18 Law School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted!

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

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Article Contents 44 min read

Law school personal statement example #1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Should a Law School Personal Statement Do?

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

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

2.      Demonstrate your skills and capabilities

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

3.      Meet basic requirements

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

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

4.      Embody what the school is looking for

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement #4

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #5

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #6

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #8

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

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

Watch this for more law school personal statement examples!

Law School Personal Statement Example #9

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #10

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

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

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

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

Need tips on your law school resume?

8 Additional Law School Personal Statement Examples

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

Law school personal statement example #11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law school personal statement example #12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law school personal statement example #13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law school personal statement example #14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #16

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement #17

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement #18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeMo Academic Consulting

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

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The Law School Personal Statement: Tips and Templates

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

Photo by  Alejandro Escamilla  on Unsplash

Published July 16, 2019

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

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

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

If the thought of writing a personal statement stresses you out, adhere to these 5 tips to avoid disaster. 

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

1. Make it personal

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

2. Be genuine

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

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

3. Tackle the “Why?”

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

4. Keep it interesting & professional

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

5. Edit & proofread

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

Tip : Consulting a Pre-Law Advisor or a mentor to help you proofread and edit is an extra step you can take to make sure your personal statement is the best it can be!

Sound easy enough? It is, if you take it seriously. Don’t think you have to craft the “best” or most competitive personal statement, just the most “genuine” personal statement. Remember, there is nobody with your exact set of life experiences, background or point of view. Just do you.

Bonus: 5 Law School Personal Statement Samples

1.  How a suitemate's small gesture resulted in declaring a second major and, eventually, working as an interpreter at a law firm.

Near the end of the spring semester of my sophomore year, my bilingual suitemate slipped me a small chart of Spanish subject pronouns. Earlier that day, I had told him that I signed up for a study abroad program in Costa Rica, and he knew my Spanish vocabulary was limited to little more than “good morning,” “thank you,” and “goodbye.” Apart from English, languages had always seemed incredibly foreign to me, and not in terms of their origins or where they were predominantly spoken. I missed their logic. Grammatical rules seemed far removed from anything resembling expression or communication. Foreign words never added up to more than the sum of their letters. I had studied both German and French in high school with modest success. At twenty years old on that spring afternoon, I was just a motivated learner with a college language requirement to fulfill. I had the determination to soak up as much Spanish as I could, but I had what I felt at the time were realistic expectations. Spanish did not need to change my life.

From that scrap piece of paper and kind gesture of a friend, I ultimately declared a second major in Spanish. Notebooks full of vocabulary quickly replaced the list of pronouns. I poured over conjugation charts in Spanish’s fourteen verb tenses, three grammatical moods, and regional variations. Spanish was a joy. It presented both a personal challenge and an endless puzzle to be solved. While it was not my best subject, I took to the language’s study with patience, discipline, and a constant desire for measureable self-improvement.

This challenging and rewarding aspect of language acquisition never subsided. Even as it continues to become easier to read, write, speak, and listen in Spanish, I am increasingly aware of nuances I miss and vocabulary I lack. New words and phrases still give me a feeling of quiet exhilaration. Spanish presents me with a chance to relearn the world and reevaluate my understanding of it. Are the Americas one continent or two? Which form of “you” do you use? What strategies are developing in Spanish-speaking communities to promote inclusive and fair communication in a language that is so highly gender-inflected?

New words and concepts are only the beginning of the way Spanish opened up the world. I was introduced to the works of writers and artists from around the world. I watched movies that left me in stiches, moved me to tears, and gave me the chills. It opened my ears to a steady stream of protest music, singer songwriter confessionals, flamenco, tango, jotas, salsa, blues and indie rock. Over the course of my studies, Spanish led me to travel and took me to large cities, small towns, plains, mountains, jungles, waterfalls, deserts, and beaches. I have been extraordinarily privileged to have had these experiences. More importantly, however, is the way Spanish has enriched my life by connecting me with teachers, colleagues, students, artists, activists, welcoming families, and friends who I would never have met otherwise. My life is forever changed by these relationships.

After graduation, I moved to Spain to work as a language assistant and cultural ambassador for the Spanish Ministry of Education, at vocational, secondary, and primary schools in La Rioja and Madrid, where I helped students and colleagues in journeys mirroring my own, toward English proficiency and mastery. My life and work in Spain was fulfilling. However, I began to feel the distance from my family and friends in the United States. In 2014, I returned home with fresh eyes. The move was as impactful as any of my past travel. I saw a vibrant multilingual and multicultural community on the rise and was determined to put my hard-won Spanish skills to good use.

I started working at a law firm as a paralegal and interpreter. It is a small, high-volume practice limited to immigration law. There, I honed my organizational, scheduling, and managerial skills. A large part of my job is coordinating directly with clients, attorneys, and other support staff. I help to prepare motions, translations, court submissions, family-based petitions, asylum claims and many other applications. Over the course of any given day, I have the opportunity to help people from many different countries and walks of life. A significant proportion of our clientele speaks Spanish as their first language. I acknowledge that the circumstances in which many of our clients arrive in the United States are different than those that shaped my life as a traveler and an immigrant, but I am proud to be able to extend some of the much-needed help and hospitality that was always afforded to me.

Arguably, I know less about law than I knew about Spanish when my sophomore roommate gave me my first language lesson, but I feel ready for the new challenge, fascinated by its potential as a window to the world, and excited by its many applications in service of our local and global community. After my travels and time living abroad, I feel strongly connected to many distant places, but Buffalo remains my home. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to study law at the University at Buffalo School of Law and thank you for your consideration of my application.

2.  This applicant found a balance between doing what they love and earning a living.  

As adolescents become young adults, they struggle with the transitional challenges that accompany their new responsibilities. As a child, I learned how to follow rules, play for participation trophies and not ask too many questions. I was told to stay in line, but I knew that as an adult, I should be a line-leader. The problem I faced, as I learned how to wield my own independence, was a common one. I desperately struggled to reconcile my strong compulsion towards self-indulgence with my ambitions for a successful life. I often asked myself whether it was possible to make a living off of playing with kittens all day. Parents love to tell adolescents that “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” but as a young adult, it never seemed that simple. There is a looming dichotomy between “doing what you love” and “earning a wage,” which seems to plague each generation that enters adulthood. I feel genuinely fortunate to be able to say that I found harmony between the two. By pursuing a career in law, I believe I will be able to apply my personal values to a career which will give me not only a sense of personal fulfillment and gratification, but also a “real job” that contributes to society.

I had always been an enthusiastic learner, and was always throwing myself into new hobbies and interests. On a whim, I took a creative writing class in my sophomore year to kindle an interest in poetry. The poems we read that year opened my eyes to the potential and inherent beauty in language. The manipulation and purposeful reconstruction of syntax and diction resembled art. Careful articulation had always been an interest of mine, but poetry really gave me an access to language which I had never had before. Poetry became an incredibly important part of my college career and of my personal life. I read poetry, I wrote poetry, I published original poems, and I was twice awarded by the university for my work. I became active in the poetry community, and my relationship with language and articulation deepened.

At the same time, I enrolled in an elementary chemistry course as a basic science requirement. I had always been interested in science courses, and I knew the subject would fascinate me, but I was not prepared for the emotional response I felt to the chemistry material. Chemistry explained things; it explained behavior, and it dealt with calculable predictions on a microscopic level. As I delved further into my chemistry coursework, I felt like I had found a subject that answered something inside myself. My natural draw to ask “why” and “how” was finally pacified. Higher-level chemistry courses gave me the tools to approach any of those questions with the logical, rational thought required of chemical calculation.

As I maneuvered through my undergraduate coursework, and committed myself to both my English and Chemistry majors, I also tried to find a way to manifest my concern for community investment. I volunteered for an organization called Break! The Influence, which performed for schoolchildren to warn them of the dangers of substance abuse through dance and entertainment. Even after the program ended, I felt an instinctive gravitation towards community volunteer work and local investment, which led me to Literacy NY Buffalo Niagara. LNYBN is an organization which provides free English tutoring to functionally illiterate adults in the local area. This organization’s mission is very dear to me for several reasons: not only am I interested in bettering the community, but I also have immense respect for the adults who seek out this tutoring assistance. They are often learning English despite working full-time jobs and satisfying family responsibilities. These students have committed themselves in a way that inspires me and which I hope to emulate with a law degree. They are improving themselves in order to reach their potentials, and are able to reinvest those skills back into the community they learned from. I have been given the opportunity, through my work with LNYBN, to help these people equip themselves for even fuller contributions to society. I am excited to share with them my passion for language, and I am awed by the non-native speakers who are learning English as a second or third language. In the same vein, I hope to use my law degree to better prepare me to contribute to the community. I know that my language and articulation skills have made me a more effective communicator, and calculated rationality has made me a more measured and logical thinker. These are skills which I think will be enhanced by the study of law, and which can be used to improve society, as well as my local community, as my career develops.

3.  How one applicant's experience teaching English in Thailand prepared them for the challenges of law school.

As I handed my passport to the customs officer upon entry into Bangkok, Thailand, I anxiously glanced at my surroundings. What had I gotten myself into? My mind raced as I worried about whether I would be able to adapt to a foreign culture or whether I could handle teaching English in a foreign country for a year. Despite several months of analysis and reflection, I could not help but wonder if I had made the right decision. However, as the customs officer handed my passport back to me, I reminded myself why I decided to pursue this opportunity in the first place: personal and professional growth, intellectual stimulation, and the opportunity to experience a new culture. With that in mind, I confronted my fears, took a deep breath, and embarked on the journey of a lifetime.

The first few months teaching English to primary level Thai students were challenging, to say the least. Not only was I adapting to a new way of life in a bustling Asian city, but I also confronted the reality that the majority of the students in my classroom had limited exposure to the English language. Although the task seemed overwhelming, I was determined to help my students improve their English communication skills. I worked diligently to create lesson plans centered on classroom participation. I also fostered relationships with my students, which allowed them to become more comfortable practicing their English. As a result, my students made significant improvements throughout the course of the academic year and were excited to practice their communication skills. The most rewarding moment came towards the end of the year when some of my students asked for my home address. They wanted to send me letters and continue practicing their English. Teaching in such a unique environment enabled me to enhance my organization, leadership, and adaptability skills, all while providing me with the opportunity to fully engage in a different culture.

In addition to developing strong relationships with my students, I developed relationships with people from an array of cultural backgrounds. I nurtured friendships with fellow teachers and other travelers, each with unique national, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. These relationships opened my mind to alternate ways of thinking, gave me the ability to hone my interpersonal skills, and broadened my ability to think critically about the similarities and differences in our world.

As I look back at my year of teaching in Thailand, I am proud of my accomplishments and am confident that I, in fact, did make the right decision. Although challenging at times, teaching English abroad was a defining learning experience. The lessons I learned throughout my experience in Thailand remain relevant in all aspects of my life. As a result of my intellectual curiosity and willingness to step outside of my comfort zone, I have the ability to succeed in any situation. My time in Thailand proves that I can readily face the responsibilities of law school and confidently confront the challenges of adapting to the legal environment. I believe these skills and my past experiences will make me successful at the University at Buffalo School of Law. Combining an education from the University at Buffalo with my unique international experience and strong work ethic will allow me to harness my full potential within the legal field.

4.  How a grandmother's hard work and dedication influenced this applicant to pursue a law degree.

As I stood up to speak, my mind flooded with memories. My family had traveled from New York to the island of Kauai to see my grandmother get married to a wonderful woman. Each of her grandchildren had been assigned to some part of the ceremony, and I was chosen to give a speech at the reception. I am not much of a public speaker, it is something I am always working on, but finding the right words to talk about my grandmother was easy.

After the death of her second husband, my grandmother had to support her family on her own. It would not be easy, but she knew she needed to start a career if she was going to support her four daughters. Her dream was to become an attorney. She worked as a waitress during the day and took classes at night. After excelling in law school, she began the career that she had worked so hard to get. Raising four daughters and maintaining a career is no easy task, but she flourished. Despite her obligations at home, my grandmother constantly excelled. She has received many awards and honors for her hard work throughout her career. More important to me than the awards and honors, however, is the pro bono work that she has done for women and children trapped in abusive relationships. She has always stressed the importance of giving back to the community in any way that one can. My grandmother is a kind and caring woman who puts forth an amazing amount of effort into everything she does.

Due to the absence of my father, my grandmother essentially became my second parent. I did not know the extent of her challenges and achievements while I was growing up. Much of what I learned from my grandmother I learned through her actions. My mother worked nights, so it was usually my grandmother's responsibility to pick me up from any sports practices or after school events. She was late every time, without failure. She was always putting in long hours at the office, and time would escape her. I was always silent on the ride home, not because I was upset, but because she would always be on the phone with a client or a coworker. It was as if she never stopped working. Whenever she would discuss past cases at the dinner table I would lean in close and try to understand as much as I could. Listening to my grandmother during these car rides and dinner conversations is what initially sparked my interest in the law. I always found it fascinating how eloquently she was able to articulate herself when speaking about her cases. Her work always sounded interesting, and it always felt important. I could tell she loved what she did, even if it was difficult and tiring.

I am not sure how many grandsons are lucky enough to see the smile on their grandmother’s face as she walks down the aisle toward the person she loves, but it was an experience that I would not trade for anything. As I finished my speech and sat back down, I reflected on what I have learned from my grandmother. She has always been a major role model in my life. I have seen the type of time commitment required in her field. I know that the work is both mentally and emotionally taxing. I also know that if she did not absolutely love her work, then she would not still be doing it today. From my grandmother I have learned that hard work and dedication are necessary for success, especially in the field of law. She has taught me to be caring and to give back to my community when I can. I have followed her example as best I could up to this point. I am confident that if I continue to persevere and find joy in what I do, then I will find success and happiness as my grandmother has.

5.  This applicant writes about their experience interning with a small town law firm tackling a big case.

I have lived in a small town for seventeen years. I knew advancing my education was the key to getting out of my hometown and into a more exciting environment that I yearned for. College brought me just over two hours away from home at a small liberal arts school with less than one-thousand enrolled students. Now in my senior year, a walk across campus means you know everyone who passes by; this is very similar to what happens when out and about at home. Frustrated with myself for not escaping from what I was used to, I decided to try for a summer internship at a corporate law firm in the city. My frustrations mounted after learning that one firm’s budget had been cut and I no longer had a summer position. Reluctantly, I sent cover letters and résumés to the handful of small law firms in my hometown. I received a response within two days, interviewed, and landed a summer internship at a law firm comprised of one lawyer who practiced all areas of law.

I quickly realized that being a small town lawyer did not mean small cases. The first chance I had to watch lawyers in action was during mediation for a federal lawsuit. I hesitantly stepped into the room. Across the table were five attorneys on behalf of New York State and the federal government. Only a few days earlier I had been sitting in class finishing my freshman year of college. Now, I was in a room full of attorneys negotiating their positions in a lawsuit brought on by the federal government. This is certainly not what I expected to experience as an intern at a solo practice law firm. I was catapulted into the unfamiliar environment that I had been searching for.

Feeling out of place was something I was not used to. Still timid and unsure, “You need to have faith, kid” was a phrase my boss told me, and I would hear it hundreds of times as I adjusted to the unfamiliar. My internship led me to shadow an attorney in a multitude of settings unfamiliar to me, and opened my eyes to the world of being a lawyer. Despite the small size of the law office, a wide range of cases came in. No matter how different one is from another, there was a common theme to them all: clients come to lawyers when they need help.

I was allowed to take a very hands on approach in the office, and see the demands of simultaneously being an effective lawyer and business owner. Before my internship, I did not know what a lawyer actually did aside from what I had seen as a glamorized television portrayal from various shows. I was oblivious to all the scenarios of life in which a lawyer is needed, as well as the human services side of the profession. As an attorney, you advocate the best you can for someone who cannot do that for themselves. Clients put an incredible amount of trust into their lawyers, and a client’s life can be impacted immensely as a result of the proceedings. Clients have faith that you will secure the best possible outcome for them.

As summer progressed, I was given more and more responsibilities. What began as an internship turned into a full-time job that I still return to during breaks from school. Throughout my time with the firm, I have learned more than just lawyering. I have learned the ins and outs of the legal profession, but I have also learned about myself. When I was put in the unfamiliar environment that I had yearned for, I did not know what to do. Fortunately, my boss has become a great mentor and has given me the opportunities to grow professionally, and personally. Every new experience is a chance to learn.

Capitalizing on the unfamiliarity that I so desired has led me to want more opportunities to advance into unfamiliar territories. I believe attending law school at the University at Buffalo will challenge me, and further my growth professionally and personally. The University’s unique trial advocacy program and clinics will allow me the hands-on experiences to apply what is learned in the classroom to real situations. I want to continue my ascent into the legal profession, and the University at Buffalo will provide me with the necessary tools.

Photo of Lindsay Gladney, Vice Dean for Admissions.

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

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

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

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how to write a personal statement for law school

How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

Many prospective law students can feel overwhelmed when faced with the task of writing a law school personal statement, one of the most subjective pieces of your law school application .

A good personal statement is interesting to read without needing to rely on shock value. It should have a conversational tone; it’s not there to show how many big words you know, but rather to offer insight into your character.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Why Are Law School Personal Statements Important?

Tips for picking a law school personal statement topic, law school personal statement faqs.

  • How To Format Your Law School Personal Statement
  • How To Write a Great Law School Personal Statement
  • How To Edit Your Law School Personal Statement

Law School Personal Statement Example

What you should not do in a law school personal statement.

Law school personal statements are important because they can turn what would have otherwise been a certain rejection into an offer of admission.

They help admission committees get to know you in a way they couldn’t from other pieces of your law school application. And, hopefully, it also shows why a law degree is the next logical step for you.

When deciding what to write in your personal statement, do not make stuff up. Stick with what has really happened to you and how it affected you, and you will write a better personal statement than if you pretend.

Do Your Research

Read as many personal statements as you can. Discovering what has worked vs what doesn’t work is equally important.

Admission committees are very experienced at reading personal statements. They can quickly sniff out when something rings false.

Be Yourself

Admission committees utilize the personal statement portion of the application to learn about you and why you want to go to law school. Tell your story, and do not try to hide who you are.

Discuss Personal Stories with Friends and Family

Try getting feedback on your topic ideas from family or friends.  If they have been to law school, even better, but talking about your topic and learning how to articulate why you chose that topic for your personal statement will help you flesh out good ideas vs bad ideas. 

[ RELATED: LSAT Admissions Consulting ]

Try a Reflective Writing Exercise

You should get in the habit of being able to think deeply about how your interests and experiences relate to attending law school. Try writing a sentence or two for each of these prompts to get warmed up:

  • What you’ve done
  • Why you did it
  • What it meant to you
  • How it affected you

Then try writing a paragraph or more in response to these prompts:

  • Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. Anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

The personal statement is an integral part of the law school application, and it is important that you not only take it seriously but also try your best to have fun with it. Many questions may be circulating in your head that you feel need to be answered before you start to write your personal statement. Let’s look at frequently asked questions applicants have about writing their personal statements.

How long are LSAC personal statements?

Some law schools ask for only five hundred words, while others allow for up to four pages double-spaced. However, most schools ask for a two-to-three-page (double-spaced) essay.

Law schools have personal statement length requirements for two reasons: (1) to test your ability to follow directions (keeping to the length requirement) and (2) to evaluate how well you write.

What can I expect from the personal statement prompt? 

Most law school personal statement prompts are pretty vague and give the applicant a lot of room to interpret it as they see fit. 

Personal statement prompts are usually a general question and contain a page or word limit; exact requirements will vary from one school to the next. If you have questions you should get in touch with the admissions office via phone or email.

How personal should my personal statement be?

Incorporating emotion into your personal statement could make it more interesting and easier to read, but if you overdo it you can sound like you’re whining, begging, or trying to write a sob story—which can, in turn, be perceived as disingenuous.

Admissions committees want to see passion, but they also want to see who you are. It is extremely important to be honest. Law schools can see right through feigned emotions. Remember, they’ve probably read hundreds of thousands of these, and it’s very easy for them to detect when people aren’t being authentic. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, open, and clear—but make sure it comes from the heart.

A law school personal statement does not mean a mandatory hardship story. While getting through a rough life situation can be a great place from which to pull material for your personal statement, it is not even close to the only way to write a stellar piece, especially if it means overstating reality or making up emotional lessons that weren’t really present.

The biggest key to the law school personal statement is to be honest. The story you want to tell about how you’ve gotten where you are today doesn’t have to be exciting or on a grand scale or heartbreaking, it just needs to show something important about you.

“If you write about your childhood in your personal statement, you must find a way to tie it to your adulthood.”

Should you discuss your decision to attend law school in your personal statement?

This topic is contentious. If the rest of your application does not clearly indicate why you are applying—say, for example, you have no legal internship or student group experience, majored in a subject unrelated to law, and spent the past five years working in a biology lab—then you should at least touch on your reasons for pursuing a law degree in your personal statement.

However, if your application already demonstrates why you are applying to law school—whether through your college extracurricular activities, your work history, or your coursework—then you are probably safe to submit a personal statement that does not directly mention your decision to attend law school.

How to Format Your Law School Personal Statement

Law school personal statements should be:

  • Double-spaced, left-aligned
  • In 11 or 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Uses a single space after a period
  • Contain page numbers
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides
  • Your LSAC number
  • The words “Personal Statement”

Signatures and titles are not needed for law school personal statements.

How to Write a Great Law School Personal Statement

The trick to writing is getting that first word, sentence, or paragraph on the page; after that, everything can follow more easily. If you are having trouble starting your intro paragraph, start with the body of your essay. Saving the introduction or conclusion till the end is much easier for some people.

In each section of your essay, bring in references to who you are and how you will enhance the law school’s student body. Instead of just saying that you are diligent and compassionate, say that your experience training to run a marathon taught you the value of consistent hard work, and the time you spent volunteering with Habitat for Humanity showed you how important it is to empathize and help the under-resourced members of society. 

Find ways to make the things that you’ve done support your contention that you’ll bring something great to the law school.

Start with an Outline

Take your thoughts and organize them into an outline. Try to incorporate key attributes about yourself into your headings.

Remember that legal professionals place a high value on organization—a good personal statement is clearly organized and easy to follow—and since at least some of the people reading and evaluating your essay are legally trained, creating a good outline is crucial.

Personal Statement Intro Section

Starting a personal statement can be difficult and it may be easier for you to leave this section of your personal statement as the last thing you write. Use this section to introduce yourself, catch the attention of the reader, and set up your story.  

Tips for writing an introduction paragraph

  • Avoid catchy openings like “from a young age” or “I have always wanted to…”
  • Get to the point quickly
  • Start with something interesting, relevant, and specific
  • Think about what is inspiring you today
  • Avoid exclamation points to emphasize your excitement

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 reader to the next body paragraph or the concluding paragraph.

In the climax of your essay, use concrete language and zoom in on the moment of transition.

For example, if you talk about your financial stress, which was caused by foreclosure and you didn’t have an attorney, which led to you getting sick, don’t say that you “experienced hardship” or that it  “took a toll” on your health. What was the hardship? What was the toll? Specific, concrete details give transition moments their power.

[ TIP: Vary your sentence length to keep readers interested ]

Personal Statement Conclusion Section

The conclusion section of your personal statement should re-emphasize and summarize your main points.  It should be concise and leave the reader with a greater understanding of who you are and why law school is the next logical step for you in your education.  

If you are having trouble, consider taking a break and asking for help .  

Overcoming Writer’s Block

We all suffer from writer’s block sometimes, and it can be particularly brutal when the stakes are high … like when you are trying to get into law school.

One way to cut through the blockage is to make a stream-of-consciousness list of word associations. Start with a memory (e.g., first grade), a person (e.g., grandmother), or a place (e.g., the beach), and then just write down every word that comes to mind for the next two to three minutes. Do not worry if the words that come to mind are absurd (e.g., tuna, rabbits, dominoes)—they are coming from somewhere, and one of them just might trigger a memory that makes you think, “Ah! That could have a place in this essay.”

This advice may sound a little silly and unguided, but that is precisely the point. When you are experiencing writer’s block, that is a sign that you are too “in your head”—that is, your conscious mind. You need to hop over from your left brain to your right, which is less judgmental and more creative.

How to edit your law school personal statement

Do not underestimate how crucial editing is to writing a good personal statement. Editing is about far more than correcting your spelling and punctuation. A hastily edited personal statement could very well be the thing that makes the difference between “Congratulations!” and “We regret to inform you…”.

Inspect the Structure

Your first goal should be to make sure that your personal statement is well organized. Return to the outline that you wrote and shift things around if necessary. Make sure each topic sentence inspires you to keep reading.

Copyediting

Run the spell-check, of course, but also read through on your own, very carefully. If your typo is a correctly-spelled but inappropriately used word, it won’t set off the spell-check. Pay attention to your use of commas, semi-colons, and other punctuation marks; consult a resource on English language mechanics if you have any doubts about usage.

[ TIP: Make sure that you mention the correct law school in the essay ]

Verify Personal Statement Is About You

Avoid including too much about “the world” and/or too little about yourself.  Look for these items throughout your personal statement.

  • You have several sentences in a row describing life (or the universe, or society, or the world) in abstract terms.
  • You spend a full paragraph talking about something or someone else without reflecting on your topic from your perspective.
  • You get to the end of the personal statement and realize you do not know how what you have read reveals something significant about you as a person.
  • You spot very few uses of “I” in your personal statement.

If any of these describe your current draft, look for ways of introducing yourself more frequently in it.

Get Feedback From Others

Once you’ve fully completed editing, ask several people whose writing skills you trust to look over your essay and offer suggestions. Ask them if they came away with a clear and cohesive sense of you as an individual. 

Incorporate Feedback

When you’ve gotten feedback from others, incorporate suggestions you find valuable into your rewrites. Repeat this as necessary until you get an essay that you’ve proud of… or until your application is due, whichever comes first.

Note: To maintain the integrity and authenticity of this project, we have not edited the personal statements, though any identifying names and details have been changed or removed. Any grammatical errors that appear in the essays belong to the candidates and illustrate the importance of having someone (or multiple someones) proofread your work.

Personal Statement

I don’t imagine the process of coming out as gay is easy for anyone. I can still remember the first time the words came out of my mouth. The person I told, my best friend, waited expectantly for the big news I had promised her over the phone. My heart began to beat faster. My palms were sweating. A million thoughts raced through my head. Here was something integral to my identity, something so deep it had taken me years to uncover. And I was about to tell someone who could either accept it, or turn away from me.

Fortunately, the experience in my case was a positive one, overall. Without fail, my closest friends and family told me they loved me, and would continue to do so. There were, of course, some people who did not accept me, and that hurt in ways that I can’t begin to explain. But the ones who really mattered embraced me, and coming out to them was an affirming experience. I knew even more than I had before that I had a network of people around me who cared for me and supported me.

When I was in college, I became involved in activities that affirmed my identity further. I organized on campus for things like a gay student union and gender non-specific bathrooms, and the groups I worked with had various levels of success with these projects. But [my undergraduate university] is a largely queer-friendly school in [a large metropolitan city], and so the activities felt somewhat sheltered. After organizing with these campus groups for a while, I branched out and began volunteering for organizations in the larger city ….

I had always known that not everyone’s experience of coming out as gay was as positive as mine, but it was when I became involved with these organizations that I began to see just how cruel the world could be to LGBTQIA [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual] people. I met thirteen-year-olds who had been abused and thrown into the street because they were gay. I met trans women who had been discriminated against for their identities by bosses and landlords. I met drag queens whose daily experience involved street harassment and the threat of bodily harm. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who were struggling every day to meet their basic needs like food and shelter because of their identities.

I also began to learn from people who were older than me, who had slept on the Chelsea Piers, and lived through the plague of HIV and AIDS. I learned about intersectionality, the varied forms that oppression can take and where they meet in an individual’s life. I learned of how mainstream organizations like HRC [Human Rights Campaign] and those involved in the fight for marriage equality often jettison the most vulnerable members of queer struggle in order to achieve what they consider the “greater good”—like the exclusion of transgender people from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the ‘90s. I learned about assimilation of gay people into mainstream society, and how it worked remarkably well for some while for others it would never, ever be an option.

In the end, it was these—the most vulnerable members of my community—that I found the most reason to fight for. People whose doctors won’t treat them because they’re HIV positive. Trans men and trans women without legal documentation who can’t find a lawyer that will take them on. Intersex prisoners who the prison industrial complex tries to squeeze into its limited boxes.

I honestly believe going to law school is the best way I can help these people. I have spent years writing and signing petitions, organizing LGBTQIA dance parties, protesting in the streets. Now, as I enter the phase of my life in which I am choosing a profession, I want it to be one that takes all I have learned and keeps it in the forefront of my mind. I want to stand up for the people in my community who have so few advocates.

A queer utopia—that is, a world in which the struggles I have learned of through my involvement in the LGBTQIA community no longer exist—is still a long way off. But I have seen good people filling in the gaps in the lives of those most strongly affected by inequality. I am committed to becoming one of those people, and I feel that this is the best way I can do it.

A story illustrating the reasons you want to go to law school is always going to be more effective than a generic essay that anyone could have written; remember the point of the law school personal statement is to show a law school something unique about yourself. 

Law School Personal Statement Don’ts

  • Avoid dramatic tales of romance
  • Curse often
  • Avoid absolute statements which tend to sound more unreasoned than reasoned— law school is all about reason
  • Do not submit an essay version of your resume
  • Do not use the same personal statement for every school

[ NEXT: What not to do in a law school personal statement ]

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Law School Personal Statements What Not To Do

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How to write a law school personal statement + examples.

law school personal statement family

Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 01/16/23

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 law school personal statement 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 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 law school 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 law school 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 law school 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 law school 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 blends referencing 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 get your writing the attention it deserves.

How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

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

Tips for writing a law school personal statement

Understand the Prompt

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Formatting Directions 

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

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

Brainstorm Narratives/Anecdotes Based on the Prompt

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

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

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

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

Do More Than Recount: Reflect

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

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

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

Consider What Qualities You Want to Show

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

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

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

  • Intelligence 
  • Persuasiveness 
  • Compassion 
  • Professionalism 

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

Keep Your Writing Concise

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

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

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

Decide the Depth and Scope of Your Statement 

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

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

Ensure It’s Personal Enough 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perdue said that truly stellar personal statements have a sense of “movement” and touch on all or two of these topics. 

What does this mean for you? While writing your law school personal statement, don’t be afraid to touch on your past, present, and future. However, remember not to take on too much content! 

Keep the Focus On You 

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

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

Even if someone like your grandmother had a profound impact on your decision to pursue law, remember that you’re the star of the show. Meissner said , “Should you talk about your grandmother? Only if doing so helps make the case for us to admit you. Otherwise, we might end up wanting to admit your grandmother.”

Don’t let historical figures, your family, or anyone else steal your spotlight. 

Decide If You Need to Answer: Why Law? 

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

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

  • Why law school?

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

Don’t List Qualifications or Rehash Your Resume 

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

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

Avoid Legalese, Jargon, And Sophisticated Terms 

The best law school personal statements are written in straightforward English and don't use overly academic, technical, or literary words. UChicago Law recommends avoiding legalese or Latin terms since the "risk you are incorrectly using them is just too high." 

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

Don’t Put Famous Quotes In Your Writing 

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

Revise, Revise, Revise 

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

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

Have an Admission Consultant Review Your Hard Work 

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

How to End Your Personal Statement for Law School 

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

Law school conclusion strategies

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 law school 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 Law School Personal Statement Be? 

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

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COMMENTS

  1. 18 Law School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted!

    Your law school personal statement is one of the most important parts of your application and is your best opportunity to show admissions officers who you are behind your numbers and third-party assessments.

  2. Law School Personal Statement: The Ultimate Guide (Examples

    A quality personal statement—a short essay in which you articulate who you are and why you want to go to law school—allows an admissions officer to understand your motivation to attend law school, and the reasons why you want to attend their school, specifically.

  3. Law School Personal Statement Examples And Tips

    Getty Tens of thousands of undergraduates pursue law school annually, and the competition for admission is fierce. When it comes to admissions, your law school personal statement is not...

  4. The Law School Personal Statement: A Collection

    Prof. Phillip Mink, J.D. George Mason University [email protected] Personal Statements #1 This summer I helped oppressed women in the Middle East write a constitution. I was at a refugee center in a small village in Jordan, where Syrian women had fled Bashar al-Assad’s merciless regime.

  5. The Law School Personal Statement: Tips and Templates

    1. Make it personal The Admissions Committee will have access to your transcripts and recommendation letters, and your resume will provide insight into your outside-the-classroom experiences, past and current job responsibilities and other various accomplishments.

  6. How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

    November 29, 2022/in LSAT/by admin Many prospective law students can feel overwhelmed when faced with the task of writing a law school personal statement, one of the most subjective pieces of your law school application. A good personal statement is interesting to read without needing to rely on shock value.

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

    December 20, 2023 David Merson ‍ 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.