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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

The Best Application Essays. What worked for them can help you too to get into Harvard or other top law schools in the world.

In this series of essays, Lawyers Update helps you to get into world's top law schools.

In this series of essays, Lawyers Update helps you to get into world's top law schools.

Climbing the Mountain

Kevin Blum

As the drumroll began and the spotlight centered on the stripper, she flashed the patrons of the Red Rat a teasing smile. From my spot below the stage, I grinned in satisfaction. That brisk evening in March 2005 was not only the opening night of the Case Footlighters production of Jekyll and Hyde, but also my conducting debut. After years of performing in pit orchestras, I had finally been asked to direct one. The weeks leading up to the show had been filled with activity, with rehearsals often going until well after midnight. I had put in my fair share of fourteen-hour workdays, in addition to sending out countless e-mails and rearranging works at the last minute. I was directly in charge of conducting the orchestra, so once the curtain went up, everything depended on me. The stage lights turned on when I started the overture; Jekyll became Hyde when I cued the string section; the audience applauded when I released the final chord.

As pit director, it was my responsibility to make sure all those involved were performing their duties perfectly in sync with one another. For example, I had to explain to a lighting specialist without musical training that he had to turn on the spotlight three measures after the timpani started playing. I provided only the information necessary for the specialist to do his job, and explained to him how to watch my conducting pattern so that he could count the measures as a musician would. The task of pulling together an entire musical seemed daunting, especially as I had never acted in, directed, or done technical work for one before. Yet I had the utmost confidence in myself, because this challenge was no different from other challenges I had faced in different contexts. Translating technical information into complete yet simple descriptions is one of my most well developed skills.

My ability to convert complex information into clear and concise explanations extends beyond the arts. This past summer, I participated in the Case Leadership Internship program, which places twelve undergraduates a year in internships exposing them to jobs suited to their interests and skill sets. Due to my economic analysis skills and interest in politics, I was assigned to the James Draper for Mayor of Cleveland Campaign, where, as part of my duties, I collected and analyzed elections data to determine which precincts in the city were the most important ones on which to focus. For each precinct, I took into account such factors as party affiliation, past voter turnout, and past loyalty to incumbents. My finished product was a list of all the precincts in the city, ranked in order of importance. In order to convince the campaign manager, analysts, and coordinators to follow my recommendations, I had to explain my methods and reasoning in succinct terms. I needed to justify my conclusions to volunteers, many of whom did not have any exposure to the statistics of Cleveland politics. My explanations succeeded because I fully understood the material, assumed no prior knowledge, and boiled my explanations down to just a few sentences, so as not to overwhelm. Because of my work, the campaign manager offered me a part-time job as a full-fledged member of the campaign staff once my internship ended in early August. I remained with the campaign until Mr. Draper was defeated in the October primary.

The final chord sounded. The curtain closed on Emma Carew, esplendent in her wedding dress, weeping over the corpse of her Jiancé, Dr. Henry Jekyll. The show had been a resounding success; the final evening of the show's run had broken the Footlighters' record for ticket sales. Every member of cast and crew, from actor to ticket taker, had performed his or her part flawlessly. I am proud that my contributions as pit director, especially my explanatory skills, helped to make this a rewarding experience for all.

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