Example 5

Lance Chaser, 26, has just graduated in the top fifth of his class at Harvard Law School. He has just received entry level job offers from the two law firms described below. Argue for his accepting one of the offers given the following long-term career goals Chaser has held for many years:

• To be a wealthy senior partner in a prominent New York law firm by the age of 40
• To someday enter national politics, most likely as a senator or congressman.

Chaser received the first offer from the prestigious Wall Street law firm Doolittle, Reklein and Doolittle. This corporate law firm, with offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, offered Chaser an associate position starting at $185,000 a year and a cubicle in the basement of their Manhattan offices. Most of Chaser’s work will involve doing research with 20-30 other young associates on merger and antitrust cases for Fortune 500 companies. The firm hires about 100 top graduates from Ivy League law schools every year and promotes from within the firm. Currently, there are five senior partners, 25 junior partners and 475 associates.

The second job offer was from Small, Towne and Hicks, a prominent law firm in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The firm handles a wide range of cases, civil and criminal, throughout the Midwest. Small, Towne and Hicks has never had an Ivy League law school graduate in the firm before and is very interested in upgrading its national image. It offered Chaser a starting salary of $110,000 a year, early promotion to junior partner, a broad range of legal experiences, use of a 15-room Victorian house near to the firm’s offices and a free membership in the Elks Club. The firm consists of three senior partners, 15 junior partners and 90 associates.

Each of the senior partners has been politically active in the state. One is a former U.S. senator and the other two are sitting members of Iowa’s state legislature.

Sample Essay

Chaser should accept the job offer from Small, Towne and Hicks in Iowa because it provides him with the greater opportunity to fulfill his two goals of becoming a wealthy senior partner in a prominent law firm and someday entering national politics.

Although the Wall Street law firm Doolittle, Reklein and Doolittle offers Chaser an initially higher salary than the Cedar Rapids firm, he would have to live in the New York City area where the cost of living is almost twice that of a small Midwestern city. The Iowa firm also offered Chaser free use of a house, thus he is saved the expense of paying rent or a mortgage. From a financial standpoint, Chaser would actually be better off with the lower paying job in Iowa where his standard of living would be higher than in the New York City area.

Small, Towne and Hicks also offers Chaser a greater chance of becoming a senior partner by age 40. While the Wall Street firm is very prominent, Chaser will be just one of many Ivy League graduates hired by the firm. The chances of being promoted to senior partner are limited at best. Furthermore, the conditions which would allow Chaser’s work and abilities are not present in the Wall Street firm. He will be working among 20-30 other associates and his contributions will be very difficult to isolate. By contrast, Chaser’s chances of becoming a senior partner at Small, Towne and Hicks is virtually assured as he is being deliberately recruited from Harvard to upgrade the firm’s image. In terms of his goal to become a senior partner by age 40, Chaser’s interests are again better served by joining the Iowa firm.

Doolittle, Reklein and Doolittle enjoys national prestige and has offices in Washington, D.C., but Chaser would probably have a much better chance of entering national politics through the Iowa firm. The Wall Street firm is just one of several nationally known law firms in New York handling major corporate cases. The Cedar Rapids firm, by contrast, handles a wide range of cases in the Midwest and would stand out more from the crowd. Essentially, it is still better to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a big fish in a big pond. It should also be remembered that members of the Iowa firm have a history of political involvement at the state and national levels.

In light of the fact that the Iowa offer would better enable Chaser to achieve his goals, he should join Small, Towne, and Hicks. He will be able to advance faster, live better and acquire a better political base by joining the Iowa firm.

Essay Explanation

This is a good essay because it organizes the arguments in a clear and orderly manner, emphasizes the ”pros” of the choice made while acknowledging the strengths of alternative positions. The author’s position is effectively and clearly presented. The essay is of sufficient length and the variation of sentence structure helps retain reader interest.

The opening paragraph of the essay states the author’s position and summarizes the reasons for taking that position. The second paragraph tackles the issue of the apparently higher salary which the New York law firm offered. It refutes the seeming advantage of a higher salary with outside common knowledge about the cost of living in different regions of the United States. This paragraph also makes use of the details given in the topic statement to support the author’s position.

Paragraph number three directly addresses one of the goals of Lance Chaser provided in the topic statement, that of becoming a senior partner in a prestigious law firm by age 40. Outside information is again used to support the author’s position and is useful because it demonstrates the author’s ability to think and reason independently within the framework of the given facts.

The fourth paragraph speaks to Chaser’s second primary goal of one day entering national politics. It points out that Chaser will have a much easier time making himself noticed in a smaller. community like Cedar Rapids than he would in a metropolis like New York City.

The last paragraph reiterates the author’s position and summarizes the three basic reasons behind the decision.

Next LSAT: October 28th

Essay Quiz


Total questions: 1

Quiz Length: 2 Minutes

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