Is this PS too risky?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Is this PS too risky?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:48 pm

Not sure if it's kosher or not to just plop a PS in here, but here goes.

My main question is, is this too risky? I'm a splitter so I want my PS to stand out, but I'm not sure if this is too much.

:arrow:

My foray into the Silicon Valley tech world was eerily reminiscent of select passages from Bonfire of the Vanities. I spent it traversing prostitute infested holiday parties, screaming CEOs, sexist VPs, and a rotating cycle of growth hackers. My days began with the Head of Operations bullying me into drinking mimosas at 9 a.m., and ended with overzealous fraternity brothers in the Sales department banging a gong and whooping for hitting a ‘milestone’.

I existed in a liminal space — I was both part of the ‘team’ and separate from it; I worked as a ghostwriter. In other words, I was the puppetmaster behind the facade of Silicon Valley tech personalities. I wrote articles for VentureBeat, Forbes, and Techcrunch, always under a man’s name. I crafted feminist tweets under a CEO’s account, even as I watched him cheat on his wife with a slew of prostitutes and strippers, two of whom he even hired. I was at once a voyeur and a participant. The CEO called me his “muse” — but I saw myself more as Scheherazade, the storyteller weaving personas around a depraved reality.

When Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, his ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, famously said “I put lipstick on a pig.” No statement has so perfectly captured what being a ghostwriter in Silicon Valley means.

But it wasn’t all bad. I developed a highly intellectual relationship with one extremely intelligent and interesting CEO who I continue to work closely with to this day (and who wrote one of my letters of recommendation). And relationships like these made the screaming, the booze, the jargon, and the veneer of it all worth it — for a time.

It wasn’t until a particular intrigue that my ambitions definitively shifted away from writing and towards law. As I was struggling to reconcile my love for my paycheck with my hatred for my job, I serendipitously developed a growing friendship with a recent law school graduate who worked for the SFDA. Unlike most lawyers I knew, she loved her job, and told wild, drama-filled tales rivaling the best crime novels.

As I was becoming increasingly interested in her career path, I fell into my own crime plot. Through an email that mistakenly ended up in my inbox, I discovered that the CEO of a company I worked for had been arrested twice for domestic violence, the second time on seven felony charges. I showed the email to HR, who also happened to be one of the CEO’s cronies. Ten minutes and one loud phone call later, HR brandished a clearly fake email that stated that the CEO had never been arrested.

The cover up piqued my interest, and I started doing research of my own. As I delved into requesting records, showing up for court dates, and collecting evidence to protect myself, I realized that engaging with the CEO’s criminal undertakings was the most interested I had been in my job in years. So, when my boyfriend and I moved to New York for his medical school, I dumped the evidence I had collected at the feet of the company’s parent company, and left the rest to the criminal justice system.

I arrived in New York ready to apply to law school. Not because I imagine that my life as a lawyer will in any way resemble The Big Sleep, but because this interest in criminal systems is hardly new. In high school, I would passionately engage in discussions of prison reform, and wrote numerous essays on the failure of our society’s systems of punishment and rehabilitation. In college, I discovered Foucault, and utilized his Discipline and Punish as a lens through which to analyze works from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to James Baldwin. I have been interested in the machinations of finding guilt, doling out punishment, and promoting rehabilitation for years. It was only recently, however, that I recognized that I wanted to participate in this machine.

And not just participate, but participate as a lawyer. I intend to both attend law school and practice law in New York City as a criminal litigator. I intend to apply my interests in the concept of justice, the effects of the carceral system, the power of discipline, and the power of law. I intend to step out of passivity, and into action — to transition from covering up crime with story, into defining crime through law.

make tls great again
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby make tls great again » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:57 pm

publish on medium under a pseudonym - yes

law school PS - no

Justtrying2help
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Justtrying2help » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:15 pm

This is definitely provocative. Write articles or novels and skip law school.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:23 pm

Justtrying2help wrote:This is definitely provocative. Write articles or novels and skip law school.


Is being provocative necessarily a bad thing? Seems like most PS's are just about a father or grandfather or experience as a paralegal... not to hate on that, but they get pretty boring.

make tls great again
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby make tls great again » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:26 pm

even if you remote the half dozen references to prostitution, which is a topic i would avoid in your PS unless it's about your harrowing escape from a life of child prostitution, this PS leaves the reader thinking that you might have a very skewed impression of what being a lawyer is like

Trackb245
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Trackb245 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:02 pm

If your stats are in line with an admission, there is no way that I would submit this. It's an interesting hail mary for a reach school though.

FWIW: As a reader, I come off wondering if you are exaggerating. Also, you come across a bit naive about how "exciting" your day to day will actually be.

covfefe
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby covfefe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:12 pm

I don't think the concept is too risky. It does grab my attention right off the bat. Right now though, I think it's too unfocused to accomplish what you're going for. It starts by talking about generally being a ghostwriter, then paragraph 4 sticks out as not belonging in any kind of narrative, then paragraph 5 feels like it was towards the end, but you moved it to paragraph 5 for some reason, and then paragraph 6 and 7 are a story in and of itself, and then the last paragraphs read like part of a very conventional PS that don't feel connected to your time in the Valley (like I think I could take those 2 paragraphs and put them at the end of almost any personal statement and they wouldn't not fit, ya know)?

BUT this concept is wildly intriguing. I have some more specific thoughts that we could chat about over PM if you wanted, but I think generally, the strongest part of this is the first/second paragraph (maybe you could scrap out references to prostitution, but honestly I'm not sure you need to -- this is an interesting perspective and set of experiences that probably most people applying to law school don't have) and the section about uncovering your CEO's criminal undertakings, and I wonder if you can expand on that particular story and connect it back to your interest in the law very directly (vs explaining your interest in the law in terms of things you did in high school or reading philosophy - which, as you sorta alluded to in an earlier comment, reads as a pretty typical PS).

And like you said, you're a splitter. I couldn't tell you how like, 'dire' your splitter situation is without numbers, but I think either way this is the beginning of some really good writing. Keep revising, i don't think this is done yet, but IMO, go for it.
Last edited by covfefe on Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

covfefe
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby covfefe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:14 pm

Trackb245 wrote:Also, you come across a bit naive about how "exciting" your day to day will actually be.



Also, that. But I think if you can focus your essay a little more on telling one story, the (what I imagine is accidental) naivety will fall away.

Skadidas
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Skadidas » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:23 pm

Definitely interesting and intriguing to read. I say go for it haha

Justtrying2help
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Justtrying2help » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:31 pm

.
Last edited by Justtrying2help on Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Justtrying2help
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Justtrying2help » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Justtrying2help wrote:This is definitely provocative. Write articles or novels and skip law school.


Is being provocative necessarily a bad thing? Seems like most PS's are just about a father or grandfather or experience as a paralegal... not to hate on that, but they get pretty boring.


Being provocative is awesome, but your ps exceeded the bounds broached by the typical provocative ps (unless the school is a major reach). You obviously have a talent for writing, but you should organize it a little better as mentioned by the other posters. Also, your actions in paragraph 7 during your employment is a little cringey and may possibly turn off an admissions team (someone correct me if I'm wrong but lawyers are taught to defend their clients/employers and paint them in the best light).

If I were you, I would keep the ps, but use it in a way that paints you in the most favorable light without being cheesy. At the moment, this reads like a hail mary ps.

LawTweet
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby LawTweet » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:34 pm

I think it's great. I'd submit it.

AJordan
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby AJordan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:44 pm

I think the last three paragraphs are pretty damn good. I'd junk just about everything else before it and instead focus not on some random activating event but more on your history of research that led you to the last few paragraphs. Talk more about those instances specifically and what they taught you. Turn the five paragraphs of exposition into one and then do something to get more of you on the page.

Apropos of nothing, I would like to read more of your stuff under the thumb of a really good editor. I think you're way talented.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:14 pm

Thanks for the feedback! I'll try and tone it down a bit/ focus it to make sure it doesn't seem like I'm going into law just for the drama.

Re: my splitter status - 171 first time (considering retake), 3.5 upga. This shouldn't be a shot in the dark PS; my numbers are fairly in line with the schools I'm applying to (above 75th LSAT, below 25th GPA).

make tls great again
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby make tls great again » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:16 pm

just keep in mind that any adcomm with something to hide is going to be concerned that you'll start reading their emails and stalking them outside of school

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:52 pm

make tls great again wrote:just keep in mind that any adcomm with something to hide is going to be concerned that you'll start reading their emails and stalking them outside of school


LOL well maybe they shouldn't be doing shady/illegal shit

damask_rain
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby damask_rain » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:03 pm

Why not continue your work as a writer. Haha. Honestly, this made me question your character.

If you want to use this as a PS, I think you need to tone it down and remove various parts. Also the Foucault bit was too much for my taste. "Doling out punishment" :)

I just read this again and noticed some inconsistencies.
Last edited by damask_rain on Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:09 pm

I actually liked this, though doubtless with some refinements. It's certainly risky, but it's not boring.

cavalier1138
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Re: Is this PS too risky?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:14 pm

I'm not quite sure why everyone is having a hard time with this topic. It's extremely well written, and aside from needing to trim some words off (which might get rid of some of the more questionable bits in the initial paragraphs), I think it's a good topic.

And I really don't think this is going to get you flagged as someone who wouldn't defend a client down the road. Lawyers aren't expected to actively cover up criminal activity.




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