Law: Example Personal Statement 

While much of the law is grounded in principles that date back centuries, it is constantly adapting to fit current requirements. Living in Hong Kong, with an English law-based legal system, I wonder whether Chinese law – with its trust and commercial law still developing – will overwrite a more fully-developed Hong Kong legal system, or vice versa, once the Chinese promise of “50 years unchanged” written in Hong Kong’s “mini-constitution” expires. 

I am intrigued by the dynamic nature of law and wish to understand why and how it changes over time, who influences these changes, and whether law merely reflects or drives social change. The law’s elaborate, malleable character makes it the subject I wish to study.  

I enjoyed Lord Bingham’s emphasis in “The Rule of Law” on how the law is nuanced by the judgement of its interpreters and on the difficulty of determining what is fair in any context. A significant component of law relies on the assumption that those enforcing it are impartial, though this is only sometimes the case. 

The Economist reported that African countries like Zimbabwe and Nigeria represent a lack of judicial impartiality in specific underdeveloped legal systems: their slow and unfair provision of justice is partly caused by corrupt judges. This example of blatant disregard for law reminds me  

of the 1991 fatal water sanctions by the US against Iraq, which I studied during an international law university taster course. Despite both states’ violation of international law, politicians’ ability to dismiss and break rules challenged my previous belief that nobody is above the law. I wonder whether the fact that the law can be easily subverted by some means, that law has its limitations,  

and whether proper enforcement is one of the prerequisites of law. These are subjects which I look forward to discussing with peers at university to challenging myself with – and against – others.  

 During my mini-pupillage at one of the top chambers in Hong Kong, I greatly enjoyed the company of some of the sharpest legal brains at the local bar. I completed legal research and learnt about several unfamiliar legal topics (family financial disputes, mareva injunctions, and provisional liquidation) by taking full notes to assist in my research. I was impressed by the variety of cases that barristers quickly come to grasp with and by their ability in court to come up with structured and convincing answers in a matter of seconds after being questioned by the judge. From client conferences to drafting submissions, shadowing a barrister and a High Court judge gave me first-hand experience of what life as a legal practitioner realistically entails. 

Attention to thorough analysis and precise extraction of meaning is fundamental preparation for the study of law. Through my IBDP English Literature studies, I have learnt to grapple with abstract concepts and arguments and to argue in favour of or against them with logical rigour. As recognition of my performance in this subject, my school nominated me for the South China Morning Post’s Student of the Year – Linguist Award. Moreover, studying the Theory of Knowledge pushes me to scrutinise the logical robustness of arguments, which I think will be helpful to analysing laws, and to assessing whether these laws are logically consistent with the normative base they purport to emanate from.

I have deliberately chosen difficult IBDP courses because I relish a challenge: notably, I did not choose my strong subject, French, but pursued it outside of school for nine years, which culminated in a French Ministry of Education DELF B2 Diploma.   

For recreation, I enjoy ballet. With ambition and commitment, I danced to Grade 8 and passed vocational exams. I am also captain of my school’s sailing team: a role to which I have shown commitment, proactivity, and organisation. These are qualities which I believe have been and will be crucial for success in my studies.