Law School Personal Statement - Ugonna
(Columbia, SC, USA)
Hunger was killing me. Decorum, however dictated that we wait until all the noted guests were present and seated I was attending the South Carolina Fast-a-thon, hosted by the Muslim Student Association. I signed up for just one day.
Sipping water and making small talk at my table, I noticed a small child with a smile that lit up the room. Her name was Salee and she had lost both her legs to an American missile attack that also deprived her of a brother and a cousin. We gathered to hear Salee’s story and the plight of thousands of Iraqi children like her.
I was raised in Nigeria where corruption ran rampant, amid religious, ethnic and tribal divisions. As it often is, the children suffered most. I often witnessed children being kidnapped for ransom, or used as objects for all manners of abuse. Salee’s story reminded me of the high cost of war. Yet, despite all she had been through, her smile remained. The Fast-a-thon motivated me to go beyond abstract figures and facts. Salee was a perfect example of the violent outcome of armed conflicts and I was motivated to respond.
I found an opportunity to be engaged and constructive as a court appointed advocate with C.A.S.A. of Richland. I worked with abused and neglected children dealing with abuse and neglect finding ways to help the children through counseling. My first case involved a neglected young girl named Brianna; she suffered emotionally and had a learning disability. She had been placed in a situation out of her control, living with parents dealing with drug addiction and a mother who routinely stole Brianna’s social security checks. I wanted to make a difference in her life.
I was determined to be her voice; to represent her needs I couldn’t do it without her. It took a month and a half to gain her trust; she was a child who had dreams of becoming a doctor. By working for her I recognized how critical professional advocacy is to the well being of children and this has reaffirmed my decision to fight for their rights.
Through this I have gained an understanding that representing a cause goes beyond advocacy. I can identify with these kids and, thus, understand the value of acting on their behalf. Rather, it is about seeing below the surface, and understanding the value of the child. This has steered me towards law school, where I hope to go beyond the courtroom and become a voice that can effectively spark a change in the way children and individuals are treated.
The University Of South Carolina School Of Law provides a great combination of legal study and community service; which has been an attraction for me towards the law school. As an undergrad I enjoyed being part of the Gamecock community, whether promoting awareness for cancer or Darfur. I never felt I wasn’t part of a greater community of people. As a student I hope to contribute my personal experiences as a court appointed advocate to my fellow classmates and to have further role with the organization which has close ties with the law school.
I also have had the pleasure of Professor Martin C. McWilliams, Jr. allowing me to sit in on his Contracts I lecture; I felt welcomed by Professor McWilliams and the students who spoke with me about their experiences and how much they love the environment. I hope to be one of Professor McWilliams’ students in the future.
I hope to use my education to work for international children’s organizations in countries that need to implement better child laws and to one day influence the enforcement of policies. I also know that I cannot change the world; I do believe the University Of South Carolina School Of Law will provide me with the skills to be effective.
Become A Lawyer Comments.
Ok, first of all you did not tell me what the question is on the application regarding the law school personal statement… I will assume that it is “why you want to be a lawyer?” or some similar variant.
Strengths of this law school essay:
You accomplish some of the most difficult and important requirements of a good law school personal statement; passion and human connection. It is clear that you have a great passion for the work you describe, and it is very easy for a reader to see you as a unique human being who will bring an interesting perspective to a law school class.
Anyone who reads this law school essay will certainly not forget you!
Weaknesses of this law school essay:
1) Organization. You discuss relevant and specific examples of why you want to be a lawyer, but the sequence is off and not organized properly for an essay. Let’s do a reverse outline of your essay:
-CASA & Brianna
-Desire to help Brianna
-Steered towards law school
-University of SC
-Work with Professor McWilliams
You should reorganize the ideas to resemble an outline similar to the following:
-First you have to begin the essay with a one sentence answer to the question. One Sentence, “why do you want to go to law school?” this will then setup the remainder of the essay to dive deeper into your specific examples and experiences.
-You have completed a thorough investigation of law school with your experience with Professor McWilliams which has strengthened your desire and passion to be a legal advocate for children in need.
-Love for University of S.C. and how this particular law school will further your goals and how you will add value as an alumni.
You can play around with the organization as you see fit, but make sure you start off with a complete answer to the question, then state examples, and finally explain how as an alumni you will add value to the name of the law school.
2) Grammar and writing needs to be improved. – If your school has a writing center or similar program submit it to them, or ask someone you know who is an excellent writer to revise your law school essay.
3) Delete “American” and “Iraqi”. – The Iraq war is a politically sensitive issue, you do not want a reader who has a different political opinion vs. you to eliminate you based on political differences. I would advise you simple delete “American” and then refer to “children of war” instead of “Iraqi”.
4) Delete last sentence of essay regarding you cannot change the world.
I hope this helps!