Friday, March 02, 2007

Law School Personal Statementa Advice No.9 - L

9. Not To Dos:

1. Do not focus upon your weaknesses! Almost every applicant has some aspect of their application, such as a low LSAT score or GPA, which they view as a flaw. Discussing this weakness will only highlight it. Instead, write about the traits and characteristics that define you as an individual and showcase what you will bring to that law school. Your tone should be confident and positive. If you do have a weakness to address, such as a severe illness resulting in poor grades for a semester or a documented history of doing poorly on standardized tests with their not truly reflecting your potential, write about this in an addendum.

2. Do not “write like a lawyer.” Lawyers are fond of “legalese,” or using long and often redundant words. The best law school personal statements display clear and succinct writing that is well within the specified word limitations.

3. Do not solely discuss why you want to be a lawyer. The fact that you are going through the admissions process evidences your interest in the law. This topic is trite and will not leave a lasting impression upon the admissions committee. Instead, again, try to discuss what experiences led to your choice and what unique attributes you will bring to law school and the legal field.

4. Avoid a boring introduction that loses the reader’s attention. Admissions committees read thousands of law school personal statements, and a boring introduction will result in the reader skimming over rather than fully considering your personal statement.

5. Do not use clichés, slang, or contractions. The tone of the essay should convey the seriousness of the topic and the writer. Don’t be vague.

6. Avoid controversial issues. Steer away from topics such as religion, political doctrines, or contentious issues. While you may be an outspoken critic of affirmative action or organized religion, the admissions committee may be offended by your views. Don’t be inappropriate.

7. Do not reiterate your academic accomplishments, unless they are not evident from your transcripts and test scores. As an example, a major family crisis or personal catharsis resulting in a drastic change in your grades is worth discussing, whereas your being on the Honor Roll most semesters is not. Furthermore, your grades are already documented on your transcript, and you should take this opportunity to give the committee information they cannot find in other parts of your application.

8. Do not solely rely on the spell checker. It will not correct words that are improperly used such as “form” instead of “from” and “none” versus “one.”

9. Avoid using the passive voice. Extensive use of the passive voice will rob your personal statement of clarity, brevity and impact. Sentences written in the active voice are more powerful and succinct than those written in the passive voice. The passive voice occurs when the subject receives the action of the verb and is acted upon by someone or something. Generally, passive voice uses a verb form of “to be.” An example of passive voice would be, “The fire is seen by Joe.” When using the active voice, the subject performs the action of the verb: “Joe sees the fire.” Trial lawyers may use passive voice as a rhetorical device to avoid attributing actions to a subject. However, the personal statement is not the place for passive voice.

10. Do not write about a romance. This is an example of an inappropriate topic.

11. Do not be too influenced by one person or idea. Show you can synthesize ideas and choose your own way.

12. Do not sound arrogant. This will score you zero points for positive ethos.

13. Do not use the words, “And at that moment I knew…”.


0-9 & A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y


LeAnn Rimes - Can't Fight the Moonlight, How Do I Live?

Lee Ryan - How Do I?, Real Love (Ost. Ice Age), Turn Your Car Around, When I Think of You

Lifehouse - You and Me

Lifehouse Family - High

Lillix - What I Like About You (Ost. Freaky Friday)

Lilly Allen - Smile , Alfie

Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes, Counterfeit, My Generation, My Way, Rollin', Take A Look Around (Ost. Mission Impossible 2)

Lindsay Lohan - Drama Queen (That Girl), Confessions of A Broken Heart, Rumors, Over

Linkin Park - Breaking the Habit, By Myself (Live), Don't Stay (Live), Faint, From the Inside (Ost. Final Fantasy), In the End, Lying From You (Live), Numb, One Step Closer, Papercut, Points of Authority, Somewhere I Belong, Numb/Encore(feat. Jay Z), What I've done

LL Cool J - Control Myself (feat. Jennifer Lopez)

Lloyd - You

Lloyd Banks - Hands Up (feat.50 Cent)

Looney Tunes - Jingle Bells

Lost Prophets- Rooftops

Love United

Ludacris - Money Maker, Runaway Love(feat. Mary J. Blige)

Lyfe Jennings - S.E.X.