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Personal statement example: Michael Winch

Michael WinchMichael is applying for a legal training contract. The personal statement is part of an application form, but the job advert has highlighted some specific areas to focus upon in his answer

1. Read the job advert and then Michael's draft stateent below and make a list of things you would advise him to change.

2. Turn comments to reveal the areas picked up and advice given by an expert adviser, and compare your advice with theirs.

3. To see these changes incorporated into a final version of Michael's letter. The finished version represents a good example letter. Show the version.
I am an ambitious law student with a keen desire to work in an international city firm with the high quality work and opportunities that entails. I have had this ambition confirmed through undertaking vacation scheme placements at Tale and Cross and Markwriters'. These firms are similar to Llamb and Christie in terms of work, large trainee intake and international focus. Over these placements I experienced work in general banking, corporate and litigation departments, which also inherently improved my commercial awareness. I have experienced a different type of legal work experience in Underton Solicitors in my hometown. I have also undertaken legal work experience on a series of mini-pupillages at sets in Birmingham, though have chosen the solicitor route over that of the bar.

My positions of responsibility have included being editor of Obiter Dicta, the professionally produced University of Warwick Law Society magazine, which features sponsorship from firms including Llamb and Christie. As part of this role I also headed a sub-committee team, developing a number of skills that would be of use to Llamb and Christie.

This year I also sat on the Executive Committee of Warwick Law Society. At school I was a prefect, President of the Debating Society, and founder of the Atticus Finch Book Society. I was also managing director of a successful Young Enterprise company.

In my third year of university I plan to become strongly involved in pro bono, having volunteered in the past on projects including a book drive for students in a Malawi university. My volunteering has so far included working Saturdays at Barnardo’s in Leamington Spa. The strong culture of pro bono work at Llamb and Christie has motivated me to apply.

In terms of relatively less structured interests, I play the acoustic guitar and enjoy cooking and skiing. In my first year of university I progressed to the second round of the internal mooting competition. I am also interested in travel, last year having toured Europe with a group of friends. At school I took part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, which involved volunteering at a local Cub Scouts group and learning to play badminton. I have recently taken up squash.

At the end of this summer I will be improving my teamwork skills immensely by participating in Orientation Week at the University of Warwick. This will also help my interpersonal skills, dealing with students from a variety of cultures, who may be lacking in confidence and English language skills.

Having taken French to AS Level, I am keen to pick up these skills again and I plan to take six months out travelling in France after completing my Legal Practice Course to become highly confident in the language before starting a training contract in February 2011. I hope that this desire, as well as my participation in Orientation, shows a curiosity and attraction towards an international mindset.

We don't believe that any letter is perfect but one very like this has worked for our students. Remember this letter is based on a real letter, but details in this example have been anonomised. Information such as name, organisations mentioned, and projects that would identify an individual may have been changed.