Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 327418
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:02 pm

I encountered difficulty in deciding what I wanted to write about, so I wrote two. Any feedback is appreciated. Let me know which one you like better, or, if you don't like either please explain why. Cheers.

1st PS

The clock read 2:49am. I was seated a table and four pairs of now eyes stared at me, as the owner of the pair to my left glared and handed me $1,200 cash. I accepted the money without gloating; nobody likes a sore winner, and with my cash pile now exceeding $7,600 I was one step closer to building a hotel; on boardwalk; in monopoly.
I’ve found that my favorite things generally begin with M: Monopoly, music, and of course, my mother. Coincidentally, it is also the rare combination of these three items that most heavily influenced my decision to go to law school.
I’ve been a pianist since age six. I played for churches, concerts, competitions, you name it. Naturally following this sort of experience, I enrolled in college as music major and started a career as a pianist and orchestral conductor following graduation. As with any occupation, there are aspects that one will enjoy, and some parts that are merely tolerated. Interestingly enough, out my favorite part was securing contracts with clients and consequently found myself going out of my way to collaborate with other musicians just so I could do the contract work for them. I enjoyed this sort of legal writing for the same reason I enjoyed music and monopoly: there is a set of established rules and the manner in which you manipulate them determines the success of your outcome. That being said, I wish that applying to law school had been the obvious choice.
Unfortunately it was not; otherwise this letter would be very different.

Let us return to monopoly for a moment. It is very seldom that I lose. As I grew older and won more games (while losing more friends) I felt the same excitement that I did while working with contracts, the same sense of varied application of the rules. Following the fateful boardwalk hotel (coming to a theatre near you) game, I sat in an empty dining room wishing I could make a career from playing this game in real life. Suddenly as if the center of the game board was highlighted, I see words that I’ve never noticed prior: “Parker Brothers Real Estate Trading Game”. I read the words again and again, a slow smile spreading across my face. My optimal career had been starting me in the face through my favorite game and I’d been too blind to see it until now!

Studying for the Virginia Real estate license exam was far less boring than the words “Virginia Real Estate License exam”, and included hundreds of pages of national and local laws governing land use, ownership, and proper conduct, to name a few. After passing the exam, I was offered positions at several firms and was excited to apply my knowledge of the law and local market values to satisfy the needs of my clients. Shortly after this, I realized that Real Estate was not for me. Between advertising, and showing houses, there wasn’t enough time to conduct the elements that I enjoyed in the work, and became disenchanted with the occupation faster than I was drawn to it! However, I am very proud to say this was one of the best mistakes I’ve made, because it was the last obstruction on my convoluted path to law.

The legal field combines all my favorite elements from other jobs: creation and review of contracts, reading, studying and understanding laws to ensure you are operating within its bounds, and of course, keeping clients satisfied. Transactional law has all the things I love to do, and have already been doing in many ways, and I am certain it is the path for me due to my indirect method of arrival. The only downside is that a legal career lacks the prestige that one of a concert pianist would have and my mother has always strongly supported me as a musician. However, I imagine that with her years of work in the legal field, as well as her deep rooted interest in the law, she might be okay with having an attorney for a son, too.


2nd PS

The tension building in my forearms began to force my wrists to lock. As my fingers rushed across the keys, my mind raced even faster as I mentally visualized the scores of dynamics, hundreds of harmonies, and thousands of notes. Memorizing every detail, every mark, and every note across twenty pages may sound daunting, but among professional musicians this ability is commonplace. With the exposition out of the way, the finish line was in sight and I was concluding the development of the first movement in Beethoven’s famous Pathetique sonata when the aforementioned tension won out, causing my right hand to miss several notes.

As a concert pianist, I am no stranger to mistakes. Rather, I embrace them as they are challenges that improve us all should we choose to address them. The primary difference between a passable pianist and a great pianist though, is where the mistakes are made. The former will make a mistake or two during a performance and attribute it to nerves, the piano, the temperature or any other variable outside his control, whereas the latter will identify and eliminate errors during practice in order to perform flawlessly. Effective practice makes for better performance.

Although lawyers call their performance practice and their practice research, many similarities exist between the two disciplines and many of my experiences in music have prepared me for a career in the legal field: I am no stranger to long hours; a day of teaching after 4 hours of practice followed by a 1am group rehearsal is nothing out of the ordinary. Legal writing and comprehension of contracts is a necessary part of being a musician; either you learn to do it quickly, or you may have clients making last minute adjustments to agreements, or failing to meet them altogether. Networking and acquisition of clients is an integral part of both occupations as, if you have no clients you have no work. Establishing good relationships to maintain client retention is also equally important as your revenues will suffer should you lose them. Lastly, discipline is one of the most important lessons I learned from my musical training. When your clients are paying you and expecting high quality work, there is little no room for error. One must learn to tirelessly repeat a page of music hundreds of time if necessary. With that same level of discipline, an attorney tirelessly reads through a contract to ensure there are no loopholes that could potentially harm their client, and by extension, them. Accustomed to this standard of rigor, I was well conditioned for law. However, I did not recognize my own interest until I began studying real estate.

In the state of Virginia (and most other states I imagine) to become a licensed real estate agent, one must study land and housing laws for the state or commonwealth in which they plan to practice. For most of the chapters in the real estate handbook, the “bare essentials” for operation were provided for straightforward, by the book situations. In the event the situation required more, the conventional wisdom was “consult a lawyer”. Curious as to what information I could learn to avoid “consulting a lawyer” (retainer fees are outrageous), I found myself pursuing sources other than the handbook to learn more. I found myself studying real estate specifics less. I found myself enjoying the study and potential applications of the law and soon realized that I enjoyed the study of the legal aspect of real estate more than I enjoyed the real estate aspect of real estate, and realized there’s a career that involves these things minus the houses. The final straw was the discovery that law is as disciplined as music, and it delighted me to find it an appropriate choice that would continue to challenge me. Once I am accustomed to a degree of expectations and difficulty, anything less feels like slothfulness and fails to satisfy.

It is for these for these reasons that I desire to attend your university; to continue to deepen my interest in law, but to also enjoy a field that requires a high level of attention to detail similar to music; a study to which I dedicated 17 years of my life. In law school I will apply my work ethic to make plenty of mistakes in practice, to ensure that I make fewer mistakes, in “practice”.

jstanhope14

New
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:54 pm

Re: Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

Postby jstanhope14 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:36 pm

I like the first one a lot. At the beginning it seems to jump around quite a bit, though you do tie it together nicely as you progress. I'd submit that one.

User avatar
sethnoorzad

New
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:28 pm

Re: Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

Postby sethnoorzad » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:42 pm

Former aspiring concert violist with domineering mother checking in.

I think your second statement is much better. In the main paragraph, I think you could focus a lot more on specific examples of your experiences and successes as a pianist, and focus less on how music and law are similar. Yes, the skills needed for one are also necessary for the other, but a lot of your sentences focus on proving that rather than giving an example showing how you have exercised those skills in real life. Yes, you do have a lot of nice sentences with examples. My opinion is that it could be even more, however. Try to phrase most sentences showing how you have exemplified a certain skill.

I think the premise of your first essay is a little lackluster. In the first paragraph you set it up with the monopoly game that initially seems like something more serious. It sounds fine and is a good intro to any other story but I'm not sure it's really serious enough for law school. And while your three favorite things may all start with the letter 'M', that's not really a compelling motif to link them all together.

Finally, my opinion is that it would be better to not mention your mother. I was reading the TLS ebook on personal statements (http://www.top-law-schools.com/guide-to ... ments.html) and they gave some really compelling reasons to show that you are entering law school for your own reasons and not because of any outside pressure. Your mother's desire for you to have a prestigious career such as a concert pianist and your hope that she will settle for you being a lawyer is not going to show you in a positive light, and in fact is probably what you want to avoid. Show that you are an independent person who has come to the conclusion that law school is your next step and that you have the desire to succeed for its own sake, not because of any outside pressure from any other person.

As I said, I thought all throughout high school that I would please my mother and become a concert violist. I loved classical music to be sure, but there was a whole bunch of other stuff going on there. I had $100/week lessons that were hung over my head to get me into the practice room for several hours a day where I spent half the time crying tears of despair. Anyway, I finally moved away from my mother when I met my girlfriend. I haven't seen her in almost two years and I'm happier than ever.

GL

User avatar
Future Ex-Engineer

Silver
Posts: 1430
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:58 pm

Second option is worlds better than the first.

That being said, it seems pretty mechanical/robotic to me. I don't get a real feel for who you actually are from it - just that you want to be a lawyer and you have played a lot of music over the years. I think you've got great subject material for the statement, I just would have liked to walk away feeling like you were more human than I did.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327418
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:57 pm

sethnoorzad wrote:
Finally, my opinion is that it would be better to not mention your mother. I was reading the TLS ebook on personal statements (http://www.top-law-schools.com/guide-to ... ments.html) and they gave some really compelling reasons to show that you are entering law school for your own reasons and not because of any outside pressure. Your mother's desire for you to have a prestigious career such as a concert pianist and your hope that she will settle for you being a lawyer is not going to show you in a positive light, and in fact is probably what you want to avoid. Show that you are an independent person who has come to the conclusion that law school is your next step and that you have the desire to succeed for its own sake, not because of any outside pressure from any other person.


I'm glad that you got away from your mother finally. In my case, my mother has always been supportive of what I do, regardless of what I choose and not domineering at all. From what I understand, most parents want their children to be lawyers or doctors, not musicians, so it was a reverse of this dichotomy that I was attempting to make a joke of. My sense of humor must not come out very well in my writing. Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to highlight more of my experiences with live practice examples! :D :D

__________________________________

So the general consensus would be to go with the second one but add more personality to it?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327418
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bored after submitting all your apps? Critique my PS!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:51 pm

Bump. Where are all the harsh posters? Could still use more critique! :P



Return to “Law School Personal Statements?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.