Law School Discussion

How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?

zhyue

How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« on: July 17, 2006, 07:19:30 PM »
Just curious about how others think of the sample essays included in Anna Ivey's book. Do you like all of those "good" ones if you are an adcomm? Do you agree with what Anna said about them? I, for one, did not care for the one titled "Pretty Horse". What is your opinion on it and other essays?

juliemccoy

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 08:32:18 PM »
I liked the "good" statements of purpose. Other than that, I have little use for personal statements. Pretty stories don't impress me. I don't get why adcomms don't want students to discuss their interest in law school. I think if all students had to do that kind of introspection and clarify their long and short terms goals, there would be a lot more students in other graduate programs and law students who are a lot happier with their decision.

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2006, 09:05:36 PM »
Law is so broad that it just sounds pompous for most people to justify their interests in law school. It's not like going to get a Ph.D. where you usually have a specific interest that you are going to pursue for the next 5-10 years and possibly for the rest of your lifetime. Realistically, most people who come in saying "Hey, I want to be a public interest lawyer" are going to be working in law firms when they graduate.

juliemccoy

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2006, 09:43:03 PM »
Good point. I guess I'm just going by the MBA standard-- an MBA is also a very broad degree-- moreso than law. Adcomms in b-school want clarification of why you want the degree. My own viewpoint is that this is a professional degree and you should have some idea of what you're going to do with it. I can certainly appreciate the other perspectives, but I don't think my own viewpoint on this will change.

redemption

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2006, 05:31:10 AM »
Just curious about how others think of the sample essays included in Anna Ivey's book. Do you like all of those "good" ones if you are an adcomm? Do you agree with what Anna said about them? I, for one, did not care for the one titled "Pretty Horse". What is your opinion on it and other essays?

Those essays are terrible, frankly. I have read many that have been much better from people on this board. Some of the latter were compelling and unforgettable.

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2006, 10:04:39 AM »
Just curious about how others think of the sample essays included in Anna Ivey's book. Do you like all of those "good" ones if you are an adcomm? Do you agree with what Anna said about them? I, for one, did not care for the one titled "Pretty Horse". What is your opinion on it and other essays?

Well, at the very least you know that one former admissions director at a t14 school liked those essays.  Also, I got the impression that all essays were actually submitted to law schools by her clients.  Does anyone have information to the contrary?

I'm not sure about the "Pretty Horses" essay.  I actually enjoyed reading it, but I'm suprised an admissions person would like it.  Being well-written, it seems more than just a list of books and authors the applicant enjoys--but in the end that's all it really is, and I'm not sure exactly what that's expected to communicate to the adcomm.  Is it that the applicant has good tastes in literature? Maybe so (all of the books mentioned in the essay that I've read are terrific novels), but why should that be a reason to get into law school?

On the other hand, I guess it's sort of "cute," and might seem fresh to an admissions person who has spent his or her day reading hundreds of ponderous, boring essays.

In any case, I thought Anna Ivey was FAR more accurate with her assesments of good and bad personal statements than Richard Montauk in "Getting into the Top Law Schools" (or whatever his book is called).  After reading Ivey's chapter on personal statements and reading the examples in the appendix, I felt that I at least had some clue what makes a good (and bad) personal statement.  After reading Montauk's comments on sample personal statements I felt pretty disoriented: I nearly threw up trying to get through the contrived bullsh*t in some of the examples he claimed were good.

245

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2006, 10:45:30 AM »
Maybe we are holding these essays up to a higher standard that adcomms do.  I've gone through several collections of "successful law school essays" for candidates who got into the T14, and probably 10% are great, 30% are average and 60% are IMO very very bad--poorly written, no thesis, self-aggrandizing, boring and grammatically incorrect.  Compared to those essays, the ones in Montauk's and Ivey's books are pretty good.

Hank Rearden

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2006, 11:24:45 AM »
I kind of like the Pretty Horses essay...also I remember the room 405 essay was pretty good.  I mainly remember the "bad" essays though, a couple of those were hilarious. 

I think some of you might be looking for too much in these personal statements...all they're supposed to do is create a general feeling of goodwill toward the writer.  It doesn't have to be anything spectacular. 

juliemccoy

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2006, 12:02:59 PM »
My favorite bad essay in the Ivey book is Jorge.

For those of you who haven't read it: I (writer) feel bad that I got a sweet allowance and a slick car for my 16th birthday when our lawn boy had to endure manual labor. I want to become a lawyer so I can fight social injustice for people like Jorge.

What a tool!

Another one I can't stand is in "Law Essays that Worked." Michael Harrington's essay in the form of a UNC basketball sports commentary about his fabulous career as a sports agent made possible by a UNC degree. Isn't that the absolute "DO NOT" cliche???

There's one really good one I've read by a young Southern woman who talks about everything her mother taught her about being a proper young lady, their trials as she grows up "I had the audacity to join a sorority other than Tri-Delta" and her mother finally telling her that she loves her and is proud of her. It's a very well-written PS.

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2006, 12:37:25 PM »


Another one I can't stand is in "Law Essays that Worked." Michael Harrington's essay in the form of a UNC basketball sports commentary about his fabulous career as a sports agent made possible by a UNC degree. Isn't that the absolute "DO NOT" cliche???


Both Ivey and Montauk imply there was a time when personal statements in the form of a legal brief (something like: "whereas all of the following are duly set forth, applicant A hereby petitions Yale Law School for refief in the form of admission.") were not uncommon.  This seems even worse than the sports agent essay, but apparantly they were once popular (or at least Montauk seems to think so).  As anyone ever read any of these legal brief personal statements? I'm dying to read one.