Harvard Law School

Application Essays- E.S.


Throughout my undergraduate education, extra-curricular activities, and starting my own company, I have cultivated my passion for business. Simultaneously, I have also acquired a keen awareness of the interplay between our legal system and the business world.

I got my first taste for how important controls are in business as an intern in my university Office of Internal Auditing. Not long after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law, I was assigned to draft a memo detailing how the law would impact operations at the university. As my university provides health insurance to most of its 16,000-plus employees, this was a daunting task.

Having just begun my internship, my project involved research on two fronts—university policies regarding health care, as well as PPACA provisions relevant to those policies. With this information, I was able to write a successful memo that helped the school’s department heads organize the policy updates necessary to comply with the new laws. By the time the internship concluded at the end of that summer, I had been exposed, on a very large scale, to how the legal system and business world interact—something I would start to see in all of my future positions.

At the beginning of my junior year of college, a friend asked me to join a student-consulting group providing services to Israeli start-ups. Seeing a great opportunity to learn about how businesses are started, I accepted the offer and took a position leading a team of six other students. Our client was an online platform for anonymous communication. As we worked with the start-up to further develop the platform, we set about looking for ways to protect the company’s intellectual property and found that a copyright would only protect the coding, or expression, of the platform, but not the idea itself. After extensive research, we decided the best way to supplement our copyright protection was to draw up non-disclosure and non-compete agreements for all employees and consultants.

Once we settled this issue, my team and I composed a business plan that gave the start-up a new marketing and development strategy and would help secure investor funding. Working with the start-up, and leading my own consulting team, I learned about every aspect, from legal to financial, that shaped the business. This gave me a unique viewpoint that has changed the way I look at all organizations, from start-ups to international corporations.

This past summer, I decided to put my experience from the consulting group and the start-up to use. While I spent my days working at a Big Four accounting firm, I dedicated nights and weekends to working with my brother to create a web-based marketing consulting start-up. Unable to pay a professional programmer to build the website, I decided to learn what I could about web design in order to build the site myself.

After setting up the site’s basic foundation, I searched the Internet to find photos to use on our various web pages. As I explored, my uncle, a lawyer, mentioned that even pictures without a copyright notification could be copyright protected. He recommended that I make sure that all the photos I used were copyright-free. As it turned out, I had inadvertently selected many protected photographs and had to replace them immediately. The site is now complete and we have since begun alpha-stage testing.

Through experiences like these, I have had real-world, practical learning about the interdependencies between our legal and economic systems, and have become fascinated by how the two constantly evolve and shape one another. I aim to use my background working on the business side of these interactions to inform and support my study of their legal aspects. As a member of the legal community, this enhanced perspective will enable me to analyze each issue from both points of view and develop an understanding that draws on my experiences as a businessman and a lawyer.

I believe Harvard Law School would afford me a unique opportunity to continue my studies, particularly through its business law programs. One opportunity that especially interests me is the Transactional Law Clinics, where students offer legal aid to small businesses. Participating in these clinics will enable me to draw on my past experiences doing similar work, while also building my skills and knowledge through direct practice. A program like this would be a fitting and enriching element of my law school education, as well as my future legal career.


Where many law school application essays are lacking, E.S.’s is quite successful: He explains in plain and convincing terms why he wants to attend law school. The admissions officer comes away with not only a clear understanding of the development of E.S.’s legal interest (at its intersection with business), but also an outline of how he’ll use his law degree once he’s earned it.

E.S. uses concrete examples from his experience on campus and in the field to illustrate his numerous interests and talents. E.S. proves that he is capable, effective, and excited for a challenge; he discusses drafting a health-care memo used by university officials, composing a marketing and development strategy for a start-up, and building his own company (while working a full-time job). E.S. manages to convey his many accomplishments without writing an essay that reads like a resume. He also references, by name, a Harvard Law School program he’d like to become involved in. Though this might seem insignificant, it shows he’s done his research (and is, perhaps, not just applying for “the name”.)

E.S.’s interest in business and law seem certain; what’s more ambiguous is who he is as an individual. His essay gives some indication of his character—the admissions officer gets the sense that he’s both hardworking and curious. But E.S.’s essay might have benefited from an example of an experience or circumstance unrelated to his career—a discussion, perhaps, of a personal challenge he overcame. While it seems clear that E.S. will be a successful lawyer-businessman, the reader of his essay (who, remember, can grant only so many offers of admission) is left wondering who E.S. the person is.

—Lisa Mogilanski

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