Ultra Vires


The Dream versus the Reality: What did 3Ls write in their personal statements? What are they doing now?

The following are actual excerpts from real personal statements, generously submitted by members of the class of 2013.

During my time as a [undergraduate], I learned about peace and war, bounty and poverty, democracy and dictatorships. I began understanding the link between the past and the present and the potential that lay ahead for my generation… To me, the allure of law school is the promise of a new level of intellectual discovery. It equips students with the intellectual skills to make a difference by assuming a leadership role in society and making changes at the local level as demanded by changes occurring globally.

This student works at a large national law firm. They work on financing transitions for a medium-sized media companies.

I see myself using my law degree for social justice advocacy. I have seen first-hand through my volunteering and in my personal experience, that women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, youth struggling with mental illness and addiction, the GLBTQ community, and many others, need substantially more support than they currently receive…. [Also] I have benefited enormously from philosophy, both spiritually and intellectually and I hope to continue its study within the University of Toronto’s Combined J.D./Ph.D. in Philosophy Program.

This student works at a large national law firm that has a large practice devoted to secured transactions, the securing of sales and leases of significant products and the purchases of businesses, assets and shares. They are not enrolled in any combined program.

I am particularly interested in criminal law and hope to join the Ministry of the Attorney General one day. The clinical education programs at Downtown Legal Services and the extensive Pro Bono Students Canada programs will allow me to gain experience working with many low-income individuals in communities in need.

This student was heavily involved with DLS throughout law school and will be articling with the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Not only is the University of Toronto Canada’s top law school, it I the school where I could put the most emphasis on international law and cross-border issues. I believe that I could make positive contributions to the Faculty. I have long made a commitment to “think global and act local.” A law degree would give me an enormous opportunity to use my strong interpersonal and communicative skills, channel my enthusiasm towards addressing issues faced every day by people at home and abroad.

This student works at a large national law firm. They are still deciding between corporate and litigation.

After graduation, I would complete my articling requirements and then practice as a lawyer in Ontario. Although I would be interested in pursuing a career in public service or in international law, I am very much open to working in criminal defence or in environmental law. Ideally, I would like to work for the government for at least three or four years after graduation, so that I could gain the maturity and much-needed experience to work in international law overseas or go into public affairs at home.

This student works at a large national law firm. They did not apply to summer with any government offices or criminal defence firms.

At UBC, I worked with First Nations community members to research First Nations languages. Language was the focus of my studies, but legal issues were inescapable. In order to, as a non-community member, work in First Nations communities, one must have have an awareness of the history of relations between the Canadian government and those communities… The law, I came to understand, is a living record of philosophical and practical ethical thought in the context of a particular culture. But the law is more than a reflection of our common morality: it is a tool that has been used both to combat and perpetuate inequality and injustice.

This student is working for a First Nation on a large land claim against the Government of Canada.

My experience working in government has confirmed my belief that having bright, motivated people working to hold governments accountable for their actions is an essential characteristic of a vibrant, responsible democracy, and it is my belief that the practice of law is one way in which this accountability can be pursued… I expect that, having completed law school, I will either seek to pursue a career in human-rights law or I will continue my legal education and seek to become a professor of law.

This student works at a large national law firm, assisting Chinese firms acquire businesses in Canada.

Therefore, I come to you not with grandeur illusions of saving the world and freeing it of injustice, but rather with a modest dream of helping the small folk who are so often overlooked or ignored all around the world. As a lawyer I hope to fight for the rights of those who would not otherwise have someone to fight for them.

This student works at a large national law firm with a leading international mining practice.

My experience growing up in a low-income family in government subsidized housing has given me an understanding of the type of conflicts low-income people have with the law. This knowledge would enable me to be an effective criminal defense lawyer…. Given the opportunity to pursue a legal education, I will apply my experience and knowledge to ensure that low-income individuals who are in conflict with the law are fairly represented.

This student worked in criminal law throughout law school. She will be articling with a leading criminal defence firm.

In pursuing a legal degree, I hope to move from helping disadvantaged individuals on a one-on-one basis to a more global scale. I believe that a legal degree from the University of Toronto will best equip me to achieve this goal… I am particularly interested in the unique joint J.D./M.G.A. program. I believe that a Masters of Global Affairs would be a strong complement to a legal education focused on international law and human rights.

This student enrolled in the JD/MBA program and now works for a large national law firm assisting businesses with the competition issues raised by domestic mergers and acquisitions.

I know that the skills that I have developed over the course of the past four years will be useful to me. My personal interest in telecommunications might lead me to technology law, while my passion for theatre might complement a career in entertainment law. What I took from my Climate Change and Environmental Inquiry courses could inspire me to explore the law surrounding international treaties, or my family’s experiences trying to help my uncle immigrate to Canada might direct me to immigration law.

This student works at a large national law firm in general business litigation.

A legal education is empowering, as any citizen in a society with codified law can benefit from knowing “the rules of the game”, but it also lends to its student a skill set that encourages the promotion of justice in society. It is that empowerment and skill set that I seek, since both enable their possessors to walk confidently into any situation and circumstance, knowing their rights, the rights of those involved, and the just outcome that should prevail. The University of Toronto, situated in the locus of corporate Canada and with renowned specialties in corporate and financial law, will provide me with the best possible education in those matters about which I am most passionate.

This student works a large national law firm in international mergers and acquisitions.

I could achieve so much more with a legal education. Since the new constitution of 2003, Rwanda has been synthesizing the civil law of its Belgian colonial past with the common law that dominates East Africa. A Canadian law degree in a country that has a heinous backlog of remand prisoners and an underdeveloped private sector would be invaluable.

This student works at a litigation boutique, specializing in trademark and Intellectual property disputes.

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