Law School Essay.
My decision to pursue a legal career traces back to the start of my career as a journalist. “What hath God wrought” the first electronically telegraphed message came to mind as I hung up the phone. It was my first article assignment as an unpaid tryout for a local newspaper and I found myself wrapped in anguish. I had just interviewed the founder of a local startup company specializing in gathering information from job applicant’s social media profiles and supplying it to employers that had found itself marred in legal controversy. With my own job on line I paused for a moment to reflect on the technological developments that transpired over my life that opened up these kinds of issues.
I flashed back to being six years old watching my Dad hunched over a fluorescently lit desk set up our families’ first personal computer. There I sat wide-eyed as he told me that we were very fortunate to be able to own this strange looking device. He admonished me to not talk to my friends about owning this device as to not come off “being a big shot.” I laughed to myself as I thought just how much the circumstances had changed from that first telegraph and began to write.
After a lengthy and nerve racking preliminary hiring I was hired as a staff writer and went on to have a fruitful career in journalism. I loved my job. The ever-changing situations, people, and deadlines excited and challenged me. I found myself settling into journalism and thought it a profession I could continue to practice for the rest of my life, but as many things in life go one passion led me to another. I found that I was drawn to stories covering legal matters and increasingly found myself covering them. Like a fish in water the courthouse felt right at home to me. The application of analytical thinking to questions arising out of real world developments was something that as a journalist was both familiar and appealing to my frame of mind.
I began reading books on legal matters and court opinions not ever thinking I would be practicing law myself, but as a way to form a better grasp on the stories I was covering to provide the best possible coverage. It combined the abstract interests of my college majors into real world practice. The historians search into the past to help better understand the present is the embodied in the search for precedent. The philosopher’s quests to define ethical behavior through logical reasoning manifested itself in the practice of law. However, what I liked most is that all this was done in the name of justice in application to actual situations in an effort to benefit society.
One day three years after I wrote my first article for the paper as I left the courthouse after covering a case involving an intellectual property dispute I turned around and looked at the words over the colonial Spanish style entrance, “God gave us fields but the skill of men built cities.” I was moved to tears as I realize that practicing law was my calling in life. I thought back to that first article assignment and mused how amazing the law has to be to apply firm principles of justice to an ever-changing world. Timelessness combines with flexibility as new technologies radically change the way our society operates and perceives the law. I thought about just how over a small period of time from watching my Dad set up that computer to my first on the job interview legal issues had changed. From having to be humble for even owning a computer to living in an age were entire industries were being built to monitor information you voluntarily expose with it I found myself living in a drastically different world. I felt weightless as I stood in the in front of the courthouse; I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
It is clear that you are a very skilled writer… however your style of writing is best suited for journalism and storytelling. The admissions council at a law school wants to see a much more persuasive writing style.
You have to realize that lawyers and judges are busy people and they want their questions answered directly and supported with accurate logical legal reasoning. Thus, when you get to law school you will be introduced to the “IRAC” style of writing.
Issue – Identify the important legal question or issue that must be answered.
Rule – Identify the legal rule that applies to this legal issue.
Analysis – Discuss the reasons why this rule applies and support your analysis of your answer to the issue.
Conclusion – Circle back and make a formal conclusion.
Put yourself in the shoes of the admissions council… Most likely they are lawyers themselves, they have a stack of law school essays in front of them ten feet high, and thus they will only dedicate 90 seconds to review your law school personal statement and then place your essay in one of three piles; “no”, “yes” or “maybe”. The point here is you want to write like a lawyer, be persuasive, sharp and to the point. You want to use the IRAC method for drafting your law school personal essay, but obviously it must be changed slightly…
IRAC for a law school personal essay:
Issue – You do not need to identify an issue here, because it is provided… the issue is the question or subject the law school wants you to answer in your law school personal statement. Most law schools will want you to write about why you want to go to law school or something similar. It is difficult to review your law school essay because you did not advise what the question or subject is of this essay… was it law and technology or something more related to why you want to be a lawyer?
Rule – In this case the rule is your ONE SENTENCE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION. Sharp and to the point, right out of the gate. Try replacing your first sentence with something like; “My decision to become a lawyer is based on my experiences in legal journalism, specifically a series of criminal cases where I ….”
Analysis – Expand on your one sentence answer with specific examples of your experiences. You discuss your work in journalism, but you don’t get into specifics. Perhaps there was one case you covered as a journalist that really inspired you to become a lawyer? Be specific, you do not discuss any specifics in your law school personal statement.
Conclusion – Circle back, rephrase and repeat your one sentence answer and summarize your analysis.
Overall, I think you just need to sharpen your first paragraph eliminate the second paragraph, and the remaining paragraphs should each discuss a specific experience you had in legal journalism that led you to the conclusion that you should become a lawyer.
If you could tell me what the specific question was we might be able to provide some more specific advice.
Revise your law school essay and we will be happy to take another look.
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