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Sample Essay - Final

My immediate goal is to gain admission to X University College of Law. I know that I will be able to receive a top-notch education that will allow me to fulfill my potential as a contributing member of society.

As a young boy, I dreamed of becoming a police officer or a fireman. Of course, many young boys my age harbored similar aspirations. However, I was not attracted to these professions for their obvious action and bravado. What made the people who performed these jobs special to me is that they stood up for others. They protected others when they could not help themselves. For me, they represented justice. In retrospect, I know these early admirations laid the foundation for my future interest in law.

Another strong influence in my life has been the work of my father. As a business agent for the Teamsterís Union and later as the president of the Transit Workerís Union Local 100, he was always mired in important labor negotiations. My father advocated and garnered better wages, benefits, and working conditions for his fellow public employees.

It became clear to me that my father was performing a necessary, if not noble service in helping hard-working people attain a better livelihood. What was hard for me to understand, though, was that he had to fight for this. I asked him why the union was often at odds with the city. He explained that the city government had competing responsibilities to its workers, taxpayers, and the bottom line. In other words, they had to make the transit system run efficiently. The point he was trying to make is that there are two sides to every conflict and usually neither side is totally right or entirely wrong. This is a belief that I hold in the highest regard today. It can be applied to everything from labor relations, to a murder trial, and even to situations as relatively trivial as bickering neighbors.

By the time I had reached high school I was fascinated with the social sciences. I relished my classes in civics, government, and history. During the course of my studies in high school I became more interested in the law and consequently the practice of it. This interest must have been sparked by my passion for helping people, my fatherís work, and societal improvement.

I furthered my high school studies by pursuing a degree in political science at X University. During my college years I felt with increasing certainty that I would be a lawyer but I lacked a specific professional interest. That all changed during my senior year when I got the opportunity to work as an intern at Community Mediation and Dispute Resolution Services of X County (CMDRS, which unfortunately is now defunct). I was privy to see negotiating and justice melded in a very intimate grass-roots setting. CMDRS was a non-profit agency offering court-ordered and voluntary mediation services to X County residents for a nominal fee. It was staffed by trained volunteers from the community, including local attorneys. They handled a range of cases, from such mundane disputes as parent/child and neighborhood conflicts to more complicated cases such as court-ordered mediations. The latter intrigued me the most.

X County justice officials would frequently refer juvenile offenders to meet face-to-face with their victims. As an intern, I was able to witness such encounters and see restorative justice at work. In this forum, victims would have the opportunity to ask the perpetrators about their motives for their crimes. They could tell the offender how they felt after having their car broken into or home burglarized. They had the chance to tell how the crime affected them financially as well as emotionally. The offender, in turn, could then offer an explanation with their side of the story.

The mediators then aided in reaching a mutually agreeable solution to the conflict. In most cases this would include financial restitution and/or community service hours. I sat in on over a dozen of these sessions. They invariably ended with both parties feeling better about each other and what happened. They gained a greater understanding of one another. The mediation process gave both victim and offender a human element rarely seen in conventional justice.

After seeing the benefits that mediation and alternative dispute resolution had to offer, I knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of in a much larger capacity. The ramifications of alternative dispute resolution reach far beyond the small setting in which I experienced it. It has tremendous potential for improving community relations and facilitating justice. It can provide much needed relief to a strained legal system and perhaps even save a substantial amount of money for taxpayers. I envision mediation being the way of the future not only in the public sector, but hopefully in the private sector as well.

In my upcoming career I intend to make my mark on the legal community by using my negotiating skills. I must admit I am not precisely certain what area of the law I would like to practice. I can see myself as a prosecutor while endorsing the further use of community mediation programs like I experienced in X County. Another exciting possibility would be labor law. This would allow me to have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of those whose interests I represented.

X University is the perfect choice for me in my quest to become a lawyer. I plan to practice in X State and I am glad the best school is in my own backyard. X University consistently boasts a very high bar passage rate, which proves that its graduates are well prepared to begin their careers upon graduation. What is most impressive to me though, is that X University is nationally recognized as a leader in dispute resolution education in the United States. That is no small factor in my desire to attend X University. With the expertise that I will gain dispute resolution against the backdrop of a sound overall legal education, I will be able to forge ahead with the confidence that I will achieve what I have set out to do: utilize a creative approach to justice that benefits the legal system and society at large.

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