like Ferguson happen in the first place--will make the greatest use of my talent & determination.

Of course, I'll hit all the TLS bullet points--why I'd be good at it, school-specific things, past academic success, volunteer work, etc etc.

My issue is: I'm worried that admissions will be besieged by "My Eric Garner Moment" statements, and it will turn into 9/11 2.0. Also, I'm white. While I'm sincere in my advocacy, and I know to avoid white savior statements when talking about issues of racial/class inequality, I'm worried that my bringing up issues of race could be considered crass, exploitative, or--should I run into a particularly conservative adcomm--grounds for rejection.

Is it worth making this a major part of my PS, or is the risk too great?

User avatar
DCfilterDC
Posts: 2665
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Talking about race in a PS

Postby DCfilterDC » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:39 pm

On so many levels I would avoid doing this. It's just so beyond cliche and hyperbolic that even if it were all true I think there might be more snickers than genuine interest. The fact that you're white only makes it all worse.

If this is really the true reason you want to go to law school, internalize it and let it be your drive and where you end up in a career, don't put it in your PS.

User avatar
WhiskeyAndCupcakes
Posts: 1076
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:52 pm

Re: Talking about race in a PS

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:45 pm

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Fri May 29, 2015 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
leslieknope
Posts: 1092
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:53 pm

Re: Talking about race in a PS

Postby leslieknope » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:46 pm

Don't do this. Talking about how PI is why you want to be a lawyer in your PS is generally a bad idea unless you have really significant PI experience before law school (like I have about four years' worth of PI experience and I didn't do it). There is basically no way to make a "I watched the news and had an epiphany about saving the world" PS not sound disingenuous, even if in reality it is 100% sincere. Your PS doesn't have to be Why Law specifically- and in your case it sounds like it probably shouldn't be.

mcleemz
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:36 pm

Re: Talking about race in a PS

Postby mcleemz » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:52 pm

Thanks guys. While this has been about a year and a half long process for me, I can see how it comes across as "I watched the news, now let's do this," which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. Because I've been out of school 11 years and didn't study anything related to law, some of the traditional directions for a PS are off the table. As I thought might happen, this one is now, too.

User avatar
DCfilterDC
Posts: 2665
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Talking about race in a PS

Postby DCfilterDC » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:54 pm

mcleemz wrote:Thanks guys. While this has been about a year and a half long process for me, I can see how it comes across as "I watched the news, now let's do this," which is exactly what I wanted to avoid. Because I've been out of school 11 years and didn't study anything related to law, some of the traditional directions for a PS are off the table. As I thought might happen, this one is now, too.


11 years! I'm sure you have something great you can write about in those 11 years of experience. Remember it doesn't necessarily have to be "Why Law."




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.