This is my personal statement for my law school applications:
From an early age, I despised injustice. I believed then and believe now in the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I once believed that, just as in fairy tales, the wicked were always caught and punished accordingly. I thought that the good always triumphed over the evil. I believed the good to act as truly heroic men should, namely with a sense of honor and respect for their fellow man even as they dealt out their judgment. As I have grown up, I realize more and more how little the world understands of true justice, i.e. the quality of being fair and reasonable, tempered with mercy and compassion. Too often mankind deals out the harsh and swift fist of punishment and retribution without recollecting the innate worthiness of each human being. This harsh attitude, however, is a product of the era because as crime increases and our patience wears thin, the methods and judgments become more merciless. I believe that a crime should be punished; however, that punishment should be accompanied by a firm but compassionate understanding of the condemned person’s dignity.
In the practice of law, I would strive towards uncovering the truth and presenting it without qualms. I have heard for some that the client comes first, even before the truth. This seems selfish and arrogant on the part of the lawyer and their clients. They take the determination of the full truth into their own hands, modifying the code of honorable justice to fit their own personal uses. While some people may attempt to cover up the less savory facts of their client’s involvement, I believe that the whole truth should be stated. If man is to truly judge one another, all of the facts must be presented without remiss. Both the good and the bad should be taken into account. In some cases, there is a clear verdict concerning the criminal and the victim. Other cases require a great deal of research and presentation from both sides. In all of this, however, a worthy lawyer should balance the good and bad of his client, presenting a truthful story to the judge and jury. Hiding vital or non-vital information from the court is the same as lying. In order to arrive at the truly just decision, a judge and jury must have all the information. Thus, a lawyer who intends to uphold the banner of justice must make the pursuit of the whole truth his life’s work.
As a lawyer, your work is to defend your client and gain the best settlement possible. If you have a lost cause where your client is clearly the just recipient of punishment, you should strive for a fitting punishment. A punishment that is neither excessive nor too lenient is the just reward for evil acts. By presenting the truth with a favorable emphasis on the better parts, a lawyer may achieve a settlement nearer true justice. No sane person enjoys inflicting pain upon another human being; however, in this fallen world, pain and punishment are unfortunate necessaries for creating a safer world for us all. In the practice of law, I believe one must follow a type of tough love for one’s clients. This is a relationship where you act in the client’s true best interest, even if it includes unpleasant retribution. In order to truly do your best, you must place the truth above the personal qualms or fictitious claims of a client.
This, then, is my understanding of how a good lawyer should act. In my pursuit of law, then, I would endeavor to seek and understand the truth. My desire is to better the world around me through example and hard work. In law, I would give a voice to the voiceless, a just support to the defenseless, and a compassionate punishment to those deserving of retribution. Throughout my studies in law school, I would seek a deeper and fuller understanding of the law itself and of the truth.
In this pursuit of the truth, I have already spent four years of dedicated study. My education in the liberal arts included a thorough instruction in philosophy through which I can see the absolute truths and work towards the practical application in a specific situation. Having thus molded my mind towards the absolutes, I can more easily and readily pursue an education which furthers the practice of the truth. This, then, is my reasoning behind the pursuit of law. I desire to provide true justice to the world around me and aid my fellow man in their search for the truth. Through the practice of law, I should be able to uphold the truth in the face of doubt and bring clarity into the darkness of deceit and confusion. Ultimately, as a lawyer, I should endeavor in every aspect of my life to carry the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.