I believe that the practice of law can be applied in many ways. To me, the most important of which is for the greater good. This, though an ambiguous statement, generally characterizes the way in which I perceive my life and work. As a Magis scholar at Loyola University Chicago, I was trained in the scholarship and practice of social justice, with special regard to the evolution of social teaching; the three primary tenets of which are human dignity, community and stewardship. These do not readily appear to be applicable to the study and practice of law, but the moral and ethical aspects of the law are important components of the American judicial tradition. For example, Senator Lindsey Graham stated that America has lost the moral high ground: But we're not like who want to be and who we have been. And that's the point I'm trying to make, that when you start looking at torture statutes and you look at ways around the spirit of the law, that you're losing the moral high ground. And that was the counsel from the secretary of state's office that once you start down this road that it's very hard to come back. So I do believe we have lost our way. And my challenge to you as a leader of this nation is to help us find our way without giving up our obligation and right to fight our enemy. Questions of torture were less about Iraqi citizens than about basic human dignity. These questions are increasingly important. The terminology may be different, but the fundamental principles are the same. Secular institutions like the Brookings Institute acknowledged the use of just war theory from many different perspectives including Sikh, Jew, Catholic, and Atheist in Liberty & Power: A Dialogue on Religion & U.S. Foreign Policy in an Unjust World. Further, in Jean Bethke Elshtain's recent book: Just War Against Terror there were seven discussions of human dignity (Western notions of, Tillich's defense of, Taliban's lack of respect for, as American value, etc). Scholars on the topic include Michael Walzer and Ruth Wedgewood, and the list could go on to encompass every religious, secular, and political viewpoint all discussing social thought without directly saying it. During the discussions surrounding whether to go into Iraq, there were weekly editorials raising issues in which any scholar of St. Augustine and any expert on international law would be well-versed. Everyone will condemn torture because the idea of human dignity, like community and stewardship, is innate across religious, social and ethnic lines. People have a sense of humanity and a desire to protect it. Certainly one may be inclined to preemptively eliminate perceived threats to one's self-preservation, but not without a defense and an explanation for one's actions that is judged against society's mores and international norms. It is notable that while some maintain a deep idealism for the way the world should be, I believe it is necessary to also be pragmatic in the application of such idealism. 'If men and women do not believe that it is possible to live in justice and peace, they will slip ever deeper into a fatalism that only confirms the drift of events toward greater tragedy. If, on the other hand, they only dream of justice and peace and avoid the hard and ambiguous choices that people, nations, and the human community confront, they will just as surely contribute to the triumph of historical forces beyond human control.' Therefore, it is necessary to pursue peace and justice in a realistic manner within the institutional framework. My primary interests in law are international: questions of how we define our status in the world apply aid, trade, and interact. However, my overall goals for the practice of law are far reaching. I envision practicing law for the government, an international agency, or for a non-profit entity, such as an immigration and refugee clinic, or some other type of legal aid work. Why I want to study law follows from my own passions. One motivation is pure intellectual interest. I find the law intriguing. Working in a civil litigation firm as a clerk/paralegal, doing the grunt work, I know the practice of law is not glitzy or glamorous. I spend most of my days writing letters to clients, summarizing depositions, medical records, slogging through cases and researching on Westlaw, dictating, and writing memos. I enjoy pulling cases on Westlaw, finding something on point, and discussing the intricacies of law and policy. I find it immensely challenging, stimulating, and rewarding. However, that is not my driving motivation to go to law school. Volunteering at a legal aid clinic showed me how the law is an instrument that can change peoples' lives. Having an old arrest record expunged allows reformed citizens to obtain stable employment at a wage commensurate with their experience. Working at public radio I reported on a case where lawyers from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund challenged the Chicago bureau of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service's illegal deportation practices. When I worked at the American Bar Association, I fought for greater legal protections throughout Latin America. I helped to establish the rule of law in Kosovo, and met with the past and present prime ministers to discuss strategies for improvement. In each of these activities I met different types of lawyers using their juris doctorates to help people locally and internationally. I do not know, nor do I believe I could or should know at this point, exactly what kind of law I wish to practice. However, I do know I desire to study and practice law to achieve social justice.