Law Personal Statement
My friend went quiet as two Swiss police officers made a beeline for us at the back of the train. This stop and search had no element of randomness as my friend, the only black passenger, a well-behaved aspiring medical student, was singled out and patted down. Jordy had been stopped and searched without reason several times in the past month alone. How could this be lawful? I researched the Swiss Penal Code and, feeling strongly, started a petition in my school against racial profiling. Due to the general apathy of my peers, this did not go anywhere. It did lead me, however, to attend public hearings at my local court. In one case, a man had been arrested whilst smuggling drugs from Moldova to Switzerland. There were several legal teams acting in various jurisdictions. It was this international aspect that really got me hooked.
Closer to home, my local scout hall was vandalized recently. As a scout leader, I had my first taste of litigation. The perpetrator, who had been identified, refused to accept any responsibility. Incensed, I spoke to the witness and helped him write a statement. I sent a letter threatening legal action if he did not pay for the repairs. I got paid the next day. Although the sum involved was small, the sense of satisfaction made it feel like a landmark legal victory.
I grew up in London and moved to Geneva at the age of eight, and now live close to the French border. Being British, I speak English at home, but have been schooled exclusively in French so I am bilingual. My German is level C1 and my Spanish is level B2. I am one of the few native English speakers to survive and thrive in the state education sector, which has an enormous drop-out rate. My early life in the UK and later in Switzerland has formed my cultural identity as a European. While the EU regulations on the shape of the tomatoes at my local market in France might not seem important to an eighteen year old, the fact that I can nip across the border every week and play for a French rugby team is great.
It was in Economics and Law class that I first came across common law. We compared civil and common law from a variety of countries and studied their origins and how they differ. Most exciting was when we researched and applied the Penal Code to real life cases. In Philosophy and French literature classes, we regularly discuss matters of ethics and justice. Plato’s “The Republic” was central to developing my understanding of the very definition of justice.
I have read Tom Bingham’s “The Rule Of Law” which I particularly enjoyed because he was able to explain complex legal concepts in a clear manner. I have also read Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”. This explores the origins of what we consider to be justice. I am also a budding writer and was shortlisted for the National Literacy Trust’s “Wicked Young Writers Award” in 2015. Furthermore, I am an active member of my school’s debate team and am on the organising committee for our trip to an international debate at The Hague in the spring. I get a genuine thrill when arguing a point in front of a crowd, even if I do not particularly believe in what I am proposing or defending. Recently, I visited the United Nations in Geneva and took part in a debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Mrs. Roueida El Hage, Head of the Human Rights Bureau in the Middle East. After this experience, I decided that I needed to improve my ability to improvise and think on my feet.
Off the pitch, I am a licensed sports instructor and coach at local authority sport camps. Along with my scout leader experience, I have acquired leadership and organisational skills. Also, I play guitar and sing in a band. Busking in town has helped me develop my self-confidence when performing in public, even if it is not always appreciated. In short, I feel that my background, tenacity and intellectual curiosity are suited to a career in law.
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My choices were King's, Birmingham, Leicester, Reading and Exeter. I received an offer from Reading in under a week, and an interview invitation from Leicester. I also got 30 on my LNAT.
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