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Author Topic: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?  (Read 1182 times)

Rachel_G

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I just came out of a lawsuit a few months ago, which I had filed against my ex-employer. It took over a year for this case to be resolved, and I experiended hell during the period since I stayed with the company until the end of the case, and the company was being extremely ugly toward me.  I filed the suit because I was sexually harrassed by my boss, and the company did not deal with it properly (rather, tried to cover it up by making me look like a bad guy). I was emotionally and physically collapsed at some point but kept myself together and continued to excel my profession at work (I was in finance).  I managed to work long hours at the same time preparing for and attending depotions (5-7 days every month). It was the worst time of my life and has changed me forever.   However, this had made me come to realize the importance of justice more then ever before.  When I filed a suit, I thought this case had nothing to be argued about--it was crystal clear to me who was wrong and what needed to be done.  Stupid of me to expect that all the lawyers to be honest and ethical.  Some would do anything to win the case, or simply for more money.  My life almost got destroyed because of those blood sucking lawyers my company paid fortune for.  I learned through my case that how easily the truth could be distorted and manipulated. And how difficult and complicated to establish one little truth.  It was brutal.  I had to live and fight with an anxiety and fear because I could not fully trust the system after what I witnessed there.  Only reason I did not lose faith in my case was because at least I had great faith in my lawyers.  Not only they were skilled to be a great lawyer but also their attitudes toward morals and justice were something I could fully respect. 

Sorry for a long sloppy writing...what I wanted to ask is that if it's ok to mention something like that in my ps.  Maybe I am a bit too paranoid but I was worried that some schools may see this experience and wrongly determine my personality---like I am too hostile or extremely aggressive.  Some schools may avoid a woman like me just because THEY are afraid of getting sued (sounds silly, but you know about the sexuall harassment case against an administrator of UC Berkeley law?).  Appreciate your honest opinion!


jgruber

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2004, 02:10:40 PM »
If you can make portray it as a positive experience...

You don't want to sound like a whiner or someone seekking revenge on the profession

nathanielmark

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2004, 02:12:30 PM »
this sounds like a topic you might want to stay away from.

Rachel_G

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 02:14:48 PM »
this sounds like a topic you might want to stay away from.

Is it because of the topic or how I sounded?

nathanielmark

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 02:20:42 PM »
i think even in the most constrained manner, you will have difficulty not communicating negative emotion thru your PS on this topic, this will at best demonstrate questionable judgement.  just my opinion though.


this sounds like a topic you might want to stay away from.

Is it because of the topic or how I sounded?

jacy85

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2004, 02:21:39 PM »
I would definitely stay away from this topic.  It's far too difficult to write about such a horrible experience and not become whiny or else embittered.  There would be a razor thin line you'd have to walk with this, and you'd probably be better off writing about something else, or, alternatively, only briefly touching on this matter.

Trying to sound like a crusader ("I was wronged and went through a horrible experience and was exposed to true injustice.  I want to ensure that no one ever goes through this again") and dwelling on the incident is sure to get you a red flag.

I don't think the trial/suit itself will raise any flags.  People are  involved in law suits for all different reasons all the time.  I know when you take the bar exam, some (most?) states will ask if you've had any suits/charges brought against you, but this doesn't seem like something that would prevent you from taking the bar.

And on a completely unrelated note, it really sucks that you went through that.  I'm amazed you continued to work for the company after all that.  I would've probably left...

shortbus

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2004, 02:34:21 PM »
"The importance of justice" is not a good PS topic, ever.

Your personal experience is relevant BUT ... you are describing a legal case to legal educators. From their perspective, maybe you had a legitimate case, maybe you didn't. If the success of the PS requires them to buy into your zealotry, it won't work.


Sorry for a long sloppy writing...what I wanted to ask is that if it's ok to mention something like that in my ps.  Maybe I am a bit too paranoid but I was worried that some schools may see this experience and wrongly determine my personality---like I am too hostile or extremely aggressive.  Some schools may avoid a woman like me just because THEY are afraid of getting sued

Rachel_G

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2004, 02:57:54 PM »
Thank you guys.  I think you guys are right.  I can get too emotional about the topic that I may still sound like a "victim" of injustice even though that is not really what I intend to express here.  And certainly, I don't want to challenge legal educators by bringing up my legal point of view. I wanted to show my strength and perseverance to deal with hardships.  Also this event changed my views not only for the legal systems but also for my life--meanigns of my life, values of my life, and things I want and I don't want to have in my life.  But I am also aware of the risk of dealing with topics.  I am glad I asked you all before I wrote my ps.

P.S. thank you for a nice note, Jacy.  I hated it, too, but I had to make ends meet since I was not one of those privileged ones with rich parents.  

nonobvious

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Re: Should I mention my legal dispute with my ex-employer in my ps?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2004, 01:32:34 PM »
Hmmm, this thread looks ripe for a dissenting opinion!

But first a caveat: I do agree that this topic will not work if it comes across as whiny victimization.

However I don't think that it's inevitable for the topic to read that way. I think the topic will only make you seem like an "embittered crusader" if 1) you veer beyond the facts into unnecessary emotional elaboration and 2) you let it get boiled down to something pat and oversimplified.

What I saw in reading your summary though, was that you did learn more interesting and complex lessons beyond something trite like "justice is important" and "some lawyers suck".

Take this line:
---> "I learned through my case that how easily the truth could be distorted and manipulated. And how difficult and complicated to establish one little truth."

That shows that the experience taught you something that will carry over beyond your own ordeal to how you approach the practice of law. It can also be used to show that, even though you saw your own case as being black and white, you realize that when you're on the other side of the fence, as a lawyer or adjudicator, interpretation can be a very tricky game (whether played with sincere motives or not).

And another good point:
---> "Only reason I did not lose faith in my case was because at least I had great faith in my lawyers.  Not only they were skilled to be a great lawyer but also their attitudes toward morals and justice were something I could fully respect."

Hey, look! role models who you've depended on in real-life and not just romantically idealized from a Grisham novel. That could be interesting, also seems to have taught you that attitude (including perserverance) is as important as skill.


Basically: I think there is potential for this to be thoughtful and fresh, so long as you stave off the temptation to let it degenerate into cliche. And I think you can't tell how these things really come across or if it'll sink into the quicksand of whiny mundanity until you've actually tried writing [certainly each revision I've tried on mine has brought up new points, and made me re-think my approach].

...I'm not saying this is a sure-fire winner, I'm just saying don't throw it away until you've at least given it a shot.
"Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss."