First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

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First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:31 am

As I stated this is the first draft I've written that I actually think is worthy of some actual serious review. Right off the bat I would say that my conclusion is a bit on the weak side and I am over length a little bit so if anything needs to be obviously cut please point it out. All input really is appreciated, and I can take harsh criticism without taking it personally. Thanks in advance guys.

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The day that I started my journey towards a legal career was long ago, but it stands out to me. As an awkward thirteen year old who was nearing the end of seventh grade I was required to fill out an interest inventory as a prerequisite for a standardized test. I entered my information into the survey program and watched as it produced career paths that would appeal to me. My results appeared on the monitor. When “Careers in the Legal Field” was listed as the first result my interest was piqued. Like many of my peers I had been entirely clueless as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and this was the first moment in my life where I felt a semblance of purpose. I felt that I could fulfill a small but vital function for the larger system of law and society. That sensation remained persistent, and influenced my decision making and motivations through high school and into my undergraduate education. It is not accurate to pinpoint this moment as the exact time that I decided to become an attorney, but it is accurate that an interest inventory taken in 7th grade was the beginning of an ongoing process that has pushed me towards a career in the law.

That interest in the law never wavered and persisted through grade school and into high school. My first serious exposure to legal practice came during my senior year of high school. I worked at a three attorney personal injury and worker's compensation law firm. That job taught me that I did not enjoy work as an office assistant, but my desire to work in the legal industry was validated. Between the endless hours of stripping files, preparing DUI packets, shredding documents, wrapping assorted Christmas soaps, transporting old case files to the basement and a whole host of other menial tasks I was given the opportunity to work directly with clients. Some were more savory, relatable, or likeable than others, but they each had a story to tell and restitution to be sought. Our small firm would be their guide through a legal system that none of them knew how to navigate.

My role in these cases was secondary on a good day, but I did what I could. I noticed patterns that could prove useful. Motions that I ran to be filed by the secretaries at the Circuit Court would be processed quickly if they were accompanied by Dove chocolate and a ten minute conversation about their children. I made sure to learn each and every one of their names, and assigned one significant personal detail to each one. It is difficult to describe the feeling of working within the legal system. It is an experience that is analogous to being a small cog in a very large machine. My tasks were not glamorous but they were necessary and I always had a certain pride and satisfaction about my work.
To some, a career in which the majority of success is achieved in a windowless conference room is unappealing. To many, weekends spent organizing documents for review by the attorneys might appear tedious and boring - and they would be correct in their perception. But someone must do it, and that is where I decided being an attorney would suit me. I realized that the title of lawyer and the lay prestige that came with it were not my priorities. The title of the profession could be “document reviewer” or “composer of threatening letters” and I would still be equally as enthusiastic about my pursuit of the profession. This “cog in the machine” mentality carries a certain appeal for me, but it is important not to confuse it with blind conformity.

If I am not challenging myself I am not improving. I would much rather be a small fish in the ocean than a shark in a swimming pool. I transferred from a small regional university to Purdue University so that my limits could be tested. In retrospect this was a sub-optimal decision for the purposes of law school applications - but there are moments where a decision must be made: do I want to stop challenging myself and improving as a person so that I can feel better about where I fall at the median? Or is it more equitable to accept this challenge even if it makes my entry into law school more difficult? I reached the conclusion that an education at a university with one of the lowest rates of grade inflation in the country would make me a better person and ultimately a better lawyer.

The time is now. I am out of money in my college account and have to graduate a year early or spend $40,000 that I do not have. I have known what I want to do for the rest of my life for long enough. I am ready to begin the process. Though I do not yet know for certain what function in the legal system I will ultimately fulfill, I am ready to become a small part of the single most important social system in the world.

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OhMyLaw

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Re: First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

Postby OhMyLaw » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:51 am

Ask and you shall receive so here goes my very blunt opinion.

In terms of topic, not sure if picking random points in your life is the best way to go. You want the admissions committee to remember you. And a coherent narrative is much more memorable. I would pick a very specific and meaningful event in your life and relate that to law school/becoming a lawyer.

For the actual writing, because a personal statement need to be personal, the lack of specific details about how you felt or saw events make this statement a tad bland.

Finally, the last paragraph kinda makes it seem like you're going to law school because you don't really have anything better to do.. I get that you're trying to convey your excitement and determination, but imagine if you were the law school and read that.

The caveat to all this is that I'm in undergrad so my opinion is probably not the most qualified. That said, these comments are very similar to those given to me about my ps by my legal writing professor, who happens to be a licensed attorney that graduated from one of HYS.

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Mr. Freeze

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Re: First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

Postby Mr. Freeze » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:07 am

Well for starters the "I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid" topic is overdone from what I've heard.

At 13 you discovered your interest in law by taking a computer survey... not really the most inspiring story but ok.
"and this was the first moment in my life where I felt a semblance of purpose. I felt that I could fulfill a small but vital function for the larger system of law and society. That sensation remained persistent, and influenced my decision making and motivations through high school and into my undergraduate education." The results of a computer survey gave you all of this?

Then it looks like you go into restating your resume and what you did at your high school job/internship. Leaves me wondering what you have done since if this was during senior year of high school. After that it sounds like you are trying to vaguely explain why your GPA dropped after transferring.

I would not conclude on how broke you are. I would rewrite that last paragraph. Overall I didn't think it was that great. Quite forgettable in my opinion.

SNightHighlights

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Re: First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:00 pm

Thanks guys, I do appreciate the input. I'm struggling a bit to be honest. There's some pieces of this statement that I really like but to be honest my "origin story" of why I'm interested in law just isn't that interesting. I'm an upper middle class white guy who was raised by two great parents. When I say that a interest in inventory got me thinking about law and I grew to really like that career path over that span of 8 years or so that is the completely honest truth. There's obviously been some difficult times in my life but that had nothing to do with me wanting to be a lawyer. I'm just having a hard time trying to make it compelling because if I were to be completely honest I'd just say "I'm smart, like rhetoric, and enjoy legal work". I just do. I said I'm going to be a lawyer and still want to be one haha. I am passionate about what I want to do but don't have a long winded story of how I got there. Any ideas?

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ml2srosie

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Re: First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

Postby ml2srosie » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:48 pm

I think your biggest issue here is the overall topic. The admissions committee knows you are passionate about being a lawyer...or else you would not have submitted an application. Unless your numbers are excellent (3.8+, 170+), I could see this essay getting your app buried at the bottom of a pile for review in March or April because it is just not that compelling.

Do you have any experiences that have taught you a valuable lesson? Do you have any vivid examples of your determination, work ethic, and other skills? Was there a time when your beliefs have been particularly challenged? Do you have any exciting or esoteric hobbies? Any exemplary leadership in extracurriculars or service projects? I would pursue something along those lines.

It seems like you have decent writing skills, so once you find a more intriguing (or memorable topic), I think things will come together for you. Also, consider submitting your PS to JDMISSION for a free critique. I received one from there and their feedback enabled me to really produce a stellar PS.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: First Draft That I Don't Think is COMPLETE Garbage. Does anyone mind critiquing?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:06 pm

SNightHighlights wrote:Thanks guys, I do appreciate the input. I'm struggling a bit to be honest. There's some pieces of this statement that I really like but to be honest my "origin story" of why I'm interested in law just isn't that interesting. I'm an upper middle class white guy who was raised by two great parents. When I say that a interest in inventory got me thinking about law and I grew to really like that career path over that span of 8 years or so that is the completely honest truth. There's obviously been some difficult times in my life but that had nothing to do with me wanting to be a lawyer. I'm just having a hard time trying to make it compelling because if I were to be completely honest I'd just say "I'm smart, like rhetoric, and enjoy legal work". I just do. I said I'm going to be a lawyer and still want to be one haha. I am passionate about what I want to do but don't have a long winded story of how I got there. Any ideas?

Write about something else entirely. Your PS doesn't have to explain how you decided to become a lawyer. Write about a hobby, or some experience that made a big impression on you, or how you handled one of those difficult times in your life that don't have anything to do with law. Pick something that highlights one of your strongest characteristics. If you don't have an interesting "origin story" for why law (tons of people don't), write about something else.



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