Hello everyone, I'm looking to apply this coming cycle and am looking for a PS critique. I've been out of school and working full-time for a year (GPA 3.59), and taking the September LSAT (based on PT's aiming for 166-169 range). My reach school right now is either UT Austin or Northwestern.
Anyway, without further ado:
I’ve hedged my bets on my future from the start. Ever the cautious optimist, I toiled away at my studies of engineering and supply chain with distant dreams of law school in the back of my mind. I faced an internal struggle: on one hand, I joined clubs and networked with mentors in the legal profession, and felt confident that the law was my true interest. On the other, I was deterred by the reputation for the legal field, wary of the financial risk, and still recalled the strain my father’s recent unemployment brought on my family. Thus, I hoped for the best, but planned for the worst. I took internships in supply chain, and my commitment to pursuing a legal career waxed and waned in cycles.
On one such waning cycle, I had landed what I thought to be my dream internship: a so-called Leadership Program at a certain massively successful online retailer. Wide-eyed and full of optimism, I was whisked away from my humble Midwestern upbringing to the Pacific Northwest, where I was to learn that some seemingly great opportunities simply aren’t meant to be. The hours were long, weekends short, and the work as taxing physically as it was mentally. While I learned a great deal about leadership and project management in that role, I also learned a great deal about what direction I didn’t want to go in my career.
From my time on my college’s mock trial team, I knew that I had the capability to lead a team to develop a case and perform under pressure; from this internship, I knew that I could apply that skill to managing a project that had a tangible impact on a company’s performance. The areas where I struggled most were those in which the problems were abstract, my instructions from superiors unclear, and my experience limited. I recall on one occasion being chewed out by an especially passionate line worker when one of my attempted “process improvements” did not work as intended—suffice to say, I never took any major action without seeking workers’ feedback after that. While I possessed the baseline knowledge to succeed, I knew that I would need more experience in dealing with this ambiguity if I was to succeed in any career, especially one in the legal field.
After graduating with my Bachelor’s and still feeling unsure of my career goals, I sought a full-time job in supply chain management, which had decidedly become my “fallback” field of choice. Initially, I found myself in many of the same situations that became my bane at my internship: ambiguous assignments, unstructured workdays, and little guidance. However, this time I used my previous struggles to learn.
I took diligent notes at meetings and training sessions with my colleagues; I meticulously tracked my to-do list daily; I made sure to follow up with involved parties weekly on every one of my major projects, doggedly pursuing quotes from suppliers and test results from engineers. In preparation for a difficult negotiation, I would study up on the situation like a journalist digging for dirt on a politician. After a supplier delivered a shipment late that threatened to shut our production down, I dug through our files to discover that the very part delivered late was supposed to be kept in stock to ship at a moment’s notice, per a signed agreement with that supplier. Over time, my old aversion to confrontation and my inhibitions over a lack of close supervision became elation over the freedom to spend my time as I see fit.
Having matured beyond my previous weaknesses, my ambitions turned again towards the law. The relationships I’ve formed with suppliers and colleagues, some of which are several decades my senior, mirror the relationship between opposing attorneys. Poring through old file folders and network drives to locate a supply agreement to determine how material should be shipped parallels the research I did in developing a mock trial case using pages of evidence and witness statements. I am pleased with my career’s progress thus far, but not satisfied. I still have more to learn.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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cavalier1138 wrote:You cannot build a PS around bitching about a prior employer.
I'd provide more feedback, but the topic framing is a fatal flaw. If you want to focus on leadership, figure out a different angle.
I agree with this, the topic is a no-go. You seem to be really digging to try to connect your career with your interest in pursuing law, which is fine, if the connection exists, but this comes across as artificial. More importantly, I learn very little about you. There is very little reflection in this essay.
Additionally, you need to be cautious about making law school seem like your fallback. Reading between the lines, I get the feeling that you are unhappy with your job, so you're considering law school to get out of a career you don't like. Also, all the problems you mention in relation to your career in supply-chain management are problems you are going to have as a first year associate: directions will be unclear, you'll probably have very little idea what you are actually supposed to do, hours will be long, feedback limited, etc.
You write well, but the topic comes across as artificial and strained, with very little reflection that provides any truly meaningful insight.
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