Law Personal Statement
In terms of academic study, I have always been passionate about two subjects, law and Japanese language/culture.
For the past year I have been pursuing the latter as an English teacher in Japan. At first, my life was quite difficult; however, as my Japanese improved, so did my comfort.
Unfortunately, though I had come to feel at home in Japan, the March 11 earthquake and the nearby nuclear meltdown shattered my sense of safety. The following weeks were chaotic, but slowly things began to stabilize.
As my region reached a degree of normalcy, my attention turned toward the various legal debates that were, and still are, taking place. Controversies that before I had approached only from an academic distance, such as matters of tort and contract law, had suddenly become pressing issues.
Pondering these questions and listening to the arguments posited by various actors fueled my already existent desire to embark on a career in law.
As a self-motivated and driven undergraduate student, I sought to enroll in any law-related courses I could, even those only offered at the graduate level. The first graduate course I took was a lecture on human rights. Although there was a fair amount of discussion of political theory and philosophy, the most engaging component for me was our exploration of international law.
For my final term paper, I chose to research the interplay of international and US domestic law regarding the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and more specifically, whether that treaty provided any actionable rights for foreign citizens accused of crimes in the US. My work on this paper further refined my ability to engage in high-level analytical research.
Shortly thereafter, I began researching the path to independence of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, especially the legal implications of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and its recognition by UN member states. This research spawned an even larger project for which I received a grant to present my findings at an international conference on divided societies in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Although I was nervous to be the youngest person on the panel, the year of hard work I had invested in the project assuaged my initial trepidations and gave me the confidence needed to deliver an effective performance.
During my final year of university in 2010, I was offered the rare privilege of interning in the chambers of a federal district judge, Judge Avern Cohen. My duties included organising the chambers’ library, sitting in on hearings, and writing case summaries.
I was able to extensively watch two cases in particular, a Fair Housing case and an intellectual property dispute. Exposure to litigation and the inner workings of a courthouse gave me a firm sense of what pursuing a career in law would entail, affirming my belief that a legal education was right for me.
Working in Judge Cohen's chambers tied in nicely to my job as a peer mentor of the Legal Studies Learning Community. The learning community was a pilot program aimed at helping students build a sense of community around a shared interest in law.
To that end, Professor Brad Roth and I organised a series of events with law school admissions counselors, current law school students, and practicing attorneys. We also hosted biweekly weekly meetings to discuss pressing legal issues.
Back in Japan, I have applied the networking and organisational skills I used as a peer mentor to my work as a volunteer. Being part of the relief effort has been an once-in-a-lifetime experience -- one that I will carry with me forever. However, the time has come to move on.
I strongly believe that my experiences inside and outside of the classroom have allowed me to develop a unique perspective and skill set that will help me to succeed in a law school environment. With the right education at the right institution, I am certain I will be able to overcome any obstacles on my path to becoming a dedicated solicitor.
I just submitted my application yesterday. I really struggled getting my statement down to 4,000 characters, but I think it came out ok. Any comments are appreciated! thanks all.