Law School Discussion

What kind of PS is this? Does this stack up well to the comp? How can I improve?

I agree whole-heartedly with Eaageh.  I would take his argument a step further: not only will you struggle in law school if you're not a good writer, you will also have problems as a practicing lawyer.  This isn't unique to law, though...buesiness, teaching, medicine...nearly every profession reqires a good command of the written word.

Don't take this the wrong way; you have a lot of time to improve your writing skills.  I really would encourage you to find some sort of writing class, read a lot, and prepare yourself for law school!

Happy_Weasel

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Well thanks for your support. Can I get help to what to write about? Im really glad you are giving advice already and even though Im getting my ass roasted, its better than be roasted by 10 schools.

I think what you basically want to do is take one defining activity/job/event in your life and tell the story of that thing, hopefully in a way that reveals your good qualities and relates back to why you want to go to law school.  One of the problems with your first essay is that it's all talks about a whole lot of events without really tying any of them together.  Several of the things you mention -- the legal battle between your parents, your work as a teaching assistant on an Indian reservation, your eagle scout award, and your relationship with your new wife -- all seem like compelling stories, but since you kind of only mention each of them briefly it kind of confuses the reader.

Out of all of the things that you talk about, the Indian reservation thing seems like it'd work the best.  I'd be hesitant to write about my wife, or something to do with a legal battle between my parents; it'd be too personal of a subject for me.  I think adcomms might be a little weirded out by it, too.  Also, if you write about your eagle scout project, I feel like adcomms might wonder why you're writing about an achievement from high school.  You don't want to mistakenly send the message that you haven't done anything sense then.  But the Indian thing -- as long as it's something that you really were into and had a good experience with -- that sounds OK. 

But there might be other things that you can talk about.  I guess the CWC thing could work too.

So yeah, here's how I would try to structure the essay: have the majority of it talk about the event/activity/whatever.  Try to indirectly bring out the good side of your charachter.  Don't tell the reader, "I care about protecting people;" instead, show them that by writing about how you protected people in the past, and let the readers come to their own conclusions.  The same goes for when you get into why you want to go to law school.  Don't write, "I want to go to law school because ...", instead, try to be bring it up indirectly.

Also, take out any part about "thankyou for taking the time to read this essay," or "you will not regret this day," or anything about "this fine institution" etc.  Just talk about yourself.  Anyone can write about how great a school is, and you doing that does not tell adcomms anything about yourself.  The only exception I could see to this would be if you want to mention how a specific program/specialty of a school relates to the specific specialty that you're interested in.

A few more things: try to flesh out why you want to go to law school.  In your essay, you mention a lot of broad motivations...protecting people, strengthening the rule of law, malpractice law suits, patent stuff, etc.  It would be more compelling if you had a clearer, more thought-out reason for why you want to go to law school.  On the other hand, though, if you don't have a totally clear answer, I wouldn't worry too much about it; most people don't.  But if you REALLY do have one specific answer, start thinking of how to best incorporate that into an essay that also reveals your good characteristics to the adcoms.

On another note, it is a sad day for the Blue Devils.

I agree with all of the above advice, and would also like to suggest a few things that I found helpful.  I reccomend talking to several people who know you well and ask them for good topics and see what they think about topic ideas that you have.  They should have a better idea of what is interesting about you than people on a messageboard (even one with such helpful posters as this one).  After you have a draft I reccomend having a couple of your friends who are good writers look over it and make suggestions, then go over it sentence by sentence with them to make the language as exact as possible.  The insight of others can be very helpful and when you finish you will have a product that at least 3 people is pretty damn good.     

mattn

Make sure to talk about, although not explicitely probably, how you are a good fit for their school.  You have to change it a little for each school, but I think it sounds a little better to target why you want to go to that specific law school, and I think people reading it might like to hear that you would be a good fit as well.

Ninja

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I agree with the comments to focus more on one topic.  Your PS reads more like a list than anything.  You'll have plenty of room to list stuff on your resume, so use the PS to show the schools something about your character.  Basically, you need to pick a specific event and go into more detail.  Use actual facts instead of generalizations.  You say that you believe that the law is important, but in your statement you don't tie it to a specific event to show why you feel that way.  Don't get discouraged about it too quick.  You did the right thing by asking for advice, and now you have the chance to fix things before you apply.

Heel

First off, writing a PS is a difficult task.  Everyone either struggles with it because they are willing to accept that it's an awkward forray at best, or tanks it because they are overly self-confident and can't fathom the possibility that they are not the world's greatest writer with the most compelling story ever told.  Keep in mind that it is a "Personal" statement.  Your job is to discuss intimate details of your life, not put your resume into paragraph format.

As for your content the number one piece of advice I can give you is to FOCUS. 

Focus your topic.  Have a thesis.  Support your thesis with tight, well thought out ideas.  (In your case, a simple thesis like, "I am dedicated to a life of service," may be a good starting point.  Obviously it's a bit elementary, but you can touch that up later.)

You also need to read your applications and see what the actual "assignment" is.  Most of them say something like descibe significant activities, why law, why this school, etc.  You don't have to hit every subject.  In fact, it's probably better if you don't.  Regardless, make sure you're answering the question and not just telling them what you want them to know.

Stylistically there are several specific things you need to work on.

1) Use the active voice.
2) Avoid word/phrase repetition.
3) Eliminate the "little words."  (I had a teacher once tell me to sit down with a paper copy of my writing and circle all the little words (of, to, my, etc.) without reading.  You want to get rid of as many of those as possible because they are clumsy.)
4) Tansitions, transitions, transitions.  If you can transition from one thing to the next without telling the reader you're transitioning you will instantly become a better writer.

The good news is that you've got a lot of time to work out the kinks.  Starting this early can only help you achieve your goal.

Best of luck!

P.S.- I recommend stepping back from you PS long enough to think about your overall application strategy.  For instance, you resume should cover all of your work/ECs and your LORs can take care of your academic prowess freeing up your PS for being about you.  One thing you want to avoid when dealing with lawyers is being redundant (or, "redundancy," as a good writer would have written).   ;)

hey not you hey

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Everyone in here has really good points.  I would say that the most important thing to pull out of all the comments is that your PS should really tell a story.  It doesn't have to be a murder-mystery or anything, but you want to make your PS compelling enough that they want to finish it.  Based on your first draft, it seems like you have a lot of good topics to run with.  Just pick one, or a couple if you can tie them in together successfully and tell a story.  Nobody wants to read a "I am ____, I am applying to law school because I want to save the world" essay.  Those types of essays are really f-in boring and will probably make you look a little pompous in an "admit me because I rule" sort of way.  To fully understand what everyone here is talking about, buy some books.  I have Montauk's book, a grad school essay book and a couple of other guides on hand that I can recommend if I can only find them in the sea of chaos that is my room....

I think the OP must've been joking.  Nobody who has graduated from an accredited university and thinking about law school could seriously think to submit that??  In any case, my suggestion would be to NOT try to make the PS too flowery or catchy.  Be straightforward.  This isn't your college admission essay, where you tell a cute little anecdote about winning the chess championship or when your favorite grandparent passed away.  If it's well written, it will be interesting without needing a "hook."  My essay didn't have a hook, it was basically about my academic achievements, intellectual interests, and extracurriculars.  But it was very nicely written, and I don't think it would have worked if it weren't.

Happy_Weasel

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So basically I have good ideas, but it is written like a Jr High or maybe a high school paper traditionally is....dry, uninspired and disorganized...okay I got it.

So basically what I want to write about why I choose law (perhaps about a reach) and what has prepared me to undertake it...and maybe an addendum on why my numbers are healthy, but not a 3.95/167 superstar by any stretch of the imagination unless you are talking about charity schools or the B6 like Barry,Appalachian, Cooley,Southern,R. Williams that are, from what I heard pretty ghetto.