First year law student - personal statement for transfer

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First year law student - personal statement for transfer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:31 pm

Hello Top Law School Folks:

I am a law student who has just finished up his first year of law school. This past year, it was my goal to perform in the top of my class and transfer to a top law school that rejected me last admissions cycle. Below please see my personal statement. I would love to hear your feed back. Thanks!


The housing market crisis in 2007-2008 along with the abuse my mother suffered at the hands of my father led to my realization that I would like to work for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

For me, the housing market collapse was emblematic of much more than the result of a market bubble and rampant speculatory investment meant to be studied and maligned at a distance. Having lived in Metropolitan Detroit—an area infamous among social scientists for its history of residential segregation, its economic reliance on the auto industry, and one hit particularly hard by said collapse—it culminated in my family losing our home to foreclosure. This was around the same time my mother finally reported my father for his continued domestic abuse. I am not sure that I can—nor that I particularly want to—separate these seemingly distinct occurrences.

My mother had me when she was twenty-years-old and for many years, suffered from this abuse. As a witness to such events, I reasoned from a fairly young age that if I could be a lawyer, I could stop men from abusing their wives. I thought that I could prevent children from having their most prominent childhood memories consist of their mothers running into their bedrooms in the middle of the night armed with an Armstrong socket wrench—the mom’s only means of protection. My siblings still suffer from witnessing such horrible events. As a consequence, their lives will never be the same. But I was lucky and experienced an exception to the status quo affects that can be found within the evils of domestic abuse. I was initially waitlisted at your law school and decided to remain on that list all the way up until the start of the Fall 2016 academic school year. While waitlisted, the image of my mother shaking with tears in her eyes, equipped with an adjustable wrench in her hand—my memories of being forced to move out of our family’s home in 2008—coupled with my father’s criminal record—motivated me to increase my LSAT score by thirteen points. As a result, I earned a few scholarships and admission to the XYZ College of Law, which I will forever be grateful for. After, I propelled myself to the top of my class academically; I was elected by my peers to be the Student Bar Association’s (“SBA”) 1L At-Large Student Representative; I served as a member and was nominated as Director of the SBA Finance Committee; and I had a real impact on women’s rights as a volunteer research assistant at XYZ Law’s Center for Human Rights. I discovered purpose.

The abuse my family was exposed to mixed with the foreclosure of our house led to my interest in the regulation of credit rating agencies. Therefore, I decided to pursue and ultimately accept a position in the SEC’s 1L Student Honors Program at the Office of Credit Ratings. As a first generation college graduate, I am all too aware of what can happen to members of our society when they do not have sufficient education to protect themselves in the event that government oversight fails to adequately do so. I often wonder what would have been – had the rating agencies been regulated in a manner sufficient to prevent the agencies from succumbing to market pressure to maintain or increase their market share by relaxing rating standards to avoid unfavorable comparison with positions taken by their competitors. I wonder to what extent these economic realities seeped into the aforementioned social ills: whether it be the physical abuse my father inflicted upon my mother or the depression, and subsequent attempts at suicide, of my younger sister. For these reasons, I want to work at a large law firm in Washington D.C. or New York City upon graduating law school so that I can gain the proper skills and credentials necessary to work for the SEC’s Office of Credit Ratings. At the Office of Credit Ratings, I could realize my dream of rejecting such attenuated causation, similar to the situations mentioned above, via the regulation of financial markets.

I am applying as a transfer candidate to XYZ College of Law for many reasons. First, I want to attend a law school, which is located in the heart of a major legal market. This would provide me with invaluable networking opportunities as well as an on-campus interview schedule in regions I hope to practice in upon graduating law school. Second, the Law College’s academic strength in business law, trial advocacy, and its employment rate—to name a few—would help increase my ability to earn job-offers at prospective law firms in the geographic areas I dream to work in. Ultimately, this would help me take a step toward realizing my dream at the SEC.

Over a year ago, I was broken after experiencing failure in your law school admission process. The time my fellow classmates may have spent on additional extracurricular activities, building resumes, or focusing on the start of their first semester of law school, I was forced to spend advocating on behalf of myself while on your waitlist. I realize now that all of my flaws and mistakes, however detrimental in their time, now serve to make me that much more suited for my future study and practice of the law. I challenged myself to achieve growth under less than ideal circumstances and pressures and I was able to do so in more ways than I thought imaginable. Through discipline, calculation, and trial and error, I discovered what it meant to be my full self. I developed an understanding of my place in the world, my privilege within it, and what it is that I can, and need, to give back to it. I am aware of the irony in citing my privilege, given the unfortunate hand I have been dealt in some respects, but I also am keenly aware of how fortunate I am to be in my current position and to possess the platform, health, and future prospects that I now have. Experience has taught me that I cannot accept mediocrity, nor can I make excuses for struggle, as I am the only one accountable for the outcomes of how I play my hand, regardless of the cards that circumstance puts into it. I am still uncertain as to whether this motivation arose in spite of life’s consistent difficulties, or because of them. What I do know, is that there is little that life can give me at this point that I am unprepared to face with aptitude, confidence, and an open mind.


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Re: First year law student - personal statement for transfer

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:48 pm

I don't know if transfer statements are significantly different from a regular PS, but I can speak to a few issues:

1. It's too long. You can trim a lot of the fat (like the entire last paragraph) and get to the point a lot faster.

2. I feel like I'm missing why you want to transfer to this school. You say you have "many reasons", but then you quickly list two and move on. Again, I don't know exactly what the prompt/format is for a transfer statement, but I feel like this section should be more fleshed out.

3. You say that you can't separate the abuse story from the foreclosure story, but you don't tie them together at all. The first sentence doesn't read well, and the second full paragraph is just out of place, given your current internship and job goals. I get the theme of social ills and rough upbringing, but it seems like you're trying to meld a highly personal narrative with a very high-minded philosophy of how the SEC ought to help regulate the markets. It doesn't work for me.

4. This is kind of my overarching feeling: I can't tell what you want this piece to be. It's going in too many directions at the same time right now, and I think you need to decide what you're doing with it before you make changes. Less is more.

ETA: I just noticed that you referred to the goal school as the "College of Law". Where are you trying to transfer to? And what are your current circumstances? This isn't directly related to your PS, but I found one school (Iowa) with the "College of Law" name that gives you at least an outside chance at your goals (and since Iowa isn't in a major market, I'm betting that isn't where you're applying). But if you're at the top of your class (and wanting biglaw-to-bigfed), none of the schools that use the name "College of Law" are worth a transfer application.

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