The personal statement is a critical part of a law school application. Although it may not be as important as your LSAT score and GPA, remember that law school admissions committees are trying to build a diverse and interesting community of students. Your personal statement is the primary way you can show law schools who you are beyond your numbers and resume, and is also an opportunity to show the quality of your writing. If you’re not sure where to start, read on for law school personal statement examples and what makes each one successful.
Best Law School Personal Statement Examples
Below, you’ll find examples of successful personal statements that have been published by law schools themselves, followed by some tips and takeaways on what makes these law school personal statements work well. We also encourage you to check out this guide to formatting your personal statement.
Law School Personal Statement Example 1
First, take a look at the last sample personal statement about recovering from an injury: In Their Own Words: Admissions Essays That Worked | University of Chicago Law School. This was published by UChicago as an exemplary essay that worked well for admissions. Keep reading to get our analysis of what makes this a great personal statement!
- The writer’s perseverance and capacity for self-reflection shine throughout the narrative.
- The writing is clear and direct. You don’t need to use flowery language or complicated sentence structures in a personal statement.
- Law school personal statements don’t always need to be about why the applicant wants to go to law school. You can see how this statement touches on an interest in law only very briefly and lightly; the focus of the statement is instead on revealing personal qualities of the applicant.
Law School Personal Statement Example 2
Next, take a look at the last sample law school personal statement about an applicant’s experience in Teach for America: BU Law Student Personal Statements | School of Law. This was published by Boston University. Now, here’s why we think this is a winning personal statement.
- The beginning draws our interest immediately and conveys honesty. Most writers might not feel comfortable starting with arguably negative thoughts or motivations. But this writer is able to effectively convey how and why her attitude to her job and community changed and the result is compelling.
- Clear and direct writing. The statement uses plain language and contractions – don’t think you have to use an overly “professional” tone.
Law School Personal Statement Tips
- There’s no universal formula for an effective law school personal statement. Jobs, hobbies, intellectual interests, cultural background, hardship, momentous life events – almost anything can be an appropriate subject. What matters is creating a compelling narrative that shows law schools why you’d be an interesting member of their incoming class.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal. A statement that conveys sincerity is inherently more interesting than a cookie-cutter statement that anyone else could have written.
- Don’t just repeat your resume. Law schools will already have your resume. The personal statement is about showing something that schools can’t get from a list of your work experience and your transcripts.
- Start writing your draft early so that you can get feedback from friends/family or other people you trust. And make sure to triple-check your final draft for spelling and grammar mistakes.
- If you’re having trouble brainstorming a topic, try answering these questions:
- What are two or three of your personal qualities that would make you a great student, lawyer, or member of a law school community?
- What are some defining experiences that have made you who you are today?
- Have you experienced any major changes in your career, intellectual interests, or life motivations? What caused the change?
How long should your personal statement be for law school?
Each law school may have its own rules regarding page length and font size for a personal statement. So make sure to check the personal statement format requirements for each school you’re applying to (among other specific law school requirements). However, for the vast majority of schools, a statement should be about 2 pages long, double-spaced, in a readable font size (12 pt or 11 pt).
Even if a law school doesn’t specify any page limits for the personal statement, remember that admissions committees will be reading thousands of applications and will appreciate brevity. So you don’t necessarily want to write 4 pages or more simply because you can. For those schools that allow you to write more than 2 pages, having a 3-page version of your statement can make sense, but only if the extra page makes it better.
The personal statement is one of your only chances to let law schools know who you are beyond your numbers and resume. So, make the most of it. If you follow the tips above, you’ll have a compelling statement that will make law schools eager to have you join their entering classes. Meanwhile, if you’re writing a transfer statement, check out our advice on law school transfer personal statements!