30 June 2005
Statement of Purpose to The University of Iowa College of Law
My name is Michael McGuire and I am a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Iowa.
My goals are to graduate law school and enter a career in civil law, perhaps contract and sales
law/product liability, which your institution offers many classes in. I would also like to study
administrative law, so that I may one day work for a government agency assisting in making
relative policy decisions.
My most resounding conclusion about human behavior, constructed from my
undergraduate education and collected life experiences, is that it is more governed by our own
rules and norms (either formal or informal) than by any non-human force. My Introduction to
Sociology class introduced me to the notion of norms, and not long after comprehending the
idea, I realized that it was all around me. I was amazed to find that every human interaction or
exchange involved a series of these rules and regulations regarding speech and behavior, and that
excessive deviance from these rules carried consequences, whether the consequence was an
explicit reprimand for an overt offense, or silent recognition of a more subtle faux pas.
My knowledge and understanding of norms progressed through my undergraduate career
and culminated with my first law class, Introduction to Law. In this class, I learned to see the
norms and rules around me as part of a larger web of behavioral parameters (the law). I
immediately recognized the power of the law as an institution, and what an essential facet of
human life it is. I wish to study law because I find it to be so crucial to the survival of human
society. Consistently productive social exchanges require a system of guidelines that works to
ensure that every member of society fulfills their end of consensual contracts, even if the
contracts are not explicitly stated. If people do not honor the contracts they enter into, there will
likely be no trust or shared sense of comfort amongst the public, and a productive, egalitarian
society will be nearly impossible to establish, for it will always be potentially volatile, marred by
treachery and disorder. Law strives to ensure that people honor their agreements, whether the
agreement is to deliver a certain amount of goods for a certain price, or to not break into one’s
neighbors’ houses and seize their possessions while they are away.
I feel that I would be a great match for the University of Iowa College of Law for many
reasons. I have a great deal of analytic experience from my undergraduate training in sociology.
Throughout these courses, I performed all aspects of several of my own research projects,
including the research design, application of theory, sampling plan, data analysis, and policy
implications entailed by each project. These projects required me to analyze in depth and
objectively investigate my data to arrive at sound results and evaluate possible advice to policy
makers in accordance with my research. I also learned to utilize the analytical and research
oriented resources around me, including many reliable data sources and analytic computer
I took several elective logic courses during my undergraduate training. These courses
familiarized me with argumentation and argumentative structures. I learned to logically analyze
arguments for fallacies, inconsistencies, logical truths, etc. I am well suited for this field of study
because my mind works in a practical, logical way. Systematically sifting through an article or
passage and identifying its components and attributes comes naturally to me.
Along with analytic skills, I have worked to become a skilled writer and efficient reader.
My favorite part of doing sociological research projects was writing about or discussing the
relevance of my findings with others. I find debating, listening, reading, or writing about new
ideas fascinating, whether the goal is to gain an understanding of the subject matter, or to impart
one. I think the spread of knowledge is crucial to human and social development, and language
is the greatest facilitator of that spread.
I feel that the greatest benefit of my undergraduate training was the diversified student
that I became as a result of it. I learned to see the world and other people from an open-minded,
objective standpoint, and learned that everything is relative is some way. I also took several
classes regarding race and ethnicity to help me develop a cross-cultural understanding of the
world. With this mindset and my extensive research/analytic skills, I am able to take my
knowledge and apply it to almost any investigatory field. I feel that my ability to do high quality
interdisciplinary work would make me a great asset to The University of Iowa College of Law.
I think my most significant accomplishment as a student so far was raising my overall
G.P.A. from 3.09 to 3.45 in three semesters (second sophomore year semester and two junior
year semesters, current GPA is 3.45). I feel that I really took off once I got a solid grip on
college life, and I have been getting excellent grades and doing outstanding work ever since.
Another proud moment of my student life was doing volunteer work at the Crisis Center in Iowa
City. It felt wonderful to work for no compensation, knowing that I was acting fully for the
community, and not for myself. Handing a poor family a week’s worth of food, seeing how
happy it made them, and hearing how grateful they were was a heart-warming experience. I feel
that I have an acute sense of community, and I believe in the importance of helping out my
fellow residents, especially those less fortunate than most.
I adore Iowa City and consider it my home. I immensely enjoy Iowa City’s diverse
culture and progressive style. Participating in local festivals, watching Hawkeye sports, strolling
through the Ped Mall, and absorbing Iowa City’s rich scenery always gives me a great boost in
spirit. I have had the best experiences of my life in Iowa City, and I would love to stay here for
law school. I feel that Iowa residents share a cohesiveness that might not be found in other
states. I think we have a great sense of community and cultural understanding, especially here,
in Iowa City. I also had a wonderful undergraduate education at The University of Iowa, where I
met many interesting faculty members and took many stimulating classes. I am very grateful for
the time I’ve spent here.
All in all, I feel that The University of Iowa College of Law would be a perfect fit for me,
and I believe that I would be a great addition to the program. Please consider my admission and
thank you very much for your time.
Michael B. McGuire