Personal Statement

                     Applicant: x x x   Program: LLM

As a student of law, I have always believed in law as the ultimate shrine of human rationality and human wisdom. However, it should not be assumed that, in every law, human wisdom and rationality is readily, a priori, there. Law represents an extended process whereby human wisdom and rationality attain increasing maturation and sophistication. A student of law or any practitioner of law can contribute to the legal enterprise by insisting on what s/he deems to be the truth of the matter and argue for that truth. In this way, truth will ultimately prevail. This I consider to be the spirit of law.

Adhering to this spirit of law was precisely what I did in the thesis I completed for my undergraduate program. In 2000, Chinese government was to make amendments to its Marriage Law and, as the extra-marriage love was emerging as a prevalent social problem, some legal experts proposed the incorporation of legal punishment against extra-marriage love in the amendments as such love is a moral degradation in a largely conservative Chinese society.

Instead of presenting a neat for-or-against position on the issue, I investigated into the root causes underlying this extra-marriage love in my Study on the Factors for the Development of Extra-Marriage Love. Premised on psychology, sociology and philosophy, my thesis probes into the nature of love and marriage and by assimilating the concept of “monogamy and multiple loves” proposed by Henry Havelock Ellis, the sexual psychologist, I argued that, throughout human history of civilization, extra-marriage love has never been eliminated. Therefore, it is both inadvisable and ineffective to subject a universal practice of deep-entrenched human nature to legal penalties. The government should instead channel this impulse through other means by providing good-willed guidelines and regulations in keeping with human nature.

Even in its draft form, my thesis triggered an immediate uproar. My advisor Prof. x x x was the first to challenge my contentions. Several senior professors denounced it as “indicative of the moral deterioration of the younger generation”. However, with due improvement and substantiation, I succeeded in defending my thesis in a staunchly conservative university committee. Finally, my eloquence, persuasiveness and cogence changed the outlook of the professors, who rated a most unorthodox and controversial thesis “EXCELLENT”.

Following my graduation from the Civil Law Department of x x x Political and Law University in 2002, I commenced my professional career at the Politics and Law Committee of x x x Municipality. The committee is the top administrative organization of the police system, judicial system and legal system at township and county levels under the Municipality. In the first year, I have been involved collecting data from legal institutions and writing analytical reports, recording judges’ cases as a clerk, assisting judges manage a local court with jurisdiction over the economic and technological issues. I have also been engaged in conducting performance evaluation of local judical organizations and inspecting public security conditions in poverty-stricken rural areas. Through those experiences, I have gained insights into how the law works in the real world.

My dedication to the upholding of social justice has been fully demonstrated since I have been involved in an extensive Grass-root Support Program since 2003. Under this program, I was assigned to work as vice presiding judge at Renhe Court in x x x New Economic Development Zone, the largest grass-root court in the Municipality. While helping coordinate the daily affairs of the court, I have assumed the responsibility for independently trying more than 100 cases (I gained my credential to try cases by passing a national legal qualification exam). Most of those cases involved loan disputes, divorce, alimony, and compensation for land-use. The present-day China is undergoing drastic social changes and a large number of farmer workers are deprived of their land and even their houses, their sole means of sustenance, by local governments or major interest groups for industrial and commercial development. Farmers, forsaken women, children and the elderly have become a socially underprivileged class. Even though the administrative and the judicial systems are not entirely independent in China, as a judge, I have tried to be true to my conscience as a student of law by protecting the legitimate rights of this underprivileged class.

With my accumulated academic and professional background, I would like to pursue LLM at the UCB. My application is motivated by the determination to establish a groundbreaking precedent. It is singularly unfortunate that, within the judicial system of x x x , none of the practicing judges have ever received a systematic western gradate legal education! This is totally incongruous with x x x as a newly-created city directly affiliated to the central government of China (for nearly half a century there are only three such cities in China—Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai). Through your program, I will acquire knowledge and experience not only necessary for my personal development but also for perfecting the legal systems in x x x .

In my proposed program at Berkeley, I would like to concentrate on two areas—Comparative Legal Studies and International Legal Studies, both of which are well established in your esteemed law school. In the first concentration, I will explore how the construction of democracy and the rule of law is possible under different social and cultural traditions. The comparison between China’s legal reality and legal practices with those of the United States will be my focus and, hopefully, the comparison will shed light on useful approaches conducive to China’s legal reform and democratization. In the second concentration, I would like to study public law and private law, especially those that are immediately connected with WTO framework. Though newly-created, Chongqing is the largest among the four cities directly affiliated to the Central Government. In the country’s campaign to develop the west, Chongqing plays a vital role as the region’s hub of the most vibrant economy and foreign investment. As the city becomes increasingly integrated with the rest of the world, legal professionals with a sound knowledge of international law will be sorely demanded.

The LLM at Berkeley is essentially an academic program and I believed I am well qualified for your program academically. During my undergraduate, I received comprehensive academic training as a law student through coursework in a whole spectrum of specialized subject, excelling particularly in civil law, contract law, marriage law, international private law, history of foreign legal thoughts and intellectual property law. My academic transcript will indicate both the breadth and the depth of my curriculum. My scholastic aptitudes are indicated by the following statistics—a GPA of 3.3, a 5% ranking, a “ZhongHao” scholarship award (eligible only to 3 among 550 law students), and 3 departmental scholarships.

X X X, a book by Harvard professor Edgar Bodenheimer, will remain a lifelong influence on me. His idea of legal practitioners as “social doctor” touches on the underlying essence of law. Ultimately, law does not address individual and particular cases. Law is targeted at addressing social problems and the social environment that give rise to those cases. By imparting me this heightened understanding of law, the book has guided me in my career as a student, as a lawyer and as a judge. To become a better and more competent social doctor is what I wish to achieve through your world famous LLM program.



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