Personal Statement of David D. Johnston for University of Baltimore:

Motivations/ Reasons behind a desire for a law school education

As can be seen in the attached resumes, I have both a technical undergraduate degree in Computer Science and a Master's in Business Administration. I intend to take the competencies I have spent years building in the technical and business worlds and use a law school education to bring disparate parties together to conclude business agreements. Some of these agreements I envision will cross over many disciplines, requiring perhaps multiple parties acting as bridges to these very different worlds that I seem to move between rather comfortably. A law school education would also help me come inside part of the business world that appears to shun non-lawyers, or even lawyers that are not part of the current legal community of law firms or bar members. It is very hard to change the world from outside the system, and one of my many intentions in obtaining a law school education is to be able to change things from within. A misunderstanding or misuse of technology, and the privacy issues involved therein, would be a start of where I intend to "change" such a world. Another use of a law school education for me will hopefully be as a continuing illustration of the art of negotiation. I would also look upon my law school education as a kind of therapeutic reorientation of my outlook on the relationship of how people, businesses and the court system behave.

When I become a lawyer, I intend to position myself in the telecommunications part of the legal community so I can assist the technical parts of the business community cope with or handle the ramifications of the recently passed telecommunications act. The Intellectual Property area of concentration at the University of Baltimore is the area of law I would like to specialize in. Given my computer background, I will be in a superior position to guide client companies to effectively plan for the seemingly never-ending computer revolution. The rise of the Internet since the beginning of the decade will continue to affect the education of our children, the way businesses conduct themselves and how the legal environment of business adapts to these changes. I intend to play a part in facilitating these changes.

Current Skills and Activities that have prepared me for a law school education

My current occupation brings me face to face with other people's competing ideas. My ability to recognize the best parts of other people's software designs or customer requirements is critical to performing my job as a software/systems engineer. Proficiency in identifying potential areas of conflict whether in a technical design or a contract proposal for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software packages helps me do my job. The analytical skills necessary to design, program and debug software products that are judged by the harshest judge of all - an unfeeling computer, has prepared me for the analytical study of law. My graduate business program of study has prepared me for the volume of reading, comprehension and application of case studies that I expect to encounter in law school.

On my desk at work right now, I have several FAX transmissions, that have occurred between my company, and the soon to be announced winner of a software contract for the accounting package that will be used to charge users for satellite data provided by NASA. I have been asked along with the chief technical "negotiator" to resolve misunderstandings, or ensure that the requirements that I (and a colleague) wrote last summer will be fulfilled by the software package Hughes Aircraft will purchase on behalf of NASA. The chief technical negotiator and I are attempting to explain and assure the engineering technical staff of our company and the bidder's company along with the legal staff of both parties, that the COTS package will fulfill the requirements listed in the Request for Proposal (RFP) that was issued late last year. The crux of the misunderstanding seems to be the specific areas in COTS package use different words in the documentation than the original RFP included. Part of my job, is to ensure that if the only difference is a semantical one, and not a functional defect, point this out so the contract award can be announced.

Besides work experience I have several academic and community related activities that have primed me for law school. My extra curricular activities in college included adjudicating minor residence hall (dorm) disputes on the College Park campus of the University of Maryland as a "justice" on the Cambridge Area Judicial Board (listed on question #25 of the application). More recently, before I started my MBA program at Loyola in 1990, I was on the Board of Directors of my homeowners association in Laurel, Md. I introduced several motions that included temporarily increasing our monthly fees gradually so there would not be such a severe shock to our residents in their pocketbook in the face of having to replenish a dangerously depleted reserve fund. I also suggested restructuring the reporting system to give current board members the tools to watch over our spending more closely so we will not have to raise fees in the face of emergency again. I hope that a law school education will enable me to continue to help others around me, even if such advice does not wind up paying my bills! Currently, I use my technical skills to either fix or advise friends on their computer problems, or advise communities such as the City of Laurel or officials in Anne Arundel County government, how to approach developing a presence on the Internet. My parents and grandparents used their talents to help others in community and yes, some of these relatives of mine used their law school education to help either businesses or communities in trouble resolve their problems and emerge a better and healthier concern. I hope to continue this tradition, and to a small degree, have already began to do this.

My graduate degree with the GPA of 3.7, demonstrates that I am able to work full-time over an extended period of time (Fall 1990 - Spring 1994), and successfully complete an academic program (of 60 credits). I promise to be a most interesting student, and have during my academic career both at Loyola and at internal training classes, been able to ask many questions in class, study hard, and enjoy the learning of new ideas and viewpoints. I sincerely hope that I will be invited to join you in the study of law in Baltimore in the Fall of 1996.

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