Sample Law School Application Essay - Before
For as long as I can remember, I've never been complacent with the knowledge I possess. Constantly setting new goals that will stretch my mind into something that it was not the day before and allowing every experience to shape me, while never loosing a handle on my own personal convictions and what I have learned along the way, has always been a way of life for me. For me, pursuing a legal education is not a terminal accomplishment, nor will obtaining a legal degree quench this ongoing thirst for knowledge that I have always had; I don't want it to. I constantly need to be in pursuit of challenging goals that that require considerable mind expansion and personal reflection. The experiences and knowledge that I will acquire in attending law school will stretch my mind to think in ways that I never have, allowing me to face future intellectual, professional, and academic goals with confidence and enthusiasm.
Mid way through my senior year, the University of Arizona choose me to be their undergraduate representative at the "Arizona First" town hall meeting, a three day, bipartisan conference focus on shaping legislation that will bring economic growth and prosperity to AZ. During this three day conference I worked closely with Arizona state representatives and senators, the majority of whom where lawyers, in proposing new legislation with the potential of bringing new job opportunities, more commerce, and an overall better standard of living to the state. It was one of the first time in my life when textbooks no longer mattered, and the weight of reality stared face to face with idealism and hope for a better tomorrow. As the conference progressed, I began to notice the group who's knowledge seemed to fair the stormy debates and arguments the best where the lawyers, but not because of superior information or inside knowledge. As each new issue emerged, the lawyers just seemed to have an inherent way of balancing the weight of difficult situations, interactions, and dilemmas in ways others could not. The experiences I took away from the conference provided me with a new way of looking at problems: placing more emphasis on the approach one uses in handling conflicts that involve personal interaction. As I interacted and spoke with more lawyers, I began to reflect on my own situation and life goals, and more importantly the best means to obtain them. It was at this point in time that the desire to embark on a legal career started to take shape.
In my last year of college I realized the true rewards of challenging myself academically, and intellectually. I could have graduated in four and a half years with a concentration in finance and called it quits, but I didn't. I stayed the extra semester to obtain my second concentration in accounting; a decision I will never regret. The abstract nature of finance and seemingly concrete precepts of accounting have provided me with a wealth of knowledge and tools for looking at situations from many angles and the ability to bridge the mental gaps between these two ways of thinking. Distinguishing myself in both programs also provided me with the opportunity to become a professor's assistant. Becoming a PA introduced me to the extremely rewarding challenge of teaching students who were in need of special assistance, and it allowed me to exercise my newly acquired personal interaction skill I had learned from the conference. The sense of fulfillment I recieve from seeing the bulb light up in someone's head and the joy it brings to them upon understanding a previously foreign concept is priceless. I hope to use this form of the abilities I acquired through this teaching program through my roles as council in my legal career. My experiences as a PA also instilled in me the desire to return to academia after my professional goals have been reached, and having a legal degree will make that vision possible.
Joining a fraternity in college was another rewarding adventure that challenged me in ways I never thought it could. In my third year of college I was elected the president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, assuming the full responsibility of the chapter as the youngest president in our chapters history. Running meetings, representing the fraternity on the university level, and being the fraternity's spokesman in the community helped me refine my leadership, organizational, and speaking skills. Under my guidance as president, our fraternity went from 7th place out of 8 fraternities scholastically, to 2nd in my last semester, and 1st in the following semester. Upon fulfilling my vision of having a chapter free of any financial and scholastic probations, I was recognized with the "Order of the Phoenix," the highest national award that can be give to a brother from exemplary leadership and zeal.
Leaving academia and entering into the professional world has been full of challenges. In my short time at Pricewaterhouse, I have been given tremendous personal responsibilities and chances to excel personally and as part of a team. Due to the knowledge that I gained in my summer internship with the firm, on my first engagement at Matrix Financial Services, I was given senior responsibilities to perform an audit and supervise the work of my assistants, a responsibility typically reserved for those accountants who have been with the firm for two or more years. Learning the skills necessary to plan and perform an audit has given me tremendous experience in researching difficult issues and practicing critical thinking on a professional level.
Despite the professionally rewarding responsibilities and chances for achievement that Pricewaterhouse has offered me, staying in an accounting firm in the capacity in which I serve will not allow me to reach my full potential intellectually, academically, or professionally. Public accounting is a noble profession, and obtaining my CPA certification this year will provide me with invaluable skills when dealing with business clients. But by nature of the profession, I find myself in an adversarial role with the clients I am engaged with. Serving the adversarial role is in constant conflict with my advocate personality. Leaving public accounting to obtain a legal degree will be a challenging, yet exciting switch to a profession more consistent with my personality traits: loyalty, fidelity, and personal servitude.
The decision to pursue a legal education has come after long personal deliberation. But every personal reflection points me in the direction of law school. The chance to challenge myself and realize my full potential is the ultimate goal in attending law school. Having the experiences and the opened mindset that law school will provide with me, I can set even higher academic, professional, and intellectual goals and pursue them with steadfast determination, perseverance, excitement and self-assurance like never before.