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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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How to write a law school personal statement + examples.

ideas for law school personal statement

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:

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.

ideas for law school personal statement

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Top Law School Personal Statement Topics + Ideas (2024 Guide)

ideas for law school personal statement

How do you choose a law school personal statement topic? 

You’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to pick the perfect topic that makes your topic stand out. 

Want to learn more? Read on!

Key takeaways: 

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • Why a topic can have a big impact on your law school application 
  • What questions to brainstorm to come up with topic ideas 
  • How to pick the right topic idea 
  • The biggest mistakes people make when deciding on their topic 

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With that, let’s dive right in. 

Why is your law school personal statement topic important?

Let’s start from the beginning. Why is your law school personal statement topic important? 

The thing is: 

Choosing your law school personal statement topic is often one of the most difficult—yet most important—decisions you have to make in your law school application. 

A strong personal statement topic can help your law school application: 

  • Stand out and land you your dream law school
  • Support weaker GPA and LSAT scores 

That’s what I figured out early on. 

Why I knew I needed a good topic 

The worst case of procrastination I ever experienced was when I was trying to figure out my law school personal statement topic. 

I would tell myself I only had to write for 30 minutes, and then somehow before I ever even sat down at my computer two hours passed by and I had reorganized my entire room, cooked an apple pie (true story), and chatted on the phone with my sister about my dog doing more weirdo things (he’s a giant german shepherd who loves to hide in closets…weird). 

Talking about myself, thinking about what made me “unique” or “special” or “interesting” made me squirm. 

Whenever I would come up with a law school personal statement topic, I would second-guess myself quickly. The self-doubt quickly crept in and the little voice in my head whispered that won’t be good enough.

But at the same time, I knew I needed to have a kick-ass personal statement because I wanted to go to a top 10 law school. 

However, while I had a pretty good GPA, it was slightly below most of the schools’ medians. And my LSAT score was definitely not at the medians. 

So I knew that the only thing left in my control was my application – and most importantly, my personal statement. 

Even though it felt overwhelming and at times impossible, I knew I had to find that  perfect  topic to go with my application. 

How to find your story 

I’m guessing regardless of your law school goals, this resonates with you. 

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

For many 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 application stand out from everyone else. 

Whichever 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—which means 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 if you look closer, 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, and a lot of cleaning up, but in the end, you will be rewarded. 

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

It will still require a lot of work and a lot of digging, but with this method, it will get you the gold. 

Let’s (pun intended) dig in. 

What are good topics for a law school personal statement? 

You might already know what you want to write about for your law school personal statement topic. Or you have no clue. 

It doesn’t matter – you will still want to brainstorm to find your topic. 

Because oftentimes the thing you think is the best topic, actually isn’t the more you dig (remember all those shiny rocks that you think are gold, but on closer examination are really just rocks?).

And even if you think you don’t have time or just want to get writing, you still  must  brainstorm first if you really want to find your best law school personal statement topic.

Why you need to brainstorm to pick a topic

Let me explain why I am so so adamant that all of my clients start with a brainstorm:  

First, the brainstorm, even though it’s an extra step, will actually  save you time.

I always hated the advice from teachers to outline before you write your essay, I was the impatient type who just wanted to get the words out on the page. But we all know that outlining does help you write something faster, and let’s be real, better. 

The brainstorm does the same thing.

Second, and probably most importantly, the brainstorm  helps you see everything in one place , the whole universe of You together.

This is so important because to develop a powerful and stand-out personal statement, you want to have an overarching theme that runs through your essay. This is what will tie together all of your experiences, and help you talk about things that may feel totally distinct. 

We’ll get into this in more detail later.

Third, the brainstorming questions that I share with you below are not random. These are questions that will draw out the experiences and character traits that law schools will find most compelling. 

By going through the brainstorming questions, you may find a narrative or experience or character trait you didn’t think to talk about, but which actually fits in and adds to the strength of your application.

Download the Brainstorming Questions Here!

Brainstorming questions to find your personal statement topic

Now that you know why you should brainstorm to pick your topic, let’s take a look at the actual brainstorming questions that will help you get there. 

#1: The three character traits that set you apart

The first brainstorm question will ask you to talk about three character traits that set you apart from others, and then to tell a few stories that illustrate each of those traits.

Law schools want to see who you are and what you will bring to the table. Anchoring your personal statement around a character trait can be a great theme. 

Note that the most important part of this exercise is telling the  stories  that illustrate that trait. You will want to show  how  you exemplify something, not just tell them. 

These stories can come from any time in your life, from childhood to recent. But try to include at least one story from your more recent past.

#2: What someone wouldn’t know about you 

The second brainstorm question asks you to make a list of things someone wouldn’t know about you from your transcripts or resume.

When answering this question, remember your audience. You’re speaking to a law school admission officer, so no need to say things like you can tie a cherry stem with your tongue or you were beer pong champion. 

Remember, this is a  curated  list of things an admission officer might want to know about you. So not anything and everything needs to go in.

Some examples might be: your family background or dynamic, what your childhood was like, accomplishments that aren’t resume or transcript builders, unique skills/talents. This question can often give great material for a diversity statement too.

#3: Why you are applying to law school 

The third brainstorm question asks you to think about what in your life has led you to apply to law school. Think about things beyond just your recent past. What experiences, what people, and what activities have influenced you and or guided you down this path toward law school?

Your personal statement should answer the question: Why is law school the  inevitable  next step in my life’s narrative? This brainstorm question helps get that out.

#4: What you hope to accomplish as a lawyer 

Finally, I ask you to think about what you hope to accomplish as a lawyer, or instead, to think about what problems you see in society or in your world that you want to fix. Be as specific as possible. If you don’t immediately know, really let this question sit with you. Lawyers solve problems. Whether they’re societal or just for their clients. Thinking about your role in that will be important to building a powerful personal statement.

You can download the questions here so that you can refer back to them: 

How to use these brainstorming questions

Ok, as you can see, you have a lot to do in order to figure out your law school personal statement topic.

This can feel intimidating, and overwhelming. Don’t let it be.

At this stage I want you to not think about the final product. Don’t think about these brainstorming questions becoming an actual essay. Just writing casually, free-form, and even bullet points are fine at this stage.

And while I told you to remember who your ultimate audience is, don’t let that get too much in your head. I see too many applicants try to cater their personal statement to what they think admissions officers want to hear, instead of being true to what they believe and feel. 

This comes across in your personal statement and will take away from its impact.

Also, here are some logistical rules of the road as you do the brainstorm: 

  • Take your time going through the questions. Do a first round and get as much out as you can. Then come back on a different day and add to it.
  • Don’t spend more than two hours on this at a time. There is only so much quality material you can get out at once.
  • And finally, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Dig deep, and really think about all of your experiences, not just the ones you think are the reason you’re going to law school. You may surprise yourself.

While you’re at it, let’s take a look at a recap of the most powerful law school topic ideas. 

Law school personal statement topic ideas

Look: There’s not one right topic, as this is unique to everyone. More than the topic itself, it’s the perspective or insight you share. 

That’s why I don’t share the typical list including questions like “What are your hobbies?” A common misconception is that those types of questions, as such, will be enough. 

But to help you get started, use the prompts from the previous chapter.

Remember that everything has to connect to your personal story and support your argument why  you  should be selected instead of all the other applicants.

The topic ideas are: 

  • What’s a story that sets you apart? 
  • What was your childhood like? 
  • What are some “undercover” accomplishments you wouldn’t add to your resume? 
  • What are your unique skills or talents? 
  • What are things people don’t know about you? 
  • Why are you applying to law school? 
  • What do you want to accomplish as a lawyer? 

Now you’ve done a lot of brainstorming…Just one thing left – you need to find and pick your topic.

How? That’s what we’ll look at next. 

How do you decide on your personal statement topic? 

Congrats! You’ve finished your brainstorm.

Unfortunately, we’re not done with that brainstorm just yet. Now it’s time to get out our gold pans and start sifting through the muck.

I want you to put on your objective observer hat, and pretend you don’t know yourself. Pretend you’re learning about yourself for the very first time.

Go through your brainstorm and start looking for common threads.

What themes do you see emerging?

What is a character trait that is weaved throughout many of your experiences? 

As you go through your brainstorm, you may want to print it out or use track changes in Word and write comments or questions for yourself on the side.

For instance, maybe you had a formative life experience that taught you something. You’d want to find out where else in your life have you seen that lesson carried through. As you read through your brainstorm, make a comment, highlight, or circle around other stories that exemplify that same theme.

As you go through your brainstorm, you should start seeing some common themes emerge. Note, I say themes plural. There  will  likely be multiple themes.

It may be clear to you which one is stronger. Or you may still be struggling with what direction to go in. 

This is totally normal! And part of the process.

Now you know how to brainstorm your topic.

But what topics should you stay away from? Let’s take a look. 

What should you not write about in your law school personal statement? 

There are a few mistakes I see law school applicants make all the time. These are…

Mistake #1: Don’t cram everything in

A mistake I see time and time again is an application 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 admissions officers thinking about you.

A simple, but powerful, way to try to narrow down your theme is to ask yourself…

If someone had to write a thesis that encompassed most of my important experiences, what might they say?

Note that I say most of your experiences, not all, and that I say important ones. Important ones need to be filtered through what is important to you  going to law school . Not necessarily what’s important to your life in general. This will be different for everyone. 

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. 

But if you take a step back, there will always be an overarching theme.

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 innovative products. 

And that idea of her pushing boundaries is what she focused her application around. 

Not everyone will want or even need to fit in all those disparate experiences. For some people, they will have to let some things go, or realize that maybe those aspects of themselves are better left for a different essay – like a diversity essay or a school’s supplemental essay. 

Mistake #2: Don’t use sensational or shocking stories 

The next mistake I see law school applicants make is to use a sensational story as their topic.

But a shocking story is definitely not enough to get you admitted.

Your seemingly “novel” or “exciting” experiences—the ones people think will capture an admission officer’s attention—may not actually have much depth if you keep digging. 

They may be exciting, but after telling the story, there’s not much of anything left to say. There’s no real point to it.

For instance, I had a client who had experienced severe racial profiling at an airport. When she first came to me she was convinced this experience was her reason for going to law school, and that was what she should focus her personal statement on. 

But as she went through the brainstorm, a stronger and more persuasive theme emerged—her desire to combat inequity in the healthcare system.

She still felt that the racial profiling was a formative experience for her and wanted to put it in her personal statement. But no matter how hard she tried, we just couldn’t get it to fit seamlessly. 

And it’s because it really wasn’t a core part of why she was going to law school.

But it was a great story to tell as part of her diversity statement and she was able to include it there. And her personal statement was still incredibly powerful. 

P.S. This client is at Harvard Law now.

Another client comes to mind on the topic of exciting and interesting stories but without much point beyond it being interesting. This client was at the site of the London terrorist attacks and felt like that was his story. 

But the more we dug, the more he realized that it was just a fact of his life, not something that really motivated him or shaped him toward law school.

So keep that in mind as you go through your experiences. Be cautious about trying to shock an admission officer. Instead, what you want to do is impress admission officers and show them how you will be a kick-ass lawyer.

Learn more about writing a law school personal statement

Want to learn more about how to create a law school personal statement? 

Take a look at my resource library for more insights on how to write and polish your personal statement: 

  • How to write a law school personal statement
  • Law school personal statement mistakes
  • Law school personal statement examples 

And here are a few helpful resources from some of the top law schools: 

  • Law School Personal Statement  (Northwestern University) 
  • Personal Statements (What Not to Do)  (University of Michigan)
  • Personal Statement and Resume  (University of California, Berkeley)

Over to you!

There you have it! 

Now you know how to pick the perfect law school personal statement topic.

After all, choosing the right topic can make that difference between getting accepted to your top choice or getting rejected.

Want more help creating a strong personal statement – and law school application? 

I help law school applicants get accepted to their dream law schools. 

Read more about my services here.

ideas for law school personal statement

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Law School Personal Statement with Examples

April 3, 2024

So you’re applying to law school? You’ve researched the LSAT , you’ve researched law schools , and now you’re preparing to write your personal statement. I’m sure you’ve got a lot on your plate so I won’t waste your time. In this blog, we’ll answer your questions, examine some law school personal statement examples, and discuss the law school personal statement format. Let’s dive right in.

What’s the purpose of a law school personal statement?

Here are the key objectives and functions of a law school personal statement:

1) Showcase your personal narrative

You can provide admissions committees with insight into who you are beyond your academic achievements and test scores. This essay allows you to share your personal narrative, experiences, values, and aspirations. Those details will help the admissions committee understand what motivates you and shapes your perspective.

2) Demonstrate your writing ability

Law schools place a high value on strong writing skills, because legal education and the legal profession require clear, concise, and persuasive communication. Your personal statement serves as a writing sample. The admissions committee will analyze your ability to articulate ideas effectively, organize thoughts coherently, and convey your message with clarity and precision.

3) Highlight your fit for the program

Your personal statement should also demonstrate why you are a good fit for the specific law school you’re applying to. So research the institution and tailor your statement accordingly. Then you can articulate how your interests, goals, and values align with the school’s mission, programs, and culture.

Law School Personal Statement with Examples (Continued)

4) Provide context for your application

Additionally, your personal statement offers context for the rest of your application. It allows you to address any inconsistencies or gaps in your application, explain unique circumstances, and showcase your growth and resilience.

5) Differentiate yourself from other applicants

In a competitive admissions process, a well-crafted personal statement can help you stand out from other applicants. By sharing authentic and compelling experiences and perspectives, you can distinguish yourself as a unique and valuable candidate.

6) Demonstrate your commitment to the legal profession

Admissions committees seek candidates who are passionate about pursuing a legal education and making a positive impact in the profession. So your personal statement should convey your sincere interest in law, your understanding of its challenges and responsibilities, and your readiness to contribute to the legal community.

  Law school personal statement format

Formatting a personal statement for law school is crucial as it helps convey your message clearly and professionally. So before we look at some law school personal statement examples, here are the key components of the law school personal statement format:

Most law schools have specific guidelines regarding the length of personal statements, typically ranging from one to two pages. So it’s essential to adhere to these guidelines to ensure your statement is concise and focused.

Font and size

Use a professional font like Times New Roman and adjust the size to 12 points. This ensures readability and maintains a formal appearance.

Introduction

Begin with a strong and engaging introduction that captures the reader’s attention. This section should set the tone for the rest of your statement and provide context for your motivations.

Body paragraphs

Organize your statement into several paragraphs, each focusing on a specific theme or aspect of your background, experiences, and motivations for pursuing law school.

Transitions

Use transitional phrases and sentences to smoothly transition between different ideas and paragraphs. This helps maintain coherence and flow throughout your statement, ensuring that each section builds upon the previous one.

End your statement with a compelling conclusion that reinforces your motivations for pursuing a legal education. Focus on leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

Stick to the guidelines

Follow any specific formatting guidelines provided by the law school, such as file format requirements or word count limitations. Adhering to these guidelines demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism.

Two law school personal statement examples

With the law school personal statement format fresh in our minds, let’s take a look at some examples.

Here’s the first of our law school personal statement examples:

As I gaze into the innocent eyes of my two young daughters, I’m filled with boundless love. In their laughter and curiosity, I see the promise of a bright future—but intertwined with that hope is a profound fear and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I can never forget the sobering reality of climate change, a crisis that threatens to reshape the world they will inherit.

My journey towards law school is not merely a pursuit of personal ambition but a solemn commitment to safeguarding the future of my children and generations to come. Growing up amidst the rolling hills of California, I witnessed the devastating effects of wildfires and droughts. Yet, it was the birth of my daughters that catalyzed my transformation from concerned bystander to impassioned advocate.

Driven by this newfound purpose, I immersed myself in climate advocacy, from grassroots campaigns to policy research. I rallied alongside fellow parents and concerned citizens, demanding accountability from policymakers and corporations alike. Each petition signed, each protest attended, was fueled by the determination to leave behind a world worthy of my daughters.

I want to leverage the power of the law as a force for environmental justice and sustainability. The University of Oregon is where my passion for climate advocacy meets the rigors of legal education. Its esteemed faculty and commitment to social responsibility offer the ideal platform to amplify my voice and effect meaningful change.

At the University of Oregon, I aspire to become not only a skilled attorney but also a champion for the planet. With each legal brief penned and each precedent set, I’ll strive to leave behind a legacy of hope and resilience. And I’ll ensure that my children inherit a world teeming with possibility, not plagued by relentless climate catastrophes.

Why the first of our law school personal statement examples works:

Compelling narrative

First, the statement begins with the applicant reflecting on their young daughters and their concern for the future amidst the looming threat of climate change . This narrative immediately grabs the reader’s attention and sets the stage for the applicant’s personal journey.

Personal connection

The applicant demonstrates a deep personal connection to the issue of climate change. This personal connection adds authenticity and depth to their motivations for pursuing law school.

Commitment to advocacy

The statement showcases the applicant’s proactive approach to addressing climate change through advocacy work, including grassroots campaigns and policy research. This demonstrates their dedication and initiative in confronting pressing societal issues.

Alignment with law school

The applicant articulates why they’re drawn to the specific law school they’re applying to. They emphasize how the University of Oregon’s commitment to social responsibility and environmental justice aligns with their own values and aspirations. This shows that the applicant has researched the law school and understands how its resources can support their goals.

Vision for the future

Finally, it concludes with a vision of the applicant’s future role as an attorney dedicated to environmental justice and sustainability. This, coupled with their commitment to leaving behind a positive legacy for future generations, highlights their long-term goals and ambition.

Overall, this personal statement effectively combines personal narrative, passion, and commitment to showcase the applicant’s readiness for law school and their potential to make a meaningful impact in the field of environmental law.

Here’s the second of our law school personal statement examples:

Nestled amidst the golden fields of rural America, I learned from an early age that community is not just a place. It’s a commitment to looking out for one another in times of need. Growing up in a tight-knit community, I was instilled with values of empathy, compassion, and service.

On an autumn morning several years ago, there was a knock at my door. On my porch was my neighbor Sarah, a single mother. She told me about the looming eviction notice that threatened to upend her family’s life. As she looked at me with desperate eyes, I felt a surge of empathy and determination.

I sprang into action and rallied the support of our neighbors. Together, we organized to challenge the unjust eviction and provide Sarah with the assistance she needed. This experience ignited my passion for social justice and set me on a path towards law school.

Throughout my undergraduate journey, I dove into political science and community development. I immersed myself in research projects that shed light on the lived experiences of marginalized communities. One particularly impactful project involved collaborating with local activists to advocate for the expansion of affordable housing programs. This culminated in a successful city council vote that brought tangible relief to countless families in need.

The allure of UC Davis lies not only in its esteemed faculty and rigorous curriculum but also in its dedication to fostering a culture of advocacy and social change. Its renowned clinics and externship opportunities offer a unique platform to translate classroom knowledge into real-world impact. I’m eager to contribute my firsthand experiences and passion for justice to the vibrant community of UC Davis, where every voice is heard, and every action is a step towards a more equitable future.

Why the second of our law school personal statement examples works:

Compelling introduction

The statement begins with vivid imagery and a nostalgic portrayal of the applicant’s upbringing in rural America. This sets the stage for the narrative and establishes the values that have shaped the applicant’s worldview.

Personal anecdote

The story of Sarah, the single mother facing eviction , demonstrates the applicant’s empathy, compassion, and commitment to social justice. Additionally, it showcases their ability to take initiative and mobilize their community in times of need.

Connection to law school

The statement effectively connects the applicant’s personal experiences to their decision to pursue law school. It highlights how their passion for social justice was ignited by their experiences. Then it also emphasizes their determination to use the law as a tool for positive change.

Academic and experiential background

The applicant provides specific examples of their academic and experiential background. They include involvement in political science and community development research projects. This demonstrates their commitment to understanding systemic injustices and their ability to engage in meaningful advocacy work.

Fit for the law school

The statement concludes by articulating why the applicant is drawn to the specific law school they are applying to. It mentions UC Davis’s dedication to advocacy and social change, aligning with the applicant’s values and aspirations. This shows that the applicant has done their research. Additionally, it shows their clear vision for how the law school’s resources align with their goals.

Overall, this personal statement effectively showcases the applicant’s passion, commitment, and readiness for law school, making them a compelling candidate for admission.

How to brainstorm for your law school personal statement

Here are some strategies to help you brainstorm effectively:

1) Reflect on personal experiences

First, think about significant events, challenges, or accomplishments in your life that have shaped your identity and aspirations. Also, consider how these experiences have influenced your interest in law and your commitment to social justice or advocacy.

2) Identify core values and beliefs

Reflect on your core values, beliefs, and principles that guide your decision-making and actions. Then consider how these values align with the mission and values of the law schools you’re interested in. Also, consider how they inform your interest in pursuing a legal education.

3) Evaluate unique experiences and perspectives

Consider any unique experiences, perspectives, or backgrounds you bring to the table that may set you apart from other applicants. Reflect on how these experiences have shaped your perspective and how they contribute to your readiness for law school.

4) Seek inspiration from others

Talk to family members, friends, mentors, or advisors who know you well. They may offer valuable perspectives and help you uncover ideas you hadn’t considered.

5) Freewriting and mind mapping

Finally, set aside time for freewriting or mind mapping exercises. This is where you jot down ideas, memories, thoughts, and associations related to your interest in law school. Allow yourself to explore different angles and connections without judgment.

By engaging in these brainstorming strategies, you can generate a wealth of ideas and insights to inform your law school personal statement.

Final Thoughts – Law School Personal Statement with Examples

Well, you’ve analyzed the law school personal statement examples and the law school personal statement format. You understand the purpose of the personal statement and all the nuances it brings to your application. You know how to brainstorm. Now you’re ready to find your inspiration, choose your topic, and craft your story. Happy writing!

You may also wish to check out the following relevant blogs:

  • LSAT Test Dates – 2024
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  • Law School Admissions

Mariya holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the Pratt Institute and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing at the University of California Davis. Mariya serves as a teaching assistant in the English department at UC Davis. She previously served as an associate editor at Carve Magazine for two years, where she managed 60 fiction writers. She is the winner of the 2015 Stony Brook Fiction Prize, and her short stories have been published in Mid-American Review , Cutbank , Sonora Review , New Orleans Review , and The Collagist , among other magazines.

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7 Law School Personal Statement Topic Ideas

  • Applying to Law School
  • Pre-Law Prep
  • Surviving Law School
  • Homework Help
  • Private School
  • College Admissions
  • College Life
  • Graduate School
  • Business School
  • Distance Learning
  • J.D., Temple University
  • B.A., English and History, Duke University

The law school personal statement is a required part of most law school applications. Each law school provides their own instructions and the requirements will vary, so make sure to review them thoroughly. For example, some law schools will ask for specific information about you (e.g., academic background, professional experiences, personal identity), while others ask for a general personal statement. Many law schools are most interested in why you want to pursue law, but not all.

Regardless of any school-specific requirements, your personal statement must demonstrate exceptional writing abilities. The admissions committee will be considering your ability to communicate and present information effectively. In addition, although the personal statement does not need to address your interest in law, it should illustrate qualities that would make you a good lawyer. Most importantly, the essay should be personal in nature.

Good topics for personal statements can come from almost any part of your life: extracurricular activities, community service projects, professional experience, or personal challenges. The possibilities are endless, and most law schools do not provide specific writing prompts—a perfect recipe for writer's block. If you're feeling stuck on your personal statement, use our list of topic ideas to kick off the brainstorming process.

Why Law School?

Most law school personal statements say something about why the applicant wants to go to law school, so it's important to make your essay personal and unique to you. Avoid legal jargon or overly abstract concepts. Instead, write a truthful essay that conveys sincere interest.

To jumpstart the brainstorming process, jot down all the reasons you want to study law. Then, look for patterns in the list to identify key moments or experiences that led you to pursue a legal career. Remember, your reasons can be personal, professional, academic, or a combination of all three. A typical "why law school" essay will begin with a pivotal moment that led to your decision, then explain your short and long term goals, potentially including classes you want to take, specializations you plan to pursue, and the area of law you intend to practice.

A Personal Challenge You Overcame

If you have overcome significant personal challenges or hardships , you may wish to share those experiences in your personal statement. Make sure to structure the essay in a way that demonstrates personal growth, and consider connecting it to your interest in law. The description of the challenge should be relatively concise; the majority of the essay should focus on how you overcame it and how the experience affected you.

One caveat: it's best to avoid writing about academic failures in your personal statement. If you must explain a low grade or test score, do so in an addendum , rather than your personal statement.

Your Proudest Personal Achievement

This prompt gives you the opportunity to brag about accomplishments that you may not have been able to include elsewhere in your application. For example, you might write about the time you navigated your hiking group out of the woods during a storm, or the summer you spent helping a neighbor develop their small business.

Be sure to provide details about how you felt as you worked toward and eventually achieved your goals. The accomplishment does not have to be academic, but it should be something that demonstrates personal growth or showcases your best qualities.

A Project That Led to Personal Growth

Did you create or participate in a project that still influences you to this day? Consider writing about the project and its impact in your personal statement.

Don't worry if your project doesn't feel big enough. Remember, the most compelling projects are often those that initially seem small but are actually quite impactful. Good examples include community service work or a significant project undertaken at a job or internship. In the personal statement, explain the project and its impact on you with vivid language and anecdotes. In other words, take the reader on the growth journey with you, rather than just describing it to them.

Growth Experienced in College

In addition to intellectual growth, many students experience significant personal growth in college. When you reflect on your undergraduate years, what stands out? Perhaps one of your long-held beliefs was challenged by friendships you formed in college. Maybe you discovered an unexpected interest that changed the course of your academic or professional career. Reflect on your core values and beliefs before and after college. If you see an obvious and interesting growth trajectory, consider using this topic for your personal statement.

An Experience That Changed Your Life

This personal statement prompt allows you to describe formative experiences and how they impacted your life and career choices. Good examples include a mid-life career change or the decision to have a baby while in college.

Describing a truly life-changing experiences will help you stand out from other applicants, especially if you write reflectively and demonstrate how the experience connects to your pursuit of a law career.

Introduce Yourself

If you were introducing yourself to an admissions officer, what would you want him or her to know about you? What makes you who you are, and what unique perspective can you add to the law school environment?

Get started by reflecting on these questions and free writing your answers. You can also ask friends, family, teachers, and classmates for their input about your special qualities. By the end of the process, you should have a list of unique personal characteristics and experiences. A great law school personal statement will either focus on one specific personal characteristic or experience, or braid several of them together to paint a rich portrait of who you are.

Remember, the admissions committee wants to know applicants through their personal statements, so don't be afraid to let your personality shine through.

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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.

ideas for law school personal statement

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How to Write a Great Law School Personal Statement

outside study

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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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.

2 Law School Personal Statements That Succeeded

These examples of law school essays were critical components of successful law school applications.

High angle shot of a businessman working on his laptop at the bar in a cafe

Getty Images

Sincerity is an essential ingredient of a compelling law school admissions essay, one J.D. admissions expert says.

Deciding what to say in the law school personal statement is the most challenging part of the admissions process for some applicants.

"Even people who are good writers often have a hard time writing about themselves," says Jessica Pishko, a former admissions consultant and writing tutor at Accepted, a Los Angeles-based admissions consulting firm. "That is perfectly normal."

Pishko, who coached law school applicants on how to overcome writer's block, says, "If you can find the thing that you really care about, that is who you are, and talking about that is a great way to write about yourself."

Why Law Schools Ask for Personal Statements

Personal statements can offer J.D. admissions committees "a narrative" about the applicant, which is important because it is rare for law schools to conduct admissions interviews, says Christine Carr, a law school admissions consultant with Accepted who previously was an associate director of admissions at Boston University School of Law .

The statement can help explain an applicant's reasons for wanting to attend law school , Carr adds.

"It can then add 'color' to a one-dimensional process," Carr wrote in an email. "The personal statement also allows the applicant to showcase writing ability. Law school and the legal profession require a clear and concise writing style that can be displayed by the applicant in the personal statement."

Personal statements often help admissions committees make difficult decisions, Carr says. "Given a relatively robust applicant pool, institutions often have more 'numerically' qualified applicants – LSAT and GPA – than they can admit," she explains.

Qualitative admissions factors, including not only personal statements but also resumes and recommendation letters , help to humanize applicants and "allow committees to build a community of law students not solely based on the quantifiable measures of test scores and transcripts," Carr says.

"Law schools are looking to fill classrooms with engaging and qualified students. The personal statement can provide insight into an applicant's personality and potential as a member of the school's community," she says.

What a Great Personal Statement Accomplishes

Excellent law school personal statements convey the essence of who an applicant is, experts say.

"The personal statement is the quickest way to get an overview, not only of the applicant's professional life and background, but in terms of what they emphasize, a clear indication of what the applicant themself, values," Jillian Ivy, CEO and founder of IvyCollegeEssay.com, a company that provides guidance on admissions essays, wrote in an email.

The statement "also gives admissions a snapshot of how well each applicant writes, if they understand how to brand or market their best traits, and thereby demonstrate that they know where their own strengths lie," Ivy adds.

A strong personal statement will articulate an applicant's vision for his or her future, including an explanation of short-term and long-term goals, and it will delineate how a J.D. degree will help an applicant get to where he or she wants to go, Ivy says.

"The more competitive the law school, the more admissions wants to see a level of understanding, drive and ambition within the personal statement," she explains, adding that applicants should clarify why they want to attend a particular law school and how that school can assist them on their career journey. "The schools want to see that the applicant has taken the time to understand what their particular program offers, and what makes it different."

How to Structure a Law School Personal Statement

The beginning of a solid law school personal statement ought to be intriguing, experts say.

"The statement should begin with a strong intro sentence, that summarizes the applicant's goal or tone," Ivy says. "For example, 'I have always been interested in international finance.' From there, the applicant would go on to describe 'why' they are interested in this area of financial law, and what in their unique background and experience has led them to pursue this path."

A personal statement provides context for the experiences that have prepared the applicant for law school and led him or her to pursue a legal career, experts say. It's also ideal to have a thoughtful ending "that ties the statement up," Ivy says.

An important point to address in a law school personal statement is what "sparked" the applicant's interest in law, Ivy says. She adds that law school admissions readers are aware that J.D. hopefuls' career goals may change between the time they apply to law school and the day they graduate.

Nevertheless, it can still be useful for an applicant to provide an explanation of what particular area of law he or she wants to learn more about and what type of lawyer he or she would like to become, if that is something the applicant is clear about, Ivy says.

An effective personal statement will also explain an applicant's background and how it has shaped him or her, Ivy adds. "It's connecting the dots back to anything at all that can be relevant ... to your new interest and what you want to pursue professionally."

Applicants should tailor their personal statement to each law school where they submit an application, Ivy adds. " Harvard Law School is very different than Columbia Law School even though both of them are excellent schools," she explains. "So each has their own approach to learning and to learning about law in particular."

Law school admissions committees appreciate when applicants make it clear that they have done thorough research on the school and its J.D. program . This reassures admissions officers that an applicant will be a good fit and make a valuable contribution to his or her law school class, Ivy explains.

Experts advise that a law school personal statement should align with the content in the rest of the law school application . Ideally, the essay will emphasize a selling point that is conveyed elsewhere in the application, but not simply repeat information.

In order for a personal statement to be effective and stand out, experts say, it needs to be both representative of who the applicant is and distinctive from personal essays that others have written.

How to Start Writing a Law School Personal Statement

Carr notes that writing a law school personal statement can be intimidating because it isn't easy to convey the essence of decades of events "into two pages double-spaced." She says law school hopefuls are often unsure about which portions of their life would be most meaningful and interesting to an admissions committee.

"Some applicants have a tendency to throw the 'kitchen sink' at committees and write about everything," Carr explains. But that's a mistake, Carr says, adding that J.D. personal statements should be "clear and concise."

Carr suggests that J.D. applicants concentrate on answering the central question of a law school personal statement, "Why law school?" Once they have brainstormed answers to that question, they should focus on a specific aspect or theme that explains their rationale for pursuing a career as an attorney, Carr says.

Ivy suggests that law school hopefuls who are struggling to decide what to write about in their law school personal statement should make a bullet-point list of the various topics they could focus on alongside brief one-sentence descriptions of each topic. The process of recording ideas on a piece of paper can clarify which ideas are most promising, she says.

"The strong ones will rise to the surface," she says, adding that once an applicant has narrowed down his or her list of essay ideas to only a few, it can be valuable to solicit feedback from trusted individuals about which of the remaining essay concepts is the very best.

Law school admissions experts suggest that applicants recall the various pivotal moments in their lives that shaped their identity, and then consider whether there is any idea or thesis that ties these events together.

Focusing on a central concept can help ensure that a law school personal statement does not simply list accomplishments in the way that a resume or cover letter might, experts say. Plus, an idea-driven essay can give law school admissions officers insight into the way a J.D. applicant's mind works.

A personal statement should illustrate the positive attributes the applicant has that would make him or her successful as a law student and lawyer. Sometimes the best way for an applicant to show his or her character strengths is to recount a moment when he or she was challenged and overcame adversity, experts say.

Experts advise law school hopefuls to write multiple drafts of their personal statement to ensure that the final product is top-notch.

They also recommend that applicants solicit feedback from people who understand the law school admissions process well, such as law school admissions consultants, and from people who know them well, such as close friends or family members. Getting input from friends and family can help ensure that an applicant's essay authentically conveys their personality, experts say.

Once the statement is finalized, Carr advises, the applicant should thoroughly proofread it more than once.

Mistakes to Avoid in Law School Personal Statements

A scatterbrained or disorganized approach in a law school personal statement is a major no-no, experts warn.

Ivy suggests that J.D. hopefuls avoid "rambling," adding that top law schools want to identify individuals who demonstrate that they are highly focused, ambitious, driven and persistent. "If you can hit those four things in your essay, then that's going to stand out, because most people don't know how to do that," she says.

Because it's important for a law school personal statement to be coherent and streamlined – like the law school resume – it's prudent to use an outline to plan the essay, Ivy says. The most common mistake she sees in J.D. personal statements is the lack of logical flow.

"Instead of a linear line, they're cycling around, and they'll touch on something, and then they'll come back to it again three paragraphs later," she says, adding that an unstructured essay is "just messy" and will not make a positive impression during the law school admissions process.

Experts warn that law school personal statements should not be vague, melodramatic and repetitive. The essay should not merely describe a person that the applicant met or recount an event – it needs to convey the applicant's personality.

Plus, language should be specific and clear. Absolutes like "never" or "always" are typically not the best words to use, experts warn, and it's important to not overshare personal information.

In addition, J.D. hopefuls should understand that they have a lot to learn about the law since they have not gone to law school. They should recognize that the individuals reading their essays probably know a great deal about the law, so they should not write essays that lecture readers about legal issues, experts warn.

Grammatical and spelling errors can tarnish an otherwise good personal statement, so it's important to avoid those, according to experts. It's also essential to follow any formatting rules that a law school outlines for personal statements.

Additionally, though many law school hopefuls are tempted to begin their personal statement with a dramatic anecdote, they should resist because doing so will most likely make a negative impression, experts warn. An aspiring attorney does not need to have suffered a tragedy in order to write a compelling law school personal statement, and describing something bad that has happened does not automatically lead to an effective essay.

Furthermore, when a J.D. applicant submits a generic law school personal statement that could go to any school, he or she is missing an opportunity to explain why a particular school is a great fit, experts suggest. Another common mistake, they say, is when applicants use a positive adjective to describe themselves rather than sharing an anecdote that demonstrates that they have this good quality.

Additionally, when a law school hopeful includes storytelling in his or her essay, it's best to focus on a single specific anecdote, because speaking in generalities is neither interesting nor convincing, experts say.

An applicant who writes a contrived essay based purely on what he or she believes a law school wants may come across as phony, experts say. It's essential, they say, for a personal statement to articulate what special perspective a prospective student could bring to a law school class.

Law School Personal Statement Examples

Below are two law school admissions essays whose authors were accepted to their top-choice law schools. The first is written by Waukeshia Jackson, an intellectual property attorney who earned her J.D. from the Paul M. Herbert Law Center at Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge . 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 to be sincere, and it has to be you and what you want to write about and why you want to go to law school.”

Both essays are annotated with comments from the authors about how the essays were written as well as comments from Pishko about passages that resonated best and how the essays could be improved.

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Getting Into Law School

  • 2 Law School Admissions Essays That Succeeded
  • How to Write a Law School Resume
  • A Law School Resume That Made the Cut
  • Work Experience and Law School Admission
  • What Is a Good LSAT Score?

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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.

ideas for law school personal statement

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.

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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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Your go-to secondary source, finding an a.l.r. (american law reports) article covering your topic is a great starting point for research. you'll get a quick summary of the legal issue you're researching and a table of cases, laws, and rules to see the law across all jurisdictions. you can also use annotations to find additional secondary sources, such as legal encyclopedias, treatises, and periodicals. no wonder they're nicknamed already done legal research see it in action: the legal discussion to compensate student athletes is heating up. check out this alr article to see how the legal picture for tomorrow’s student athletes comes together in one place., keycite graphical history, procedural history made easy, are you reading a case and not sure how you got there procedurally reversed, remanded or otherwise, we got you. just sign into westlaw and follow the steps below... 1. grab one of the citations you see in your case book and type it into the search box on westlaw . (ex. 480 u.s. 102), 2. click on your case in the drop-down menu., 3. click on the history tab to see your procedural history., keycite graphical history works best when you have a federal case and a complex issue. check out some additional examples from your classes below. contracts - koken v. black & veatch const., inc. - lamps plus, inc. v. varela civil procedure - national equipment rental v. szukhent - helicopteros nacionales de colombia, s.a. v. hall torts - palsgraf v. long island r. co. - kentucky fried chicken of cal., inc. v. superior court, law school resource center, flowcharts, overviews & more..

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2. click on copy another class, 3. enter your copy code, set your options, click copy course, determining whether a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over a non-class action case..

If the case arises out of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, rules or regulations, or a treaty signed by the U.S., and the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction, then the case must be litigated in federal court.

If the case does not arise out of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, rules or regulations, or a treaty signed by the U.S., and there is not complete diversity between the plaintiffs and defendants (a.k.a they are both from different states or one is a citizen of a foreign country), then the case must be litigated in state court.

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.

(2) An offeree’s power of acceptance is terminated by his making of a counter-offer, unless the offeror has manifested a contrary intention or unless the counter-offer manifests a contrary intention of the offeree.

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.

(2) An offeree’s power of acceptance is terminated by his making a counter-off, unless the offeror has manifested a contrary intention or unless the counter-offer manifests a contrary intention of the offeree.

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Negligence defined

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Your personal statement as an opportunity for law schools to get to know you as an individual. Think beyond your application materials – focus on your values, interests, goals, and passions.

Your statement should be the piece of your application that sets you apart from other law school candidates. It should also showcase your writing abilities.

  • Brainstorm some themes and topics that relate to you, ones that are prominent in your life. Think about why and how you became interested in law. What significant life events and interests have you developed along the way?
  • Select 1-2 topics/themes you believe will be the strongest. Use this theme as the thesis statement of your personal statement.
  • Write a rough draft. Don’t worry about length, style, or grammar yet.
  • Put it away for a while. Time adds an interesting perspective on your writing.
  • Redraft and edit as needed; aim for 2 pages double spaced.
  • Have several people read it - professors, a prelaw advisor, or the  Writing Center.
  • Weigh the feedback you have been given and develop your final draft.
  • Proofread, proofread, and proofread!

If the law school does not specify a topic (and many don’t, but always check), here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm:

  • Hobbies/work/other experiences that have shaped you
  • How you became interested in the law
  • Life events that have changed or motivated you
  • Challenges and hurdles you overcame
  • Issues or subjects that you feel strongly about and why (just make sure not to “preach”)
  • Personal growth you’ve experienced in college
  • A unique experience that you have had inside or outside the classroom
  • Your goals and the events that have shaped those goals
  • Ensure that you accurately answered the essay questions provided
  • Remember to put the “personal” in the personal statement – use personal stories/experiences
  • Avoid just restating your resume or transcript. Law schools are looking to get to know you beyond your application materials
  • Remember, the general guideline for page length is 2-3 pages double-spaced (although check with each school for specific guidelines). Most schools do not restrict page length for the personal statement.

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Karlesses at [email protected] or 610-519-5421.

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Law School Personal Statement Ideas

Categories: Personal Statement Advice

Join the Crowd

You’re reading this article because you have absolutely no idea what to write your law school personal statement about. Take a deep breath and relax—you are not alone.

For example, take a look at the following tweets about law school personal statements:

  • “This Personal Statement for Law School apps is killing me.”
  • “Writing my law school personal statement for the third time.”
  • “My personal statement is [expletive]. I don’t have any work experience in law firms . . . like other people.”
  • “Personal statement for law school is harder than I thought.”
  • “This personal statement might be the death of me… I hate law school already.”
  • “This law school personal statement will be the death of me. Hands down the most ambiguous two pages I’ve ever written.”

As you can see, for many applicants, the hardest part about applying to law school is coming up with a personal statement topic. It’s hard to write about yourself—we get it.

But if we asked you to tell us what makes your best friend unique and interesting, you would be able to respond without hesitation.

  • “He traveled the world for six months and loves learning about new cultures.”
  • “She volunteers all of her spare time at the local homeless shelter.”
  • “He is hilarious and can always cheer me up when I’m feeling sad.”

So what’s the problem with writing about yourself?

Why You Are Having Difficulty

Applicants who have a hard time coming up with a personal statement idea generally fall into two categories:

In the first category are the people who have spent their whole lives doing things that improve their resume. Jobs, research assistant positions, clubs, fraternities/sororities, volunteer activities, study abroad trips, etc. You name it, they have done it. These applicants face the “paradox of choice.” Because they have so many great experiences to choose from, they are overwhelmed and do not know where to begin.

In the second category are the people who have few experiences. Quality instead of quantity. A person in this category may be a student who put him or herself through college while working a full-time job in a service position, such as a waiter or bartender. Maybe someone in this category graduated from college several years ago and has since been working in a full-time position to earn a living. These applicants are full of self-doubt because they believe that their experiences are not impressive enough for law school.

Applicants in both categories also face another problem. They think that they must conform themselves to what other applicants are doing. They don’t want to choose the wrong topic. But when it comes to personal statements, there is no right or wrong answer. There is only good execution and poor execution. It is better to choose a sincere and genuine topic than a random topic chosen only because you think that you should write about it.

Legal Experience

The good news is that working in a legal profession is not a prerequisite to attending law school. That’s right—you don’t need to have worked in any legal capacity to get into law school.

Most law school admission committee members know that most applicants have no legal experience. In fact, many law school graduates do not even have legal experience. Get this out of your head right now. Eliminate your self-doubt.

The Goals of the Personal Statement

Although we could write pages about the goals of the personal statement, this article is about choosing a personal statement topic. Therefore, we will limit our advice to two short tips:

Your first goal, if possible, is to be as unique as you can. Make yourself standout from the thousands of applicants.

Your second goal should be to tell a good story that makes the reader like, respect, or admire you. You do this by only writing about one or two interesting experiences. You do not do this by simply retyping your entire resume.

For more personal statement tips, read: How to Write a Great Personal Statement .

Gradvocates has compiled a list of personal statement ideas. Please note that some topics won’t be applicable to you. For example, if you have absolutely zero interest in public-interest law, then do not write about how you want to get a law degree to help make the world a better place.

Spark and solidification: This topic involves writing about what sparked your interest in becoming a lawyer. Explain the steps that you took to explore that interest. Put particular emphasis on the event that solidified your desire to attend law school.

Desirable Qualities: This topic involves writing about one or two of your best qualities and then providing examples of these qualities through one or two experiences. For example, if you assert that you are “hardworking,” then you could write about how you worked and went to school full time during college. If your quality is “a desire to serve your community,” then you can write about specific things that you accomplished that show that quality. The quality you talk about should have some sort of connection to the practice of law. For example: hardworking, perseverance, serving your community, or leadership.

Overcoming Difficulty: This topic involves writing about difficulties that you have overcome in your life. If you choose this topic, you must make it clear that the experience fostered specific qualities in you that make you a good fit for law school.

First-hand injustice: This topic involves writing about an injustice that you witnessed or experienced and how it made you want to become a lawyer, so you can help change the status quo. Be careful, as this topic can come across as extremely cliché. If you choose this topic, then it is not sufficient to just explain the injustice and how you want to advocate for those affected by it. Make it clear why specifically becoming a lawyer, as opposed to a counselor or volunteer, is necessary to help out. You must also realize that this is a personal statement, and so you cannot just write an essay on a social problem. Be sure to include your own thoughts and feelings.

Change of Careers: This topic is for older applicants who have been working in a different career for several years before realizing that they want to attend law school. Write about what your previous career involved and what exactly made you want to pursue law instead. For example, applicants in this category may be scientists who want to practice intellectual-property law, or a teacher who wants to work to reform the education system (this latter example overlaps with “First-hand injustice” discussed above). Another real example involves a firefighter who decided to obtain a law degree after successfully representing himself in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against his municipality for employment discrimination.

Still Stuck? Gradvocates Can Help

The Gradvocates Editing team can help you pick your topic. Every purchase of Law School Personal Statement Editing comes with unlimited email interaction with our editing team. After purchasing personal statement editing, send us an email so we can help you come up with a great topic for your personal statement. You can then submit it for editing whenever you are ready.

If You Will Apply Next Cycle…

If you will not apply to law school for another cycle, please be sure to read: Engineering Your Personal Statement Topic: Do Something Worth Writing . That article explains that if you absolutely do not have anything to write about, you can actually use the time from now until you apply to law school to choose impressive experiences that you will write your personal statement around. You can essentially come up with a great personal statement idea and make it happen, so you don’t find yourself in this situation when you are ready to apply.

We hope that his article has served as a great starting point for writing your law school personal statement. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help you in any way.

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Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas

It can be challenging to write a good, unique law school personal statement. Sometimes the hardest part of writing a law school personal statement is figuring out where to begin.

These are some law school personal statement brainstorming ideas that may help you figure out what topics you should discuss in your personal statement as well as what themes should permeate it.  Do not become too attached to any topic or idea right away. Instead, look at all of the questions below and pick a few to begin thinking seriously about.

Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas about Travel and Cultural Experiences:

List every country, state/province, or city that you have traveled to. Have any of these experiences changed you? How? What realizations have you had as a result?

Have you had experience volunteering anywhere? Where? Was it different than you expected? Has it given you a different worldview?

Are you fluent in any languages? Go beyond the traditional languages of English, Spanish, Japanese. Can you Code? Are you great at talking to and relating to younger people or elderly people? How has this affected your life and your goals? How has it made you think about the world differently?

Where did you grow up? How has this influenced your perspective? What race are you? What is your cultural background? How has your background or race changed you? How has it made you more mature or open-minded?

Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas about Why You Are Applying to Law School:

Do you have any coursework, experiences, or legal training that has inspired you to go to law school or a particular area of law?

Is there a certain person or event that has made you want to study law?

Is there a specific area of law that you want to go into? Why? What personal experiences have made you want to go into this field?

Do you want to go to a particular law school? Make sure to state it in the personal statement that you submit to that school. What makes you want to go to that law school: the courses, clinics, professors, geographical area? Let them know that you have truly researched the law school and are serious about attending it if you get accepted.

Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas about Your Hobbies, Interests, and Relationships:

Have you “created” anything – a blog, a business, a volunteer group? How has it challenged you?

Has a professor, mentor, or any other relationship changed your life in a significant way?

Has an artist or book changed your life? How? Did it influence your decision to go to law school?

Is there any quote that has changed your perspective on life? What is it? How has it changed your perspective and your life?

What interests you? What hobbies are you passionate about?

Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas about Obstacles:

Have you overcome any physical, mental, emotional, or financial difficulties? Have you experienced any tragedies or illnesses? How has it made you more mature?

Have you helped a close family member who has had to overcome a difficulty, tragedy, or illness? How has it changed you?

Where did you grow up? Was this an obstacle to success in any way? What did you learn from it?

What is your race or ethnicity? Have you been stereotyped as a result of it? How have overcoming stereotypes associated with your race challenged you or made you stronger and more mature?

Other Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas:

Ask a friend what they find remarkable about your life or your personality. It is surprising what ideas they might come up with.

What isn’t on your application that you want to communicate to the admissions committee?  How does your application not tell your full story?

List five adjectives you would use to describe yourself. How are these connected with experiences or events in your life?

Think about your childhood. Think of the first memory you can. Then write down all of the significant events, experiences, or revelations that occurred after that. Try to connect these to a choice or decision that you made or a perspective that you adopted in your adulthood.

Once you have a topic or idea, write about it for five or ten minutes without stopping. Write whatever comes to your mind. If you think you might have a good paper topic, stick with it for a while even if you can’t write a personal statement you really like right away. It usually takes a while to write a really good law school personal statement.  For more tips on how to write an excellent law school personal statement, click here . If you are considering whether to submit a  diversity statement along with your application, please see our other posts on  how to write a law school diversity statement.

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Cambridge Law School Personal Statement Examples

Cambridge Law School Personal Statement Examples

Your Cambridge law personal statement is a short essay which highlights why you are interested in studying law and how equipped you are for the task. Cambridge uses the UCAS system for all applicants wanting to study law at the undergraduate level, so there are no unique requirements for your law school personal statement here. In this blog, we’ll cover what Cambridge expects from your law school personal statement, important requirements you need to know, and some law personal statement examples .

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

Article Contents 6 min read

How to write a law school personal statement for cambridge law.

Cambridge law doesn’t have any specific law school admissions essays topics . The purpose of your Cambridge law personal statement is simply to share with the admissions committee why you want to study law at Cambridge and how you have prepared yourself to do so.

Your law personal statement will often be the basis of discussion during your interview, so it’s a good idea to include your most significant accomplishments or experiences in your personal statement, as well as your future career goals and interest in a specific area of the law.

Since there are no specific prompts and the personal statement can be quite open-ended, start with brainstorming. Identify 2-4 experiences or important ideas you want to convey in your personal statement. Focus on how you can demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for legal study, and how you have prepared yourself for a career in law. While you can include early life experiences, try to focus on important experiences in the last few years at most.

Here’s some questions you can ask yourself and answer in your Cambridge law personal statement:

  • What first drew you to the law?
  • How did you develop your enthusiasm for the law?
  • What legal questions interest you most?
  • What particular areas of legal study fascinate you?
  • What personal or professional experience do you have with legal matters?
  • How have you prepared yourself for the rigors or law school or the practice of law?
  • What are your intellectual or academic interests? How do they relate to your interest in law?
  • Which aptitudes do you possess that are suited to the study of law?
  • Why have you chosen Cambridge law?

Once you’ve identified a few notable experiences or accomplishments, organize them into an outline and write a draft without concerning yourself with word count. Give yourself plenty of time to rework your essay and revise it. Remember to double check for spelling and grammatical errors, and to remain under the word limit.

If you want expert help crafting or reviewing your law school personal statement, a law school admissions consulting service or law essay writing service can help you get organized and polish your drafts.

The Cambridge undergraduate law program uses the UCAS application system, so the format and length requirements for your Cambridge law personal statement will follow the UCAS requirements. UCAS allows you up to 4,000 characters, or 500 words, to complete your personal statement, or 47 lines—whichever comes first. The minimum character count for your personal statement is 1,000 characters, or around 250 words.

Cambridge law uses your UCAS personal statement as the basis for your interview, and to evaluate your academic interests and commitment to the study of law. In short, while Cambridge does not provide law school essay prompts , they are essentially asking: why do you want to study law ? Your personal statement for Cambridge should:

  • Explain your reasons for wanting to study law at university
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for and commitment to the study of law
  • Express any particular interests within the field of law
  • Outline how you’ve pursued your subject interest in your own time

For a better idea of the format and structure of UCAS personal statement, read examples of Cambridge personal statements or Oxford personal statements as a guide. ","label":"TIP","title":"TIP"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

Cambridge Law Personal Statement Example #1

My passion for the law was first sparked by an interest in people and their behaviours. As a child, I had a peculiar hobby, introduced to me by my father. I loved observing poker. My father taught me how to play, the two of us, and whenever he would host a friendly game with his friends, I watched and learned. I studied their behaviour, learning their tells and reading their body language. It appealed to me to puzzle out their intentions and their attempts at bluffing. Soon enough, I had a very good knack for reading other people.

As I grew older, I enjoyed watching true crime documentaries and found any crime fiction novels I could get my hands on. Each one was a puzzle that I could take apart, dissect and put back together to find the truth, the reveal. Whenever there was a real criminal court case covered on the local news, I watched with rapt attention. I pursue intellectual interests in sociology, criminology and psychology, through both fiction and scientific articles. I wanted to understand better how people thought, why they behaved the way they did.

I also pursued a side interest in theatre as a teen, as it allowed me to become more comfortable performing in front of others, and allowed me to gain self-confidence. By now, I was curious about a legal career, as it would allow me to marry my love of figuring people out with my interests in true crime and criminal law. I knew to be an effective solicitor I would need a greater presence and confidence in myself. Theatre proved to be a very effective way for me to rehearse and develop myself for the courtroom.

I was able to put my performance skills as well as my knowledge to the test when I participated in the Bar Mock Trial. I was able to banish any nerves when it came to performing in front of an audience, and theatre helped me immerse myself in the mock scenario and truly take on the role of a lawyer. Thanks to my experience with the mock trial, I began sitting in on cases in a public courtroom, once again to observe how the game was played. And just like poker, it was fascinating to me to see how real lawyers analyzed the individuals around them. This was a far more hands-on and realistic examination of people than I could find in all my books and articles. This was no longer theory but a live study of individuals in a court of criminal law. I was fascinated by the entire process.

The law is a complex and intriguing puzzle, and criminal law especially is an area that demands keen observation, sharp analysis and the ability to see beyond the surface. I look forward to the prospect of applying the knowledge I have gained so far, developing new skills and deepening my understanding of a captivating subject.

Want more tips for writing a law school personal statement? Watch this video!

Cambridge Law Personal Statement Example #2

Education, and ensuring everyone has the right to education, has been my crusade for many years. For me, the law has become a vehicle that will help me effect real change in education around the world.

I was fortunate to attend a private school in my formative years, and so I saw firsthand how exclusionary it can be to some students. There is a distinct lack of equal access to quality education for all students, and typically money and privilege are the biggest obstacles. However, around the world I know there are far larger barriers for some young students who crave access to education, and are denied it. In my private school, the few students who could attend on merit scholarships were considered lucky, but they should be able to access quality education without winning some type of lottery.

In my passion for the right to education, my initial plan was to become a teacher and bring education directly to students. But I also realized as a teacher I would not have the level of influence needed to effect real and lasting change. I decided to switch my focus, and I started volunteering with Oxfam. I took my summer off, and volunteered my time as a girls’ teacher in remote villages in Malawi. Oxfam has long been dedicated to providing access to education, and it was fulfilling to be able to help provide educational resources to students even more underprivileged than the peers I’d met in private school. To be able to witness the difference I was making every day as a teacher to young girls. Still, I had lofty goals, and I wanted to continue my humanitarian aid and continue to work towards the right to education for all students.

I delved into researching the global issues and obstacles surrounding education. It soon became clear to me that it was not always a lack of access blocking students from going to school, but a lack of educational rights. I knew I would need to pursue a career in international law, if I wanted to see through my goal of breaking down barriers to education on a global level.

For me, the law is a tool, a resource I can use to help effect change in the lives of young students eager to learn and grow. So I know I must be eager to learn and to develop my legal knowledge as well. I am committed to the studying of the law, so it might serve as my foundation in bringing education to students around the world.

Your personal statement for Cambridge law will be submitted through UCAS, so it should follow UCAS personal statement guidelines. Your personal statement for Cambridge college of law will highlight why you want to study law and what you have done to prepare yourself to become a lawyer.

Your Cambridge law personal statement should cover your motivations for studying law, your specific interests within the field, how you are suited to the study of law and independent learning you’ve done to further your passion for the law.

To write a strong personal statement, ensure it is error-free, flows naturally and is well structured. It should also demonstrate a strong enthusiasm for the study of law, an intellectual aptitude for the field and some experience with law.

Your UCAS personal statement should be no longer than 4,000 characters or around 500 words or less. At minimum, your personal statement should be 1,000 characters or 250 words.

Your law school personal statement should share why you want to study the law, what first sparked your interest in the law or a particular field of law, and what actions or pursuits you’ve taken to deepen your understanding of the law.

A law school personal statement uses a short essay format.

Yes. Your Cambridge law personal statement will be the basis of discussion at your interview, so it is important to present a well-written personal statement. While Cambridge focuses heavily on academic qualifications in applicants, your personal statement provides context and further information about you as a candidate.

Avoid using irrelevant anecdotes or personal stories, unless they provide important context to your motivation to study law. Also avoid using any cliches or often repeated phrases, informal language and merely providing a list of your accomplishments. Remember to use your word count wisely and get straight to the point!

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The priority deadline to submit your application for fall 2024 is Feb. 1 and the final deadline is June 1. The last LSAT we will accept for the 2024 application cycle is the June 2024 exam.

The admissions committee admits applicants on a rolling basis; therefore, we encourage all applicants to submit their application early.

All applications must be completed through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Please note that McGeorge does not accept hardcopy applications. The application should be complete when submitted.

You will need the following to complete your application:

  • A completed application form
  • Personal statement
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation submitted through your LSAC CAS account. (Up to three letters will be accepted)
  • Bachelor's degree
  • CAS report with letters of recommendation, all undergraduate transcripts, LSAT score and LSAC Writing Sample or GRE score (taken in the last 5 years)
  • Email address (this is the primary form of communication from the law school)

Personal Statement

The statement must be no more than three pages, double-spaced and 12 pt. font. An applicant's personal statement is an opportunity to provide information that the applicant believes should be considered.

The personal statement prompt is: Tell us about a person or event that impacted/influenced your life.  Please list the prompt at the top of your written statement.

If an applicant wishes to address their grades, academic disqualifications, etc. they may do so by addressing these circumstances in the Optional Essays section.

Provide a Resume of full-time employment and other activities, starting with the most recent. Include dates, name(s) of employer(s), and position(s) held. List the hours worked per week and academic honors received since entering college. List extracurricular activities, hobbies and community service. Describe the nature and extent of employment during college and include volunteer work. Please include summers. Explain any periods of time after high school not accounted for by the preceding educational and employment history. However, all high school information should be omitted.

Letters of Recommendation

In support of the application, applicants must submit two letters of recommendation directly to LSAC; we will accept a maximum of three letters. Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to their college professors and administrators who have had the opportunity to assess their academic, time management, research and analytical skills to write on their behalf.

Applicants who have been out of school for a considerable amount of time can submit letters of recommendation from employers, business colleagues, and mentors. Letters from family members and close personal friends are discouraged. These letters should address skills relevant to your potential success in law school.

Please note that LSAC will not release an applicant's CAS report to McGeorge until they have received a minimum of two letters of recommendation.  The application will remain incomplete and will not be reviewed until the applicant's file is complete.

Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and LSAT or GRE

Applicants must register with LSAC for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and LSAC's Credential Assembly Services (CAS). Transcripts of prior college and university coursework must be furnished directly to LSAC. LSAT scores must be from administrations within five years prior to the year of enrollment. An application file is not complete and will not be reviewed until an applicant's law school report, including an LSAT score or GRE score, has been received. Please note, if you have a valid LSAT score on file, the GRE score will NOT be considered for admission.  (Applicants whose undergraduate degrees are not from educational institutions within the United States, its territories or Canada must use LSAC's Credential Assembly Service for international document authentication and evaluation.)

Applications will not be considered for final action until all required information has been received.

McGeorge School of Law maintains a long-standing policy of not discriminating in any of its activities based on race, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, age, color or religious belief.

Transcripts

All transcripts for college and graduate work must be submitted directly to LSAC. LSAC will evaluate each transcript and forward a report to each law school the applicant designates.

If an applicant matriculated at another law school, a letter of good standing from that school is required. Additionally, if an applicant sat for an examination at that school, a transcript from that law school must also be submitted directly to LSAC.

Please note if an official transcript with degree posted is not initially submitted in the CAS report , an applicant is required to submit  a copy of an official transcript with degree posted directly to the McGeorge JD Admissions Office before the first day of orientation to complete e nroll ment . 

Optional Essays: Diversity, Adversity Statements and Addenda

You may choose to attach a response to one or more of the following questions in addition to the required Personal Statement if you feel the information would be helpful to us when considering your application or submit an addendum to explain any discrepancies in your application.

  • Explain any discrepancies in your application.
  • Fully clarify and provide more information regarding any Character and Fitness questions.
  • Tell us more about your interest in McGeorge School of Law.  What makes our school a good fit for you in terms of academic interests, programmatic offerings and learning environment?
  • Discuss how your specific personal experiences, given your background (race, ethnicity, disability, LGBTQIA+ status, economic disadvantage or otherwise) demonstrate an important quality of your character and/or one more unique ability you can contribute to the law school.

Additional Application Requirements for Foreign Applicants

Test of english as a foreign language (toefl).

An applicant who did not complete their bachelor's degree from an English-language college or university, and for whom English is not their primary language is required to take the TOEFL. This requirement also applies to recent immigrants who have completed their education outside of the United States where English was not the language of instruction.

A minimum score of 600 for the paper-based test, 250 for the computer-based test, or 100 for the internet-based exam is required. Please note that acceptable scores must come directly from TOEFL and be submitted to LSAC. For additional information on TOEFL, visit http://www.ets.org/toefl .

Transcripts (International)

McGeorge requires that foreign transcripts be submitted directly to LSAC Credential Service which is included in the CAS subscription fee. A foreign credential evaluation will be finalized by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRO) and will be integrated into your CAS report.

Student Visa

Once an international applicant is admitted to the law school and has paid their first seat deposit, the Director of Graduate and International Programs will contact the student to obtain an I-20 application form, certification of finance, a notarized copy of their birth certificate, passport, and when applicable, marriage license. Once all of these items are received, the Director of Graduate and International Programs will process the student's SEVIS I-20. An I-20 form is one part of the requirement for an applicant to obtain a student visa .

Online Status

Once an applicant submits their application, they can check the status online through the Application Status Online. Login information for the Applicant Status Online is emailed to applicants when the application is submitted to the law school. The admissions committee will review files in the order that they were completed. Our admissions committee is devoted to reviewing each file in a holistic manner. Please allow four-to-12 weeks to receive an admission decision. Offers of admission will be sent via U.S. mail. Other admission decisions will be sent via email. Changes to an applicant's email or mailing address should be communicated to the Office of Admission immediately.  

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The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (45 CFR 86), and Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, does not discriminate in the administration of any of its educational programs, admissions, scholarships, loans, or other activities or programs on the basis of race, gender (identity and/or performance), sexual orientation or preference, national or ethnic origin, color, disability, marital status, age, or religious belief.

Inquiries regarding compliance with these statutes and regulations may be directed to the Office of the Dean, 3200 Fifth Ave., Sacramento, California 95817, 916.739.7151, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, in San Francisco or Washington, D.C. Student records: Inquiries about the School's compliance with student access and privacy rights regarding educational records, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, may be directed to the Office of the Dean or to the Student and Family Educational Rights and Privacy office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

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COMMENTS

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

    Part 4: Law school personal statement brainstorming. Before you begin writing, you should spend time brainstorming ideas. Because law school personal statement prompts are almost always broad—e.g. "Why do you want to go to law school?"—applicants often feel uncertain about how to proceed. Either you have too many ideas, or no clue what ...

  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. Tips For Law School Personal Statements: Examples, Resources ...

    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 ...

  4. Excellent Law School Personal Statement Examples

    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.

  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. Top Law School Personal Statement Topics + Ideas (2024 Guide)

    The thing is: Choosing your law school personal statement topic is often one of the most difficult—yet most important—decisions you have to make in your law school application. A strong personal statement topic can help your law school application: Stand out and land you your dream law school. Support weaker GPA and LSAT scores.

  7. 4 Law School Personal Statement Examples + Analysis and How-to

    Overview: This essay was also written by a student with significant work experience prior to applying to law school. As in the other essay by a returning student (Example 1, above), it does an excellent job of explaining what the prior career entailed and how the experiences she gained in that career are what encouraged her desire to be a lawyer working in the field of family law.

  8. Law School Personal Statement with Examples

    Here are the key objectives and functions of a law school personal statement: 1) Showcase your personal narrative. You can provide admissions committees with insight into who you are beyond your academic achievements and test scores. This essay allows you to share your personal narrative, experiences, values, and aspirations.

  9. Law School Personal Statement Topic Ideas

    The law school personal statement is a required part of most law school applications. Each law school provides their own instructions and the requirements will vary, so make sure to review them thoroughly. For example, some law schools will ask for specific information about you (e.g., academic background, professional experiences, personal identity), while others ask for a general personal ...

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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.

  13. How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

    Personal Statement Body Section. The body of your personal statement should focus on the details of your story. Each paragraph should expand on your points and begin with a topic sentence that expresses the main idea of the paragraph in which it occurs. Ending sentences for body paragraphs should wrap up your points and help transition the ...

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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.

  16. PDF Personal Statement Worksheet

    Personal Statement Worksheet. This worksheet is intended to help you brainstorm ideas for your personal statement through the process of writing down and reflecting on your many varied experiences. Try not to self-edit yet—the following exercises are intended solely to help you start putting words and ideas on the page.

  17. The Ultimate Law School Personal Statement Resource List

    Here are some of the best posts about writing your personal statement: Every Word Counts; The Drafting is Never Done; Law School Personal Statement You Shouldn't Write; Podcasts. We also speak on this topic in our Podcast! Tune in for updates in the LSAT and Law School Admissions world. E. 49: Student Question Mailbag, Law School Admissions ...

  18. 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 ...

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

    To get some ideas about what a good personal statement could look like, I did a preliminary search to read a few successful ones. ... This email confirms approval of your order of Law School registration keys required on July 02, 2019. View your order in Password Access Central as needed. If requested, your keys are listed below.

  20. Personal Statements for Law School

    Personal Statements for Law School. Your personal statement as an opportunity for law schools to get to know you as an individual. Think beyond your application materials - focus on your values, interests, goals, and passions. Your statement should be the piece of your application that sets you apart from other law school candidates.

  21. Law School Personal Statement Ideas

    Take a deep breath and relax—you are not alone. For example, take a look at the following tweets about law school personal statements: "This Personal Statement for Law School apps is killing me.". "Writing my law school personal statement for the third time.". "My personal statement is [expletive].

  22. Law School Personal Statement Brainstorming Ideas

    These are some law school personal statement brainstorming ideas that may help you figure out what topics you should discuss in your personal statement as well as what themes should permeate it. Do not become too attached to any topic or idea right away. Instead, look at all of the questions below and pick a few to begin thinking seriously about.

  23. Cambridge Law School Personal Statement Examples

    Read these Cambridge law school personal statement examples to inspire your own personal essay, and learn the Cambridge law school personal statement writing requirements. ... Identify 2-4 experiences or important ideas you want to convey in your personal statement. Focus on how you can demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for legal study ...

  24. JD Program Deadlines & Requirements

    Email address (this is the primary form of communication from the law school) Personal Statement. The statement must be no more than three pages, double-spaced and 12 pt. font. An applicant's personal statement is an opportunity to provide information that the applicant believes should be considered.