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Excellent Law School Personal Statement Examples By David Busis Published May 5, 2019 Updated Feb 10, 2021

We’ve rounded up five spectacular personal statements that helped students with borderline numbers get into T-14 schools. You’ll find these examples to be as various as a typical JD class. Some essays are about a challenge, some about the evolution of the author’s intellectual or professional journey, and some about the author’s identity. The only common thread is sincerity. The authors did not write toward an imagined idea of what an admissions officer might be looking for: they reckoned honestly with formative experiences.

Personal Statement about a Career Journey

The writer of this personal statement matriculated at Georgetown. Her GPA was below the school’s 25th percentile and her LSAT score was above the 75th percentile. She was not a URM.

* Note that we’ve used female pronouns throughout, though some of the authors are male.

I don’t remember anything being out of the ordinary before I fainted—just the familiar, heady feeling and then nothing. When I came to, they were wheeling me away to the ER. That was the last time I went to the hospital for my neurology observership. Not long after, I crossed “doctor” off my list of post-graduate career options. It would be best, I figured, if I did something for which the day-to-day responsibilities didn’t make me pass out.

Back at the drawing board, I reflected on my choices. The first time around, my primary concern was how I could stay in school for the longest amount of time possible. Key factors were left out of my decision: I had no interest in medicine, no aptitude for the natural sciences, and, as it quickly became apparent, no stomach for sick patients. The second time around, I was honest with myself: I had no idea what I wanted to do.

My college graduation speaker told us that the word “job” comes from the French word “gober,” meaning “to devour.” When I fell into digital advertising, I was expecting a slow and toothless nibbling, a consumption whose impact I could ignore while I figured out what I actually wanted to do. I’d barely started before I realized that my interviewers had been serious when they told me the position was sink or swim. At six months, I was one toothbrush short of living at our office. It was an unapologetic aquatic boot camp—and I liked it. I wanted to swim. The job was bringing out the best in me and pushing me to do things I didn’t think I could do.

I remember my first client emergency. I had a day to re-do a presentation that I’d been researching and putting together for weeks. I was panicked and sure that I’d be next on the chopping block. My only cogent thought was, “Oh my god. What am I going to do?” The answer was a three-part solution I know well now: a long night, lots of coffee, and laser-like focus on exactly and only what was needed.

Five years and numerous emergencies later, I’ve learned how to work: work under pressure, work when I’m tired, and work when I no longer want to. I have enough confidence to set my aims high and know I can execute on them. I’ve learned something about myself that I didn’t know when I graduated: I am capable.

The word “career” comes from the French word “carrière,” denoting a circular racecourse. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me then, that I’ve come full circle with regards to law school. For two college summers, I interned as a legal associate and wondered, “Is this for me?” I didn’t know if I was truly interested, and I was worried that even if I was, I wouldn’t be able to see it through. Today, I don’t have those fears.

In the course of my advertising career, I have worked with many lawyers to navigate the murky waters of digital media and user privacy. Whereas most of my co-workers went to great lengths to avoid our legal team, I sought them out. The legal conversations about our daily work intrigued me. How far could we go in negotiating our contracts to reflect changing definitions of an impression? What would happen if the US followed the EU and implemented wide-reaching data-protection laws?

Working on the ad tech side of the industry, I had the data to target even the most niche audiences: politically-active Mormon Democrats for a political client; young, low-income pregnant women for a state government; millennials with mental health concerns in a campaign for suicide prevention. The extent to which digital technology has evolved is astonishing. So is the fact that it has gone largely unregulated. That’s finally changing, and I believe the shift is going to open up a more prominent role for those who understand both digital technology and its laws. I hope to begin my next career at the intersection of those two worlds.

Personal Statement about Legal Internships

The writer of this essay was admitted to every T14 law school from Columbia on down and matriculated at a top JD program with a large merit scholarship. Her LSAT score was below the median and her GPA was above the median of each school that accepted her. She was not a URM.

About six weeks into my first legal internship, my office-mate gestured at the window—we were seventy stories high in the Chrysler Building—and said, with a sad smile, doesn’t this office just make you want to jump? The firm appeared to be falling apart. The managing partners were suing each other, morale was low, and my boss, in an effort to maintain his client base, had instructed me neither to give any information to nor take any orders from other attorneys. On my first day of work, coworkers warned me that the firm could be “competitive,” which seemed to me like a good thing. I considered myself a competitive person and enjoyed the feeling of victory. This, though, was the kind of competition in which everyone lost.

Although I felt discouraged about the legal field after this experience, I chose not to give up on the profession, and after reading a book that featured the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, I sent in an internship application. Shortly after, I received an offer to work at the office. For my first assignment, I attended a hearing in the federal courthouse. As I entered the magnificent twenty-third-floor courtroom, I felt the gravitas of the issue at hand: the sentencing of a terrorist.

That sense of gravitas never left me, and visiting the courtroom became my favorite part of the job. Sitting in hearings amidst the polished brass fixtures and mahogany walls, watching attorneys in refined suits prosecute terror, cybercrime, and corruption, I felt part of a grand endeavor. The spectacle enthralled me: a trial was like a combination of a theatrical performance and an athletic event. If I’d seen the dark side of competition at my first job, now I was seeing the bright side. I sat on the edge of my seat and watched to see if good—my side—triumphed over evil—the defense. Every conviction seemed like an unambiguous achievement. I told my friends that one day I wanted to help “lock up the bad guys.”

It wasn’t until I interned at the public defender’s office that I realized how much I’d oversimplified the world. In my very first week, I took the statement of a former high school classmate who had been charged with heroin possession. I did not know him well in high school, but we both recognized one another and made small talk before starting the formal interview. He had fallen into drug abuse and had been convicted of petty theft several months earlier. After finishing the interview, I wished him well.

The following week, in a courtroom that felt more like a macabre DMV than the hallowed halls I’d seen with the USAO, I watched my classmate submit his guilty plea, which would allow him to do community service in lieu of jail time. The judge accepted his plea and my classmate mumbled a quiet “thank you.” I felt none of the achievement I’d come to associate with guilty pleas. In that court, where hundreds of people trudged through endless paperwork and long lines before they could even see a judge, there were no good guys and bad guys—just people trying to put their lives back together.

A year after my internship at the public defender’s office, I read a profile of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and my former boss. In the profile, he says, “You don’t want a justice system in which prosecutors are cowboys.” The more I saw at the public defender’s office, the more I rethought my experience at the USAO. When I had excitedly called my parents after an insider trading conviction, I had not thought of the defendant’s family. When I had cheered the conviction of a terrorist, I hadn’t thought about the fact that a conviction could not undo his actions. As I now plan on entering the legal profession—either as a prosecutor or public defender—I realize that my enthusiasm momentarily overwrote my empathy. I’d been playing cowboy. A lawyer’s job isn’t to lock up bad guys or help good guys in order to quench a competitive thirst—it’s to subsume his or her ego in the work and, by presenting one side of a case, create a necessary condition for justice.

Personal Statement about Cultural Identity

The writer of this essay was offered significant merit aid packages from Cornell, Michigan, and Northwestern, and matriculated at NYU Law. Her LSAT score was below the 25th percentile LSAT score and her GPA matched the median GPA of NYU.

By the age of five, I’d attended seven kindergartens and collected more frequent flier miles than most adults. I resided in two worlds – one with fast motorcycles, heavy pollution, and the smell of street food lingering in the air; the other with trimmed grass, faint traces of perfume mingling with coffee in the mall, and my mom pressing her hand against my window as she left for work. She was the only constant between these two worlds – flying me between Taiwan and America as she struggled to obtain a U.S. citizenship.

My family reunited for good around my sixth birthday, when we flew back to Taiwan to join my dad. I forgot about the West, acquired a taste for Tangyuan, and became fast friends with the kids in my neighborhood. In the evenings, I’d sit with my grandmother as she watched soap operas in Taiwanese, the dialect of the older generation, which I picked up in unharmonious bits and pieces. Other nights, she would turn off the TV, and speak to me about tradition and history – recounting my ancestors, life during the Japanese regime, raising my dad under martial law. “You are the last of the Li’s,” she would say, patting my back, and I’d feel a quick rush of pride, as though a lineage as deep as that of the English monarchy rested on my shoulders.

When I turned seven, my parents enrolled me in an American school, explaining that it was time for me, a Tai Wan Ren (Taiwanese), to learn English – “a language that could open doors to better opportunities.” Although I learned slowly, with a handful of the most remedial in ESL (English as a Second Language), books like The Secret Garden and The Wind in the Willows opened up new worlds of captivating images and beautiful stories that I longed to take part in.

Along with the new language, I adopted a different way to dress, new mannerisms, and new tastes, including American pop culture. I stopped seeing the neighborhood kids, and sought a set of friends who shared my affinity for HBO movies and  Claire’s Jewelry . Whenever taxi drivers or waitresses asked where I was from, noting that I spoke Chinese with too much of an accent to be native, I told them I was American.

At home, I asked my mom to stop packing Taiwanese food for my lunch. The cheap food stalls I once enjoyed now embarrassed me. Instead, I wanted instant mashed potatoes and Kraft mac and cheese.

When it came time for college, I enrolled in a liberal arts school on the East Coast to pursue my love of literature, and was surprised to find that my return to America did not feel like the full homecoming I’d expected. America was as familiar as it was foreign, and while I had mastered being “American” in Taiwan, being an American in America baffled me. The open atmosphere of my university, where ideas and feelings were exchanged freely, felt familiar and welcoming, but cultural references often escaped me. Unlike my friends who’d grown up in the States, I had never heard of Wonder Bread, or experienced the joy of Chipotle’s burrito bowls. Unlike them, I missed the sound of motorcycles whizzing by my window on quiet nights.

It was during this time of uncertainty that I found my place through literature, discovering Taiye Selasi, Edward Said, and Primo Levi, whose works about origin and personhood reshaped my conception of my own identity. Their usage of the language of otherness provided me with the vocabulary I had long sought, and revealed that I had too simplistic an understanding of who I was. In trying to discover my role in each cultural context, I’d confined myself within an easy dichotomy, where the East represented exotic foods and experiences, and the West, development and consumerism. By idealizing the latter and rejecting the former, I had reduced the richness of my worlds to caricatures. Where I am from, and who I am, is an amalgamation of my experiences and heritage: I am simultaneously a Mei Guo Ren and Taiwanese.

Just as I once reconciled my Eastern and Western identities, I now seek to reconcile my love of literature with my desire to effect tangible change. I first became interested in law on my study abroad program, when I visited the English courts as a tourist. As I watched the barristers deliver their statements, it occurred to me that law and literature have some similarities: both are a form of criticism that depends on close reading, the synthesis of disparate intellectual frameworks, and careful argumentation. Through my subsequent internships and my current job, I discovered that legal work possessed a tangibility I found lacking in literature. The lawyers I collaborate with work tirelessly to address the same problems and ideas I’ve explored only theoretically in my classes – those related to human rights, social contracts, and moral order. Though I understand that lawyers often work long hours, and that the work can be, at times, tedious, I’m drawn to the kind of research, analysis, and careful reading that the profession requires. I hope to harness my critical abilities to reach beyond the pages of the books I love and make meaningful change in the real world.

Personal Statement about Weightlifting

The writer of this essay was admitted to her top choice—a T14 school—with a handwritten note from the dean that praised her personal statement. Her LSAT score was below the school’s median and her GPA was above the school’s median.

As I knelt to tie balloons around the base of the white, wooden cross, I thought about the morning of my best friend’s accident: the initial numbness that overwhelmed my entire body; the hideous sound of my own small laugh when I called the other member of our trio and repeated the words “Mark died”; the panic attack I’d had driving home, resulting in enough tears that I had to pull off to the side of the road. Above all, I remembered the feeling of reality crashing into my previously sheltered life, the feeling that nothing was as safe or certain as I’d believed.

I had been with Mark the day before he passed, exactly one week before we were both set to move down to Tennessee to start our freshman year of college. It would have been difficult to feel so alone with my grief in any circumstance, but Mark’s crash seemed to ignite a chain reaction of loss. I had to leave Nashville abruptly in order to attend the funeral of my grandmother, who helped raise me, and at the end of the school year, a close friend who had helped me adjust to college was killed by an oncoming car on the day that he’d graduated. Just weeks before visiting Mark’s grave on his birthday, a childhood friend shot and killed himself in an abandoned parking lot on Christmas Eve. I spent Christmas Day trying to act as normally as possible, hiding the news in order not to ruin the holiday for the rest of my family.

This pattern of loss compounding loss affected me more than I ever thought it would. First, I just avoided social media out of fear that I’d see condolences for yet another friend who had passed too early. Eventually, I shut down emotionally and lost interest in the world—stopped attending social gatherings, stopped talking to anyone, and stopped going to many of my classes, as every day was a struggle to get out of bed. I hated the act that I had to put on in public, where I was always getting asked the same question —“I haven’t seen you in forever, where have you been?”—and always responding with the same lie: “I’ve just been really busy.”

I had been interested in bodybuilding since high school, but during this time, the lowest period of my life, it changed from a simple hobby to a necessity and, quite possibly, a lifesaver. The gym was the one place I could escape my own mind, where I could replace feelings of emptiness with the feeling of my heart pounding, lungs exploding, and blood flooding my muscles, where—with sweat pouring off my forehead and calloused palms clenched around cold steel—I could see clearly again.

Not only did my workouts provide me with an outlet for all of my suppressed emotion, but they also became the one aspect of my life where I felt I was still in control. I knew that if it was Monday, no matter what else was going on, I was going to be working out my legs, and I knew exactly what exercises I was going to do, and how many repetitions I was going to perform, and how much weight I was going to use for each repetition. I knew exactly when I would be eating and exactly how many grams of each food source I would ingest. I knew how many calories I would get from each of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. My routine was one thing I could count on.

As I loaded more plates onto the barbell, I grew stronger mentally as well. The gym became a place, paradoxically, of both exertion and tranquility, a sanctuary where I felt capable of thinking about the people I’d lost. It was the healing I did there that let me tie the balloons to the cross on Mark’s third birthday after the crash, and that let me spend the rest of the afternoon sharing stories about Mark with friends on the side of the rural road. It was the healing I did there that left me ready to move on.

One of the fundamental principles of weightlifting involves progressively overloading the muscles by taking them to complete failure, coming back, and performing past the point where you last failed, consistently making small increases over time. The same principle helped me overcome my grief, and in the past few years, I’ve applied it to everything from learning Spanish to studying for the LSAT. As I prepare for the next stage of my life, I know I’ll encounter more challenges for which I’m unprepared, but I feel strong enough now to acknowledge my weaknesses, and—by making incremental gains—to overcome them.

Personal Statement about Sexual Assault

The writer of this essay was accepted to many top law schools and matriculated at Columbia. Her LSAT score matched Columbia’s median while her GPA was below Columbia’s 25th percentile.

My rapist didn’t hold a knife to my throat. My rapist didn’t jump out of a dark alleyway. My rapist didn’t slip me a roofie. My rapist was my eighth-grade boyfriend, who was already practicing with the high school football team. He assaulted me in his suburban house in New Jersey, while his mom cooked us dinner in the next room, in the back of an empty movie theatre, on the couch in my basement.

It started when I was thirteen and so excited to have my first real boyfriend. He was a football player from a different school who had a pierced ear and played the guitar. I, a shy, slightly chubby girl with a bad haircut and very few friends, felt wanted, needed, and possibly loved. The abuse—the verbal and physical harassment that eventually turned sexual—was just something that happened in grown-up relationships. This is what good girlfriends do, I thought. They say yes.

Never having had a sex-ed class in my life, it took me several months after my eighth-grade graduation and my entry into high school to realize the full extent of what he did to me. My overall experience of first “love” seemed surreal. This was something that happened in a Lifetime movie, not in a small town in New Jersey in his childhood twin bed. I didn’t tell anyone about what happened. I had a different life in a different school by then, and I wasn’t going to let my trauma define my existence.

As I grew older, I was confronted by the fact that rape is not a surreal misfortune or a Lifetime movie. It’s something that too many of my close friends have experienced. It’s when my sorority sister tells me about the upstairs of a frat house when she’s too drunk to say no. It’s when the boy in the room next door tells me about his uncle during freshman orientation. It’s a high school peer whose summer internship boss became too handsy. Rape is real. It’s happening every day, to mothers, brothers, sisters, and fathers—a silent majority that want to manage the burden on their own, afraid of judgement, afraid of repercussions, afraid of a he-said she-said court battle.

I am beyond tired of the silence. It took me three years to talk about what happened to me, to come clean to my peers and become a model of what it means to speak about something that society tells you not to speak about. Motivated by my own experience and my friends’ stories, I joined three groups that help educate my college community about sexual health and assault: New Feminists, Speak for Change, and Sexual Assault Responders. I trained to staff a peer-to-peer emergency hotline for survivors of sexual assault. I protested the university’s cover-up of a gang-rape in the basement of a fraternity house two doors from where I live now. As a member of my sorority’s executive board, I have talked extensively about safety and sexual assault, and have orchestrated a speaker on the subject to come to campus and talk to the exceptional young women I consider family. I’ve proposed a DOE policy change to make sexual violence education mandatory to my city councilman. This past summer, I traveled to a country notorious for sexual violence and helped lay the groundwork for a health center that will allow women to receive maternal care, mental health counseling, and career counseling.

Law school is going to help me take my advocacy to the next level. Survivors of sexual assault, especially young survivors, often don’t know where to turn. They don’t know their Title IX rights, they don’t know about the Clery Act, and they don’t know how to demand help when every other part of the system is shouting at them to be quiet and give up. Being a lawyer, first and foremost, is being an advocate. With a JD, I can work with groups like SurvJustice and the Rape Survivors Law Project to change the lives of people who were silenced for too long.

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18 Law School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted!

sample-law-school-personal-statement-and-tips

This blog contains law school personal statement examples written by applicants who were successfully accepted to multiple law schools after working with our admissions experts as part of our  application review programs . Your  law school personal statement  is one of the most important parts of your application and is your best opportunity to show admissions officers who you are behind your numbers and third-party assessments. Because of its importance, many students find the personal statement to be daunting and demanding of the full scope of their skills as writers. Today we're going to review these excellent law school personal statement examples from past successful applicants and provide some proven strategies from a former admissions officer that can help you prepare your own stellar essay. 

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 44 min read

Law school personal statement example #1.

When I was a child, my neighbors, who had arrived in America from Nepal, often seemed stressed. They argued a lot, struggled for money, and seemed to work all hours of the day. One day, I woke early in the morning to a commotion outside my apartment. Police officers were accompanying my neighbors out of the building. They were being deported. In my teens, I was shocked to see that our kind, friendly neighbors had exhausted their last chance to stay in America as they lost a court appeal. 

Since that time, I have worked closely with the many immigrant families in my neighborhood, and now university town. I began by volunteering at a local community center. Together with social workers, I served food and gave out clothes to new arrivals. My diligent work ethic led to more responsibility, and I received training in basic counseling techniques, first aid skills and community services. Soon, I was tasked with welcoming new community members and assessing their health and social needs. I heard the many difficult stories of those who had traveled thousands of miles, often through several countries, risking everything to reach a safe, welcoming country. I was proud to contribute in some small way to making America welcoming for these individuals.

The community center is where I had my first formal contact with legal aid lawyers, who were a constant source of knowledge and support for those who needed assistance. I was struck by the lawyers’ ability to explain complex legal processes to nervous and exhausted incomers: law, I realized, was about more than procedure. I decided that I, too, would strive to balance a wealth of technical knowledge with my caring, compassionate personality.

As soon as I enrolled in university, I knew I had the chance to do so. In my very first week, I signed up to volunteer at the university’s legal aid center, where I worked closely with law professors and students on a range of cases. Academically, I have focused on courses, such as a fourth-year Ethics seminar, that would help me develop rigorous critical reasoning skills. More importantly, I knew that, given my experience, I could be a leader on campus. I decided to found a refugee campaign group, Students4Refugees. Together with a group of volunteers, we campaigned to make our campus a refugee-friendly space. I organized a series of events: international student mixers, an art installation in our student commons, and concerts that raised over $5,000 for the charity Refugee Aid. I am proud to say that my contributions were recognized with a university medal for campus leadership.

I have seen time and again how immigrants to the United States struggle with bureaucracy, with complex legal procedures, and with the demands of living in a foreign and sometimes hostile climate. As I plan to enter law school, I look back to my neighbors’ experiences: they needed someone who knew the law, who could negotiate with the authorities on their behalf, who could inform them of their rights—but they also needed someone who would provide a caring and compassionate outlet for their stresses. I know that Townsville University’s combination of academic rigor, legal aid services, and history of graduates entering labor and non-profit sectors will allow me to develop these skills and continue making contributions to my community by advocating for those in need.

  • Thematic consistency: It focuses on just one theme: justice for immigrants. Each paragraph is designed to show off how enthusiastic the student is about this area of law. Personal statements—including those for law school—often begin with a personal anecdote. This one is short, memorable, and relevant. It establishes the overall theme quickly. By constraining their essay’s focus to a single general theme, the writer can go into great depth and weave in emotional and psychological weight through careful and vivid description. The personal statement isn’t a standard 3-paragraph college essay with a spotlight thesis statement, but it conveys similar impact through presenting a central focus organically, without resorting to simply blurting out “the point” of the piece.   
  • Shows, rather than tells: Connected to this, this statement focuses on showing rather than telling. Rather than simply telling the reader about their commitment to law, the applicant describes specific situations they were involved in that demonstrate their commitment to law. “Show don’t tell” means you want to paint a vivid picture of actions or experiences that demonstrate a given quality or skill, and not simply say "I can do X." Make it an experience for your reader, don't just give them a fact. 
  • Confident, but not arrogant: Additionally, this personal statement is confident without being boastful—leadership qualities, grades, and an award are all mentioned in context, rather than appearing as a simple list of successes. 
  • Specific to the school: It ends with a conclusion that alludes to why the applicant is suitable for the specific school to which they’re applying and points to their future career plans. Thoroughly researching the law school to which you’re applying is incredibly important so that you can tailor your remarks to the specific qualities and values they’re looking for. A law essay writing service is really something that can help you integrate this aspect effectively. 

What Should a Law School Personal Statement Do?

1.      be unique to the school you’re applying to.

Students are always asking how to write a personal statement for law school, particularly one that stands out from all the rest. After all, advice from most universities can often be quite vague. Take this zinger from the  University of Chicago : “Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you… Just be yourself.” Every school will have different requirements or content they want to see in a personal statement. This is why it’s a good idea to review specific guidelines for the school to which you’re applying. For example, you can read Yale Law School personal statement examples , Stanford Law personal statement examples , and an NYU personal statement to get an idea of what these schools look for.

2.      Demonstrate your skills and capabilities

For motivated students with the world at their fingertips, it’s a tough ask to narrow your character down into a few hundred words! But this is exactly the point of such generic guidelines—to challenge aspiring law students to produce something unique and convincing with minimal direction by the university. Law is, after all, a profession that demands your language to be persuasive, and the personal statement is merely one of many exercises where you can demonstrate your language skills. 

3.      Meet basic requirements

While the law school personal statement is about far more than just following essay directions, you still need to keep basic formatting and length restrictions in mind. Most law schools ask for a 2-page personal statement, but lengths can range from 2-4 pages. Georgetown Law School , for instance, recommends a 2-page personal statement but explicitly states that there is no official minimum or maximum. In general, length does not make a personal statement better. Rambling, meandering sentences and tiresome descriptions will only hurt the impact of your ideas, especially considering how many thousands of pages admissions committees have to churn through each year.  

In short, keep to 2 double-spaced pages, and only go below or above this is if you absolutely have to, and if the school to which you're applying allows it. You want to keep things as widely applicable as possible while drafting your personal statement, meaning that you don't want to draft a 4 page letter for the one school that allows it, and then have to significantly rewrite this for your other schools. Stick to 2 pages. 

4.      Embody what the school is looking for

Lastly, many law schools won’t offer hyper-specific prompts, but will give you general law school admissions essay topics to follow. For instance, the University of Washington’s law school provides a number of topics to follow, including “Describe a personal challenge you faced” or “Describe your passions and involvement in a project or pursuit and the ways in which it has contributed to your personal growth and goals.” These topics may feel specific at first, but as you begin drafting, you’ll likely realize you have dozens of memories to choose from, and numerous ways of describing their impact. While drafting, try to explore as many of these options as possible, and select the best or most impactful to use in your final draft.  

Want to write the perfect law school personal statement? Watch this video:

Law School Personal Statement Example #2

In my home community, the belief is that the law is against us. The law oppresses and victimizes. I must admit that as a child and young person I had this opinion based on my environment and the conversations around me. I did not understand that the law could be a vehicle for social change, and I certainly did not imagine I had the ability and talents to be a voice for this change. I regularly attended my high school classes because I enjoyed the discussions and reading for English and history, and writing came easily to me, but I wasn’t committed to getting good grades because I felt I had no purpose. My mindset changed as I spent time with Mark Russell, a law student who agreed to mentor and tutor me as part of a “high school to law school” mentorship program. Every week, for three years, Mark and I would meet. At first, Mark tutored me, but I quickly became an “A” student, not only because of the tutoring, but because my ambitions were uncorked by what Mark shared with me about university, the law, and his life. I learned grades were the currency I needed to succeed. I attended mock trials, court hearings, and law lectures with Mark and developed a fresh understanding of the law that piqued an interest in law school. My outlook has changed because my mentor, my teachers, and my self-advocacy facilitated my growth. Still, injustices do occur. The difference is that I now believe the law can be an instrument for social change, but voices like mine must give direction to policy and resources in order to fight those injustices.

Early in my mentorship, I realized it was necessary to be “in the world” differently if I were to truly consider a law career. With Mark’s help and the support of my high school teachers, I learned to advocate for myself and explore opportunities that would expand my worldview as well as my academic skills. I joined a Model UN club at a neighboring high school, because my own school did not have enough student interest to have a club. By discussing global issues and writing decisions, I began to feel powerful and confident with my ability to gather evidence and make meaningful decisions about real global issues. As I built my leadership, writing, and public speaking skills, I noticed a rift developing with some of my friends. I wanted them to begin to think about larger systemic issues outside of our immediate experience, as I was learning to, and to build confidence in new ways. I petitioned my school to start a Model UN and recruited enough students to populate the club. My friends did not join the club as I’d hoped, but before I graduated, we had 2 successful years with the students who did join. I began to understand that I cannot force change based on my own mandate, but I must listen attentively to the needs and desires of others in order to support them as they require.

While I learned to advocate for myself throughout high school, I also learned to advocate for others. My neighbors, knowing my desire to be a lawyer, would often ask me to advocate on their behalf with small grievances. I would make phone calls, stand in line with them at government offices, and deal with difficult landlords. A woman, Elsa, asked me to review her rental agreement to help her understand why her landlord had rented it to someone else, rather than renewing her lease. I scoured the rental agreement, highlighted questionable sections, read the Residential Tenancies Act, and developed a strategy for approaching the landlord. Elsa and I sat down with the landlord and, upon seeing my binder complete with indices, he quickly conceded before I could even speak. That day, I understood evidence is the way to justice. My interest in justice grew, and while in university, I sought experiences to solidify my decision to pursue law.

Last summer, I had the good fortune to work as a summer intern in the Crown Attorney’s Office responsible for criminal trial prosecutions. As the only pre-law intern, I was given tasks such as reviewing court tapes, verifying documents, and creating a binder with indices. I often went to court with the prosecutors where I learned a great deal about legal proceedings, and was at times horrified by human behavior. This made the atmosphere in the Crown Attorney’s office even more surprising. I worked with happy and passionate lawyers whose motivations were pubic service, the safety and well-being of communities, and justice. The moment I realized justice was their true objective, not the number of convictions, was the moment I decided to become a lawyer.

I broke from the belief systems I was born into. I did this through education, mentorship, and self-advocacy. There is sadness because in this transition I left people behind, especially as I entered university. However, I am devoted to my home community. I understand the barriers that stand between youth and their success. As a law student, I will mentor as I was mentored, and as a lawyer, I will be a voice for change.

What’s Great about this Second Law School Personal Statement?

  • It tells a complete and compelling story: Although the applicant expressed initial reservations about the law generally, the statement tells a compelling story of how the applicant's opinions began to shift and their interest in law began. They use real examples and show how that initial interest, once seeded, grew into dedication and passion. This introduction implies an answer to the " why do you want to study law? ” interview question.
  • It shows adaptability: Receptiveness to new information and the ability to change both thought and behavior based on this new information. The writer describes realizing that they needed to be "in the world" differently! It's hard to convey such a grandiose idea without sounding cliché, but through their captivating and chronological narrative, the writer successfully convinces the reader that this is the case with copious examples, including law school extracurriculars . It’s a fantastic case of showing rather than telling, describing specific causes they were involved with which demonstrate that the applicant is genuinely committed to a career in the law. 
  • Includes challenges the subject faced and overcame: This law school personal statement also discusses weighty, relatable challenges that they faced, such as the applicant's original feeling toward law, and the fact that they lost some friends along the way. However, the applicant shows determination to move past these hurdles without self-pity or other forms of navel-gazing.  Additionally, this personal statement ends with a conclusion that alludes to why the applicant is suitable for the specific school to which they’re applying and points to their future career plans. The writer manages to craft an extremely immersive and believable story about their path to the present, while also managing to curate the details of this narrative to fit the specific values and mission of the school to which they’re applying.

What’s Great About This Third Law School Personal Statement? 

  • Description is concise and effective: This writer opens with rich, vivid description and seamlessly guides the reader into a compelling first-person narrative. Using punchy, attention-grabbing descriptions like these make events immersive, placing readers in the writer's shoes and creating a sense of immediacy. 
  • Achievements are the focus: They also do a fantastic job of talking about their achievements, such as interview team lead, program design, etc., without simply bragging. Instead, they deliver this information within a cohesive narrative that includes details, anecdotes, and information that shows their perspective in a natural way. Lastly, they invoke their passion for law with humility, discussing their momentary setbacks and frustrations as ultimately positive experiences leading to further growth. 

Want more law school personal statement examples from top law schools?

  • Harvard law school personal statement examples
  • Columbia law school personal statement examples
  • Cornell law school personal statement examples
  • Yale law school personal statement examples
  • UPenn law school personal statement examples
  • Cambridge law school personal statement examples

Law School Personal Statement #4

What’s great about this fourth law school personal statement.

  • Engaging description: Like the third example above, this fourth law school personal statement opens with engaging description and first-person narrative. However, the writer of this personal statement chooses to engage a traumatic aspect of their childhood and discuss how this adversity led them to develop their desire to pursue a career in law.  
  • Strong theme of overcoming adversity: Overcoming adversity is a frequent theme in personal statements for all specialties, but with law school personal statements students are often able to utilize uniquely dramatic, difficult, and pivotal experiences that involved interacting with the law. It may be hard to discuss such emotionally weighty experiences in a short letter but, as this personal statement shows, with care and focus it's possible to sincerely demonstrate how your early struggles paved the way for you to become the person you are now. It's important to avoid sensationalism, but you shouldn't shy away from opening up to your readers about adverse experiences that have ultimately pointed you in a positive direction. 

Why "show, don't tell" is the #1 rule for personal statements:

Law School Personal Statement Example #5

What’s great about this fifth law school personal statement  .

  • Highlights achievements effectively: This writer does a fantastic job of incorporating their accomplishments and impact they had on their community without any sense of bragging or conceit. Rather, these accomplishments are related in terms of deep personal investment and a general drive to have a positive impact on those around them—without resorting to the cliches of simply stating "I want to help people." They show themselves helping others, and how these early experiences of doing so are a fundamental part of their drive to succeed with a career in law.   
  • Shows originality: Additionally, they do a great job of explaining the uniqueness of their identity. The writer doesn't simply list their personal/cultural characteristics, but contextualizes them to show how they've shaped their path to law school. Being the child of a Buddhist mother and a Hindu father doesn’t imply anything about a person’s ability to study/practice law on its own, but explaining how this unique aspect of their childhood encouraged a passion for “discussion, active debate, and compromise” is profoundly meaningful to an admissions panel. Being able to express how fundamental aspects of law practice are an integral part of yourself is a hugely helpful tactic in a law school personal statement. 

If you\u2019re heading North of the border, check out list of  law schools in Canada  that includes requirements and stats on acceptance. ","label":"Tip","title":"Tip"}]" code="tab2" template="BlogArticle">

Law School Personal Statement Example #6

What’s great about this sixth law school personal statement .

  • Weaves in cultural background: Similar to the writer of personal statement #5, this student utilizes the cultural uniqueness of their childhood to show how their path to law school was both deeply personal and rooted in ideas pervasive in their early years. Unlike the writer of statement #5, this student doesn't shy away from explaining how this distinctiveness was often a source of alienation and difficulty. Yet this adversity is, as they note, ultimately what helped them be an adaptable and driven student, with a clear desire to make a positive impact on the kinds of situations that they witnessed affect their parents.  
  • Describes setbacks while remaining positive: This writer also doesn't shy away from describing their temporary setbacks as both learning experiences and, crucially, springboards for positively informing their plans for the future. 

What’s Great About This Seventh Law School Personal Statement? 

  • The writer takes accountability: One of the hardest things to accomplish in a personal statement is describing not just early setbacks that are out of your control but early mistakes for which you must take responsibility. The writer of this personal statement opens with descriptions of characteristics that most law schools would find problematic at best. But at the end of this introduction, they successfully utilize an epiphany, a game-changing moment in which they saw something beyond their early pathological aimlessness, to clearly mark the point at which they became focused on law.  
  • The narrative structure is clear: They clearly describe the path forward from this moment on, showing how they remained focused on earning a law degree, and how they were able to work through successive experiences of confusion to persist in finishing their undergraduate education at a prestigious university. Of course, you shouldn't brag about such things for their own sake, but this writer makes the point of opening up about the unique feelings of inadequacy that come along with being the first person in their family to attend such a school, and how these feelings were—like their initial aimlessness—mobilized in service of their goal and the well-being of others. Their statement balances discussion of achievement with humility, which is a difficult but impactful tactic when done well. 

Law School Personal Statement Example #8

What’s great about this eighth law school personal statement .

  • Shows commitment to the community: Commitment to one’s community is a prized value in both law students and law professionals. This writer successfully describes not only how they navigated the challenges in their group environments, such as their internship, the debate team, etc., but how these challenges strengthened their commitment to being a positive part of their communities. They don’t simply describe the skills and lessons they learned from these challenging environments, but also how these challenges ultimately made them even more committed to and appreciative of these kinds of dynamic, evolutionary settings.  
  • Avoids negative description: They also avoid placing blame or negatively describing the people in these situations, instead choosing to characterize inherent difficulties in terms neutral to the people around them. In this way, you can describe extremely challenging environments without coming off as resentful, and identify difficulties without being accusatory or, worse yet, accidentally or indirectly seeming like part of the problem. This writer manages to convey the difficulty and complexity of these experiences while continually returning to their positive long-term impact, and though you shouldn’t seek to “bright-side” the troubles in your life you should absolutely point out how these experiences have made you a more capable and mature student. 

Watch this for more law school personal statement examples!

Law School Personal Statement Example #9

What’s great about this ninth law school personal statement  .

  • The writer effectively describes how their background shaped their decision to pursue law: Expressing privilege as adversity is something that very few students should even attempt, and fewer still can actually pull it off. But the writer of this personal statement does just that in their second paragraph, describing how the ease and comfort of their upbringing could have been a source of laziness or detachment, and often is for particularly well-off students, but instead served as a basis for their ongoing commitment to addressing the inequalities and difficulties of those less comfortable. Describing how you’ve developed into an empathic and engaged person, worked selflessly in any volunteer experiences, and generally aimed your academic life at a career in law for the aid of others—all this is incredibly moving for an admissions board, and can help you discuss your determination and understanding of exactly why you desire a career in law.  
  • The student shows adaptability, flexibility, and commitment: Additionally, this writer is able to show adaptability while describing their more prestigious appointments in a way that’s neither self-aggrandizing nor unappreciative. One of the big takeaways from this statement is the student’s commitment and flexibility, and these are both vitally important qualities to convey in your law school personal statement.  

Law School Personal Statement Example #10

What’s great about this tenth law school personal statement .

Shows passion: If you’re one of the rare students for whom service to others has always been a core belief, by all means find a novel and engaging way of making this the guiding principle of your personal statement. Don’t overdo it—don’t veer into poetry or lofty philosophizing—but by all means let your passion guide your pen (well…keyboard). Every step of the way, this student relates their highs and lows, their challenges and successes, to an extremely earnest and sincere set of altruistic values invoked at the very beginning of their statement. Law school admissions boards don’t exactly prize monomania, but they do value intense and sustained commitment.  

Shows maturity: This student also successfully elaborates this passion in relation to mature understanding. That is, they make repeated points about their developing understanding of law that sustains their hopefulness and emotional intensity while also incorporating knowledge of the sometimes troubling day-to-day challenges of the profession. Law schools aren’t looking for starry-eyed naivete, but they do value optimism and the ability to stay positive in a profession often defined by its difficulties and unpredictability. 

Every pre-law student blames their lack of success on the large number of applicants, the heartless admissions committee members, or the high GPA and LSAT score cut offs. Check out our blog on  law school acceptance rates  to find out more about the law school admission statistics for law schools in the US . Having taught more than a thousand students every year, I can tell you the REAL truth about why most students get rejected: 

Need tips on your law school resume?

8 Additional Law School Personal Statement Examples

Now that you have a better idea of what your law school personal statement should include, and how you can make it stand out, here are five additional law school personal statements for you to review and get some inspiration:

Law school personal statement example #11

According to the business wire, 51 percent of students are not confident in their career path when they enroll in college. I was one of those students for a long time. My parents had always stressed the importance of education and going to college, so I knew that I wanted to get a tertiary education, I just didn’t know in what field. So, like many other students, I matriculated undecided and started taking introductory courses in the subjects that interest me. I took classes from the department of literature, philosophy, science, statistics, business, and so many others but nothing really called out to me.

I figured that maybe if I got some practical experience, I might get more excited about different fields. I remembered that my high school counselor had told me that medicine would be a good fit for me, and I liked the idea of a career that involved constant learning. So, I applied for an observership at my local hospital. I had to cross “doctor” off my list of post-graduate career options when I fainted in the middle of a consultation in the ER.

I had to go back to the drawing board and reflect on my choices. I decided to stop trying to make an emotional decision and focus on the data. So, I looked at my transcript thus far, and it quickly became clear to me that I had both an interest and an aptitude for business and technology. I had taken more courses in those two fields than in any others, and I was doing very well in them. My decision was reaffirmed when I spent the summer interning at a digital marketing firm during my senior year in college and absolutely loved my experience. 

Since graduating, I have been working at that same firm and I am glad that I decided to major in business. I first started as a digital advertising assistant, and I quickly learned that the world of digital marketing is an incredibly fast-paced sink-or-swim environment. I didn’t mind it at all. I wanted to swim with the best of them and succeed. So far, my career in advertising has been challenging and rewarding in ways that I never could have imagined. 

I remember the first potential client that I handled on my own. Everything had been going great until they changed their mind about an important detail a day before we were supposed to present our pitch. . I had a day to research and re-do a presentation that I’d been preparing for weeks. I was sure that I’d be next on the chopping block, but once again all I had to was take a step back and look at the information that I had. Focusing on the big picture helped me come up with a new pitch, and after a long night, lots of coffee, and laser-like focus, I delivered a presentation that I was not only proud of, but that landed us the client. 

Three years and numerous client emergencies later, I have learned how to work under pressure, how to push myself, and how to think critically. I also have a much better understanding of who I am and what skills I possess. One of the many things that I have learned about myself over the course of my career is that I am a fan of the law. Over the past three years, I have worked with many lawyers to navigate the muddy waters of user privacy and digital media. I often find myself looking forward to working with our legal team, whereas my coworkers actively avoid them. I have even become friends with my colleagues on the legal team who also enjoy comparing things like data protection laws in the US and the EU and speculating about the future of digital technology regulation. 

These experiences and conversations have led me to a point where I am interested in various aspects of the law. I now know that I have the skills required to pursue a legal education and that this time around, I am very sure about what I wish to study. Digital technology has evolved rapidly over the last decade, and it is just now starting to become regulated. I believe that this shift is going to open up a more prominent role for those who understand both digital technology and its laws, especially in the corporate world. My goal is to build a career at the intersection of these worlds.

Law school personal statement example #12

The first weekend I spent on my undergrad college campus was simultaneously one of the best and worst of my life. I was so excited to be away from home, on my own, making new friends and trying new things. One of those things was a party at a sorority house with my friend and roommate, where I thought we both had a great time. Both of us came from small towns, and we had decided to look out for one another. So, when it was time to go home, and I couldn't find her, I started to worry. I spent nearly an hour looking for her before I got her message saying she was already back in our dorm. 

It took her three months to tell me that she had been raped that night. Her rapist didn't hold a knife to her throat, jump out of a dark alleyway, or slip her a roofie. Her rapist was her long-term boyfriend, with whom she'd been in a long-distance relationship for just over a year. He assaulted her in a stranger's bedroom while her peers, myself included, danced the night away just a few feet away. 

I remember feeling overwhelmed when she first told me. I was sad for my friend, angry on her behalf, and disgusted by her rapist's actions. I also felt incredibly guilty because I had been there when it happened. I told myself that I should have stayed with her all night and that I should have seen the abuse - verbal and physical harassment- that he was inflicting on her before it turned sexual. But eventually, I realized that thinking about what could, should, or would've happened doesn't help anyone. 

I watched my friend go through counseling, attend support groups, and still, she seemed to be hanging on by a thread. I couldn't begin to imagine what she was going through, and unfortunately, there was very little I could do to help her. So, I decided to get involved with the Sexual Assault Responders Group on campus, where I would actually be able to help another survivor. 

My experience with the Sexual Assault Responders Group on campus was eye-opening. I mostly worked on the peer-to-peer hotline, where I spoke to survivors from all walks of life. I was confronted by the fact that rape is not a surreal unfortunate thing that happens to a certain type of person. I learned that it happens daily to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. I also learned that most survivors try to manage this burden on their own, afraid of judgment and repercussions and fearful of a he-said-she-said court battle.

I am proud to say that I used my time in college to not only earn an education, but also to advocate for survivors of sexual assault. I protested the university's cover-up of a gang rape that took place in one of the fraternity houses on campus. I spearheaded a 'no means no' campaign to raise awareness about consent on campus. I also led several fundraising campaigns for the Sexual Assault Responders Group that allowed us to pay for legal and mental health counselors for the survivors who came to us for support. 

One of the things that this experience helped me realize is that sexual assault survivors often do not know where to turn when the system tries to tell them that it'd be best to just keep quiet and suffer in silence. My goal is to become one of those people that they can turn to for counsel and support. I believe that a law degree would give me the knowledge and tools that I need to advocate for survivors on a more significant scale. 

Need tips for your law school optional essays? Check out this infographic:

Law school personal statement example #13

I grew up in two different worlds. My world at home was full of people of various skin tones and accents. It was small, loud, and often chaotic in the best ways. I remember walking home and getting to experience music from across the world before I got to my apartment building. Loud reggaeton and afrobeat were always playing somewhere in the distance. Aunties and uncles usually stopped by unannounced and slipped money in your palm when they hugged you goodbye. And the smell of fried plantains was almost always present. 

My other world was in school. It was a much quieter, more organized world with white hallways, navy blazers, and plaid skirts. It was full of people who did not look or sound like me and teachers who thought my hair was "interesting." It was also full of great books and engaging debates about everything from foreign policy to the influence of Jazz on hip hop. 

I lived in these two worlds because I was born and raised in Xtown, but I went to a private school in a much richer neighborhood. I loved both of my worlds, but I hated that I had to act differently in both of them. When in school, I had to "code switch" to sound like I belonged there. When I was at home, all the people who shared the interests I was developing in school were either working or in college, so I had no one to talk to about them. 

My words never felt more divided until I started considering a career in law. I remember telling one of my uncles that I wanted to become a lawyer and his response was, "So you want to become the man, huh?" 

I wasn't surprised by his response, or at least I shouldn't have been. One of the things that I know for sure about the first world I lived in is that many of its inhabitants do not trust the law. I had believed this for so long simply because of the conversations that I would hear around me. However, in my second world, I was learning about all of these great freedoms and rights that the law was designed to give all Americans, and I wanted to bring those to my community. 

I started working on this during the summer before my final year of high school. I got an internship with the legal aid office in my neighborhood and spent three months learning from people who, like me, had grown up in Xtown and wanted to help people. During my time in the legal aid office, I understood that the people in my community did not trust the law for two main reasons: 1. They did not understand a lot of it, and 2. It had been used against people like us many times. 

I remember one particular case that Ms. Sharma - the lawyer I was learning from then and who still mentors me today - handled that summer. It was the case of a young mother who had received a notice of eviction from her landlord two days after refusing his advances. The man claimed that she violated her contract because she made homemade shea butter that she sold on Etsy. Ms. Sharma had me look through her rental agreement. After she confirmed that I was right in determining that the young mother had not violated her contract, she contacted the landlord to advise him that what he was doing was intimidation and sexual harassment. 

My experiences in the legal aid office with Ms. Sharma opened my eyes to the disgusting behavior of human beings, but it also gave me the opportunity to see that the law was my opportunity to use what I learned in my second world to help the community that I was raised in. I returned to school with a new motivation that followed me to college. In addition to completing my bachelor's degree in sociology and African American studies, I spent most of my college years participating in legal internships and community outreach programs. 

I believe that these experiences have given me the foundation I need to be a successful law student and, eventually, a lawyer who can truly be an advocate for members of his community. 

Law school personal statement example #14

One day, my parents noticed that the other children in my age group had been speaking and communicating, but I had not. At first, they thought that my lack of speech was just me being shy, but eventually, they realized that on the rare occasions that I did speak, my words were practically incomprehensible. It wasn't long before they took me to a specialist who diagnosed me with a severe phonological disorder that hindered my ability to verbalize the basic sounds that make up words.

I started going to speech therapy when I was three years old. I saw numerous speech therapists, many of whom believed that I would never be able to communicate effectively with others. Lucky for me, my parents did not give up on me. I went to speech therapy thrice a week until the 8th grade, and I gave every single session my all. I also spent a lot of time in my room practicing my speech by myself. My efforts paid off, and even though I didn't become a chatterbox overnight, I could at least communicate effectively. 

This was a short-lived victory, though. A year later, my speech impediment was back, and my ability to articulate words was once again severely limited. This complicated matters because it was my freshman year of high school, and I was in a brand-new school where I did not know anyone. Having been bullied in middle school, I knew first-hand how vicious kids can be, and I didn't want to be the butt of any more jokes, so I didn't try to speak at school. I knew that this was preventing me from making new friends or participating in class and that it was probably not helping my impediment, but I was not ready to face the fact that I needed to go back to speech therapy. 

Eventually, I stopped resisting and went back to speech therapy. At the time, I saw it as accepting defeat, and even though my speech improved significantly, my self-confidence was lower than it had ever been. If you ask any of my high school classmates about me, they will likely tell you that I am very quiet or timid – both of which are not true, but they have no way of knowing otherwise. I barely spoke or interacted with my peers for most of high school. Instead, I focused on my studies and extracurricular activities that didn't involve much collaboration, like yearbook club and photography. 

It was only when I was getting ready for college that I realized that I was only hurting myself with my behavior. I knew I needed to become more confident about my speech to make friends and be the student I wanted to be in college. So, I used the summer after my high school graduation to get some help. I started seeing a new speech therapist who was also trained as a counselor, and she helped me understand my impediment better. For example, I now know that I tend to stutter when stressed, but I also know that taking a few deep breaths helps me get back on track. 

Using the confidence that I built in therapy that summer, I went to college with a new pep in my step. I pushed myself to meet new people, try new things, and join extracurricular organizations when I entered college. I applied to and was accepted into a competitive freshman leadership program called XYZ. Most of XYZ's other members were outgoing and highly involved in their high school communities. In other words, they were the complete opposite of me. I didn't let that intimidate me. Instead, I made a concerted effort to learn from them. If you ask any of my teammates or other classmates in college, they will tell you that I was an active participant in discussions during meetings and that I utilized my unique background to share a different perspective.

My experience with XYZ made it clear to me that my speech disorder wouldn't hold me back as long as I did not stand in my own way. Once I understood this, I kept pushing past the boundaries I had set for myself. I began taking on leadership roles in the program and looking for ways to contribute to my campus community outside of XYZ. For example, I started a community outreach initiative that connected school alumni willing to provide pro bono services to different members of the community who were in need. 

Now, when I look back at my decision to go back to speech therapy, I see it as a victory. I understand that my speech impediment has shaped me in many ways, many of which are positive. My struggles have made me more compassionate. My inability to speak has made me a better listener. Not being able to ask questions or ask for help has made me a more independent critical thinker. I believe these skills will help me succeed in law school, and they are part of what motivates me to apply in the first place. Having struggled for so long to speak up for myself, I am ready and eager for the day when I can speak up for others who are temporarily unable to. 

“ You talk too much; you should be a lawyer.” 

I heard that sentence often while growing up because Congolese people always tell children who talk a lot that they should be lawyers. Sometimes I wonder if those comments did not subconsciously trigger my interest in politics and then the law. If they did, I am grateful for it. I am thankful for all the experiences that have brought me to this point where I am seeking an education that will allow me to speak for those who don’t always know how to, and, more importantly, those who are unable to. 

For context, I am the child of Congolese immigrants, and my parents have a fascinating story that I will summarize for you: 

A 14-year-old girl watches in confusion as a swarm of parents rush through the classroom, grabbing their children, and other students start running from the class. Soon she realizes that she and one other student are the only ones left, but when they both hear the first round of gunshots, no one has to tell them that it is time to run home. On the way home, she hears more gunshots and bombs. She fears for her survival and that of her family, and she starts to wonder what this war means for her and her family. Within a few months, her mother and father are selling everything they own so that they can board a plane to the US.

On the other side of the town, a 17-year-old boy is being forced to board a plane to the US because his mother, a member of parliament and the person who taught him about the importance of integrity, has been executed by the same group of soldiers who are taking over the region. 

They met a year later, outside the principal’s office at a high school in XXY. They bonded over the many things they have in common and laughed at the fact that their paths probably never would have crossed in Bukavu. Fast forward to today, they have been married for almost two decades and have raised three children, including me. 

Growing up in a Congolese household in the US presented was very interesting. On the one hand, I am very proud of the fact that I get to share my heritage with others. I speak French, Lingala, and Swahili – the main languages of Congo – fluently. I often dress in traditional clothing; I performed a traditional Congolese dance at my high school’s heritage night and even joined the Congolese Student Union at Almamatter University. 

On the other hand, being Congolese presented its challenges growing up. At a young age, I looked, dressed, and sounded different from my classmates. Even though I was born in the US, I had picked up a lot of my parents’ accents, and kids loved to tease me about it. Ignorant comments and questions were not uncommon. “Do you speak African?” “You’re not American! How did you get here?” “You don’t look African” “My mom says I can’t play with you because your parents came here to steal our jobs”. These are some of the polite comments that I heard often, and they made me incredibly sad, especially when classmates I considered my friends made them. 

My parents did not make assimilating any easier. My mother especially always feared I would lose my Congolese identity if they did not make it a point to remind me of it. She often said, “Just because you were born in America doesn’t mean that you are not Congolese anymore.” On one occasion, I argued that she always let me experience my Congolese side, but not my American side. That was the first time she told me I should be a lawyer. 

Having few friends and getting teased in school helped me learn to be comfortable on my own. I Often found refuge and excitement in books. I even started blogging about the books I read and interacting with other readers online. As my following grew, I started to use my platform to raise awareness about issues that I am passionate about, like climate change, the war in Congo, and the homeless crisis here in XXY. I was able to start a fundraising campaign through my blog that raised just under $5000 for the United Way – a local charity that helps the homeless in my city. 

This experience helped me understand that I could use my skills and the few tools at my disposal to help people, both here in America and one day, maybe even in Congo. I realized that I am lucky enough to have the option of expanding that skillset through education in order to do more for the community that welcomed my grandparents, uncles, aunties, and parents when they had nowhere else to go. 

The journey was not easy because while I received immense support and love from my family for continuing my education, I had to teach myself how to prepare and apply to college. Once there I had to learn on my own what my professors expected of me, how to study, how to network, and so much more. I am grateful for those experiences too, because they taught me how to be resourceful, research thoroughly, listen carefully, and seek help when I need it. 

All of these experiences have crafted me into who I am today, and I believe that with the right training, they will help me become a great attorney.

Law School Personal Statement Example #16

During my undergraduate studies, in the first two years, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my career. I enjoyed doing research, but I found that I became more interested in presenting the research than the process of contributing to it. I spoke to most of my science professors to ask if I could participate in their research. I worked in biology labs, chemistry labs, and in psychology classrooms working on a variety of projects that seemed meaningful and interesting. I gained new perspectives on study habits and mental health; the influence of music on the human mind; and applications of surface tension. I noticed that I was always taking the lead when we were presenting our findings to peers and research groups. I enjoyed yielding questions and addressing the captivating the audience with engaging gestures and speech. This was what led me to consider a career in law.

I always thought that I would become a scientist, so when I discovered that there were aspects of law that could be considered “scientific”, I was all ears. Still during my second year of undergraduate studies, I wanted to join an environmental awareness group, but noticed there weren’t any active. So, I took it upon myself to create my own. I wanted to do cleanup projects across the city, so I mapped out parks and areas that we could walk or drive to. I advertised my project to other students and eventually gained approximately fifteen students eager to help out. I was struck by the pollution in the water, the negligence of park maintenance. I drafted a letter to the municipal government and petitioned for a stricter environmental compliance approach. I wanted to advertise fines to hold polluters accountable, as there were hardly any to enforce the rules. A letter was returned to me stating that the government would consider my request. I felt a sense of gratification, of purpose; I discovered that I had the ability to enact change through policy. This drew me closer to the prospect of building a future in law, so I looked at other avenues to learn more.

I still wanted to find a way to bring together my love of science and discourse/communication. As a science student, I had the privilege of learning from professors who emphasized critical thinking; and they gave me a chance to learn that on my own. I took an internship as an environmental planner. There, I helped present project ideas to various groups, updating demographic/development information, and managing planning processes. I engaged in analytical thinking by looking at maps and demographic information to develop potential plans for land use. It was also the experience I was looking for in terms of a balance between science and oral communication. Using data analysis, I spoke to other planners and review boards to bring ideas together and execute a plan.

Through science, I learned how to channel my curiosity and logical thinking; as an advocate, I learned how to be creative and resourceful. Presenting research findings and being questioned in front of a group of qualified researchers, having to be sharp and ready for anything, taught me how to be more concise in speech. Developing an advocacy group dedicated to improving my community showed me what it lacked; it opened my eyes to the impact of initiative and focused collaboration. I was eager to begin another science project, this time with the environment in mind. It was titled “determining and defining the role of sociodemographic factors in air pollution health disparities”. I compiled and summarized relevant research and sent it over to a representative of the municipal government. In a couple of weeks, my request to increase advertising of fines in public areas was agreed to.

This Juris Doctor/Master in Environmental Studies program will allow me to continue deepening my knowledge of environmental law. With my goal of developing a career in environmental affairs, overseeing policies that influence land protection/use, I know that this program will give me the tools I need to succeed. With my experience working with large groups, I also believe I will fit into the larger class sizes at your institution. I understand the value of working together and how to engage in healthy discourse. With your Global Sustainability Certification, I will equip myself the expertise I need to produce meaningful change in environmental policy.

Here's how a law school advisor can help you with your application:

Law School Personal Statement #17

Growing up in a poor neighborhood, what my friends used to call “the ghetto”, I was always looking for my way out. I tried running away, but I always ended up back home in that tiny complex, barely enough room to fit all my brothers and sisters with my parents. My dad was disabled and couldn’t work, and my mother was doing her best working full-time as a personal-support worker. There was nothing we could do to get out of our situation, or so it seemed. It wasn’t until years later when I started my undergraduate degree that ironically, after I found my way out, that I began looking for a way to come back. I wanted to be a voice for people living in those bleak conditions; hungry, without work. Helpless.

Getting my degree in social work was one of the best decisions of my life. It gave me the tools to lobby for solutions to problems in poor communities. I knew my neighborhood better than anyone because I grew up there. I had the lived experience. I started working with the local government to develop programs for my clients; the people living in those same neighborhoods. We worked to provide financial assistance, legal aid, housing, and medical treatment—all things sorely lacking. My proudest moment was securing the funds and arranging surgery for my father’s bad hip and knees. I’m currently working on a large project with one of the community legislators to lobby for a harm reduction model addressing addiction in our communities.

With five years of experience as a social worker, I knew it was time for a career change when I learned that I could have more influence on public opinion and legislative decisions as a social-security disability lawyer. I knew firsthand that people victimized from racism, poverty, and injury needed more help than they were currently allotted. I knew that, from becoming and advocate and communicating with influential members of the local government, that I could do more with a law degree helping people attain basic needs like disability benefits, which are often denied outright.

This desire to help people get the help they need from local programs and government resources brought me to Scarborough, a small town outside of Toronto. I was aware of some of the issues afflicting this community, since I’d handled a few clients from there as a children’s disability social worker. Addiction and homelessness were the two main ones. I worked with children with ADHD or other physical/mental disabilities impairing their ability to attend school and function normally. I helped many of them get an IEP with the details of the special services they require, long overdue. I made sure each child got the care they needed, including special attention in school. Also noticing that so many of these families lacked proper nutrition, I organized a report detailing this finding. In it, I argued that the community needed more funds targeting lowest income families. I spoke directly with a legislator, which eventually got the city on board with developing a program more specifically for the lowest income families with residents under 18.

My goal has always been to be a voice for the inaudible, the ignored, who’ve been victimized by inadequate oversight from the ground up. Many of these groups, as I’ve witnessed firsthand, don’t have the luxury of being their own advocates. They are too busy trying to support their families, to put food on the table for their children. I’ve realized that it isn’t quite enough to work directly with these families to connect them with resources and ensure they get the support they need. Sometimes the support simply doesn’t exist, or it isn’t good enough. This is why I’m motivated to add a law degree to my credentials so I can better serve these people and communities. As a future social-security disability lawyer, I want to work with local governments to assist clients in navigating an assistance system and improving it as much as possible. This program will give me the access to a learning environment in which I can thrive and develop as an advocate.

Law School Personal Statement #18

“You’re worthy and loved”, I said to a twelve-year-old boy, Connor, whom I was supervising and spending time with during the Big Brother program at which we met. A few tears touched my shoulder as I pulled him into me, comforting him. He was a foster child. He didn’t know his parents and never stayed in one place longer than a few months; a year if he was lucky. I joined the program not expecting much. I was doing it for extra credit, because I wanted to give back to the community somehow and I thought it would be interesting to meet people. He confided in me; he told me that his foster parents often yelled at each other, and him. He told me he needed to escape. I called Child Protective Services and after a thorough investigation, they determined that Connor’s foster parents weren’t fit for fostering. He was moved, yet again, to a different home.

I wrote an op-ed detailing my experience as a Big Brother. I kept names anonymous. I wanted people to know how hard it was for children in the welfare system. Many of them, like Connor, were trapped in a perpetual cycle of re-homing, neglect, and even abuse. He and other children deserve stability and unconditional love. That should go without saying. I sent the op-ed to a local magazine and had it published. In it, I described not only the experience of one unfortunate kid, but many others as well who saw their own stories being told through Connor. I joined a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to quality education for young people. I started learning about disparities in access; students excluded by racial or financial barriers. I was learning, one step at a time, how powerful words can be.

With the non-profit organization, I reached out to a few public schools in the area to represent some of our main concerns with quality of education disparities. Our goal was to bring resources together and promote the rights of children in education. We emphasized that collaboration between welfare agencies and schools was critical for education stability. Together, we created a report of recommendations to facilitate this collaboration. We outlined a variety of provisions, including more mechanisms for child participation, better recruitment of social service workers in schools, risk management and identification strategies, and better support for students with child protection concerns.

The highlight of that experience was talking to an assembly of parents and school faculty to present our findings and recommendations. The title of the presentation was “The Power of Words”. I opened with the story I wrote about in the op-ed. I wanted to emphasize that children are individuals; those trapped in the welfare system are not a monolith. They each have unique experiences, needs, and desires they want to fulfill in life. But our tools to help them can be improved, more individualized. I spoke about improving the quality of residential care for children and the need to promote their long-term development into further education and employment. Finally, I presented a list of tools we created to help support a more financially sustainable and effective child welfare system. The talk was received with applause and a tenuous commitment from a few influential members of the crowd. It was a start.

Although I lost contact with Connor, I think about him almost every day. I can only hope that the programs we worked on to improve were helping him, wherever he was. I want to continue to work on the ground level of child welfare amelioration, but I realize I will need an education in law to become a more effective advocate for this cause. There are still many problems in the child welfare system that will need to be addressed: limited privacy/anonymity for children, service frameworks that don’t address racism adequately, limited transportation in remote communities, and many more. I’ve gained valuable experience working with the community and learning about what the welfare system lacks and does well. I’m ready to take the next step for myself, my community, and those beyond it.

Assuredly, but this length varies from school to school. As with all important details of your law school application, thoroughly research your specific schools’ requirements and guidelines before both writing and editing your personal statement to ensure it fits their specifics. The average length is about 2 pages, but don’t bother drafting your statement until you have specific numbers from your schools of choice. It’s also a good idea to avoid hitting the maximum length unless absolutely necessary. Be concise, keep economy of language in mind, and remain direct, without rambling or exhaustive over-explanation of your ideas or experiences.

You should keep any words that aren’t your own to a minimum. Admissions committees don’t want to read a citation-heavy academic paper, nor do they respond well to overused famous quotes as themes in personal statements. If you absolutely must include a quote from elsewhere, be sure to clearly indicate your quote’s source. But in general, it’s best to keep the personal statement restricted to your own words and thoughts. They’re evaluating you, not Plato! It’s a personal statement. Give them an engaging narrative in your own voice. 

Admissions committees will already have a strong sense of your academic performance through your transcripts and test scores, so discussing these in your personal statement is generally best avoided. You can contextualize these things, though—if you have an illuminating or meaningful story about how you came to receive an award, or how you enjoyed or learned from the work that won you the award, then consider discussing it. Overall though, it’s best to let admissions committees evaluate your academic qualifications and accomplishments from your transcripts and official documents, and give them something new in the personal statement. 

When you first sit down to begin, cast a wide net. Consider all the many influences and experiences that have led you to where you are. You’ll eventually (through editing and rewriting) explain how these shape your relationship to a career in law, but one of the best things you can give yourself during the initial drafting phase is a vast collection of observations and potential points for development. As the New England School of Law points out in their, “just write!” Let the initial draft be as messy as it needs to be, and refine it from there. It’s a lot easier to condense and sharpen a big draft than it is to try to tensely craft a perfect personal statement from nothing.  

Incredibly important, as should be clear by now! Unlike other specialties, law schools don’t usually conduct interviews with applicants, so your personal statement is in effect your one opportunity to speak with the admissions committee directly. Don’t let that gravity overwhelm you when you write, but keep it in mind as you edit and dedicate time to improving your initial drafts. Be mindful of your audience as you speak with them, and treat writing your personal statement as a kind of initial address in what, hopefully, will eventually turn into an ongoing dialogue.  

There are a variety of factors that can make or break a law school personal statement. You should aim to achieve at least a few of the following: a strong opening hook; a compelling personal narrative; your skills and competencies related to law; meaningful experiences; why you’re the right fit for the school and program.

Often, they do. It’s best for you to go to the schools you’re interesting in applying to so you can find out if they have any specific formatting or content requirements. For example, if you wanted to look at NYU law or Osgoode Hall Law School , you would find their admissions requirements pages and look for information on the personal statement.

There are lots of reasons why a personal statement might not work. Usually, applicants who don’t get accepted didn’t come up with a good strategy for this essay. Remember, you need to target the specific school and program. Other reasons are that the applicant doesn’t plan or proofread their essay. Both are essential for submitting materials that convince the admissions committee that you’re a strong candidate. You can always use law school admissions consulting application review to help you develop your strategy and make your essay stand out.

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How long should a Personal Statement be? Is there any rule on that?

BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello V! Thanks for your question. Some schools will gave very specific word limits, while some will not. If you do not have a limit indicated, try to stick to no more than a page, 600-800 words. 

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great law school personal statements

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How to write a law school personal statement + examples.

great law school personal statements

Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 3/18/24

Law school personal statements help show admissions committees why you’re an excellent candidate. Read on to learn how to write a personal statement for law school!

Writing a law school personal statement requires time, effort, and a lot of revision. Law school statement prompts and purposes can vary slightly depending on the school. 

Their purpose could be to show your personality, describe your motivation for attending law school, explain why you want to go to a particular law school, or a mix of all three and more. This guide will help you perfect your writing with tips and examples.

The Best Law School Personal Statement Format

Unfortunately, there’s no universal format for a law school personal statement. Every law school has a preference (or lack thereof) on how your personal statement should be structured. We recommend always checking for personal statement directions for every school you want to apply to. 

However, many law schools ask for similar elements when it comes to personal statement formats. These are some standard formatting elements to keep in mind if your school doesn’t provide specific instructions: 

  • Typically two pages or less in length 
  • Double-spaced 
  • Use a basic, readable font style and size (11-point is the smallest you should do, although some schools may request 12-point) 
  • Margins shouldn’t be less than 1 inch unless otherwise specified 
  • Left-aligned 
  • Indent new paragraphs 
  • Don’t return twice to begin a new paragraph 
  • Law schools typically ask for a header, typically including your full name, page number, LSAC number, and the words “Personal Statement” (although there can be variations to this) 

How you format your header may be up to you; sometimes, law schools won't specify whether the header should be one line across the top or three lines. 

Personal statement format A

This is how your header may look if you decide to keep it as one line. If you want a three-line header, it should look like this on the top-right of the page: 

Personal statement format B

 Remember, the best law school personal statement format is the one in the application instructions. Ensure you follow all formatting requirements!

How to Title a Personal Statement (Law) 

You may be tempted to give your law school statement a punchy title, just like you would for an academic essay. However, the general rule is that you shouldn’t give your law school personal statement a title. 

The University of Washington states, “DON’T use quotes or give a title to your statement.” Many other schools echo this advice. The bottom line is that although you're writing your story, your law school statement doesn't require a title. Don't add one unless the school requests it.

How to Start a Personal Statement for Law School 

Acing the beginning of your personal statement is essential for your narrative’s success. The introduction is your chance to captivate the admissions committee and immerse them in your story. As such, you want your writing to be interesting enough to grab their attention without purposefully going for shock value.

So, how do you write a personal statement introduction that will garner the attention it deserves? The simplest way to get the reader involved in your story is to start with a relevant anecdote that ties in with your narrative. 

Consider the opening paragraph from Harvard Law graduate Cameron Clark’s law school personal statement : 

“At the intersection of 21st and Speedway, I lay on the open road. My leg grazed the shoulder of a young woman lying on the ground next to me. Next to her, a man on his stomach slowed his breathing to appear as still as possible. A wide circle of onlookers formed around the dozens of us on the street. We were silent and motionless, but the black-and-white signs affirmed our existence through their decree: BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

The beginning lines of this personal statement immediately draw the reader in. Why was the writer lying on the road? Why were other people there with him, and why was a man trying to slow his breathing? We're automatically inspired to keep reading to find out more information. 

That desire to keep reading is the hallmark of a masterful personal statement introduction. However, you don’t want to leave your reader hanging for too long. By the end of this introduction, we’re left with a partial understanding of what’s happening. 

There are other ways to start a personal statement that doesn't drop the reader in the middle of the action. Some writers may begin their law personal statement in other ways: 

  • Referencing a distant memory, thought, feeling, or perspective
  • Setting the scene for the opening anecdote before jumping in 
  • Providing more context on the time, place, or background 

Many openings can blend some of these with detailed, vivid imagery. Here's a law school personal statement opening that worked at the UChicago Law : 

“I fell in love for the first time when I was four. That was the year my mother signed me up for piano lessons. I can still remember touching those bright, ivory keys with reverence, feeling happy and excited that soon I would be playing those tinkling, familiar melodies (which my mother played every day on our boombox) myself.”

This opening references a distant memory and feeling, mixed with vivid imagery that paints a picture in the reader's head. Keep in mind that different openers can work better than others, depending on the law school prompt. 

To recap, consider these elements as you write your law school personal statement’s introduction: 

  • Aim for an attention-grabbing hook 
  • Don’t purposefully aim for shock value: it can sometimes seem unauthentic 
  • Use adjectives and imagery to paint a scene for your reader 
  • Identify which opening method works best for the law school prompt and your story
  • Don’t leave the reader hanging for too long to find out what your narrative is about
  • Be concise 

Writing a law school personal statement introduction can be difficult, but these examples and tips can help you get the attention your writing deserves.

How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

Now that you’re equipped with great advice and tips to start your law school statement, it’s time to tackle the body of your essay. These tips will show you how to write a personal statement for law school to captivate the admissions committee. 

Tips for writing a law school personal statement

Understand the Prompt

While many law schools have similar personal statement prompts, you should carefully examine what's being asked of you before diving in. Consider these top law school personal statement prompts to see what we mean: 

  • Yale Law School : “The personal statement should help us learn about the personal, professional, and/or academic qualities an applicant would bring to the Law School community. Applicants often submit the personal statement they have prepared for other law school applications.”
  • University of Chicago Law : “Our application does not provide a specific topic or question for the personal statement because you are the best judge of what you should write. Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you.”
  • NYU Law : “Because people and their interests vary, we leave the content and length of your statement to your discretion. You may wish to complete or clarify your responses to items on the application form, bring to our attention additional information you feel should be considered, describe important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application, or tell us what led you to apply to NYU School of Law.”

Like all law personal statements, these three prompts are pretty open-ended. However, your Yale personal statement should focus on how you’d contribute to a law school community through professional and academic experience and qualities. 

For UChicago Law, you don’t even need to write about a law-related topic if you don’t want to. However, when it comes to a school like NYU Law , you probably want to mix your qualities, experiences, and what led you to apply. 

Differing prompts are the reason you’ll need to create multiple copies of your personal statement! 

Follow Formatting Directions 

Pay extra attention to each school's formatting directions. While we've discussed basic guidelines for law school personal statement formats, it's essential to check if there is anything different you need to do. 

While working on your rough drafts, copy and paste the prompt and directions at the top of the page so you don't forget. 

Brainstorm Narratives/Anecdotes Based on the Prompt

You may have more wiggle room with some prompts than others regarding content. However, asking yourself these questions can generally help you direct your personal statement for any law school:

  • What major personal challenges or recent hardships have you faced? 
  • What was one transformative event that impacted your life’s course or perspective? 
  • What are your hobbies or special interests? 
  • What achievements are you most proud of that aren’t stated in your application? 
  • What experience or event changed your values or way of thinking? 
  • What’s something you’re passionate about that you got involved in? What was the result of your passion? 
  • How did your distinct upbringing, background, or culture put you on the path to law school? 
  • What personal or professional experiences show who you are? 

Keep in mind that this isn't an exhaustive list. Consider your personal and professional experiences that have brought you to this point, and determine which answers would make the most compelling story. 

Pettit College of Law recommends you "go through your transcripts, application, and resume. Are there any gaps or missing details that your personal statement could cover?” If you've listed something on your resume that isn't further discussed, it could make a potential personal statement topic. 

Do More Than Recount: Reflect

Recounting an event in a summarized way is only one piece of your law school personal statement. Even if you’re telling an outlandish or objectively interesting story, stopping there doesn’t show admissions committees what they need to know to judge your candidacy. 

The University of Washington suggests that “describing the event should only be about 1/3 of your essay. The rest should be a reflection on how it changed you and how it shaped the person you are today.” Don’t get stuck in the tangible details of your anecdote; show what the experience meant to you. 

Beth O'Neil , Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at UC Berkeley School of Law , said, "Applicants also tend to state and not evaluate. They give a recitation of their experience but no evaluation of what effect that particular experience had on them, no assessment of what certain experiences or honors meant." 

Consider What Qualities You Want to Show

No matter what direction you want to take your law school personal statement, you should consider which qualities your narrative puts on display. Weaving your good character into your essay can be difficult. Outwardly claiming, "I'm a great leader!" doesn't add much value. 

However, telling a story about a time you rose to the occasion to lead a group successfully toward a common goal shows strong leadership. "Show, don't tell" may be an overused statement, but it's a popular sentiment for a reason. 

Of course, leadership ability isn't the only quality admissions committees seek. Consider the qualities you possess and those you'd expect to find in a great lawyer and check to see the overlap. Some qualities you could show include: 

  • Intelligence 
  • Persuasiveness 
  • Compassion 
  • Professionalism 

Evaluate the anecdotes you chose after your brainstorming session and see if any of these qualities or others align with your narrative. 

Keep Your Writing Concise

Learning how to write a personal statement for law school means understanding how to write for concision. Most prompts won't have a word limit but ask you to cap your story at two pages, double-spaced. Unfortunately, that's not a lot of space to work with. 

Although your writing should be compelling and vibrant, do your best to avoid flowery language and long, complicated sentences where they’re not needed. Writing for concision means eliminating unnecessary words, cutting down sentences, and getting the point quickly.  

Georgetown University’s take on law school personal statements is to “Keep it simple and brief. Big words do not denote big minds, just big egos.” A straightforward narrative means your reader is much less likely to be confused or get lost in your story (in the wrong way). 

Decide the Depth and Scope of Your Statement 

Since you only have two (or even three) pages to get your point across, you must consider the depth and scope of your narrative. While you don’t want to provide too little information, remember that you don’t have the room to summarize your entire life story (and you don’t have to do that anyway). 

UChicago Law’s advice is to “Use your discretion - we know you have to make a choice and have limited space. Attempting to cover too much material can result in an unfocused and scattered personal statement.” Keep the depth and scope of your narrative manageable. 

Ensure It’s Personal Enough 

UChicago Law states, "If someone else could write your personal statement, it probably is not personal enough." This doesn't mean that you must pick the most grandiose, shocking narrative to make an impact or that you can't write about something many others have probably experienced. 

Getting personal means only you can write that statement; other people may be able to relate to an experience, but your reflection, thoughts, feelings, and reactions are your own. UChicago Law sees applicants fall into this pitfall by writing about a social issue or area of law, so tread these topics carefully.

Mix the Past and Present, Present and Future, Or All Three 

Harvard Law School’s Associate Director Nefyn Meissner said your personal statement should “tell us something about who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go.” 

Echoing this, Jon Perdue , Yale Law School's Director of Recruiting and Diversity Initiatives, states that the three most common approaches to the Yale Law School personal statement are focusing on: 

  • The past: discussing your identity and background 
  • The present: focusing on your current work, activities, and interests 
  • The future: the type of law you want to pursue and your ideal career path 

Perdue said that truly stellar personal statements have a sense of “movement” and touch on all or two of these topics. What does this mean for you? While writing your law school personal statement, don’t be afraid to touch on your past, present, and future. However, remember not to take on too much content! 

Keep the Focus On You 

This is a common pitfall that students fall into while writing a law school personal statement . UChicago Law cites that this is a common mistake applicants make when they write at length about: 

  • A family member who inspired them or their family history 
  • Stories about others 
  • Social or legal issues 

Even if someone like your grandmother had a profound impact on your decision to pursue law, remember that you’re the star of the show. Meissner said , “Should you talk about your grandmother? Only if doing so helps make the case for us to admit you. Otherwise, we might end up wanting to admit your grandmother.” Don’t let historical figures, your family, or anyone else steal your spotlight. 

Decide If You Need to Answer: Why Law? 

Writing about why you want to attend law school in general or a school in particular depends on the prompt. Some schools welcome the insight, while others (like Harvard Law) don't. Meissner said, “Should you mention you want to come to HLS? We already assume that if you’re applying.”

However, Perdue said your law school personal statement for Yale should answer three questions: 

  • Why law school?

Some schools may invite you to discuss your motivation to apply to law school or what particular elements of the school inspired you to apply. 

Don’t List Qualifications or Rehash Your Resume 

Your personal statement should flow like a story, with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end. Simply firing off your honors and awards, or summarizing the experiences on your resume, doesn’t tell the admissions committee anything new about you. 

Your personal statement is your opportunity to show how your unique experiences shaped you, your qualities, and the person you are behind your LSAT scores and GPA. Think about how you can show who you are at your core. 

Avoid Legalese, Jargon, And Sophisticated Terms 

The best law school personal statements are written in straightforward English and don't use overly academic, technical, or literary words. UChicago Law recommends avoiding legalese or 

Latin terms since the "risk you are incorrectly using them is just too high." 

Weaving together intricate sentence structures with words you pulled out of a thesaurus won’t make your personal statement a one-way ticket to acceptance. Be clear, straightforward, and to the point. 

Don’t Put Famous Quotes In Your Writing 

Beginning your law school personal statement with a quote is not only cliche but takes the focus off of you. It also eats up precious space you could fill with your voice. 

Revise, Revise, Revise 

Even the most talented writers never submit a perfect first draft. You'll need to do a lot of revisions before your personal statement is ready for submission. This is especially true because you'll write different versions for different law schools; these iterations must be edited to perfection. 

Ensure you have enough time to make all the edits and improvements you need before you plan to submit your application. Although most law schools have rolling admissions, submitting a perfected application as soon as possible is always in your best interest. 

Have an Admission Consultant Review Your Hard Work 

Reviewing so many personal statements by yourself is a lot of work, and most writing can always benefit from a fresh perspective. Consider seeking a law school admissions consultant’s help to edit your personal statements to perfection and maximize your chances of acceptance at your dream school!

How to End Your Personal Statement for Law School 

Law school personal statement conclusions are just as open-ended as your introductions. There are a few options for ending a personal statement depending on the prompt you’re writing for:

Law School Conclusion Strategy Description
Motivation to Attend Law School You can end by explaining how the experiences you outlined in your personal statement inspired you to take the next steps to become a lawyer.
Motivation to Attend a Particular Law School If the school doesn’t outwardly suggest not explaining why you applied, you can align your personality, passions, and values with the school’s mission or highlight particular offerings that excite you.
Your Future Career Path Some candidates may want to tie their narrative to the type of law they want to pursue or their main career goal.
State Your Mission Without being cliche and saying you want to “save the world” (although it sounds noble), you can talk about your personal mission and how a law education will help you get there. Do you want to make real progress for people who face discrimination? Be specific.
Reiterate How Your Acceptance Would Add Value Reiterate how you would add value: If you’ve written extensively about any facet of your background and identity, you can share how your acceptance would contribute to the school’s culture and class.
Focusing on Skills/Qualities Focusing on qualities is more common in personal statements than in those explicitly about law. These statements show how the writer’s experiences helped them gain the necessary skills or qualities to become a great lawyer.

Some of these methods can overlap with each other. However, there are two more things you should always consider when you're ready to wrap up your story: the tone you're leaving on and how you can make your writing fit with your narrative's common thread. 

You should never want to leave your reader on a low note, even if you wrote about something that isn’t necessarily happy. You should strive to end your personal statement with a tone that’s hopeful, happy, confident, or some other positive feeling. 

Your last sentences should also give the impression of finality; your reader should understand that you’re wrapping up and not be left wondering where the rest of your statement is. 

So, what's the common thread? This just means that your narrative sticks to the overarching theme or event you portrayed at the beginning of your writing. Bringing your writing full circle makes a more satisfying conclusion.

Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion Examples

Evaluating law school personal statement conclusions can help you see what direction authors decided to take with their writing. Let’s circle back to the sample personal statement openings for law school and examine their respective conclusions. The first example explains the applicant’s motivation to attend Harvard Law. 

Sample Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion #1

“…Attorneys and legal scholars have paved the way for some of the greatest civil rights victories for women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and (people living with disabilities). At Harvard Law School, I will prepare to join their ranks by studying with the nation's leading legal scholars. 
For the past months, I have followed Harvard Law School student responses to the events in Ferguson and New York City. I am eager to join a law school community that shares my passion for using the law to achieve real progress for victims of discrimination. With an extensive history of advocacy for society's most marginalized groups, I believe Harvard Law School will thoroughly train me to support and empower communities in need. 
Our act of civil disobedience that December day ended when the Tower’s bells rang out in two bars, hearkening half-past noon. As we stood up and gathered our belongings, we broke our silence to remind everyone of a most basic truth: Black lives matter.” 

What Makes This Conclusion Effective 

Although Harvard Law School states there's no need to explain why you want to apply, this law school statement is from an HLS graduate, and we can assume this was written before the advice changed. 

In his conclusion, he relates and aligns his values with Harvard Law School and how joining the community will help him fulfill his mission to empower communities in need. The last paragraph circles back to the anecdote described in his introduction, neatly wrapping up the event and signaling a natural end to his story. 

This author used these strategies: the motivation to attend a specific law school, stating his mission, and subtly reiterating what his acceptance would bring to the school. The next example conclusion worked at UChicago Law: 

Sample Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion #2

“Songs can be rewritten and reinterpreted as situation permits, but missteps are obvious because the fundamental laws of music and harmony do not change.
Although my formal music education ended when I entered college, the lessons I have learned over the years have remained close and relevant to my life. I have acquired a lifestyle of discipline and internalized the drive for self-improvement. I have gained an appreciation for the complexities and the subtleties of interpretation. 
I understand the importance of having both a sound foundation and a dedication to constant study. I understand that to possess a passion and personal interest in something, to think for myself is just as important.”

What Made This Conclusion Effective

This law school personal statement was successful at UChicago Law. Although the writing has seemingly nothing to do with law or the author's capability to become a great lawyer, the author has effectively used the "show, don't tell" advice. 

The last paragraph implements the focus on qualities or skills strategy. Although related to music, the qualities they describe that a formal music education taught her mesh with the qualities of a successful lawyer: 

  • A drive for self-improvement 
  • The ability to interpret information 
  • The ability to learn consistently 
  • The ability to think for herself 

Overall, this essay does an excellent job of uncovering her personality and relating to the opening paragraph, where she describes how she fell in love with music.

2 Law School Personal Statement Examples From Admitted Students

These are two law school personal statement examples that worked. We'll review the excerpts below and describe what made them effective and if there's room for improvement. 

Law School Personal Statement Example #1

This is an excerpt of a law personal statement that worked at UChicago Law : 

“The turning point of my college football career came early in my third year. At the end of the second practice of the season, in ninety-five-degree heat, our head coach decided to condition the entire team. Sharp, excruciating pain shot down my legs as he summoned us repeatedly to the line to run wind sprints. 
I collapsed as I turned the corner on the final sprint. Muscle spasms spread throughout my body, and I briefly passed out. Severely dehydrated, I was rushed to the hospital and quickly given more than three liters of fluids intravenously. As I rested in a hospital recovery room, I realized my collapse on the field symbolized broader frustrations I felt playing college football.
I was mentally and physically defeated. In South Dakota, I was a dominant football player in high school, but at the Division I level, my talent was less conspicuous. In my first three years, I was convinced that obsessively training my body to run faster and be stronger would earn me a starting position. The conditioning drill that afternoon revealed the futility of my approach. I had thrust my energies into becoming a player I could never be. As a result, I lost confidence in my identity.
I considered other aspects of my life where my intellect, work ethic, and determination had produced positive results. I chose to study economics and English because processing abstract concepts and ideas in diverse disciplines were intuitively rewarding…Gathering data, reviewing previous literature, and ultimately offering my own contribution to economic knowledge was exhilarating. Indeed, undergraduate research affirmed my desire to attend law school, where I could more thoroughly satisfy my intellectual curiosity…My efforts generated high marks and praise from professors, but this success made my disappointment with football more pronounced.
The challenge of collegiate athletics felt insurmountable. However, I reminded myself that at the Division I level, I was able to compete with and against some of the best players in the country…After the hospital visit, my football position coach—sensing my mounting frustrations—offered some advice. Instead of devoting my energies almost exclusively to physical preparation, he said, I should approach college football with the same mental focus I brought to my academic studies. I began to devour scouting reports and to analyze the complex reasoning behind defensive philosophies and schemes. I studied film and discovered ways to anticipate plays from the offense and become a more effective player. Armed with renewed confidence, I finally earned a starting position in the beginning of my fourth year…
‍I had received the highest grade on the team. After three years of A’s in the classroom, I finally earned my first ‘A’ in football. I used mental preparation to maintain my competitive edge for the rest of the season. Through a combination of film study and will power, I led my team and conference in tackles…The most rewarding part of the season, though, was what I learned about myself in the process. When I finally stopped struggling to become the player I thought I needed to be, I developed self-awareness and confidence in the person I was.
The image of me writhing in pain on the practice field sometimes slips back into my thoughts as I decide where to apply to law school. College football taught me to recognize my weaknesses and look for ways to overcome them. I will enter law school a much stronger person and student because of my experiences on the football field and in the classroom. My decision where to attend law school mirrors my decision where to play college football. I want to study law at the University of Chicago Law School because it provides the best combination of professors, students, and resources in the country. In Division I college football, I succeeded when I took advantage of my opportunities. I hope the University of Chicago will give me an opportunity to succeed again.”

Why This Personal Statement Example Worked

The beginning of this personal statement includes vivid imagery and sets up a relevant anecdote for the reader: the writer’s injury while playing football. At the end of the introduction, he sets up a fantastic transition about his broader frustrations, compelling us to keep reading. 

The essay's body shows the writer's vulnerability, making it even more personal; it can be challenging to talk about feelings, like losing your confidence, but it can help us relate to him. 

The author sets up a transition to writing more about his academic ability, his eventual leadership role on the team, and developing the necessary qualities of a well-rounded lawyer: self-awareness and confidence. 

Finally, the author rounds out his statement by circling back to his opening anecdote and showing the progress he’s made from there. He also describes why UChicago Law is the right school for him. To summarize, the author expertly handled: 

  • Opening with a descriptive anecdote that doesn’t leave the reader hanging for too long 
  • Being vulnerable in such a way that no one else could have written this statement 
  • Doing more than recounting an event but reflecting on it 
  • Although he introduced his coach's advice, he kept himself the focal point of the story 
  • He picked a focused event; the writer didn’t try to tackle too much content 
  • His conclusion references his introduction, signalling the natural end of the story 
  • The ending also reaffirms his passion for pursuing law, particularly at UChicago Law 

Law School Personal Statement Example #2 

This law school personal statement excerpt led to acceptance at Boston University Law. 

“She sat opposite me at my desk to fill out a few forms. Fumbling her hands and laughing uncomfortably, it was obvious that she was nervous. Sandra was eighteen, and her knowledge of English was limited to “yes” and “hello.” While translating the initial meeting between Sandra and her attorney, I learned of her reasons for leaving El Salvador. She had been in an abusive relationship, and though she wasn’t ready to go into detail just yet, it was clear from the conversation that her boyfriend had terrorized her and that the El Salvadoran police were of no help…Eventually, Sandra was given a credible fear interview. The interviewer believed that she had a real fear of returning to El Salvador, and Sandra was released from detention with an Immigration Court hearing notice in her hand. She had just retained our office to present her asylum case to the Immigration Judge.
I tried to imagine myself in Sandra’s shoes. She hadn’t finished high school, was in a completely new environment, and had almost no understanding of how things worked in the US. Even the harsh New England winter must have seemed unnatural to her. Having lived abroad for a couple of years, I could relate on some level; however, the circumstances of my stay overseas were completely different. I went to Spain after graduating from college to work in an elementary school, improve my Spanish skills, and see a bit of the world…I had to ask hundreds of questions and usually make a few attempts before actually accomplishing my goal. Frustrating though it was, I didn’t have so much riding on each of these endeavors. If I didn’t have all the necessary paperwork to open a bank account one day, I could just try again the next day. Sandra won’t be afforded the same flexibility in her immigration process, where so much depends on the ability to abide by inflexible deadlines and procedures. Without someone to guide her through the process, ensuring that all requirements are met, and presenting her case as persuasively as possible, Sandra will have little chance of achieving legal status in the United States…
Before starting at my current position at Joyce & Associates, an immigration law firm in Boston, I had long considered a career in law. Growing up, I was engaged by family and school debates about public policy and government. In college, I found my constitutional law courses challenging and exciting. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until I began working with clients like Sandra that I became convinced that a career in law is the right choice for me. Playing my part as a legal assistant in various immigration cases, I have been able to witness how a career in immigration advocacy is both intellectually stimulating and personally fulfilling. I have seen the importance of well-articulated arguments and even creativity in arguing a client’s eligibility for an immigration benefit. I have learned that I excel in critical thinking and in examining detail, as I continually consider the consistency and possible implications of any documents that clients provide in support of their application. But most importantly, I have realized how deserving many of these immigrants are. Many of the clients I work with are among the most hardworking and patriotic people I have encountered…
‍I am equally confident that I would thrive as a student at Boston University, where I would be sure to take full advantage of the many opportunities available. The school’s Asylum and Human Rights Clinic and Immigration Detention Clinic would offer me invaluable experiences in various immigration settings…Given my experiences in an immigration firm, I know that I would have much to offer while participating in these programs, but even more to learn. And while I find BU’s immigration programs to be especially appealing, I am equally drawn to the Boston University experience as a whole…I hope to have the opportunity to face those challenges and to contribute my own experiences and drive to the Boston University community.”

This statement makes excellent use of opening with an experience that sets the writer's motivation to attend law school in motion. We're introduced to another person in the story in the introduction before the author swivels and transitions to how she'd imagine herself in Sandra's shoes. 

This transition shows empathy, and although the author could relate to her client's struggles on a more superficial level, she understood the gravity of her situation and the hardships that awaited her. 

The author backpedals to show how she's cultivated an interest in law in college and explored this interest to know it's the right choice for her. The conclusion does an excellent job of referencing exactly how BU Law will help her achieve her mission. To recap, this personal statement was effective because: 

  • She started her personal statement with a story 
  • Although the writer focuses on an event with another person, she moves the focus back to her 
  • The author’s statement shows qualities like empathy, compassion, and critical thinking without explicitly stating it 
  • She connects her experiences to her motivation to attend law school 
  • This statement has movement: it references the author’s past, present, and future 
  • She ends her statement by explaining in detail why BU Law is the right school for her 

Although this personal statement worked, circling back to the opening anecdote in the conclusion, even with a brief sentence, would have made the conclusion more impactful and fortified the common thread of her narrative.

How to Write Personal Statement For Law School: FAQs

Do you still have questions about how to write a personal statement for law school? Read on to learn more. 

1. What Makes a Good Personal Statement for Law School? 

Generally, an excellent personal statement tells a relevant story, showcases your best qualities, is personal, and creatively answers the prompt. Depending on the prompt, a good personal statement may describe your motivation to attend law school or why a school, in particular, is perfect for you. 

2. Should I Write a Separate Personal Statement for Each School? 

Depending on the prompts, you may be able to submit the same or similar personal statements to different schools. However, you’ll likely need more than one version of your statement to apply to different schools. Generally, students will write a few versions of their statements to meet personal statement instructions. 

3. How Long Should My Personal Statement Be? 

Personal statement length requirements vary by school, but you can generally expect to write approximately two pages, double-spaced. 

4. What Should You Not Put In a Law School Personal Statement? 

Your personal statement shouldn’t include famous quotes, overly sophisticated language, statements that may offend others, and unhelpful or inappropriate information about yourself. 

5. What Do I Write My Law School Personal Statement About? 

The answer depends on the prompt you need to answer. Consider your experiences and decide which are impactful, uncover your personality, show your motivation to attend law school, or show your impressive character traits. 

6. Does the Personal Statement Really Matter for Law School? 

Top LSAT scores and high GPAs may not be enough, especially at the T-14 law schools. Due to the high level of competition, you should take advantage of your personal statement to show why you’re an excellent candidate. So yes, they do matter.

Writing A Law School Personal Statement is Easy With Juris

Writing a personal statement can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Juris Education is committed to helping you learn how to write a law school personal statement with ease. We help future law school students develop their narratives, evaluate writing to ensure it’s in line with what law schools expect, and edit statements to perfection. 

A stellar personal statement helps you stand out and can help you take that last step to attending the law school of your dreams.

great law school personal statements

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Tips For Law School Personal Statements: Examples, Resources And More

Brandon Galarita

Updated: Mar 22, 2024, 4:48pm

Tips For Law School Personal Statements: Examples, Resources And More

Tens of thousands of undergraduates pursue law school every year, and the competition for admission is fierce.

When it comes to admissions, your law school personal statement is not as impactful as your LSAT scores or undergraduate GPA. Still, a personal statement can be the deciding factor when competing with other applicants.

In this article, we discuss how to write a law school personal statement that demonstrates why you belong in a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.

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What Is a Law School Personal Statement?

A law school personal statement is a multi-paragraph essay or narrative highlighting the reason you are pursuing a J.D. degree . This essay is an opportunity to share your identity with an admissions committee—beyond just transcripts and test scores.

Personal statements are typically two to four pages long. Most law schools do not provide specific prompts for applicants’ statements, but some do. Either way, the content of your statement should leave a strong impression.

Why Do Law Schools Ask for Personal Statements?

Law schools receive a high volume of applications and typically do not contact applicants for interviews until after reviewing their applications. As a result, personal statements largely act as a substitute for the applicant interview process.

Your personal statement serves as a writing sample that shows your ability to communicate ideas effectively. In addition to demonstrating your ability to write well, a personal statement can give an admissions committee a clear picture of your motivations for attending law school and indicate how well you might fit into their program.

If you’re wondering how to become a lawyer , law school is the first step—and your personal statement is important to the law school application process.

How To Write a Law School Personal Statement

Writing a law school personal statement can be a challenging part of the application process, involving hours of planning and drafting. However, with solid brainstorming and prewriting strategies, you can craft an effective personal statement that illustrates how you are a strong candidate for law school.

Picking What to Write About

If your prospective school does not provide a prompt, choosing what to write about can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Start with a serious brainstorming session to get your ideas on paper. Give yourself the license to explore every experience or idea before deciding on your final topic.

Consider spending time jotting down every idea that falls into the following categories:

  • Life events or experiences that motivated you or changed your perspective
  • A meaningful personal achievement and what you learned from it
  • How you became interested in the law
  • Your passions and how they contributed to your individual goals

Structuring Your Law School Personal Statement

The structure and method you use to craft your statement is important. It might be tempting to follow a rigid formula and write a personal statement that methodically unpacks your reason for attending law school, your qualifications and the relevance of your extracurricular engagements. However, some of the most effective personal statements are crafted through a narrative approach.

Well-written narratives are engaging and illustrate why law school would benefit your career path. Your essay should exhibit your dedication and passion for the law and highlight the relationship between your values and your target law school. By creating a narrative with a common theme woven throughout, you can captivate your reader while informing them of your qualifications and goals.

Rather than overtly telling the reader why you should be accepted into law school, a narrative allows its audience to make connections and engage at a personal level. Your anecdotes and specific examples should reveal the traits you want the admissions committee to see and appreciate.

What Makes a ‘Good’ Law School Personal Statement?

Law school admissions teams read hundreds, even thousands of personal statements, so it’s important to write one that stands out. Ultimately, a good law school personal statement engages the reader, provides a unique perspective and demonstrates why you would make a good candidate for law school.

Choose a Unique Topic

A personal statement is exactly that: personal. Crafting a memorable narrative is paramount and dependent on your story and unique life experiences, especially since reviewers read so many personal statements with similar stories and themes.

Unfortunately, certain topics can come across as cliche. This is not to say that your lived experience of overcoming adversity or your time spent volunteering to help those in need is undervalued. However, those narratives have motivated thousands of aspiring attorneys to pursue law—meaning they have appeared in thousands of law school personal statements.

Give Specific Examples

Once you’ve selected a topic, take time to unpack the examples you plan to share and how they tie into the “why” behind your pursuit of law school. General statements are not only boring to read but lack the depth of meaning required to make an impact. Specific examples are critical to creating interest and highlighting the uniqueness of your personal experience.

According to law school admissions consultant and founder of PreLawPro, Ben Cooper, “It is always great to have a story that speaks for you. A story that demonstrates certain qualities or a key lesson learned is always more compelling than simply saying, ‘I am dedicated, responsible etc.’ ”

Be Personal and Reflective

Law schools want to see critical thinking skills and deep reflection in applicants’ personal essays. Before you write, consider a few questions. Is your story unique to you? What was the primary conflict in your story? How did you develop over time? How does this story reflect who you are now and how law school suits you? Take time to ponder what challenges you’ve overcome and what events and experiences have shaped your worldview.

Common Pitfalls for a Law School Personal Statement

Before you invest hours writing an essay just for it to fall flat, make sure you’re aware of the most common pitfalls for law school personal statements.

Failing To Follow Instructions

Law schools set specific formatting and length guidelines. Reading comprehension and attention to detail are key skills for law school success, so failing to meet these expectations could count against your application or even result in an automatic rejection.

Length and formatting requirements vary among law schools. For example, if a school expects no more than two pages, 11-point font, 1-inch margins and double spacing, make sure to format your personal statement precisely according to those specifications. We advise tailoring your personal statement to each individual school to avoid violating any formatting requirements.

If a law school asks you to answer a specific prompt or write multiple essays, make sure to follow those instructions as well.

Not Revising And Proofreading

Nothing screams a lack of effort, interest and commitment like an unpolished personal statement. Admissions teams will quickly notice if you skip proofreads and revisions, even if the content of your essay is exceptional.

This step entails much more than running a spelling and grammar check. You must ensure that the order of information is purposeful and logical. Each word you use should be intentional and add value to the story you are trying to tell.

Revising an essay is not a one-person job. Have others provide feedback, too. Your peers and mentors are a great place to start, as long as they give objective feedback.

Also ask people you do not know to provide feedback. You might start with your university’s writing center . Writing centers employ trained writing tutors who are skilled in providing feedback across disciplines. A writing center tutor will not proofread your essay, but they assist in making it reach its full potential.

Using Flowery Or Overly Academic Language

The voice and tone of your personal statement should flow naturally and reflect who you are. This doesn’t require flowery or overly academic language, which can make your essay sound more obtuse and less personal.

As we stated earlier, your personal statement should use specific examples and stories to generate interest and reveal why you want to attend law school and become a lawyer.

Likewise, you should avoid using excessive legal language or famous quotes in your statement. Admissions reviewers are academics, so if you use a term improperly, they will catch it. Use language that you feel comfortable with, without being too informal, and allow your narrative to convey your intended themes and ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Law School Personal Statements

What is a good personal statement for law school.

A good personal statement for law school is original, engaging, truthful and well-structured. When composing your personal statement, take time to reflect on your life experiences and how they led you to pursue a legal career. Follow each school’s required format, make sure to proofread carefully and use natural-sounding language.

How much does a law school personal statement matter?

Law school admissions committees typically place more emphasis on your LSAT performance and undergraduate academic record—including your GPA and the rigor of your course of study—but a personal statement can still have a powerful impact on the success of your application. A strong essay can help you stand out from the crowd, and conversely, a clichéd, poorly written or incorrectly formatted essay can hurt your chances.

Do law schools fact-check personal statements?

Assume that law school admissions officers may fact-check any verifiable information in your personal statement. They may not know if you are presenting your motivations for applying or your career plans honestly, but they can—and will—check whether, for example, you participated in a particular student organization or attended a specific conference.

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Brandon Galarita is a freelance writer and K-12 educator in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is passionate about technology in education, college and career readiness and school improvement through data-driven practices.

Brenna Swanston is an education-focused editor and writer with a particular interest in education equity and alternative educational paths. As a newswriter in her early career, Brenna's education reporting earned national awards and state-level accolades in California and North Carolina. Since 2018, she has worked in the higher-education web content space, where she aims to help current and prospective students of all backgrounds find effective, accessible pathways to rewarding careers.

Ben Cooper the founder and CEO of PreLawPro, a law school admissions and career consulting firm. He is a former international lawyer who spent much of his legal career as a litigator in London’ financial district. After leaving private practice he oversaw the Pre-Law program at Baylor University, where he taught college classes on the legal profession, law school admissions, careers, and academic success. He has also helped students explore careers in diplomacy, intelligence and national security. After almost a decade of working with college students and young professionals, Ben has helped hundreds of law school applicants gain admission to law schools all over the country. Ben also coaches and mentors college students and young professionals (across a broad range of industries) as they navigate their education and careers.

LSData

The Ultimate Guide to Writing an Outstanding Law School Personal Statement

Dazzle admissions with your legally awesome personal story, introduction.

Let's face it: you've spent countless hours studying and acing the LSAT, and now it's time for the pièce de résistance – the law school personal statement. This is your golden opportunity to showcase your personality, and put your best legal foot forward. But don't worry, this guide has got you covered. In no time, you'll be writing a personal statement that could put John Grisham's early drafts to shame.

If you're ready to convince law school admissions committees that you're the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Thurgood Marshall, then buckle up and get ready for a wild ride through the world of crafting the ultimate law school personal statement.

1. Know Your Audience: The Admissions Committee

First and foremost, remember that you're writing for the admissions committee. These are the gatekeepers of your future legal career, and they've read more personal statements than there are citations in a Supreme Court decision. To avoid becoming a legal footnote in their memory, keep the following in mind:

  • Be professional, but also relatable. You don't want to sound like a robot that's been programmed to spout legalese.
  • Avoid clichés like "I want to make a difference" or "I've always wanted to be a lawyer." Unless, of course, you've been dreaming of billable hours since you were in diapers.
  • Consider what makes you unique. Remember, this is your chance to stand out among a sea of applicants with equally impressive academic records and LSAT scores.

2. Choosing Your Topic: Make It Personal and Memorable

When it comes to choosing a topic for your personal statement, think of it as an episode of Law & Order: Your Life Edition. It's your moment to shine, so pick a story that showcases your passion, resilience, or commitment to justice. Consider these tips:

  • Use an anecdote. Admissions committees love a good story, especially one that shows your problem-solving skills or ability to navigate tricky situations. Just be sure not to end up on the wrong side of the law!
  • Reflect on a transformative experience. If you've had a life-changing event that led you to pursue law, share it! Just remember to keep it PG-rated.
  • Discuss a personal challenge you've overcome. Nothing says "I'm ready for law school" like demonstrating your resilience in the face of adversity.

3. Structure and Organization: Your Legal Blueprint

Now that you've chosen your topic, it's time to draft your personal statement. Like a well-organized legal brief, your statement should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Consider the following tips for structuring your masterpiece:

  • Begin with a strong opening. Start with a hook that will capture the reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. Think of it as your own personal Miranda warning: "You have the right to remain captivated."
  • Develop your story in the body. This is where you'll expand on your anecdote or experience, and explain how it has shaped your desire to pursue a legal career. Remember to be concise and avoid meandering – this isn't a filibuster.
  • End with a powerful conclusion. Tie everything together and reiterate why you're the ideal candidate for law school. Just like a closing argument, leave the admissions committee convinced that you're the right choice.

4. Style and Tone: Finding Your Inner Legal Wordsmith

When it comes to your personal statement, you want to strike the perfect balance between professional and engaging. After all, no one wants to read a 500-word legal treatise on why you should be admitted to law school. To achieve this delicate balance, follow these style and tone guidelines:

  • Write in the first person. This is your personal statement, so own it! Using "I" allows you to convey your unique perspective and voice.
  • Keep it conversational, yet polished. Write as if you were speaking to a respected mentor or professor. Avoid slang, but don't be afraid to inject a bit of your personality into your writing.
  • Employ dry humor sparingly. A little wit can make your statement more enjoyable to read, but remember that humor is subjective. It's best to err on the side of caution, lest you inadvertently offend the admissions committee.
  • Be precise and concise. Legal writing is known for its clarity and brevity, so practice these skills in your personal statement. Aim to keep it between 500 and 700 words, as brevity is the soul of wit (and law school applications).

5. Revision: The Art of Legal Editing

It's been said that writing is rewriting, and this is particularly true for your personal statement. Once you've drafted your masterpiece, it's time to don your editor's hat and polish it to perfection. Follow these tips for a meticulous revision:

  • Take a break before revising. Give yourself some distance from your statement before diving into revisions. This will help you approach it with fresh eyes and a clear mind.
  • Read your statement out loud. This technique can help you catch awkward phrasing, run-on sentences, and other errors that might not be apparent when reading silently.
  • Seek feedback from others. Share your statement with trusted friends, family members, or mentors who can provide constructive criticism. Just remember, opinions are like law school casebooks – everyone's got one, but you don't have to take them all to heart.
  • Edit ruthlessly. Don't be afraid to cut, rewrite, or reorganize your statement. Your goal is to make your writing as strong and effective as possible, even if it means sacrificing a clever turn of phrase or an endearing anecdote.

6. Proofread: The Final Verdict

Before submitting your personal statement, it's crucial to proofread it thoroughly. Even the most compelling story can be marred by typos, grammatical errors, or other mistakes. Follow these proofreading tips to ensure your statement is error-free:

  • Use spell check, but don't rely on it entirely. Some errors, like homophones or subject-verb agreement issues, may slip past your computer's watchful eye.
  • Print your statement and read it on paper. This can help you spot errors that you might have missed on-screen.
  • Enlist a second pair of eyes. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can catch mistakes that you've become blind to after multiple revisions.

Crafting an outstanding law school personal statement may seem daunting, but with the right approach and a healthy dose of perseverance, you can create a compelling and memorable statement that will impress even the most discerning admissions committee. So go forth and conquer, future legal eagles! And remember, as you embark on your law school journey, may the precedent be ever in your favor.

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The Law School Personal Statement: Tips and Templates

photo of a a person writing in a notebook sitting outside.

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Published February 28, 2024

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The stress of cramming for the LSAT (or GRE) is behind you, and you survived the intolerably long wait for your score. You have researched schools, requested transcripts, secured recommendation letters, and updated your resume. Now only the dreadful personal statement is preventing you from hitting the submit button.

So, you might ask:  Does anyone even read the personal statement?  Yes .  Could it be a make or break deciding factor?   Definitely . 

While your standardized test score(s) and GPA are good law school success predictors, non-numerical factors such as your resume, recommendation letters and the personal statement give the Admissions Committee an idea of your individuality and how you might uniquely contribute to the law school. Most importantly, your personal statement is a sample of your writing, and strong writing skills are critically important to success throughout law school and in legal practice. 

If the thought of writing about yourself makes you cringe, adhere to these 5 tips to avoid disaster. 

BONUS :  Scroll down to review 5 law school personal statement samples. 

1. Make it personal

The Admissions Committee will have access to your transcripts and recommendation letters, and your resume will provide insight into your outside-the-classroom experiences, past and current job responsibilities, and other various accomplishments. So, the personal statement is your best opportunity to share something personal they don’t already know. Be sure to provide insight into who you are, your background and how it’s shaped the person you are today, and finally, who you hope to be in the future.

2. Be genuine

If you haven’t faced adversity or overcome major life obstacles, it’s okay. Write honestly about your experiences and interests. And whatever you do, don’t fabricate, or exaggerate—the reader can often see through this. Find your unique angle and remember that a truthful and authentic essay is always your best approach.

Tip: Don’t use big words you don’t understand. This will certainly do more harm than good.

3. Tackle the “Why?”

Get creative but remember to home in on the why . Unless the personal statement prompt has specific requirements, it is recommended you include what influenced you to pursue a legal education. Consider including what impact you hope to make in the world post-graduation.

4. Keep it interesting & professional

The last thing you want to do is bore the reader, so keep it interesting, personable, and engaging. A touch of humor is okay, but keep in mind that wit and sarcasm can be easily misinterpreted. Demonstrate maturity, good judgment and tact and you won’t end up offending the reader.

5. Edit & proofread

The importance of enrolling and graduating strong writers cannot be stressed enough, so don’t forget the basics! Include an introduction, supporting paragraphs and a closing. Write clearly, concisely, and persuasively. Take time to edit, proofread--walk away from it--then edit and proofread again before submitting. 

Tip :   Consider consulting a Pre-Law Advisor or mentor to help you proofread and edit. Sound easy enough? It is if you take it seriously. Don’t think you have to craft the “best” or most competitive personal statement, just the most “genuine” personal statement. Remember, there is nobody with your exact set of life experiences, background, or point of view. Just do you.

Photo of Lindsay Gladney, Vice Dean for Admissions.

Guest blogger  Lindsay Gladney  is the Vice Dean for Admissions at UB School of Law. 

Office of Admissions University at Buffalo School of Law 408 O'Brian Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260 716-645-2907 [email protected]

Learn more about the law school admissions process and School of Law community through an individual meeting with one of our staff members.

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Submit this form to receive an application fee waiver.

Additional Resources:   

  • Law School Application Checklist: Everything You Need To Know
  • Law School Application Advice to Ignore
  • When Should I Submit My Law School Application: Timeline & Tips
  • 5 Benefits of Attending a State Law School

Bonus: 5 Law School Personal Statement Samples

1. this applicant writes about their experience hiking a mountain peak, what it taught them, and how it reaffirmed their affinity for the natural environment..

As I trudged my way up the path, only about a mile from the peak, I could not escape the creeping sense of self-doubt entering my mind. That day I had willingly accompanied my best friend on a hike up a “fourteener” (a mountain peak in Colorado with at least 14,000 feet of elevation). With a false sense of bravado, I jumped at the idea because I considered myself to be an avid hiker and in decent physical condition despite my inexperience at that altitude. Nearingthe top, with my head pounding and my knees weakening, my confidence had been shaken by the altitude sickness that started to take hold of me. I began asking myself questions like, “Will I finish?”, “Why did I even agree to this?”, and “Is this even worth it?”. However, as I took a sip of my water to rest and collect myself, it registered that the opportunity to encounter such natural wonder might not strike again. I knew that if I turned back, I would regret it and possibly never have the chance again. Accordingly, I decided to do my best to finish the trek.

Even though I was still in considerable discomfort, that sensation seemed to fade away when I finally reached the peak. I became enamored with the magnificence of the surrounding mountain range and the epic view it had to offer. The peaks extended out forever, some stretching high enough to look as though one could reach up and touch the clouds themselves. Crisp green alpine forests totally engulfed the surrounding valleys and eventually led down into the crystal blue water of the lakes and rivers below. Cliché though it may be words truly cannot do justice to such a surreal experience.

As I reflect on the experience, I am proud to have accomplished such a physically challenging adventure, but perhaps more grateful for what the hike taught me about myself. First, I gained a sense of confidence in my ability to persevere despite difficult circumstances and especially when faced with self-doubt. Indeed, I have drawn from the experience on numerous occasions to remind myself that I am capable of enduring whatever challenges life may throw at me. Secondly, I believe this hike to have been a defining moment that reaffirmed and strengthened my affinity for the natural environment. I developed this fondness from an early age where much of my childhood was spent outdoors, whether it was fishing and camping with my father or hiking and playing sports with my friends. However, the wonder I felt on that peak in the Rockies was something I seldom experienced growing up in Buffalo, New York. It is a feeling that I hope all can feel at some point in their lives and partly why I believe it to be so important that we do all we can to protect and preserve the environment. The importance of conservation is greater now than ever amid the challenges posed by issues such as pollution and global climate change.

During my undergraduate coursework, I was able to take a class in Environmental Law, where I learned about state and federal statutes that regulate water, soil, air pollution, resource conservation and recovery, and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency. For example, we studied the Clean Air Act and how it is applied during legal disputes to enforce national air quality standards. Participating in this course showed me that there is an opportunity to apply my enthusiasm for the environment into the legal profession as it is my eventual goal to represent those damaged by pollution. I believe studying at the University of Buffalo School of Law will allow me to pursue my goals and make a positive contribution towards environmental problems by serving those who have been affected in the local and global community. Although the experience will be challenging, I am excited for the opportunity, motivated by a passion for the environment and knowing that I possess the ability to persevere in the face of doubt.

2. How one applicant’s experience interviewing incarcerated individuals shaped their understanding of our justice system and influenced them to pursue policy work.

Above me, in a giant watchtower, stood a large man holding a semi-automatic rifle while staring down at me. I heard the echoing clink of a prison lock, allowing me to pass through a massive barbed-wire fence. Although I begged and pleaded for the opportunity to interview an inmate at a maximum-security prison, I have never felt more intimidated than I did in this moment. I was only seventeen years old, sitting in a visitation room filled with orange-suited men. An overwhelming sense of fear crowded my thoughts. In fact, I was nearly paralyzed by the environment I had found myself in. I could hardly conduct an interview, but thankfully, my interviewee, Mr. Thomas Gant, had about twenty years of stories to tell. He ambitiously shared

first-hand accounts of prison fights, housing raids, gang activity, and injustices that he has endured during his sentence of twenty-five years to life. His stories were captivating and filled with raw emotion. It was evident that he too, felt a similar sense of fear each and every day.

Fast forward to my last semester of undergrad, where I spent four months at the Ingham County Jail working with incarcerated men and women to prepare them to transition into our communities. I interviewed dozens of orange-suited men each week and loved every second of it.

I was eager to contribute to a program that helped break the vicious cycle of incarceration and confront the plethora of barriers to reentry. I often think about Mr. Gant and how his stories ignited a passion within me that still drives my ambition to this day. If I had the chance, I would thank him for inspiring me to pursue every opportunity to help incarcerated men and women, such as those at the Ingham County Jail. I would share with him the knowledge from my academic and professional experiences, in hopes of keeping his life on track upon release, and most of all, in hopes of protecting him from the fear we shared on the day I met him.

My variety of field experiences and my success with academic rigor has surely prepared me for law school. I have completed several other justice-related internships which have provided me with a comprehensive understanding of how our justice system operates in practice, which often deviates from how our justice system operates in textbooks. These field experiences led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, where my classes focused on the history of corrections and how other countries are utilizing confinement to successfully rehabilitate offenders. Academia quickly taught me that the majority of people simply accept our prison system for what it is, and very few question its punitive and unjust nature. Fortunately, my bachelor’s degree in social relations and policy allowed me to challenge conventional wisdom and confront policy issues as they relate to factors of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and religion – all of which exist in our prison system. My professors constantly pushed me to find ways that the American corrections system could change the course of its future. I spent countless hours researching the topic of injustice behind bars, writing numerous analytical essays and policy proposals, and presenting interdisciplinary conclusions to rooms filled with aspiring politicians. I look forward to perfecting these skills, sharing my experiences to enhance classroom discussions, and engaging in additional field experiences and clinics while in law school.

Ultimately, I am confident that my career fulfilment will lie in policy making and advocacy for those who have faced injustice within our prison system and in the free world. My interest in studying law and my decision to apply to University at Buffalo School of Law are a result of my longstanding enthusiasm to advocate for and to improve the lives of people impacted by incarceration. The University at Buffalo will provide me with both the necessary education as well as the hands-on experience to ensure that I will confidently enter the legal world prepared to contest the many issues of justice reform.  

3. How one applicant found their voice, and why a stale piece of toast is displayed alongside their college diploma.

Growing up, I was nonplussed by the idea of awards. While other friends entered cut-throat competitions over grades and the attention of our coaches, I cared more about preserving my friendships with people than beating them on any field or test. Whenever I found myself winning, I tended to remain quiet about my victories. Most of the time.

In the waning weeks of my junior year of high school, my tireless U.S. History teacher – Mr. Welgoss– kept us showing up to class each day by breaking us into debate teams and having individuals from each side square off against each other around designated topics. The winner would take away a most delicious reward: A single slice of white bread toast. Pun intended. This was when I learned that I was to define the best Supreme Court Cases in U.S. History and then defend my stance in front of the entire class. Alone. I was completely terrified.

This is the perfect place to share just a bit about high school me. You likely knew me well. I was that kid curled into a corner at the back of the classroom in an effort to make myself smaller. During the first week of each school year, I sized up my teachers, figured out which of them was into cold calling on students, and positioned myself within the room accordingly. While I was a dedicated student and history geek who loved to read, I was not a particularly extroverted one. There was no part of this assignment that I was excited about.

To make matters worse, I was assigned Marbury v. Madison, perhaps one of the most boring cases in the eyes of a bunch of fresh faced politically active 16-year-olds who had just spent an entire year learning about the societal gravity of cases like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. Still, I did careful research. I composed a meticulous claim. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, so I did the work that I needed to.

Along the way, I fell in love with the assignment. This was the first time I experienced that rare moment as a researcher when everything seems to click. I’d never had that moment as a research and argument writer before, and I have been chasing that feeling since. I love leaning into knotty problems, following research, and learning processes that help me untie them, and then, showing others how to unscramble crossed lines themselves, when they need to.

So, you likely know how this story ends. I won the debate. That piece of toast, miraculously mold free after six years, sits on my bookshelf alongside my college diploma, reminding me of the moment I not only found my passion, but my voice.

Since the moment I won that single slice of super processed food that still looks as fresh as the day I brought it home, there have been other moments that solidified my decision to study law. As a freshman at Nazareth University, my newfound interest in the law inspired my decision-making as I chose my major and began coursework that I inevitably fell in love with. When I started my internship at a local non-profit during undergraduate, I saw how my research and application of the law could help me to advocate for marginalized communities. My desire to

practice law was again upheld when I began paralegal work for Berardi Immigration Law the day after I earned my degree. My dedication to this work has taught me that there are often a variety of solutions for complicated problems. Many assume that creativity is something you’re born with. Experience has taught me it's not quite this simple, though. Constraint often inspires creativity, and to me, this is what makes the law the most wonderful muse.

I’m the daughter of a writer and the sister of a designer. My great grandfather owned a hobby shop. I never enjoyed most of these things, and try as I might, any attempt to practice arts and crafts always ended badly and left me feeling like the least creative bird on my family tree. Imagine my surprise then, as the last few years of learning, work, and a piece of toast began revealing the creative nature of the law to me. Imagine my delight when I realized that I have certain strengths here, too.   

4. This applicant writes about their never-ending pursuit of knowledge and how pursuing law provides a practical outlet for their curiosity.

There are very few things in life that are more important to me than learning. I have been driven by curiosity, and the never-ending pursuit of knowledge has always been a great source of joy for me, both inside and outside of the classroom. I finished my undergraduate studies in December of 2019, with plans to work in France as a teacher that coming fall. I was beyond excited that I had been afforded an opportunity to pursue such a dear intellectual passion. The intervening pandemic meant that I had to make difficult decisions about the direction my future would take, and ultimately this meant setting aside some of my own ambitions in order to take care of my loved ones.

While my immediate post-graduation plans did not work out, I have never set aside my curiosity. If anything, the challenges of post-collegiate life have reaffirmed to me the vital importance of learning as a constant and on-going part of living. As a student of history and languages, many of my college peers nurtured plans of attending law school, and the idea of studying law has long interested me.

In June of 2022 I began working as a legal assistant at a small law firm in Queens. I hoped that job would give me a chance to learn about the legal field, while pushing me to grow as a professional. Being confronted with the vast complexity of the law has been a humbling experience, but also an endlessly intriguing one. At work, I relish any opportunity to learn more about the law, and I have found that the field is perfectly suited to the academic skills that I have spent my entire life building.

What is perhaps most exciting to me about the prospect of studying law is the idea of having a practical, real-world outlet for all the curiosity and scholarly instincts that I have nurtured throughout my life. Studying case law, building arguments based on evidence and legal research, using language itself as a tool; all these skills that I have seen to be so vital to the successful practice of law feel like natural extensions of the skills that I’ve developed across my life. Performing research was of course integral to my studying history, and combing through Westlaw as a legal assistant has often reminded me of the time I would spend searching through university archives as a student, looking for information to help me build my arguments. Having studied both History and French, I am very comfortable with interpreting language that feels unfamiliar or archaic, which is certainly a necessary skill to have when studying and practicing law.

The challenges of post-graduation life have led me to do a great deal of reflecting. I’ve been forced to ask myself what makes me feel fulfilled, and at the same time have had to evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses. I’ve found that there are no simple answers, but I can affirmatively say that I have the self-confidence, motivation, and ability to be an excellent law student.

5. How a Unified Basketball program inspired this applicant to pursue education law.

I never realized how great of an impact one policy could have on so many people until I was in high school. I knew how far-reaching the law was, but it became so much more apparent and personal when it began to impact the lives of my friends and classmates in the Unified program.

When I began high school, I was still a little shy, but I was sure that I wanted to get involved in things that made a difference in other people’s lives. It was through my involvement in Student Council that I was asked by the athletic director to help start up a program called Unified Basketball. I remember being called down to the Athletic Office one day out of the blue. I felt extremely confused. I had not previously played any school sports and I never would have expected to be asked to speak with the athletic director. I also wouldn’t have expected a meeting that lasted maybe fifteen minutes to serve as a great turning point in my life.

The Unified Basketball program is a cooperative team combining students with and without intellectual disabilities, run by the Special Olympics and New York state high school sports. From that first season, the Unified program quickly grew to become one of the best experiences of my life and it continues to shape me every day. In the second year of the program, we added a Unified Bowling team, and I helped create a Unified Club so that those who might also have physical limitations that would keep them from playing sports, could still benefit from the family created in the program.

Through this program I created connections with the members of the team and our coaches, and we effectively created a family and a community greater than ourselves. Because of these friendships which I had grown to value so much, it only hurt that much more when I learned from my coach that New York’s eligibility rules for high school sports would cause some of my teammates to be ineligible to play. Although they could remain in school until the age of twenty-one, they would not be able to play after they reached a certain age or had played for a certain amount of time. One of my friends was the first on our team to age out due to these guidelines and as a team we were devastated. These policies did not line up and although the original guidelines were intended to prevent unfair advantages in competition, this really wasn’t an issue with the Unified program. Thankfully, this policy was eventually changed by the state Board of Regents to allow my teammates to play once again.

There have been two indelible legacies created through the Unified program. First, I have been able to see the impact that the program has had on students in our district’s special education program. I saw this happen for one of my teammates, who was first introduced to me by his aide as being nonverbal. He was initially very shy but as he grew more comfortable with the game and his teammates, he came out of his shell. From that first season on his confidence grew and even when I see him now, over five years later, he will rush over to give me a high-five or a fist-bump and say “Hi!” Second, is the impact the program has on my district and the community at large. During my junior year of high school, our team performed the dance “The Wobble” at our pep rally, marking the first time that our special education students were included in the homecoming event. Even years later, this tradition has continued and the response from the school and community has been extraordinary.  

This experience shaped me as a person and shifted my interests in terms of career goals. I have had an interest in education and the social sciences since I was little, but being involved in the Unified program allowed me to better understand how these interests could connect and how I can make an impact. I want to pursue a law school education and become an attorney so that I can practice education law. I want to support students, faculty, and staff to create the best possible educational environments for our future generations.

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Law School Personal Statement Tips

In your personal statement for law school you want to present yourself as intelligent, professional, mature and persuasive. These are the qualities that make a good lawyer, so they're the qualities that law schools seek in applicants. Your grades and LSAT score are the most important part of your application to law school. But you shouldn't neglect the law school personal statement. Your application essay is a valuable opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants, especially those with similar LSAT scores and GPA.

law school personal statement

How To Write a Personal Statement for Law School

1. be specific to each law school ..

You'll probably need to write only one basic personal statement, but you should tweak it for each law school to which you apply. There are usually some subtle differences in what each school asks for in a personal statement.

2. Good writing is writing that is easily understood.

Good law students—and good lawyers—use clear, direct prose. Remove extraneous words and make sure that your points are clear. Don't make admissions officers struggle to figure out what you are trying to say.

Read More: Find Your Law School

3. Get plenty of feedback on your law school personal statement.

The more time you've spent writing your personal statement, the less likely you are to spot any errors. You should ask for feedback from professors, friends, parents, and anyone else whose judgment and writing skills you trust. This will help ensure that your statement is clear, concise, candid, structurally sound and grammatically accurate.

4. Find your unique angle.

Who are you? What makes you unique? Sometimes, law school applicants answer this question in a superficial way. It's not enough to tell the admissions committee that you're a straight-A student from Missouri. You need to give them a deeper sense of yourself. And there's usually no need to mention awards or honors you've won. That's what the law school application  or your resume is for.

Use your essay to explain how your upbringing, your education, and your personal and professional experiences have influenced you and led you to apply to law school. Give the admissions officers genuine insight into who you are. Don't use cliches or platitudes. The more personal and specific your personal statement is, the better received it will be.

Applying to law school? Use our  law school search to find the right program for you or browse our  law school ranking lists .

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great law school personal statements

Law School Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide in 2024

Choosing what to write about for your law personal statement is often one of the most difficult—and most important—decisions you have to make in your law school application. Knowing what should be included in a personal statement for law school can feel like a trick question. 

For many applicants, it feels like there are a million different things they could write about, how are they supposed to fit it all into two to three pages double spaced? 

For other applicants, it feels like they have nothing interesting or novel to write about at all, and they don’t know how to make their law school personal statement stand out from everyone else? (Hint, you’re the only You out there and I promise you there is something unique and interesting).

Whichever applicant you resonate with most, I can assure you that there is a compelling personal statement within your reach. I like to tell my consulting clients that getting to a powerful personal statement—a personal statement that will make you stand out and get admitted into your dream law school—is like sifting for gold. You have to sift out a lot of muck and grime, and even other shiny rocks that you think are gold but are actually just another worthless rock.

Figuring out the gold of your personal statement is the same. It requires a lot of digging, a lot of sifting, a lot of close examination, a lot of clean up, but at the end, you will be rewarded. 

And lucky for you, after years helping my clients—who all come from different backgrounds, have different stories, experiences, interests—develop a powerful personal statement that got them into their dream law schools, I have figured out the proven strategies to help  you  get into your dream law school.

If you’ve ever wondered, what do law schools look for in a personal statement, you’ve come to the right place.  

But first, let’s talk about a common question I get: How important is the personal statement for law school?

How Important is the Personal Statement for Law School? 

You probably know how important your GPA and LSAT score. But too many applicants think this is all that matters.

The truth is, many applicants have amazing GPAs and LSAT scores, and  still don’t get in .

And it is also true that many applicants  without  amazing GPAs or LSAT scores  do  get in. 

Just take a look at a few of the applicants I’ve worked with who, if you just looked at their numbers, should not have gotten into the schools they’re at right now

great law school personal statements

Clearly there is some other underlying factor. Something that made these applicants absolutely acceptance-worthy, in spite of their stats. 

FACT : Law schools care about more than just your GPA and standardized test scores. 

FACT : Law schools are not looking for applicants who are just going to law school because they “like to debate” or “have wanted to be a lawyer since they were eleven.”

FACT : Law schools are not looking for applicants to just tell them what they’ve accomplished.

So then what else are law schools looking for? 

That’s what I’m here to tell you: How to write a law school personal statement that will help you stand out and get you admitted into the top law schools. Are you ready to put in the work? Let’s dig in.

What Do Law Schools Look for In a Law Personal Statement? 

1. a cohesive story .

A mistake I see time and time again is a personal statement that has too many different themes going on, shows too many different interests, and makes me feel like the applicant can’t commit to anything.

This is not a quality you want law schools thinking about you.

A simple, but powerful, way to make your law personal statement stand out and get you admitted into your dream law school is to tell a single, cohesive narrative.

Ok, great . . . but what does that mean? 

It means you want the admissions officer to read your application and see someone who can commit to things, has built genuine depth of interest, is stable, and understands herself and her decision to pursue law school. 

Too often I see personal statements that are all over the place. It’s clear they’re trying to impress admissions officers by packing in anything and everything they’ve done and are passionate about. But instead of looking impressive, it looks chaotic and reads as an applicant who doesn’t really have a clear vision of who they are, what kind of mark they want to make, and why they’re going to law school. 

A cohesive application requires careful curating of your experiences and interests.  

There is such a thing as including too much. 

Having a cohesive application requires  a lot  of planning and intention behind the application. 

A foolproof way to make sure you have a cohesive essay, is to focus it around a broader theme. This lets you bring in experiences that may feel distinct or totally unrelated but that when you step back and take a closer look, all fall within an overarching theme. 

For example, maybe your backpacking adventures across Tanzania, your bungee jumping in New Zealand, your viral blog on complicated baking techniques, and your work in mechanical engineering feel totally distinct, like they’re different parts of you. This was a real client of mine, Beth. And after going through her brainstorm, we realized that she is someone who is always pushing boundaries, always trying to innovate, whether it is through her adventurous travel, her baking, or her work engineering innovating products. And that it was she focused her application around.

 Action Step! Find Your Theme 

  • Brainstorm about some of your most memorable and formative experiences, the experiences that led you to this very moment when you’re applying to law school. Be over-inclusive! This is just your brainstorm, you’ll sift through it after. 
  • Review your brainstorm with an objective eye. If someone had to write a these that encompassed the entirety of these most important experiences, what might it say? 

2. A Convincing Explanation for Why Law School 

Now that you’ve developed a theme that you will focus your application around, the next step is to connect that theme with why you are ultimately choosing to go to law school.

You want to answer the question: why is law school the  inevitable  next step for me?

Let’s talk about my former client Beth again—the mechanical engineer, bungee-jumper, baker. She ended up writing her personal statement around the theme that she is someone who likes to push bounds, who is drawn to innovation. An essay that ended there would have been fine, but it likely wouldn’t have gotten her into her  T-10 dream school …which yes, she did get into. 

Beth needed to link the theme that she is someone who pushes bounds and is drawn to innovation to  why  she wanted to go to law school. 

So for Beth, she linked her desire to innovate to being drawn to patent law. She talked about how in order for her to continue innovating, she needed to understand how to protect her and others’ innovations. 

Beth’s reason for going to law school was very specific. She knew and could back up with  proof of her experiences  exactly what kind of lawyer she wanted to be.

These are powerful applications. But realistically, most people applying to law school don’t yet know what kind of lawyer they want to be. That’s ok. 

But your personal statement still needs to answer the question Why Law School. And the more detail you can paint into the picture, the stronger your application will be. 

Here are some ways you can explain why law even if you don’t know exactly what kind of law you want to practice:

> If you have a sense of what kind of law you might want to pursue, but aren’t exactly sure, then you can offer that interest as a possibility of something you might pursue . . . as long as it still fits within your ultimate theme.

For instance, one of my clients was interested in family law, and specifically divorce law, but wasn’t ultimately sure if that’s the career she wanted to pursue. But given her own personal experiences with divorce and her background working with vulnerable youth populations, it was a natural interest for her to want to advocate for children who are often helpless during divorce.

So instead of saying she knew with absolute certainty she wanted to pursue a career in family law, she wrote something along the lines of she “might envision a career in family law…” 

Remember though, this Why Law only worked because she ultimately chose to center her application’s theme around advocating for helpless children after experiencing that feeling herself, and then working with vulnerable youth populations while in college. Again, this goes back to having  proof of her experiences  to back up what she was saying. 

Some applicants tell me it can feel disingenuous to say they may do something, when they’re not exactly sure. But as long as it is a true interest and a career you may want to pursue, you are not deceiving admissions officers, you are just telling them what interest has led you to law school and providing one example of what a career in law might look like for you.

Law schools know that you have limited exposure to  practice areas , and that your interests will inevitably shift in law school. You’re not binding yourself to a future, you’re showing law schools how your interests have shaped your decision to pursue law.

> Now, if you have no idea at all what kind of law you’re interested in, here is my suggestion: think about what the role of a lawyer means to you and offer that as the Why Law piece of your personal statement.  

For instance, maybe for you, you see being a lawyer as a form of service. You’d of course want your narrative to focus on why a career of service is important to you, and then your Why Law aspect should focus on explaining that law will be that tool for you.

Here’s an example of how one of my client’s did this in her personal statement:

As I have learned throughout my life, a person’s circumstances are in no way an indication of their her to succeed . . . Although I am not yet certain which legal field I would like to specialize in, I know that my role as a lawyer will be one that is committed to furthering equal access to the law, identifying and challenging barriers that inhibit the full potential of my clients.      

See how even though she says she comes right out and says she doesn’t know what kind of law she wants to practice, she still shows that she has thought about why she is going to law school. Her theme centered around accessibility and how lack of opportunities is too often equated with lack of capabilities, which she then tied directly to her why law—law is a way for her to help close that gap.

Discussing your Why Law is critical to getting into your dream law school. It shows maturity and foresight, and will help you stand apart from the thousands of applicants who are applying because “they always wanted to be a lawyer” or are “good at debating.”  

 Action Step! Determine Your Why Law

  • Decide which kind of applicant you are : (a) you know exactly why you’re going to law school and what kind of law you want to practice; (b) you have an established interest area and may want to explore a practice area related to that interest; or (c) you have no idea what kind of law you want to practice. 
  • If you are applicant (a)   : show how your experiences and insights from those experiences made school and that practice area the inevitable next step for you. 
  • If you are applicant (b) : offer a legal practice area as a possibility of something you might pursue, one that is based on your already established interests. 
  • If you are applicant (c) : think about what the role of a lawyer means to you and offer that as a Why Law piece of your personal statement, making sure to relate it back to your ultimate theme.  

3. Critical Thinking Skills  

This next step is, in my opinion,  the  most important aspect about getting into your dream law school. 

Candidly, most law school personal statements suck. They read like a glorified cover letter, just talking about the most impressive things that applicant has done, repeating their resume with a little more detail. 

If you’re just applying to safety schools, this can be fine. 

But if you want to get into a top law school, if you want to get into your dream law school, you need to do more. 

If you really want your law school personal statement to actually work for you, and if you want your application to be more than just your stats, you need to show admission officers  how you think .   

Law school is all about critical thinking. Being a lawyer is all about critical thinking. If you can show admission officers  now  that you have that skill, you show them that you will thrive and succeed. Those are the applicants they want to accept. Those are the applicants law schools will fight over. 

So how do you do that? 

You need to talk about something bigger than yourself. I like to call this a “Global Insight.” 

Let’s go back to my old client, Beth: the innovator, mechanical engineer, bungee-jumper, baker who wanted to go into patent law. 

Beth could’ve easily talked about all her past experiences that would make her a valuable patent attorney—for instance, her experience in mechanical engineering working on innovative products gave her direct exposure to patent work. And if she were applying to a job, that’s exactly what she would want to do.

But  applying to law school is not the same as applying to a job.  

Beth wanted to get into a T-10 law school, with an LSAT that was below those schools’ medians. She needed to stand out. 

So she showed how she could  think critically  about her own experiences, identify a problem, and  show how she as a lawyer could work to fix  it. Here is her “global insight.”

Working with a variety of different clients as a mechanical design engineer consultant, I shifted from wanting to create and solve problems, to being the voice of innovative products. I encountered numerous instances where patents were crucial to progress, but the lawyer’s failure to grasp the innovation of a product proved fatal to the product’s success . . .  With ever-increasing connections and access to information, I believe intellectual property law is indispensable to progress. Our modern-day society is constantly changing as technology and the way we do business rapidly evolves. Laws surrounding technology and innovation that provide structure for an uncertain future must constantly be re-evaluated and interpreted in a way that fits with the needs today. The decisions we make today about what is deserving of a patent, and thereby how we classify innovation, will impact future progress. Lawyers who understand the mechanical details of a product and impact in the context of law are necessary to make such decisions. I intend to be one of those lawyers. A knowledgeable advocate can make all the difference. 

See how Beth shows how she thinks about the world and her own role in it? Instead of just saying “I was a mechanical engineer working on cool products,” blah blah blah she shows how she was critically thinking about her experiences, saw a problem (the problem being untrained lawyers inhibiting innovation), and saw how her experiences along with a law degree could help her solve that problem.

She then went on to explain  why this matters . And not just why this issue matters to her, but why this issue should matter to all of us, why this issue should matter to law schools! 

She got into her dream T-10 school. 

And you can too.

Action Step! Develop Your Global Insight 

  •   Think about what your experiences have taught you about your world or the broader world? Or what larger problems have you seen through your experiences?  

great law school personal statements

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great law school personal statements

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How to Stand Out & Get Admitted to the Law School of Your Dreams

Georgetown University.

Law School Personal Statement Dos and Don’ts

The personal statement, one of the most important parts of your law school application, is an opportunity to highlight your writing ability, your personality, and your experience. Think of it as a written interview during which you get to choose the question. What one thing do you wish the admissions evaluators knew about you?

To help you write a law school personal statement that best reflects your abilities as a potential law student, we have some recommendations below.

  • Discuss possible personal statement topics with your pre-law advisor (or someone else) before you invest a lot of time writing.
  • Choose a narrow topic. Offer details about a small topic rather than generalities about a broad topic. Focus on a concrete experience and the impact it has had upon you.
  • Be yourself. Do not tell law schools what you think they want to hear — tell them the truth.
  • Pay special attention to your first paragraph. It should immediately grab a reader’s attention. Reviewers are pressed for time and may not read beyond an uninteresting opener.
  • Keep it interesting. Write with energy and use the active voice. You do not have to explain how your experience relates to your desire to attend law school. Tell a story. Paint a vivid picture. The most interesting personal statements create visuals for the reader, which make your personal statement more memorable.
  • Keep it simple and brief. Big words do not denote big minds, just big egos. Choose your words with economy and clarity in mind, and remember that your reader has a huge stack of applications to read. A personal statement generally should be two to three double-spaced pages.
  • Proofread. Ask several people to proofread your essay. Grammatical or mechanical errors are inexcusable.
  • Include information from your background that sets you apart. If your ethnicity, family, religion, socioeconomic background, or similar factors are motivating you to succeed in law school, be sure to highlight them. You can do this in the personal statement itself or in a separate diversity statement. If you are writing a personal statement and a diversity statement, make sure the two essays address different topics.
  • Consider your audience. Most admissions evaluators are professors, third-year law students, or admissions professionals not long out of law school. Therefore, you want to come across as an attentive student, interesting classmate, and accomplished person. Again, consider what you most want them to know, beyond the information provided in the rest of your application.
  • Read the application carefully. Most law schools allow you to choose a topic, but some will require you to address a specific question. Follow whatever instructions are provided.
  • Do not play a role, especially that of a lawyer or judge. And stay away from legal concepts and jargon. You run the risk of misusing them, and even if you use them properly, legal language may make you appear pompous.
  • Do not tell your life story in chronological order or merely re-state your resume. Furthermore, resist the urge to tie together all of your life experiences. The essays that try to say too much end up saying nothing at all.
  • Do not become a cliché. You may genuinely want to save the world. Maybe your study abroad experience transformed the way you look at the world. But these topics are overused. Before writing your essay, consider how your story is unique and highlight your individuality.
  • Do not use a personal statement to explain discrepancies in your application. If your academic record is weak in comparison to your LSAT scores, or vice versa, address that issue in an addendum. Emphasize the positive in the personal statement.
  • Do not offend your reader. Lawyers rarely shy away from controversial topics, but you should think twice before advocating a controversial view. You do not want to appear to be close-minded.
  • If you are in the bottom of an applicant pool, do not play it safe. You have nothing to lose by making a novel statement.

I Got a Full-Ride to Law School Using This Personal Statement

Jack Duffley

Law school admissions certainly are intimidating, especially when it comes to the rather daunting task of writing a personal statement with no real prompt. Generally, law schools will ask for no more than two pages of basically whatever you would like to talk about.

However, there are a few well-established principles for writing a successful personal statement. Here are 4 principles, along with my own personal statement, to help you hit a home run:

The personal statement should only drive your application forward. If it is holding it back in any way, it is not ready.

Your personal statement should explain your interest or purpose for studying the law.

This does not have to be the backbone of the entire piece, but it should be at least mentioned somewhere. It should also avoid legal jargon and should not be some sort of showcase for legal knowledge. It also should not be a regurgitation of your resume. The committee will already have your resume, so the personal statement serves as a supplement to it.

Spend the time making your personal statement better.

To get a competitive offer from whichever law school you may be applying to, it all starts with a good application package. The admissions committee is going to want to see a good LSAT score , a strong GPA, some recommendations, and a well-written personal statement. That much is clear. Your personal statement may never feel like it is just right, but it can only become better with consistent time and effort spent drafting it again and again.

Research examples of well-written personal statements.

To get some ideas about what a good personal statement could look like, I did a preliminary search to read a few successful ones. The University of Chicago had a few essays posted on  their site  from admitted students that gave me a good point of reference. Although there is tremendous flexibility in writing the personal statement, it should not be so wacky as to discourage the admissions committee in your abilities as a writer or in your seriousness about attending law school.

Take advantage of the resources around you to make your statement the best.

For my statement, I went through a couple of potential concepts and decided to do one on my life’s motto. And, no, it was not some cliché that I pretended was my motto; I picked words that I truly lived by and continue to live by to this day. I spent many hours writing and rewriting my personal statement. Thankfully, I had the invaluable help of my roommate, who is a strong writer himself, and he gave me useful feedback on many of my drafts (I promised him a nice dinner if I ended up getting admitted with a full-ride to somewhere). When I got close to a final draft, I took it to my school’s writer’s workshop to have someone I had never met before read it aloud. It allowed me to hear where someone might misunderstand something so that I could make changes accordingly for the final product.

great law school personal statements

Beginning in the spring, picking up in September, accelerating further in October, and finishing in November when I sent my applications out, the whole process produced something that I thought gave me a very strong shot at success. So here it is. Enjoy:

“Ball: outside!” declared the umpire.

“Come on now! Get ahead, stay ahead, kid!” demanded my coach.

I checked the sign: fastball. That pitch was just not there; I shook my head no. My catcher gave me the next sign: curveball. Yes, the get-me-over-curve, my signature pitch. I stepped back to begin my windup.

“Steeeeeriiike! One and one,” the umpire grunted.

“That’s the way, Duff! Just like that!” my coach exclaimed.

My catcher fired that ball back to me. I toed the rubber and focused on his signs: he flashed two fingers and motioned to the right—curveball, outside. I nodded affirmatively. He and I were on the same page. I began my windup again, picked up the leg, and spun my big overhand curve to the plate.

“Two! One and two.” The batter stood motionless as he watched my back door hook clip the outer edge of the strike zone.

“One more now, Duff! Come on, kid!”

The pitch count, or the current amount of balls and strikes in a given at bat, is perhaps the most impactful construct of baseball. After every pitch, the umpire declares it to be a ball or strike, subsequently adding it to the count. If the batter reaches four balls, he earns a walk, or a free pass to first base; if he gets three strikes, the batter is out. The batter’s goal is to reach a base before three strikes. The pitcher does everything that he can to stop that.

As I got the ball back, I knew I was in the driver’s seat. The batter was at a tremendous disadvantage and would have to react to my pitches on two strikes rather than just being able to lock in on one. I leaned in for the sign: one finger, right, up—fastball, high and outside. I liked it. Even though it was not my best pitch that day, I understood that I could still use it effectively to keep batters off balance since I was ahead. I stepped back into the windup and let the pitch fly.

The batter flailed at the pitch. “Three!” shouted the umpire, raising his fist in the air to call him out. He was sitting on the big, slow curveball and not the fastball, but he could not be selective because he was down in the count. On to the next one.

“Atta kid! That’s what happens when you get ahead!”

Get ahead, stay ahead.

While my organized baseball playing days may be over, that fundamental is still strong. A picture of all-star pitcher Max Scherzer hurling a baseball towards the plate sits above my desk with that same motto in bolded letters:  Get Ahead, Stay Ahead .

What does getting ahead provide? For one, it gives the peace of mind that comes with flexibility; there’s room to react in case something goes off course. In baseball, it gives the pitcher more room to work within the count because he has more options when the batter must play defensively. In short, he can do what he wants. One of the key differences between baseball and life, however, is that baseball has a simple, predetermined goal: score more runs than the other team! Life, on the other hand, allows for enormous flexibility in choosing a goal. Rather than be content with the usual four-year bachelor’s track, I pushed forward as hard as I could to graduate in three years. Many people are surprised when I tell them about my efforts to graduate early; they often wonder why I chose to accelerate my education. I usually explain that it saved me a significant amount of money while expanding my room for error. Most importantly, I tell them, by efficiently reorganizing my schedule, getting ahead actually  gave  me time to think.

The most successful people throughout history have all had an overarching goal, no matter how grand; with the time from getting ahead, I chose mine. Andrew Carnegie sought to provide affordable steel, Henry Ford wanted to create a universal automobile, and Elon Musk aims to put a city on Mars. After seeing their success, I think about how I can do the same. Simply put, I want to be a leader in sustainable real estate. More specifically, I want to make green living universal. Whenever I get the same surprised looks from this claim as when I tell someone that I am graduating early, I clarify that there are already some pioneers designing revolutionary apartments with trees planted on all of their floors, working to clean the air in polluted cities. Stefano Boeri, for example, has designed a thirty-six-floor building covered with trees on terraces jutting out from its sides, dubbed the “Tower of Cedars.” I want to take this premise further: my mission is to expand clean living to all, not just the elite who can afford it. The law is one of the most important tools that I will need to achieve this. The complexities of environmental and real estate law will be major challenges. Regardless, to lead the industry, I must get ahead. When I start my business, I will reflect on my experience in running the Trial Team as its president, the perspective on efficient business systems that I gained with American Hotel Register, and the tips that the CEO of Regency Multifamily shared with me for optimally running a large real estate firm, among many other things. But I will always be looking forward. While history shows that there are answers in the past, only the future knows them. Thankfully, controlling the present by getting ahead can make the future that much more certain.

I stepped back into the windup, again. As I drove off the rubber towards the plate, I extended out as far as I could to get as much control and power as possible. The big hook landed firmly over the outer third of the plate, right into my catcher’s mitt with a solid  phwump .

“Steeeeeriiike! Oh-and-one.”

“Atta kid!” My coach was elated to see my pitch command this inning.

Are you inspired to get ahead? Don’t you just feel a sudden urge to admit me into your program? Well thankfully, it made an impression on someone. I did my best to show my ambitions while showing a bit of my personality. The greatest risk that I took was that some of the baseball jargon may have been hard to understand for someone unfamiliar with the sport, but I made sure that it would not detract from the overall meaning of the piece. It served as a useful supplement to the rest of my application.

As of 2018, I am enrolled at Chicago-Kent College of Law with a full tuition scholarship. While it is no Ivy program, it is a respectable school with a strong regional reputation. The great thing about having the financial burden of law school off my shoulders is that I can now focus on getting the most out of my studies, rather than stress to figure out how I am going to pay off the debt that would have financed my education. And if it turns out that the program is not the best option for me, I can walk away with no financial strings attached.

The personal statement should only drive your application forward. If it is holding it back in any way, it is not ready. Keep it professional but do be creative and show the reader more of your personality than a resume alone would give. You are selling them your brand as a student, so do not let them gloss over your application without much of a thought.

Jack graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2018 with a degree in Economics and History, and he currently works in property management while attending Chicago-Kent College of Law on a part-time basis. He hopes to use his law degree to enhance his career in commercial real estate and eventually lead sustainable large-scale real estate developments nationwide.

Come and join in the conversation on our social channels.

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Find helpful tools and gadgets

Because neurodivergent people often need visual prompts or sensory tools, it is helpful to figure out what works best for you. Maybe you need a quiet fidget to use under your desk in class to help you focus. Maybe you need to incorporate the use of timers throughout your day. If you struggle with time blindness, you can use hourglasses to help you visualize time. Perhaps you struggle with extraneous sounds and need to use noise-cancelling headphones. More and more tools and gadgets are being made for neurodiverse individuals that can help you throughout law school.

Find the best time to be productive

Society can dictate when you are supposed to be most productive. See the traditional 9-5 work schedule. However, that model does not always work best for neurodiverse individuals. Some people are not morning people, and that is fine. Figure out when you have the most energy during your day to be your most productive self.

Identify your organizational system

Find one system to use for organization and don’t change it. Trying too many organizational systems can become overwhelming. If your phone calendar works best, use that. If you are a list person, write all the lists. If you are a planner person, find the coolest one to use throughout the school year.

Write everything down

It would be nice to think that you can remember every task or deadline, but let’s be honest, that’s probably not true. Write down every deadline, every task, meeting, assignment, important date, etc. in the organizational system that you use.

Figure out your maximum focus time

Just like you can only put so much gasoline in a car, most neurodiverse individuals only have so much room in their focus tank. Figure out how long you can truly focus and apply yourself to a task before you need a break. That amount of time is typically shorter for neurodiverse individuals. If you can only truly focus for 20 minutes, study for 20 minutes, take a break, and then come back for another 20 minutes.

Find your friends

You may have started law school with your mind full of horror stories. Throw them out the window. Most of the people you attend law school with are genuinely kind and helpful people. Try to find a group or a couple of people that you can trust and lean on when necessary. Your law school friends can help you stay on task, body double, and even provide notes on the days you may be struggling. These friends can be one of your greatest assets throughout your law school journey.

Be honest with your professors

Only discuss your neurodivergence with your professors to the extent that you are comfortable. If there are things you are concerned about related to your neurodivergence, it can be beneficial to make your professors aware at the beginning of the semester. Whether you are worried about cold calling or need a topic broken down, most professors love opportunities to discuss their area of law! They can’t know that you may need help if you don’t let them know. This is especially important if you aren’t successful in getting accommodations from your school’s Disability Services.

Trust your methods

As a neurodivergent student, you may not fit the traditional mold of all the things a law student is “supposed to do” in order to be successful. You have been in school for years, and now is the time to trust yourself and not be afraid to be an “outside of the box” law student. There is no harm in trying new study methods, but never fear going back to your personal basics. If you need help figuring those out, see if your law school has a learning center or faculty member that can assist you.

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Restatement of Contracts 2d

Counter-offers.

(1) A counter-offer is an offer made by an offeree to his offeror relating to the same matter as the original offer and proposing a substituted bargain differing from that proposed by the original offer.

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Negligence Defined

Restatement (second) of torts 282.

In the Restatement of this Subject, negligence is conduct which falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. It does not include conduct recklessly disregardful of an interest of others.

Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed.2014)

Demurrer: A means of objecting to the sufficiency in law of a pleading by admitting the actual allegations made by disputing that they frame an adequate claim. Demurrer is commonly known as a motion to dismiss.

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Negligence defined

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How to Write a Great Law School Personal Statement

September 6, 2018

Stratus Admissions

Other than an applicant’s LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, the most important component of a law school application is the personal statement.

The personal statement is your opportunity to tell admissions committees about the person behind the numbers, achievements and other aspects of you that they will learn about in the other parts of your application. A great personal statement, therefore, leaves the reader with a sense of who you are as a person, what motivates you, and what experiences and skills make you ready to excel as a law student and as a lawyer.

Here are our top five dos and don’ts for writing a great law school personal statement.

DO brainstorm several topics before deciding what you are going to write about.

The first topic you come up with will likely not be the strongest one. By brainstorming many topics, you allow yourself both the time to dig deep into your academic, professional and personal experiences and explore areas of your background and accomplishments that might not at first glance seem to be applicable to a law school application essay. Many of the most powerful essays are those that come not from common experiences, but those that are from off the beaten path and highlight aspects of who you are that are not readily apparent from other parts of your application.

DO outline your essay before beginning to write it.

The major benefit of outlining your essay before turning it into prose (as opposed to simply sitting down and writing a first draft of the essay) is that you are separating two important steps in the writing process: structuring your thoughts and articulating them. Outlining your essay enables you to focus only on the structure and get that to where you want it to be. After you’ve settled on the structure, you can focus exclusively on clarity, word choice, and other verbal aspects of your essay.

DO go through several drafts of your personal statement.

Regardless of your writing ability and experience, your first draft will not be your best effort. Going through several drafts of your essay will enable you to look carefully at the clarity and word choice of your essay. In addition, giving yourself a couple of days off between drafts will allow you to look at the essay with fresh eyes. This often allows you to see aspects of the essay that you might not if you are trying to complete several drafts in a shorter amount of time.

DO create two versions to accommodate different length requirements.

Although one personal statement is appropriate to be used for all law school applications (occasionally some minor tweaks are appropriate to convey an interest in a specific school), length requirements for schools can vary significantly. Some schools limit personal statements to two or three pages, others to a word limit such as 600 or 1000 words. As most applicants apply to between 10 and 15 schools, you are likely to have to satisfy several different length requirements. The easiest way to do this is to prepare a three-page version and a two-page version, which are the two most common length requirements. You can then modify these versions to fit the exact length requirements of all the schools you are applying to.

To create these two separate versions, start by writing a three-page version and pare it down by removing one of the three (or so) experiences you describe in your essay, and then by searching for any words that can be removed and phrases that can be written more concisely without losing the meaning.

DO proofread your final version.

This might go without saying, but proofreading your essay to make sure that there are no typos or grammatical errors is particularly important when completing a law school application. Verbal precision is one of the most important aspects of both being a law school student and a lawyer, and your personal statement is the first significant piece of writing you will submit as you enter the law school community and the legal profession. Admissions committees will notice any careless errors and, although such errors alone will not determine whether or not you are offered admission, they are definitely in the “negative” column.

DON’T procrastinate.

You will not be able to create your best effort without devoting at least a few weeks to the creation of your personal statement. From brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and proofreading, you should expect the process to take several weeks. Leaving this part of the application to the end will inevitably lead to a suboptimal product that won’t leave a good impression on the admissions committees that read it.

DON’T avoid negative experiences.

Speaking candidly about setbacks, disappointments, or situations you don’t feel you handled properly can often create very strong topics. Although sometimes difficult to discuss, addressing these topics gives you the opportunity to show admissions committees that you are both thoughtful about your past and that you can learn and grow from your mistakes. The key in addressing negative experiences is in focusing on what you have learned and how you have changed. Coupling a negative experience with a later positive experience is a great way to describe such a change.

DON’T talk about the experiences of others.

Many people feel compelled to mention or discuss the experiences of family members, ancestors, or close friends. While the experiences of others may help provide background to your own experiences, it is important to remember that this essay is about you, and admissions committees are considering you, not a friend or relative, for admission. Law schools want to hear about you, your own experiences, and what you bring to the table.

DON’T create a prose version of your resume.

Although it is very important, the personal statement is only one component of your application. Admissions committees will have lots more information about you from the other components of your application: your academic transcript, your resume, your letters of recommendation, etc. The personal statement is your opportunity to go beyond those other aspects and show admissions committees something about who you are as a person. Don’t miss out on that opportunity by simply narrating the academic and professional steps you have taken up to this point.

DON’T attempt to replicate examples of personal statements posted online or in published essay collections.

There are many examples of personal statements available on the web, in books, and in other places. Keep in mind that these essays are published and distributed because they are uncommon. These essays worked well for those who wrote them because they stood out and were personal. Instead of copying what you have read from other sources, create an essay that is personal to you just as those essays were personal to the people who wrote them.

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How to Write a Great Law School Personal Statement

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Are you ready to tackle your law school personal statement? Clear and concise writing is a vital skill for law students, but writing about yourself can be daunting. It's hard to winnow your life experiences down to a couple of pages or find one topic to focus on. 

Yet, your personal statement is a critical part of the application process . When combined with your resume, application, and LSAT score, it forms a complete picture of who you are and why you're a perfect fit. 

With these steps, you'll overcome obstacles while developing prose that supports a favorable application decision. 

Does a personal statement matter for law school?

Yes, your personal statement for law school is vital. It provides insights that aren't apparent on your transcripts. Engaging prose helps you stand out in a competitive space resulting in acceptance at your most-desired schools. 

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the number of applicants to law schools rose by 1.6%, with 63,206 applicants submitting 381,698 applications, according to the Law School Admission Council . You're competing with students who may have similar LSAT scores , grade point averages, and professional experience. When facing identical transcripts from hardworking students, often the only differentiator is the personal statement. 

After all, admissions officers want to know the person behind the hard data. That's where your law school personal statement comes into play. With a standout essay, you capture admissions officers' attention and an amazing narrative sticks in their heads. Your story should emphasize valuable traits, such as: 

  • Intelligence
  • Professionalism
  • Persuasiveness
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Seriousness

How do you write a good law school personal statement?

Writing a great law school personal statement doesn't come without hard work. Although you've written plenty of essays during your college experience, a strong narrative requires genuine reflection. You need to dig deep to uncover an aspect of your life that led to a significant change or put you on your current path.

Of course, intelligent prose doesn't always come out in the first draft. So prepare to spend a good chunk of time building your narrative and adjusting your statement for flow. Starting is often the hardest part of writing. Fortunately, you can follow these steps to nail your law school personal statement. 

Review law school personal statement requirements

Begin by scouring the application packet materials and college websites. Look for key information about the length and page format of your personal statement. The guidelines should answer important questions like:

  • How long should your personal statement be for law school? 
  • What is the maximum word count for a personal statement?
  • How do you format a personal statement?

Next, write down any required prompts to answer in your essay. For instance, some schools may ask why you're applying or why you want a JD degree. Organize program details using a spreadsheet or project management software like Trello. Create a card or row for each program, then list important facts about its mission, goals, and community. 

Also, check to see if any programs offer law school personal statement examples. Read through samples to get an idea of what admissions officers expect. Lastly, some colleges accept other types of statements as well, such as a diversity statement or an addendum. For best results, complete all options.

Diversity statement for law school 

A diversity statement defines what makes you different. It sounds or looks similar to your law school personal statement. But, it differs because you don't need to tie up your narrative into a neat package that ends with an epiphany. Instead, it may cover an experience that explains your values or desire to work towards inclusivity.

Law school application addendum

An addendum is a way to overcome lower scores, a gap in education, or other concerns where you fall short in your official papers and transcripts. Addendums are short, concise, and honest. Explain your reason and demonstrate that you've met and overcome your challenge. 

Brainstorm potential personal statement topics 

Some people prefer to jump right into writing. However, your life story is pretty lengthy, so it's essential to narrow down your subject matter. Focus your attention by reflecting on your life and coming up with some topics to write about. Consider ideas like: 

  • Personal challenges, hardships, or completed goals
  • A turning point in your life
  • Unique hobbies or personal interests
  • Special achievements or awards, not listed in-depth on your initial application
  • A situation or environment that changed you or your values
  • A project that got results and you're passionate about
  • Your upbringing, culture, education, or a personal or professional experience

While brainstorming, go through your transcripts, application, and resume. Are there any gaps or missing details that your personal statement could cover? Perhaps you listed volunteer work with a local animal shelter on your application. Could you delve into this topic further? Aim to share a unique story where your personal growth is the main focus. 

Explore your subject for clarity and insights

Sure, your chosen topic may be fresh on your mind. However, your personal statement for law school is more than describing an event. You need to show admission officers how this experience shaped you. It's vital to dig into how it impacted your values, traits, and feelings. 

Many students report spending hours or days considering their topic, digging through memories, and compiling their subject matter. If you have access to photos, documents, or other things that'll jog your mind, then now is the time to pull them out. Sometimes even listening to your favorite songs can help you remember the moment. 

Uncover a unique angle

Mark Twain once said that no story ideas are original. That holds true for personal statements as well. Plenty of law school applicants face difficult decisions, adversity, or enlightening experiences. Your essay isn't a retelling of an event. It focuses on your feelings and growth. And the story of you is unique, as no one shares your exact emotions or reactions. 

Your goal is to explore an angle that sets your story apart from others. Overcome obstacles by taking a break during brainstorming. Come back to your topic with fresh eyes and hammer out your main idea. 

Sum up your idea and start writing

Now you're looking at your topic, an angle, and you've pulled up those old memories. Do your best to sum it up and conclude it with a few sentences. This is your main point, and what every paragraph should lead the reader back to. Use these sentences as a reference point while writing. 

Some students prefer to create a general outline before writing. Others produce a few key sentences and start typing. All personal statements for law school use a narrative arc with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Include:

  • A captivating introduction that draws the reader into your life
  • Body paragraphs that naturally flow towards a conclusion
  • A decisive conclusion that delivers a lasting impression

During the rough draft, forget about length, grammar, or other specifics. Instead, just write. Get everything out on the pages. You'll have plenty of time later to refine, clarify, and structure your personal law school statement. Once you're done, read it over, make a few edits, and walk away. 

Turn a draft into your personal law school statement 

With a rough draft in hand, assess every word to ensure your story meets your objectives. Your goal is to recreate the moment and invite the reader into your account. Mold your rough draft into a final piece by focusing on a coherent structure. 

Flow. A logical progression of ideas, with a clear arc, is essential. Your reader should glide through your personal statement naturally. 

Length. Eliminate wordy phrases, overly difficult words, and descriptions that don't support your conclusion. 

Personalization. Pay attention to subtle differences in law schools, from their communities to purpose. If you can genuinely work this into your personal statement, then do so.

Character decisions. It's okay to include other characters in your personal statement, but ultimately you want to return the focus to yourself. 

Revise and edit several times

Few applicants write a stellar personal statement the first time. Get the best results by putting your draft through a comprehensive editing and revision process. This goes beyond using your word processing spell checker. Invest in human and technical tools to ensure the best results. Take steps such as: 

  • Double-check that your essay meets formatting and length requirements. 
  • Make sure you've answered any writing prompts.
  • Personalize your statement to the specific school and program. 
  • Use a tool like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to correct grammar and style issues. 
  • Run your document through the Hemingway App to catch hard-to-read sentences and more.

Lastly, it’s essential to get help editing your personal statement. Fresh eyes and unbiased opinions allow you to refine your narrative. Obtain assistance from law school forums, writing centers, and social media communities. Or, ask fellow students or mentors to review your essay.

Create an impressive law school personal statement

Make your application packet stand out with a genuine and captivating personal statement for law school. Although writing your essay may seem like a challenging task, once you break it down into steps, it'll be easier to develop a cohesive statement that's sure to win admission officers’ attention.

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Personal Statements that Worked

Hi everyone,

We’ve collected some great personal statements by applicants who were accepted to T-14 schools. Check them out if you’re looking for inspiration:

https://7sage.com/law-school-ps-examples/

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COMMENTS

  1. Excellent Law School Personal Statement Examples

    Excellent Law School Personal Statement Examples - 7Sage LSAT. By David Busis Published May 5, 2019 Updated Feb 10, 2021. We've rounded up five spectacular personal statements that helped students with borderline numbers get into T-14 schools. You'll find these examples to be as various as a typical JD class.

  2. 18 Law School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted!

    Law School Personal Statement Example #1. When I was a child, my neighbors, who had arrived in America from Nepal, often seemed stressed. They argued a lot, struggled for money, and seemed to work all hours of the day. One day, I woke early in the morning to a commotion outside my apartment.

  3. Law School Personal Statement: The Ultimate Guide (Examples Included)

    The personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your personality, reflect on the experiences that led you to apply to law school, and demonstrate how you will make a great addition to the school's incoming class.

  4. 2 Law School Personal Statements That Succeeded

    The second essay is written by Cameron Dare Clark, a Harvard Law School graduate. Pishko says these two personal statements demonstrate the necessity of sincerity in an admissions essay. "It has ...

  5. How to Write a Law School Personal Statement + Examples

    The simplest way to get the reader involved in your story is to start with a relevant anecdote that ties in with your narrative. Consider the opening paragraph from Harvard Law graduate Cameron Clark's law school personal statement : "At the intersection of 21st and Speedway, I lay on the open road.

  6. Tips For Law School Personal Statements: Examples, Resources And More

    A law school personal statement is a multi-paragraph essay or narrative highlighting the reason you are pursuing a J.D. degree. This essay is an opportunity to share your identity with an ...

  7. Successful Law School Personal Statement Example ('24 Guide)

    Example personal statement: Emily. Here's a real example of a personal statement my client Emily wrote (her name is changed to protect her privacy, everything else is true). Emily had a serious drawback when she applied to law school; her GPA was significantly below all T-14 law school medians. So her personal statement really had to shine.

  8. 4 Law School Personal Statement Examples + Analysis and How-to

    Law School Personal Statement Example #4. When I first moved to the Deep South, I was applying for a visual anthropology MA program. Armed with a DSLR and VideoMic Pro, I documented the local Black Lives Matter movement in North Carolina.

  9. Guide to Writing an Outstanding Law School Personal Statement · LSData

    Be precise and concise. Legal writing is known for its clarity and brevity, so practice these skills in your personal statement. Aim to keep it between 500 and 700 words, as brevity is the soul of wit (and law school applications). 5. Revision: The Art of Legal Editing.

  10. The Law School Personal Statement: Tips and Templates

    Most importantly, your personal statement is a sample of your writing, and strong writing skills are critically important to success throughout law school and in legal practice. If the thought of writing about yourself makes you cringe, adhere to these 5 tips to avoid disaster. BONUS: Scroll down to review 5 law school personal statement samples.

  11. Law School Personal Statement Tips

    There are usually some subtle differences in what each school asks for in a personal statement. 2. Good writing is writing that is easily understood. Good law students—and good lawyers—use clear, direct prose. Remove extraneous words and make sure that your points are clear. Don't make admissions officers struggle to figure out what you are ...

  12. Law School Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide in 2024

    1. A Cohesive Story. A mistake I see time and time again is a personal statement that has too many different themes going on, shows too many different interests, and makes me feel like the applicant can't commit to anything. This is not a quality you want law schools thinking about you.

  13. 4 Outstanding Real-World Law School Personal Statement Examples

    They illustrate the reasons why a legal education is an essential next step in their careers. They display an understanding of the law school's values and sincere interest in attending. They tell an attention-grabbing yet relevant story. Check out the personal statement examples below to get inspired, and be sure to read our advice for ...

  14. Law School Personal Statement Dos and Don'ts

    Write with energy and use the active voice. You do not have to explain how your experience relates to your desire to attend law school. Tell a story. Paint a vivid picture. The most interesting personal statements create visuals for the reader, which make your personal statement more memorable. Keep it simple and brief.

  15. I Got a Full-Ride to Law School Using This Personal Statement

    Spend the time making your personal statement better. To get a competitive offer from whichever law school you may be applying to, it all starts with a good application package. The admissions committee is going to want to see a good LSAT score, a strong GPA, some recommendations, and a well-written personal statement. That much is clear.

  16. How to Write a Great Law School Personal Statement

    Although one personal statement is appropriate to be used for all law school applications (occasionally some minor tweaks are appropriate to convey an interest in a specific school), length requirements for schools can vary significantly. Some schools limit personal statements to two or three pages, others to a word limit such as 600 or 1000 words.

  17. How to Write a Great Law School Personal Statement

    Turn a draft into your personal law school statement. With a rough draft in hand, assess every word to ensure your story meets your objectives. Your goal is to recreate the moment and invite the reader into your account. Mold your rough draft into a final piece by focusing on a coherent structure. Flow.

  18. Personal Statements that Worked : r/lawschooladmissions

    32 votes, 26 comments. Hi everyone, We've collected some great personal statements by applicants who were accepted to T-14 schools. Check them out if…

  19. 9 Important Personal Statement Tips for Law School Applicants

    Tip 3: Be genuine. You don't need to be a superhero to impress the law school admissions committee. You can show your passion, dedication, and law school readiness in lots of everyday anecdotes from your life. You can even write your personal statement about a mistake or a weakness—just make sure you turn it around to show how you ...

  20. Personal Statements (Undergraduate)

    Personal Statements (Undergraduate) uofl.edu/writingcenter [email protected] (502)852-2173 What is a personal statement? What should it do? A personal statement is a short essay most graduate or professional schools require with your application that explains why you want to be admitted into that program, how your experience makes you a ...

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  22. Noginsky District

    Noginsky District ( Russian: Ноги́нский райо́н) is an administrative [1] and municipal [2] district ( raion ), one of the thirty-six in Moscow Oblast, Russia. It is located in the east of the oblast. The area of the district is 893.90 square kilometers (345.14 sq mi). [2] Its administrative center is the town of Noginsk. [1]

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