Five Year Plan
UPenn I would write out The University of Pennsylvania School of Law the first time then Penn, but I know space is at a premium. offers an educational environment that is well-suited for my learning style and career goals. Its small class sizes, location, and clinics will provide me with a strong legal education and job opportunities catered to my interests in civil rights and international law. Upon graduation, I hope to obtain either a judicial clerkship or a job at the Department of Justice’s civil rights or national security division. A Penn education will afford me an excellent opportunity to be well prepared for securing and then excelling at these jobs.
While studying law at the London School of Economics last year, I learned that, for me, the most effective learning experience occurred not in the lectures, but in the small class groups. Throughout high school and college, small class sizes have been conducive to a strong academic experience for me. Through talking to Penn students online, I have learned that small class sizes (use seminars and clinics instead for the reasons that the other poster stated) and the Socratic method have been instrumental in their learning experience. Penn’s small size and strong student-to-faculty ratio differentiate it from other top law schools and well suit my learning style.
Of particular interest to me is how well Penn students fare in obtaining judicial clerkships. A clerkship is a personal goal for me as it would provide me with an opportunity to continue my education with the brightest lawyers in the professions and would expose me to a wide range of legal issues. Ok, how does Penn prepare you for clerkships? Special writing classes, teaching a writing course in your 3L? Penn also offers a fascinating Supreme Court clinic that gives its students a look at how advocacy groups influence the judicial process which is another personal interest.
Penn would also put me in an excellent position to secure a competitive job at the Department of Justice. Studying the Human Rights Act and the European Court of Human Rights while in London was fascinating and I am strongly considering pursuing a career at the civil rights or national security division at the Department of Justice. You mentioned this as a goal above. You may want to save space and mention something else like Penn's required pro bono hours, that you will spend doing civil rights work in Philly or with the Toll Public Interest Center Penn’s small class size, proximity to and strong job placement in both Washington D.C. and New York City make it a perfect fit for my professional goals.
I am having a real hard time with this essay too. I don't want to write that Penn offers exactly the same stuff as one would expect from a mid-T14 and that any top school will support my 5 year plan. I think the best route is to specifically mention the programs, centers and clinics at Penn by name (Toll PI, Penn's new Supreme Court Clinic, etc)