Theme 1: Why I Want to Be a Lawyer
The secret to doing this theme well is to show why you want to be a lawyer. Don't just say it and expect it to stand on its own. Admissions officers want believable details from your life that demonstrate your desire and make it real to them. Says one admissions officer:
"Although you do get tired of reading it, it's nearly impossible (andill-advised!) for an applicant to avoid communicating at some point that: "I want to be a lawyer." It's the ones who say only that that rankle. The ones who support the statement with interesting and believable evidence are the ones who do it best."
One secret to avoiding the here-we-go-again reaction is to keep an eye on your first line. Starting with "I've wanted to be a lawyer since." makesadmissions officers cringe. Yes, we know it's an easy line to fall back on, but these poor people have read this sentence more times than they can count, and it gets old fast. Instead, start with a story that demonstrates your early call to law. Look, for example, at the first paragraph of this essay:
"That's not fair." Even as the smallest of children, I remember making such a proclamation: inkindergarten it was "not fair" when I had to share my birthday with another little girl and didn't get to sit on the "birthday chair." When General Mills changed my favorite childhood breakfast cereal, "Kix," I, of course, thought this was "not fair." Unlike many kids (like my brother) who would probably have shut up and enjoyed the "great new taste" or switched to Cheerios, this kid sat herbottom down in a chair (boosted by the phone book) and typed a letter to the company expressing her preference for the "classic" Kix over the "great new taste" Kix.
In telling the story, this writer demonstrates that the roots of her political activism run deep without having to ever say it. She doesn't just tell us and expect us to take her word for it-she shows us.
Another approach that isoverdone is the "my dad is a lawyer" approach. Some admissions officers said that when the only reason an applicant gives for wanting to be a lawyer is that it is a family legacy, it makes them question not only the motivation but the maturity of the applicant. While this doesn't mean you need to hide the fact that your parent is a lawyer, it does mean that you should avoid depending on that as yoursole reason for wanting to go to law school. If a parent truly was your inspiration, then describe exactly why you were inspired by them, and what you have done to test your motivation in the real world.
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Theme 2: Why I Am Qualified
Writing about your experiences in the law field supports both the Why I Want to Be a Lawyer theme and the Why I Am Qualified theme, so it is alwaysa good idea to spend time on the experiences that qualify you as a potential law student.
Direct work experience is always the best, of course, for a number of reasons. For one, it proves your motivation to the committee. For another, it shows that you have the potential for being successful in the field. Perhaps most importantly, it shows the committee that you understand the profession andknow what you will be getting into upon graduating. One type of applicant that the committee keeps a wary eye out for is the kind who wants to go to law school but doesn't have any realistic idea of what lawyers do beyond the glamorized images seen in television and movies.
But you do not need to have had an internship at a law firm to show that you are qualified. Your experience might bepolitical, such as the convention you volunteered to help organize or the campaign you helped raise funds for. Or it can be academic or issues-based, such as the thesis you wrote on law and the Internet. The rule here is, if you have it, use it.
If you have a lot of experience, the bulk of your essay may be spent on this theme rather than on the Why I Want to Go to Law School theme. You should try...
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