The newest law school requires that if you apply, you have to have
your personal statement (among other things) ready to upload, right
then and there. And of course, this request was so different from
the former, that I was unable to use anything from the statement
that I had written for my application to UNM.
I connected better with this request however, because they wanted
to know what I might have to offer in building a diverse student
body. They also asked to know "about your distinctive qualities,
talents, successes, achievements and life experiences."
Yeah, I think I do some things a little different.
This is what I wrote.
Many things in life are not always as they may first appear and
neither am I. I have had a very full and complete life and present
many different faces to the world around me. One day you might see
me in my work environment and label me a Suit, and on
another, a surfer. You might have one impression after seeing me
on my Harley, but I wonder if it would change if you knew I had
just run up to the store to buy canning lids for the raspberry jam
I was making?
I love going fast, and yet I love to walk, sometimes getting down
in the dirt to catch an image of the late evening sunlight as it
brushes the petals of a wildflower. I see mountains, and I climb
them, sometimes as a trek, other times in a group technical climb.
I have signed my name in on the registers of 14 of the highest peaks
in the lower 48 states. Once, I made a promise to a little girl
who saw adventure in the eyes of her dad as he set off on the trail.
I told that six year old that if she were serious, one day I would
get her to the top of a mountain. That day finally came the year
she turned 15 and my daughter and I signed our names in the logbook
at the summit of Longs Peak. I count that as a significant accomplishment
for the two of us.
I have a passion for learning and knowledge and life experiences
and I have been witness to much joy and great sorrow. I spent two
years as an Emergency Room technician and have assisted at birth
and have been present many times at the moment of death.
I watched an autopsy because I could.
I can build a computer from scratch and each year plant over a
thousand flowers around my house.
I once spent 6 months in a wilderness cabin as a volunteer to pioneer
the development of a winter camp for teens. Among other things I
learned that winter is that red oak splits really well in sub-zero
temperatures and that solitude is not all that it is cracked up
I take the initiative and I am an independent thinker. After a
long winter in the cabin I had been frustrated for several months
in my attempts to even see, much less photograph any of the many
deer that I knew were in the area. One late winter evening I decided
to solve this problem and grabbed a tarp, two sleeping bags and
my down coat. I set out for a field that I knew was traversed by
a deer trail. I lay the tarp down on the middle of the trail, put
one down sleeping bag inside of the other, climbed in and pulled
on my wool hat. Come morning I didnt get the photo I wanted,
but sure enough, the deer woke me with their snorting and pawing
at the snowy ground.
Much later in life, when I heard that the IRS would accept testimony
on proposed regulations for distributions from retirement plans,
I took it upon myself to get on the agenda and then go to Washington
to present the testimony that I prepared. I believe that it had
a significant impact on getting an arcane section of the regulations
changed which in turn simplified the rules and lives for millions
I am a critical thinker and I pay attention to detail. I enjoy
the prospect of being confronted with mounds of complicated evidence
or information and sorting it all out into something that is understandable.
Some of my former students who are now colleagues have suggested
to me that they think that teaching, mentoring and communicating
are my greatest strengths. Whether it is the implementation of a
complicated personal estate plan or a multi-corporation business
succession plan, I am well aware that in general, if a client does
not understand what is being recommended, he or she will not implement
the suggested planning.
Working as an expert witness has taught me that there are close
parallels between writing history and presenting a case before a
jury. I was trained to translate source documents, search for corroborating
sources, either in text or in archaeological evidence, and present
my position. Years later, as I pored through hundreds of pages of
documents I found myself in the very same place, looking for corroboration,
following the paper trail and trying to reconstruct the history
of a particular event.
I enjoy helping people complete their financial goals and objectives.
I have been working in the financial services industry for thirty
years now, and not only have I become the trusted financial advisor
for my clients but a close personal friend as well. Many times Ive
also become not only the confidant, but a comforter not only for
those on the edge of death but for their families as well.
I have learned that money does not come with a guide book and that
great wealth and good character do not necessarily travel hand in
I count as a significant business success my role in the transfer
of control of a small manufacturing company in the early 1980s.
As the owner of the business was too ill to work, I began discussions
with his son. I was able to convince the family to work with me
and within a very short period of time we met in a lawyers
conference room as a dying father signed wills, trusts and the business
succession plan. That company with its 24 employees has now grown
under the sons leadership to become a true giant of industry,
listed on the NYSE with over 41,000 world wide employees.
On an equal footing, I also treasure the heartfelt thank-you notes
and comments of appreciation that I have received for watching over
the finances of my elderly clients. Just this morning I was with
a couple that became one of my very first clients, thirty years
ago. I asked these folks, now in their mid 80's, what they might
say relative to this personal statement and they said, You
are personable, you are tenacious, and you always take the time
to find the best options for us. You are dependable, and you are
honest. You have always done well for us and we are as happy as
two clams in a shell. We love our home, we love our location and
we love our lifestyle.
That is what I would call success.