Rip my PS apart, please! Forum

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Anonymous User
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Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2022 7:59 am

Though the sun was barely peeking through the clouds, I could smell the [redacted for privacy] simmering. It’s the dish of Italian-America, more ritual than mere sustenance—a velvety, heady concoction taking center stage on our table every weekend. Even in my pre-dawn haze I knew the drill. I groggily plodded downstairs and tugged on the shaky lightbulb overhead. My fingers inched for the familiar coldness of silverware and bone china. Instead, they landed on something else: my grandfather’s 1944 naturalization certificate. As I looked at his kind smile in that faded photograph, I had little idea that I was staring into my future.

Three years later, the woman sitting across from me tapped a perfectly lacquered nail on her mahogany desk, the cadence of her fingers matching the ticking on the clock across the room. Between us sat a pile of paperwork, the culmination of over three years’ worth of meticulous record gathering and translating. These documents were the physical manifestation of my family’s multigenerational, multinational history. It’s also what I would use to claim my birthright Italian citizenship. The painstaking work of compiling these records, some of them dating back to 1890, and cross-referencing them with family lore was engrossing. I spent hundreds of hours poring over dusty volumes sagging from the weight of time in city archives, courthouses, and clerks’ offices. Now, all that stood between me and my goal was this consular officer and her stop-sign red fingertips—a roadblock personified.

Getting to this appointment and gathering my case file was a marathon. At times my progress was hindered. At others, I backtracked after engaging the wrong processes. Through these occasional setbacks, however, I learned the quirks of immigration law both here and in the “Old Country.” Now, sinking into the leather club chair at the Italian Consulate in New York, I was confident that my hard work had paid off. The consular officer, however, had other plans. “This won’t do,” she scowled, pushing the stack towards me. A single letter discrepancy in one document had me out of the office moments later, standing on Park Avenue in a confused heap of disappointment. I was bewildered as to how I had missed this detail.

Determined to find another way to achieve my goal, I soon learned about bypassing the consulate and applying directly in Italy. So, I changed course. I saved up the $10,000 I needed over the course of a year, working full-time while attending college classes at night. I bought a one-way ticket, bringing me and my plethora of documents to the door of a town clerk’s office in [redacted for privacy], Italy. It was here that my application was accepted without incident. My persistence had paid off. Three months later, I had my coveted Italian citizenship.

I decided to stay on and began helping foreign family members of native Italians do the same. Slowly, word spread that there was an American in the province who knew how to navigate the obscure process of securing an Italian passport by descent and would help others at no cost. People began sending me their family trees and asking questions about requirements. I found myself handling three to four cases at a time, providing guidance in exchange for a cappuccino or croissant. As my time became more limited and demand increased, I realized this could be a viable career. Slowly but surely, I built a book of clients and helped hundreds of people become Italian citizens. Today, I am a successful consultant with a team of three. Each day, I turn my clients’ heritage—their family stories, sacrifices, and pride—into something tangible: an Italian passport.

But there are times when I must send clients away. Regrettably, there is only so much I can do without being a lawyer. For example, I can’t file a petition to unseal a birth record in New York state. I’m not allowed to obtain court orders to amend records or certify a person’s identity. I can’t advise on certain aspects of the citizenship process or represent clients in court seeking redress against unfair processing times. Making my clients’ dreams come true is my calling, and law school will ensure I never have to send anyone away. Looking towards a future in which I’ll continue to help others, I am eager to take the tools I’ll gain in law school and turn them into tangible results for real people. As my sauce simmers on my own stove today, I can see future me hanging my law school diploma on the wall—right in its place of honor next to that faded and rippled, but treasured, naturalization certificate from 1944.

Anonymous User
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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2022 8:01 am

I realized I made a mistake and redacted something I didn't need to in the first sentence. :roll:

It should read: Though the sun was barely peeking through the clouds, I could smell the Sunday sauce simmering.

nixy

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by nixy » Fri Sep 09, 2022 8:21 am

Honestly, I think this is mostly really good. It’s one of the most practical and informed reasons for going to law school that I’ve ever seen. I do feel like the balance is slightly off - the storytelling of the first 3 paras is slightly self-indulgent/unnecessary, I think. It’s well done, but it was when I got to “I decided to stay on” that I went ahhhhh now I get it. So it might be possible to cut down the first 3 paras.

Also, this is very much personal preference, but I kind of hate the structure that throws you into some evocative opening scenario without broader context and only explains as you go along. Personally, I’d much rather see some kind of intro that makes clear you have a business that would benefit from you having a JD, and here’s how you got to that business. That said, I realize that what you present is kind of the archetypal law school admissions essay, so I can’t really fault you. I think my concern is that the archetypal “tell a pretty story” essay tends to work best for K-JDs who don’t have a lot of work experience/professional background to talk about. If you have work experience/professional background, I, personally, think it makes more sense just to talk about that in a more straightforward way. But feel free to utterly ignore this comment, since I’m not an adcomm and you’re following what is a pretty established approach.

talons2250

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by talons2250 » Fri Sep 09, 2022 8:27 am

You're a good writer and this personal statement is fine. It won't cause you to under-perform your stats or anything like that.

I would condense the first few paragraphs. There's so much build up to the part where you convey your interest in going to law school. In general, I would condense the content in the beginning and expand on the content you have at the end. Maybe be less abstract and poetic and concisely and succinctly answer the following questions:

1) What professional goals will your law degree allow you to achieve? (You imply that you want to be an immigration attorney for Italian immigrants, so maybe say that specifically.)

2) How did your prior academic and/or professional experiences influence your decision to come to law school? Like, I would get specific to the level of: "I was an intern investigator at the Public Defender Service in Washington, DC, during which time I saw how our country's byzantine immigration system harms the most vulnerable. This experience motivates me to become an immigration attorney so I can help vulnerable folks navigate this system."

3) Does the anecdote in your first paragraph take place in Italy? I might explicitly say that and also explicitly say something like "As an Italian immigrant to the United States, I ..."

nixy

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by nixy » Fri Sep 09, 2022 8:40 am

If there are more specific professional/educational experiences that helped you decide to go to law school, obviously feel free to add them. But I felt the essay gave a really clear trajectory as to how you grew your business to the point where it became clear you needed a JD to be able to serve your clients. I don’t think you need to expand on that at all.

I also thought it was pretty clear who your clients are (and that the opening anecdote was in America). That said, I do have some experience with the immigration system so I can’t say that didn’t help me fill in any gaps.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2022 11:40 am

Thank you for your feedback! I agree that I need to condense the first part. I'm trying to find a balance between "this is how hard it was for me to do this without help" to "I started to help clients and it grew organically" and finally to "this is why I need a JD to help me grow in my career."

Do you think this is a t-14 caliber essay? Or goes this PS pigeonhole me too much into the lane of owning and growing my own business and not, say, wanting to work for a firm like most t-14 students want to do? My real plans are actually to go into trusts and estates at a large firm, and have my spouse take on a greater role in my business (with me still obviously helping clients where possible).

I guess I'm just afraid that t-14 adcomms will bin my application for fear that I am emphasizing my entrepreneurialism and that they may think I don't necessarily need to go there. Or am I way off base?

talons2250

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by talons2250 » Fri Sep 09, 2022 12:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 09, 2022 11:40 am
Thank you for your feedback! I agree that I need to condense the first part. I'm trying to find a balance between "this is how hard it was for me to do this without help" to "I started to help clients and it grew organically" and finally to "this is why I need a JD to help me grow in my career."

Do you think this is a t-14 caliber essay? Or goes this PS pigeonhole me too much into the lane of owning and growing my own business and not, say, wanting to work for a firm like most t-14 students want to do? My real plans are actually to go into trusts and estates at a large firm, and have my spouse take on a greater role in my business (with me still obviously helping clients where possible).

I guess I'm just afraid that t-14 adcomms will bin my application for fear that I am emphasizing my entrepreneurialism and that they may think I don't necessarily need to go there. Or am I way off base?
The personal statement doesn't matter as much as your question suggests it does. I don't know that there's such a thing as a "T14 caliber essay." If it's really bad (like, is rife with tons of spelling and grammatical errors or you say you want a law degree so you can help your clients commit crimes or something like that), it could tank an application. But once you cross that threshold (which you certainly have), then there are diminishing returns to improving it. It is extremely unlikely that a T14 adcomm would think, "oh, this person wants to own and grow his own business and doesn't want to go to a firm. that's not really what graduates of our school do, so let's reject him." Your LSAT score, UGPA, rigor of your undergraduate curriculum, and recommendations will seal the deal (in descending order of importance). The personal statement provides context to an application. That's pretty much it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:46 pm

Makes sense! I was thinking that a PS was more of a deciding factor, but I guess it is truly more of a GPA/LSAT numbers game.

nixy

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by nixy » Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:58 pm

There are bad PSes, but they're bad because they're badly written or they reveal really devastating naivete or misconceptions about the law, such that adcomms will think you won't even make it through classes. There isn't judgment on what kind of law you want to do - that's up to you.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2022 5:45 pm

Got it! I think that my narrative in terms of why I want to go to law school is cohesive. I'm definitely going into this with my eyes open and I know that even if I don't end up in a firm in their T and E practice, a JD will help me serve my own clients better. I hope that comes across. :D

barre777

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by barre777 » Sat Sep 10, 2022 9:17 am

Above by Anonymous, Sunday Sauce simmering, that might be a deal breaker, should be Sunday Gravy.

barre777

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by barre777 » Sat Sep 10, 2022 9:56 am

It was too much like reading a novel. But that might just be me. I had a boss who handed me the Labor Code and said "If I catch you reading a novel, you're fired". I think I'll never overcome that.

Anonymous User
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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2022 1:05 pm

Never, ever, ever, ever gravy. Gravy goes on turkeys. It's sauce! Period. lol

barre777

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Re: Rip my PS apart, please!

Post by barre777 » Sat Sep 10, 2022 2:02 pm

how dare, anonymous

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