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Sample Personal Statement for International & Comparative Law

As a 21-year-old girl, I have heretofore devoted my life-consuming efforts to two essential tasks—the playing of the violin and the study of law, both of which I love and wish to perfect. With more than ten years’ efforts of practicing, I have reached Grade 10, the highest level for a non-professional violinist. The greatest benefit of my musical dedication is that it has permitted me a heightened experience of the beauty of harmony and lead me to believe that harmony and order are also the two ideal conditions that human societies should aspire for. For the realization of such an ideal, I am prepared to dedicate equally persistent efforts that I devote to the violin playing. This constitutes the underlying emotional motive that I chose law as my specialty when undertaking my undergraduate program. It is also this emotional ideal that guided me throughout my study efforts during the 4-year undergraduate program at the International Economic Law School of Shanghai International Studies University. It is still this ideal that motivates me in my current application for an advanced degree program in International and Comparative Law (LLM). My objective is to develop myself into an accomplished lawyer versed in international law through your highly respected degree program. The foundation that I have established through my past academic training makes me confident that I am pursuing a worthy objective on the right track.

To some extent, the LLM degree program in International and Comparative Law that I am applying for is an extension of my undergraduate program in International Economic Law. On the other hand, my interest in comparative legal systems is also related to my undergraduate experience of doing a course project on studying British and American contract laws and comparing it with that of China. This experience of doing in-depth research on different systems of contract law not only reinforced my already serious interest in law as a whole, but also deepened my understanding of specifically British and American laws (especially contract laws) and the differences between the Continental Legal System and the Anglo-American Legal System pertaining to contract laws. By the time this important project was completed, I found myself both interested in and potentially capable of undertaking theoretical analysis in comparative law studies. It is precisely based on this important experience that I are qualified for embarking on advanced studies in international and comparative law.

Another contributing factor to this major decision-making on my part is the fact that, at the time when I was learning International Trade Law and British and American Trade Law, China was concluding its final-stage negotiation and joined the WTO. I immediately realized that those two courses would be of special importance because they were closely associated with what was happening and what will happen in the economic life of China. The valuable knowledge they impart would be extensively applied and prove immeasurably useful to our country. As China becomes increasingly integrated into the international community, there calls for a large number of scholars and practitioners of international trade law. This bred in me the determination to become an international jurist who specializes in the arbitration of international trade disputes and other trade disputes under the WTO framework. In the summer of 2002, I did internship as an assistant lawyer at Baker & Mckenzie International Law Firm Ho Chi Minh Office and this experience proved crucial in reaffirming this determination.

My internship at Baker & Mckenzie International Law Firm Ho Chi Minh Office is by far my most memorable part of legal practice, which I sure will produce a far-reaching impact on my future career development. In the course of this internship, I not only experienced how legal processes were actually operated but also developed a profound understanding of Vietnam’s legal system and of the WTO rules. I was made responsible for translating the materials for the Vietnam Department of Baker & Mckenzie and preparing the Memo for the Dell Company for its business development in Vietnam. I collaborated with a colleague to write an investigatory report for Frederick Burke, one of Baker & Mckenzie’s international partners, concerning the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement and provided detailed exegeses for the report. In addition, I attended the Seminar on Seminar on Vietnam-US. BTA Arbitration and the Seminar on US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) and Its Impact on Vietnamese Fruit Exporters launched by the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam. This internship has given me all the necessary background for undertaking comparative law studies (focusing on Vietnam law, Chinese law, and American law). I also benefited importantly from working under senior lawyers with international experiences and I evolved the secret wish that one day I might be able to work the way they do. This led to a clearer vision of my course of future career development.

To be a jurist, especially to be an international jurist, means to choose a career in which one has to constantly challenge his or her limitations and to keep improving his or her professional qualities. On account of this fact, I have made full use of my time and energy to satiate myself in the quest for knowledge, to make the most out of my undergraduate education. I am familiar with all the major western classics in law, including the more recent works such as Richard A Posner’s Economic Analysis of Law and The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theories. In addition to doing good coursework, I have demonstrated a deep love for extracurricular life to which I devoted with great enthusiasm. Therefore, my undergraduate program has been as rewarding as it is multifaceted, consisting of important achievements in coursework, research, social practice, project internship, charity involvements, part-time jobs, as well as various hobbies. Especially worth mention is the prize-winning treatise that I submitted on the occasion of Law Treatise Contest of Shanghai International Studies University. Entitled To Preserve or Not to Preserve, That is the Question—The Evolution of British and American Consideration System in Historical Perspective, my treatise was evaluated and commented as “displaying considerable originality in perspectives, thought-provocative, raising challenging issues for China’s reform in its contract law apart from presenting penetrating views into the British and American consideration system and its necessary reform.” It was published in the Journal of the Law School—Voice of Law. Another fact that should be pointed out is that Shanghai International Studies University, formerly Shanghai Foreign Language Institute, attached paramount importance to the study of English language. My English proficiency allowed me to deal with international legal services and to communicate with the international lawyers with much facility during my internship at Baker & Mckenzie. I also have some English teaching experience. I taught preparatory IELTS courses in the Shanghai Branch School of Singaporean Orchard Language College. In this regard, I should be competent for a TA position.

In my future program, I would like to proceed according to this plan. First I would concentrate on the study of American law and learn methodologies in doing comparative legal studies. After laying this foundation, I would focus on comparative studies of American and Asian laws (particularly Chinese and Vietnam laws). In the second stage of my LLM program, in connection with international trade law, I will concentrate on International Organization, International Investment Law, European Union Law, WTO Legal Framework, Competition Law, International Trade Regulations & Customs, WTO Disputes Resolution, General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, and the domestic legal reforms of China and Vietnam after WTO entry. I would also like to do some internship in which I expect to experience American legal practices directly. Based on my discoveries during the internship, I will select a particular subject that may become the focus of my dissertation, a subject that offers creative perspectives. After completing LLM program, I will seek employment at an international law office in China where I work as an international jurist specializing in dispute resolution related to WTO rules. Apart from that, I will also be interested in teaching at a law school in one of China’s prestigious universities.

The trend of global economic integration is irreversible. In this globalization process, many new legal problems will arise. The ultimate objective of globalization is that it can benefit all participants in this process through cooperation. The sad fact is that the global economic order cannot be always as perfect and as idealized as we wish. Nevertheless, that is precisely what legal practitioners are meant for. They make efforts to help the world get infinitely close to the harmonious and ordered state that I aspire for.

I believe that my entire lifetime is destined for this ideal.

 


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