Revised PS Draft - Thoughts?

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barkgarry

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Revised PS Draft - Thoughts?

Postby barkgarry » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:37 pm

Hey all - I submitted a rough draft of my PS last week and got some really helpful advice. Based on that, I reworked some parts and am looking for more advice/feedback/critiques. As well, if you happened to read my last draft, does this feel like a step in the right direction or am I on the wrong track? I also have similar questions as last time. I'm also specifically curious:
a) if there are sections that I should expand upon and/or trim
b) if/to what extent I need to go about fixing transitions and coherence - are the transitions too awkward/forced? Is the whole thing too disjointed?

Finally, what I'm really trying to do with this PS is to take an anecdote and expand it to how my work experience has reinforced my desire to go to law school. Am I doing a good job of that? Are there ways to improve. My PS is below - happy to read anybody else's (by PM as well, if you'd prefer that).

--Personal Statement--

“Oh yeah, I guess you’re right – click.” That was a representative from Alberta’s Ministry of Finance hanging up on me, both confirming that I had properly read an Alberta regulatory document and that the information I had received from the past three or four people at the Ministry had been wrong. The question centered on whether our firm had to file certain documentation from previous years as we worked on reviving our company’s registration to be a broker in Alberta.

In February, I began working at a firm that runs an online platform in the relatively new space of equity crowdfunding. I was initially taken on to perform financial analysis, serve as a liaison between potential investors and the companies we listed, and to handle some marketing initiatives. Being one of only seven people at [Firm], it wasn’t long before I was handling work that covered the spectrum of running our business, including researching regulations to answer questions like “We’re going to do X, do we need to file that with the Ontario Securities Commission?”

No one else at the office wanted to deal with those issues, so such work would somehow always be delegated to me. This arrangement worked out well – I personally loved reading through dense documents or grappling with ambiguous portions of tax codes. Yet the pressure was also immense. Although my episode with Finance Alberta has humorous elements, it also has a serious side: if we had followed the advice given to use by the Ministry, we would have violated their rules and possibly been slapped with a fine we may not have been able to afford. It might have resulted in me being fired somewhere down the line.

When the Finance Alberta agent hung up on me, I enjoyed a brief moment of triumph – I figured out what many at the Ministry seemingly could not. Yet this feeling of accomplishment was quickly replaced by a sense of fear and dread, like I wasn’t watching where I was going and caught myself just before walking off a cliff. The lack of reliable guidance can be nerve-wracking. I had spoken to three different Finance Alberta agents before one of them even pointed me in the direction of the relevant policy documents to check for myself. When I actually did, I was struck by self-doubt. To me, the answer seemed obvious – we did have to file certain older documents – and that the advice I’d been given was clearly wrong.

The answer was literally on the first page of the document. Surely I was missing something – how could everyone at the Ministry have been so off base? I called again and had the agent read the pertinent section, and he nonchalantly confirmed that I was right and they were wrong. He was not nearly as troubled by this as I was.

This has strengthened my resolve to attend law school. I’ve come to appreciate the counseling role played by so many in the legal field. Working at a financial technology startup, I have firsthand experience contending with regulatory systems that would make Kafka blush. We could use some handholding, and I would certainly like to help people and firms in similar situations. I can now see the positive impact lawyers have – not just in a broad sense like helping expand civil rights, but also in a much narrower sense, like in guiding a tiny company that may have to contend with as many rules as a multinational enterprise. My passion for the law, combined with my desire to be genuinely helpful to others, has convinced me that law school is the right choice.

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zot1

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Re: Revised PS Draft - Thoughts?

Postby zot1 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:12 pm

1. Your theme is more cohesive now, that's awesome.
2. Tone down the emphasis on how wrong Alberta was. It makes you seem obnoxious.
3. Don't talk about immense pressure, show it: "it wasn't easy pushing back because Alberta is supposed to know what's best, but I did it because it was best for my client."
4. I did appreciate when you elaborated on the consequences of a bad action for your client. But stay away from you (re you being fired). I would instead frame it as "someone could have lost his or her job based on bad advice."
5. Play with your transitions more. Specially as you enter the last paragraph.

inmybeginning

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Re: Revised PS Draft - Thoughts?

Postby inmybeginning » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:12 pm

1) transition between paragraphs 1 and 2 leaves me wondering when the call took place. Rather than, "in February," go with "several years before" or however long it was

2) last sentence of third paragraph ("me being") is awk

3) there's a bit of a rough transition from your story to your why law school paragraph. I'm still unsure why dealing with dense law code made you want to go into law. I mean, you tell me in the last paragraph why it did, but could you weave those elements throughout with the culminating thought in the last paragraph? This could be as simple as, "dealing with the tax code, I was nervous because I had no one to double check my interpretation..." And/or "I found myself looking forward to going to work and continuing to wade through the pages and pages of tax code." That way I as the reader am set up for your realizations in the last paragraph.

3) I agree with not focusing so much on alberta. :)

Best of luck!

barkgarry

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Re: Revised PS Draft - Thoughts?

Postby barkgarry » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:21 pm

zot1 wrote:1. Your theme is more cohesive now, that's awesome.
2. Tone down the emphasis on how wrong Alberta was. It makes you seem obnoxious.
3. Don't talk about immense pressure, show it: "it wasn't easy pushing back because Alberta is supposed to know what's best, but I did it because it was best for my client."
4. I did appreciate when you elaborated on the consequences of a bad action for your client. But stay away from you (re you being fired). I would instead frame it as "someone could have lost his or her job based on bad advice."
5. Play with your transitions more. Specially as you enter the last paragraph.


Hey thanks for the feedback! In terms of point #2 - do you think it'd suffice to replace the second-to-last paragraph with something else? Is that where it kind of crosses the line to "he's talking too much about how wrong Alberta was?" Or is it more towards the end of the paragraph right before it?

Also for point #4 - my interactions with Alberta pertained to my company specifically, not a client that we were helping. Is this not clear in my PS? If not I should definitely rework it to make it more clear, yeah?
Last edited by barkgarry on Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

barkgarry

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Re: Revised PS Draft - Thoughts?

Postby barkgarry » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:25 pm

inmybeginning wrote:1) transition between paragraphs 1 and 2 leaves me wondering when the call took place. Rather than, "in February," go with "several years before" or however long it was

2) last sentence of third paragraph ("me being") is awk

3) there's a bit of a rough transition from your story to your why law school paragraph. I'm still unsure why dealing with dense law code made you want to go into law. I mean, you tell me in the last paragraph why it did, but could you weave those elements throughout with the culminating thought in the last paragraph? This could be as simple as, "dealing with the tax code, I was nervous because I had no one to double check my interpretation..." And/or "I found myself looking forward to going to work and continuing to wade through the pages and pages of tax code." That way I as the reader am set up for your realizations in the last paragraph.

3) I agree with not focusing so much on alberta. :)

Best of luck!


Thanks for the advice! For point #1 - I mean that I started working at the company in February 2015. Since that was relatively recent, I feel when the actual call took place is a bit irrelevant since it was in the past year. Do you feel differently?

I'll definitely be working on my transitions!



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