Law school personal statement writing status: perturbed.

Sep 7, 2008 • Karen

Draft 1:


[cmd-A; backspace]

Draft 2:

I've wanted to be a lawyer since
I want to be a lawyer because
I want to practice intellectual property law because

For pete's sake. All the guidebooks say not to use these as your statement topic because it will put admissions counselors to sleep. Yet at the same time, you *do* want them to know why the hell you're applying. So, basically, you have to say it without saying it. Great.

Draft 3:

Hmm. Something unique about me.

* I skipped second grade.
* I like going to pick-your-own berry farms.
* I got horribly lost in Croatia once.
* I challenged my alma mater's plan to turn students into anti-terrorism personnel to the dean's face (and, somewhat more successfully, online).
* I read too many webcomics.
* I love watching thunderstorms. (Having just experienced my first tropical storm, I can say that those are pretty darn boring, though.)
* I'm mildly obsessed with baby naming trends. (Back when I was a kid, and thought I was gonna be a fiction writer, I pored over baby name books in order to name my characters.)
* I contributed vocals to an electronica album that was popular in France.
* I do web design. (Probably uncommon among law applicants, but how to integrate it?)
* I love Moroccan mint tea.

What the hell do these tell them about me? About my ability to do law school? Would any of these make them want to admit me more than other smart people? I don't understand the point of the fluffy "all about me" essays...*

Draft 4:

Committed non-smoking scandi-cracker female looking for an intellectually-stimulating law school. Me: smart, snarky, curvacious, and musical. You: enjoy cyberlaw, love civil liberties, value interdisciplinary study, and have an excellent internet connection. Please, no NYC schools.

Draft 5:

Oh, for Christ's sake. I know I wanna go to law school, okay? I want to study civil liberties/conlaw. I want to study cyberlaw/intellectual property law. I've demonstrated my interest in both of these specialties (security geekery and free culture activism, respectively), even if my fruity web/graphic design background doesn't make that completely obvious. I don't know yet which I will ultimately specialize in. I don't know yet if I'll end up working for Google/another tech startup or working at the EFF/ACLU or building an alternative to the Westlaw/LexisNexis duopoly or teaching as a law professor or (hell) becoming a Supreme Court justice, my high school dream. Ideally I'd get to do all of the above at some point. And even if I were to change my mind during school and add yet another specialty to that list, so what? So far, all my interest areas have led me to the law. There's no reason to believe that'd change.

So lemme in already, okay?

* One of the sample personal statements I was reading was about how the girl loved chocolate. What.