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VitalGiraffe

Thoughts on whether schools like hearing about your political experiences?

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Hi all,

I always thought that law schools liked to hear about applicants political experience (assuming its relevant), but I shadowed a lawyer who gave me the advice of not mentioning it at all. I was confused by this because I thought law schools liked to know that applicants are active in society, trying to make changes in the world, yada yada. He claims that law schools don't want to hear about it at all, but that it is something that you should tell firms after you graduate as they would see your political connections as a potential asset.

If this is true I am a bit worried as I plan on making my personal statement based on my experience with the party I affiliate with. I founded a political club at my uni, have campaigned on many campaigns for said party, and have been involved in local politics with the party. I know this is probably an asset for holistic schools, but is the same true for non-holistic schools? Should I write about something else regardless of whether or not this lawyer is right?

All thoughts appreciated.

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I volunteered on the board for a political party's constituency association in my provincial riding. I mentioned it in my application, but I simply didn't say what party it was. I don't know if that's the right way to go about it, but I've gotten two acceptances so far so it didn't hurt me.

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13 minutes ago, Chazz said:

I volunteered on the board for a political party's constituency association in my provincial riding.

I actually do this as well. I think I have too many positions related to my party to not mention which one it is.

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11 minutes ago, VitalGiraffe said:

I actually do this as well. I think I have too many positions related to my party to not mention which one it is.

I mean...as long as the position titles are fairly general you should be fine. I was secretary, for example.

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6 minutes ago, Chazz said:

I mean...as long as the position titles are fairly general you should be fine. I was secretary, for example.

The reason for this post is that I would like to know if law schools would consider this information to be an asset or if I should not include it at all. I have no problem telling them what party it is.

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I detailed all of my political experience but just didn't say which party it was for. It honestly wasn't relevant to me anyway because I just did it for the experience, and I made that pretty clear in my personal statement. I think I would just emphasize what you learned from that experience / how it relates to why you want to pursue law and not put the focus on anything partisan. That's just my opinion though! 

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5 minutes ago, VitalGiraffe said:

The reason for this post is that I would like to know if law schools would consider this information to be an asset or if I should not include it at all. I have no problem telling them what party it is.

Ahh, I misread your post then.

I honestly don't see why they wouldn't. As a general rule for a PS you want to be as genuine as possible. Usually on the application website they'll have a little blurb about what they want to see in a PS. Try and answer those questions, and if your political experience forms a big part of your extracurricular activities/is relevant then I'd definitely include it. They're isn't much point to second-guessing yourself - you're trying to show the adcoms what you're like, not what you think they want you to be like.

Edited by Chazz

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Totally include it. It’s valuable experience. I discussed my work with a political party in my PS, and it comes up in job interviews too. 

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18 minutes ago, Notnotadog said:

Totally include it. It’s valuable experience. I discussed my work with a political party in my PS, and it comes up in job interviews too. 

Was it a focal point or something mentioned in passing?

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I can't see a problem mentioning it in law school applications. However, I can't seeing it being more of an advantage than any other EC or community participation during undergrad.

As for job interviews, it's unlikely to be of much benefit and, in some circumstances, may be a detriment. ;)

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I feel like unless you're on the board for, like, a far-right white supremacist party or something really out there like the Rhinoceros Party, I doubt they'd hold it against you. If it's one of the big four (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green), I really don't think they'd care. If you're still unsure or not comfortable, though, you can always leave out the party name.

Just as a heads up, though, when you submit your OLSAS sketch you also need to submit the names of people who can verify your involvement in the role. They only contact these people if they suspect something's fishy with what you've said, but if on the off chance they do reach out (and it really isn't that often, one of mine said that they've been listed as a verifier for tons of law school applicants and schools have never once called), they'll be able to find out the party name then, so it may not even matter.

Edited by navyblue11
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5 minutes ago, erinl2 said:

I can't see a problem mentioning it in law school applications. However, I can't seeing it being more of an advantage than any other EC or community participation during undergrad.

As for job interviews, it's unlikely to be of much benefit and, in some circumstances, may be a detriment. ;)

I don't necessarily think it would be an advantage, I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't be a disadvantage as its what I wanted to focus my PS on. So thanks for the info!

Yeah I was confused when he said that. I assumed it would be neutral or beneficial for law school and more likely a downside to a firm if anything.

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6 minutes ago, navyblue11 said:

I feel like unless you're on the board for, like, a far-right white supremacist party or something really out there like the Rhinoceros Party, I doubt they'd hold it against you. If it's one of the big four (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green), I really don't think they'd care. If you're still unsure or not comfortable, though, you can always leave out the party name.

It is one of the big four you listed.

Again I want to reiterate that I have zero issue with the adcomms knowing which party it is. I was only wondering if they would dislike a partisan PS in general. To my knowledge they like to have a class with a variety of viewpoints, so I can't see them discounting anyone for being involved with one of the big four.

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42 minutes ago, VitalGiraffe said:

Was it a focal point or something mentioned in passing?

It was a full paragraph. I talked about specific things the party did that I had some role in. I didn’t name the party but it was patently clear. 

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7 hours ago, navyblue11 said:

I feel like unless you're on the board for, like, a far-right white supremacist party or something really out there like the Rhinoceros Party, I doubt they'd hold it against you. If it's one of the big four (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green), I really don't think they'd care. If you're still unsure or not comfortable, though, you can always leave out the party name.

Just as a heads up, though, when you submit your OLSAS sketch you also need to submit the names of people who can verify your involvement in the role. They only contact these people if they suspect something's fishy with what you've said, but if on the off chance they do reach out (and it really isn't that often, one of mine said that they've been listed as a verifier for tons of law school applicants and schools have never once called), they'll be able to find out the party name then, so it may not even matter.

I get where you are coming from and a decent amount of people are like you and don’t care. I would say if you worked for the Conservative party don’t mention it. It’s not likely to eliminate you from consideration but it is definitely possible. There are enough people who vote liberal or NDP who will negatively associate you with stupidity, white supremacy, supporting patriarchy, you get the drift. Again I’m not at all saying most, I’m just alluding to it’s not worth the risk. I took math in university, economics, philosophy and these courses always seemed to have people on both sides, that were reasonable if there was disagreement. However, there has been one subject where I can honestly say this is not the case and it’s Sociology. Far far left, I’ve taken about 12 sociology courses with different professors and 11 of them were Marxist (they actually said they were) and postmodernist. They said people who believe in human nature are idiots, that things like the legal system that say they are objective do so just to oppress since truth is relative and nothing is objective so the only reason to claim that is to dominate minorities. That if you believe in the free market you are complicit in oppression of people of colour and women, therefore your are racist and misogynistic. I once got in a group for an in class discussion (2 people in a group) and I asked her where are you from, like what’s your background, I didn’t mean it in a bad way, I just wanted to break the ice, build rapport. She said why are you asking? And I told her I was starting conversation and just getting to know her and she said “the only reason you would ask me that is to put me down. There is no reason to bring that up.” I said “what do you mean? I didn’t mean to offend you...” and I went on to say I was getting to know her, we live in Toronto it’s cool to know where people are from, there cultures etc. But she went on to say it doesn’t mean how I meant it, it matters how I made her feel. I said that doesn’t make sense it should be my intent not your feelings. We actually started to get a bit heated, I was genuinely frustrated. She brought it up to the teacher and the prof agreed with her.... her main reason... I was white and she was a person of colour, because of this I was “guilty.” I dropped the class the next day (it was race and ethnicity at u of t). The one brilliant non Marxist prof was jack vuguellers, just amazing. But honestly a lot of the other ones... my god. If it was for the Conservative party it will only hurt you not help you. I’m not sure if law school attracts the post modern type, it seems antithetical to legal reasoning. 

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53 minutes ago, humbledman said:

I get where you are coming from and a decent amount of people are like you and don’t care. I would say if you worked for the Conservative party don’t mention it. It’s not likely to eliminate you from consideration but it is definitely possible. There are enough people who vote liberal or NDP who will negatively associate you with stupidity, white supremacy, supporting patriarchy, you get the drift. Again I’m not at all saying most, I’m just alluding to it’s not worth the risk. I took math in university, economics, philosophy and these courses always seemed to have people on both sides, that were reasonable if there was disagreement. However, there has been one subject where I can honestly say this is not the case and it’s Sociology. Far far left, I’ve taken about 12 sociology courses with different professors and 11 of them were Marxist (they actually said they were) and postmodernist. They said people who believe in human nature are idiots, that things like the legal system that say they are objective do so just to oppress since truth is relative and nothing is objective so the only reason to claim that is to dominate minorities. That if you believe in the free market you are complicit in oppression of people of colour and women, therefore your are racist and misogynistic. I once got in a group for an in class discussion (2 people in a group) and I asked her where are you from, like what’s your background, I didn’t mean it in a bad way, I just wanted to break the ice, build rapport. She said why are you asking? And I told her I was starting conversation and just getting to know her and she said “the only reason you would ask me that is to put me down. There is no reason to bring that up.” I said “what do you mean? I didn’t mean to offend you...” and I went on to say I was getting to know her, we live in Toronto it’s cool to know where people are from, there cultures etc. But she went on to say it doesn’t mean how I meant it, it matters how I made her feel. I said that doesn’t make sense it should be my intent not your feelings. We actually started to get a bit heated, I was genuinely frustrated. She brought it up to the teacher and the prof agreed with her.... her main reason... I was white and she was a person of colour, because of this I was “guilty.” I dropped the class the next day (it was race and ethnicity at u of t). The one brilliant non Marxist prof was jack vuguellers, just amazing. But honestly a lot of the other ones... my god. If it was for the Conservative party it will only hurt you not help you. I’m not sure if law school attracts the post modern type, it seems antithetical to legal reasoning. 

This is why I stuck to Econ and never took Sociology.

Although it is worth pointing out to OP (not sure what party he/she volunteered for, but just in case) that just because Sociology profs are that crazy doesn't necessarily mean law school adcoms will be the same.

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1 hour ago, humbledman said:

- snip -

My brain says "do not post nitpicky politics," but my heart says do it. So here I am.

I'm not discounting your personal experience here. But there is no such thing as a postmodern Marxist. Postmodernism is fundamentally incompatible with Marxism. The former rejects grand universal truths, while the latter is based on there being an inherent (economic) truth. 

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5 hours ago, Liavas said:

My brain says "do not post nitpicky politics," but my heart says do it. So here I am.

I'm not discounting your personal experience here. But there is no such thing as a postmodern Marxist. Postmodernism is fundamentally incompatible with Marxism. The former rejects grand universal truths, while the latter is based on there being an inherent (economic) truth. 

I wrote Marxist and postmodern on my phone last night, I meant Marxist or postmodern. My only point in mentioning that it’s most people would consider these extreme, for Marxism labour theory of value, it’s “scientific” approach etc. For postmodernism, that morals don’t exist, truth doesn’t exist, there is no objective reality etc and the claim that anyone who says there is is just doing a power play.

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Well this thread devolved quite predictably. I thank everyone for their responses and will write my PS with a focus on my political experiences.

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Basically, if your understanding of the left is what the above posters believe, or if your understanding of the right is that they're all literally hitler, you probably want to leave politics out of anything. If you're capable of understanding even some nuance, then keep it in.

Law schools DGAF about your political affiliation. Most of law school was Big L and Big C. 

 

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