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3Ls reflect on their Personal Statements Featuring: Katrina Crocker

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Academic/Career Goals at the Time the Personal Statement was Written:


I wrote my personal statement back in October 2014, so needless to say it took some time to dig it up on my computer. At the time, my goal was the same goal I had upon starting my undergraduate studies in 2011: to become a lawyer. I was fortunate to be one of those people who always knew this was something I wanted, and I remember spending a full month drafting my personal statement. Not only did I want it to be meaningful, admission to the Queen’s JD/MPA program was my number one goal. It’s kind of a strange feeling, being in the final month of something I dreamed about being a part of for so long.


In terms of career goals, I wrote in my personal statement, “My goal is to become a practicing lawyer who litigates for the government, and possibly branches into the realm of international law.”


The Impact of OCIs on Academic/Career Goals:


Turns out, even if you are 100% certain that you want to be a lawyer and are in love with constitutional law, law school has a way of changing that, mostly by exposing you to various subject matters and connecting you with mentors to discuss what a day in the life actually looks like. The biggest impact on my original career goal was actually the 2L OCI recruitment process.


Naturally I applied for various government positions, litigation boutiques, and firms that had a department for “government relations”, including Bennett Jones. As someone who is the first person in her family to go to law school, “big law” meant absolutely nothing to me. I liked the idea of litigation and government affairs, and applied anywhere that would give me that combination. It was on the Tuesday night of OCI week, after meeting several lawyers and just listening to my gut, when I realized I wanted to start my legal career in a big law environment (which turns out, isn’t just a bunch of corporate lawyers). At the end of the day, it’s research that I love and this environment would allow me to explore too many areas of law to count. Yes, this meant turning down an offer in government litigation, something that 2014 Katrina would have killed me for, but I am so happy with the choice I made.


Academic/Career Goals Right Now:


Now my goals are to write the Ontario bar examinations this summer, before returning to Bennett Jones to article for the 2018-2019 year. Ideally, I will be hired on at the firm as a litigation associate, and spend my first few years as a lawyer in general litigation while working towards specializing in an area or two of law. For the record, I still love constitutional law. And who knows, maybe one day I will apply to be a judge.


Changes/Self-Reflection in Law School:


I think the biggest change to come from law school for me was personal growth. As I read this personal statement, I am so proud of my younger self for her ambition and for achieving her goal of going to law school. However, I’m more proud of the person I am today as a result of these last three years.


It’s no secret that law school can sometimes be a lot to handle, not just academically but emotionally. It’s a competitive environment, filled with type-A people just like you, which forces you to prepare for the real-world realities of being a lawyer, and to gain the confidence necessary to take on that role. Except for 1L, where all the confidence and illusions you had coming into law school are shattered, but then you have the opportunity to rebuild a better version of yourself. While I miss the idealism of my 21-year-old self a little bit, I prefer the maturity and sense of self that I have now.


What I Would Tell My Pre-Law Self:


Get excited for the next three years. They are not going to be easy, but they are going to be so personally rewarding. And I don’t just mean the academic-related aspects because you are a nerd and obviously going to love that part. Get excited because you are going to meet so many incredible individuals, with important life lessons to share with you, and these friendships are going to change your life in ways you can’t even imagine yet.


Anything Else?:


I just want to say a quick thank you for this opportunity to dig up my personal statement, and to reflect on the person I was when I started this adventure. It’s surreal to see just how much I’ve changed as a result of the last three years of law school (which seemed to pass in a blink). I can’t wait to reflect on these reflections a few years down the road!


Katrina Crocker, 3L, is a guest contributor. 

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