Hi everyone!! I am so happy I've found this site!!!
I am applying to law schools, and I have to write a personal statement. English is not my native language. Could anyone review my personal statement? Any comments and advice will be appreciated.
Instructions : a law school personal statement should introduce the attributes and accomplishments that make you an individual. Do not write a summary of your resume or transcript, but instead utilize this opportunity to expand upon what is unique about you, your life experiences, and your goals.
The personal statement is an applicant's opportunity to outline those features of the application which distinguish the applicant. The content of the personal statement is not prescribed. However applicants are encouraged to use the personal statement to share their "story" with the Admissions Committee. Applicants may wish to outline in the personal statement such things as their choice of undergraduate program and institution; the extent to which it has prepared them for the study of law; and if appropriate, any anomalies in the academic record including false starts, fewer than five courses over two terms, and introductory courses taken in the third or fourth years of a program.
The personal statement is also an opportunity for applicants to highlight their non-academic accomplishments as well as any circumstances which may have contributed to or detracted from their academic and non-academic success, such as the response to disadvantage due to adverse personal or socio-economic circumstances or to barriers faced by cultural (including racial or ethnic) or linguistic minorities; and the impact of temporary or permanent physical disabilities. Applicants may want to write to the Committee about the different ways they see themselves contributing to the law school and legal community.
Here it is :
"Aivazovsky" - we said in unison, looking at a beautiful marine landscape. Our professor smiled and explained that it was a skilful imitation of Aivazovsky`s marine style. It was my first class with Viktor Trizno - the leading Russian art expert and a member of the Association of Art Historians. I was among six other students, chosen by professor Trizno (out of a class of hundred), to study the intricacies of art examination.
It was four years since I had come to St. Petersburg to study art in one of the best schools, the Saint-Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences. I moved to St. Petersburg from the small town of Kirov, determined to become an expert in fine arts. Despite the fact that both my parents were university graduates, they could hardly assist me financially. Like millions of Russians, my family was deeply affected by the collapse of the USSR. We were forced to move to Russia from Kazakhstan, fleeing from rising nationalistic tensions. During the first years following the move we lived in poverty, as we left all our property behind. We even had to re-apply for Russian citizenship. However, in spite of all these troubles, my parents did their best to help me to get a university education. They supported my decision to join musical school, and I graduated in 1999 with high honours. I was also at the top of the class in high school, and received the Silver Medal award for academic excellence.
Despite the intense pressure of academic studies, I always found time for music. I started playing the piano at the age of 4, and it became a passion I carried through all my life. As I learned to play more difficult pieces, my appreciation for music deepened. I participated in numerous musical competitions (both local and national), and won many awards. Studies at musical school, which were extremely demanding, made me a mature and highly disciplined person, while competitions and public concerts taught me how to manage stress.
Moving to St. Petersburg was the most important milestone in my life. I was excited at the opportunity to study art in this beautiful city, which is often called "the Russian Venice". I had a chance to combine lectures and seminars with practical studies at the best European museums, including The Hermitage and Russian Museum. I was also able to study with the very best art experts, including professor Trizno. His classes on art expertise, which I attended for two years, allowed me to thoroughly learn the complex process of determining the authenticity of a picture -knowledge which cannot be obtained from any public source. The challenge of analyzing and researching paintings was one of the most enjoyable parts of academic life. I examined paintings of different periods, mostly European and Russian Art of 18th -20th centuries. At one point, I became attracted by Russian art of the 20th century and decided to specialize in this period. My thesis was a study of the Moscow Society of painters "The Jack of Diamonds". I chose it as my research subject since it was a brilliant opportunity to study the unique painting techniques of this society. "The Jack of Diamonds" group is famous for combining various artistic styles and is considered to be the foundation of the Russian avant-garde movement.
While working on my thesis, I visited many art exhibitions and galleries, where I saw a number of imitations claimed to be the works of "The Jack of Diamonds". Some of those pictures were priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Through research and examination of the forgeries, I became interested in law. I read about art crimes in Russia and internationally, and I learned about some cases (which were never publicly disclosed) from my professors. Once, while visiting a private art gallery, I saw an imitation of a famous Russian painting of the 20th century. The picture was examined by a leading expert and found to be "authentic"; it was later sold at auction for thousands of dollars. The more I studied art expertise, the more I learned about the "other faces" of the world of art: extreme secrecy and high criminal activity.
In 2005 I took an internship with the Art Department of St. Petersburg Pulkovo International Airport Customs Office. During the internship I learned all aspects of cultural property export and import, and understood the importance of law in cultural property and its vital role in protecting national heritage.
As I learned more about art expertise, I realized that, in Russia, the career choices of an art historian are limited to either becoming a research associate with a museum, or a career of art expert in a business environment, where fraud is a major contributor to success. Both choices did not look attractive. This is when I first started to think about legal career. Law was a logical choice for several reasons. First, I was genuinely interested in the subject. Second, my undergraduate studies helped me to develop some critical skills required to be a successful lawyer. Like art examination, law requires in-depth research of a subject, meticulous attention to detail, analysis of relationships and facts, and generation of arguments.
My decision to pursue a legal career became firm after I moved to Canada. As an immigrant, I want to become an integral part of Canadian society by adopting its social and cultural values, and I am confident that studying law will help me to achieve this goal. Since the justice system provides a framework for the relationship between individuals, business and government, it is a reflection of the socio-economic and cultural values of a society. Therefore, legal studies provide the key to understanding that society.
I think that (the name of a law school) is an excellent choice for me because it provides extensive academic and professional opportunities. Though I remain open to the discoveries I will certainly make in law school, my goal is to specialize in International and Intellectual Property Law because of my interest in becoming an international art lawyer. I believe that my art education will give me a significant advantage in this area of law. With the knowledge and skills that I will obtain at the University of Toronto, and my self-discipline, tenacity, and perseverance, I will become a fine lawyer who is internationally competitive and contributes to the development of the field. I fully understand the rigors associated with studying law, and I am prepared to dedicate as much time as it takes to understand its theories and practices.