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How to write a law school personal statement + examples.

personal statement for law scholarship

Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 3/18/24

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

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

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

The Best Law School Personal Statement Format

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

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

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

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

Personal statement format A

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

Personal statement format B

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

How to Title a Personal Statement (Law) 

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

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

How to Start a Personal Statement for Law School 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

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

Tips for writing a law school personal statement

Understand the Prompt

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Formatting Directions 

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

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

Brainstorm Narratives/Anecdotes Based on the Prompt

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

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

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

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

Do More Than Recount: Reflect

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

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

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

Consider What Qualities You Want to Show

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

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

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

  • Intelligence 
  • Persuasiveness 
  • Compassion 
  • Professionalism 

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

Keep Your Writing Concise

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

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

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

Decide the Depth and Scope of Your Statement 

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

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

Ensure It’s Personal Enough 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep the Focus On You 

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

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

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

Decide If You Need to Answer: Why Law? 

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

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

  • Why law school?

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

Don’t List Qualifications or Rehash Your Resume 

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

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

Avoid Legalese, Jargon, And Sophisticated Terms 

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

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

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

Don’t Put Famous Quotes In Your Writing 

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

Revise, Revise, Revise 

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

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

Have an Admission Consultant Review Your Hard Work 

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

How to End Your Personal Statement for Law School 

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion Examples

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

Sample Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion #1

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

What Makes This Conclusion Effective 

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

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

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

Sample Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion #2

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

What Made This Conclusion Effective

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

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

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

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

2 Law School Personal Statement Examples From Admitted Students

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #1

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

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

Why This Personal Statement Example Worked

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #2 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Write Personal Statement For Law School: FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

3. How Long Should My Personal Statement Be? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing A Law School Personal Statement is Easy With Juris

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

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

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The Ultimate Guide to Writing an Outstanding Law School Personal Statement

Dazzle admissions with your legally awesome personal story, introduction.

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

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

1. Know Your Audience: The Admissions Committee

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

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

2. Choosing Your Topic: Make It Personal and Memorable

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

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

3. Structure and Organization: Your Legal Blueprint

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

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

4. Style and Tone: Finding Your Inner Legal Wordsmith

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

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

5. Revision: The Art of Legal Editing

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

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

6. Proofread: The Final Verdict

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

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

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

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The Law School Personal Statement: Tips and Templates

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

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Published February 28, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Make it personal

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

2. Be genuine

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

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

3. Tackle the “Why?”

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

4. Keep it interesting & professional

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

5. Edit & proofread

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

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

Photo of Lindsay Gladney, Vice Dean for Admissions.

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

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

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

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Additional Resources:   

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

Bonus: 5 Law School Personal Statement Samples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 Law School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted!

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

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

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

Article Contents 44 min read

Law school personal statement example #1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Should a Law School Personal Statement Do?

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

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

2.      Demonstrate your skills and capabilities

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

3.      Meet basic requirements

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

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

4.      Embody what the school is looking for

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement #4

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #5

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #6

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #8

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

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

Watch this for more law school personal statement examples!

Law School Personal Statement Example #9

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #10

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

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

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

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

Need tips on your law school resume?

8 Additional Law School Personal Statement Examples

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

Law school personal statement example #11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law school personal statement example #12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law school personal statement example #13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law school personal statement example #14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Example #16

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement #17

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement #18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeMo Academic Consulting

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

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personal statement for law scholarship

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

Jack Duffley

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

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

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

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

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

Spend the time making your personal statement better.

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

Research examples of well-written personal statements.

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

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

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

personal statement for law scholarship

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

“Ball: outside!” declared the umpire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“One more now, Duff! Come on, kid!”

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

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

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

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

Get ahead, stay ahead.

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

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

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

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

“Steeeeeriiike! Oh-and-one.”

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

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

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

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

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

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personal statement for law scholarship

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Find helpful tools and gadgets

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

Find the best time to be productive

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

Identify your organizational system

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

Write everything down

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

Figure out your maximum focus time

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

Find your friends

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

Be honest with your professors

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

Trust your methods

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

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personal statement for law scholarship

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personal statement for law scholarship

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personal statement for law scholarship

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

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Restatement of Contracts 2d

Counter-offers.

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

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Negligence Defined

Restatement (second) of torts 282.

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

Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed.2014)

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

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personal statement for law scholarship

How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the purpose of the scholarship personal statement, what to include in your personal statement, personal statement example: breakdown + analysis, how to make sure your writing is effective.

Either before or after you’ve gotten into your dream school, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. For most students, this involves a combination of financial aid, parent contributions, self-contributions, student loans, and scholarships/grants. Because scholarships are money out of someone else’s pocket that you never have to pay back, they are a great place to start!

Scholarships come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Need-based scholarships are also often called grants. These designations tell you whether an organization looks at your financial situation when deciding about your scholarship.

Additionally, different scholarships fall under different categories based on the mission of the organization or person providing the scholarship’s financing. These missions typically emphasize different things like academic achievement, specific career goals, community service, leadership, family background, skill in the arts, or having overcome hardship. As you select scholarships to apply for and complete your applications, you should keep these missions in mind.

No matter what type of scholarship you are applying for, you will be asked to provide the review committee with standard materials. This includes your transcript, GPA, and resume/extracurriculars, but also, importantly, your personal statement. A scholarship personal statement is a bit different from your normal college essay, so we’ve put together this guide and some examples to help you get started!

The purpose of your personal statement is to help a review committee learn more about your personality, values, goals, and what makes you special. Ultimately, like with your college essays, you are trying to humanize your profile beyond your transcript, GPA, and test scores.

College essays all have one goal in mind (which is why you can apply to multiple schools at once through applications like the Common App or Coalition App): convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable addition to the university environment. The goal of your scholarship personal statement is different and differs more from one scholarship to the next. Rather than convincing various review committees that you are a generally good candidate for extra funding for college, you need to convince each review committee that your values have historically aligned with their organization’s mission and will continue to align with their organization’s mission.

Common missions amongst those who give scholarships include:

  • Providing opportunities for students with career ambitions in a particular field
  • Helping students who have experienced unexpected hardship
  • Supporting students who show outstanding academic achievement
  • Funding the arts through investing in young artists with strong technical skill
  • Supporting the development of civic-minded community service leaders of the future
  • Providing opportunities for historically underrepresented ethnic communities 

If a specific mission like this is outlined on an organization’s website or in the promotional material for its scholarship, the purpose of your personal statement is to show how you exemplify that mission.

Some scholarships ask for your personal statement to be guided by a prompt, while others leave things open for interpretation. When you are provided a prompt, it is obvious what you must do: answer the prompt. When you are not provided a prompt, you want to write a personal statement that is essentially a small-scale autobiography where you position yourself as a good investment. In either case, you should identify a focus or theme for what you are trying to say about yourself so that your application does not get lost in the shuffle.

Prompts include questions like:

  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • How have you shown your commitment to (leadership/community service/diversity) in your community?
  • When did you overcome adversity?
  • Why is attending college important to you?

If you are provided a prompt, develop a theme for your response that showcases both your values and your achievements. This will help your essay feel focused and will subsequently help the review committee to remember which candidate you were as they deliberate.

Themes include things like:

  • I deserve this community service scholarship because my compassion for intergenerational trauma has inspired me to volunteer with a local after-school program. I didn’t just sympathize. I did something about my sympathy because that’s the type of person I am. Within the program, I have identified avenues for improvement and worked alongside full-time staff to develop new strategies for increasing attendance.
  • I overcame adversity when my mother had to have a major surgery two months after giving birth to my younger brother. I was just a kid but was thrown into a situation where I had to raise another kid. It was hard, but I’m the kind of person who tries to grow from hard times and, through my experience taking care of a baby, I learned the importance of listening to body language and nonverbal cues to understand the needs of others (baby and nonbaby, alike).

Without a prompt, clarity can be harder to achieve. That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values.

Types of goals include:

  • Career goals
  • Goals for personal growth
  • The type of friend you want to be
  • The change you want to make in the world

Values could include:

  • Authenticity
  • And many more!

After you write out your goals/values, write out your achievements to see what goals/values you have “proof” of your commitment to. Your essay will ultimately be an exploration of your goal/value, what you have done about your goal/value in the past, and what you aspire to in the future.

You might be tempted to reflect on areas for improvement, but scholarships care about you living out your values. It is not enough to aspire to be exemplary in leadership, community service, or your academic field. For scholarships, you have to already be exemplary.

Finally, keep in mind that the review committee likely already has a copy of your extracurricular activities and involvement. Pick one or two accomplishments, then strive for depth, not breadth as you explore them.

My interest in the field of neuroscience began at a young age.  When I was twelve years old, my sister developed a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri following multiple concussions during a basketball game.  It took the doctors over six months to make a proper diagnosis, followed by three years of treatment before she recovered.  During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions.  Later, my love of neuroscience was amplified when my mother began to suffer from brain-related health issues.  My mother had been a practicing attorney in Dallas for over twenty years.  She was a determined litigator who relentlessly tried difficult cases that changed people’s lives.  Now, she suffers from a cognitive impairment and is no longer able to practice law.  Oftentimes, she has headaches, she gets “cloudy,” her executive functioning slows down, she feels overwhelmed, and she forgets things.  My mother has gone from being the strong, confident, emotional and financial caretaker of our family to needing significant help on a daily basis. Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.

Due to my experiences with my mother and sister when I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the field of neuroscience.  I also knew that, to obtain this goal, I needed to maintain superior grades in school while also pursuing opportunities outside of school to further my education.  In school, I was able to maintain superior grades to the point where I am currently valedictorian in a class of 567 students.  In addition, in school, I challenged myself by taking 16 Advanced Placement classes and 19 Honors classes.  Two of the most beneficial classes were AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research.  AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research are research-oriented classes where students are given the opportunity to pursue whatever track their research takes them down.  As a junior in AP Capstone Seminar, I researched the effects of harmful pesticide use on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children.  This year, as a senior in AP Capstone Research, I am learning about the effects of medical marijuana on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

Outside of school, I furthered my education through taking advantage of the Duke TiP summer program. Duke TiP is a summer program run by Duke University where students who score extremely well on the SAT as middle schoolers are able to take college classes at different universities throughout the summers of their middle school and high school years.  I took advantage of this opportunity twice.  First, I went to Trinity University in San Antonio to expand my horizons and learn more about debate.  However, once I was done exploring, I decided I wanted to go into neuroscience.  This led me to take an Abnormal Psychology class at Duke University’s West Campus.  This class opened my eyes to the interaction between neuroscience and mental health, mental illness, and personality.  Years later, I am currently continuing my education outside of school as an intern at the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Health.  Through this internship, I have been able to see different aspects of neuroscience including brain pattern testing, virtual reality therapy, and longitudinal research studies.  With this background, I have positioned myself to be accepted by top neuroscience programs throughout the nation.  So far, I have been accepted to the neuroscience department of University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University, as well as the chemistry department at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.  

It is with this passion for neuroscience driven by my family and passion for education driven by internal motivation that I will set out to conquer my career objectives.  My educational aspirations consist of acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a biological or health science that would assist me in pursuing a medical career as a neuroscience researcher.  I decided to attain a career as a researcher since my passion has always been assisting others and trying to improve their quality of life.  After obtaining my Masters and my PhD, I plan to become a professor at a prestigious university and continue performing lab research on cognitive disorders.  I am particularly interested in disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  In the lab, I hope to find different therapies and medications to help treat the 3.5 million people around the world suffering from ASD.  Furthermore, I want to contribute back to underserved populations that struggle because they do not have as much access to medical assistance as other privileged groups.  As such, I hope to do a part of my research in less developed or developing Spanish-speaking countries. This will also allow me to pursue my love of Spanish while pursuing my love of neuroscience.  I think that following such a career path will provide me the opportunity to learn about the medical needs of the autistic community and improve their quality of health.  Furthermore, I hope to train a new generation of students to strive to research and make comparable discoveries.  Whether it be through virtual reality labs or new drug discoveries, I believe that research leads to innovation which leads to a brighter future. 

This student does a great job of making themself appear competent and dedicated to the field of neuroscience. This is primarily because they provided tangible evidence of how they have pursued their dedication in the past—through their AP Capstone courses, their Abnormal Psychology class at Duke TiP, and their internship at UTD. There is no doubt in the mind of a reader that this student is high-achieving. 

This student also engages successfully with a past-future trajectory, where they end with a vision of how they will continue to use neuroscience in the future. This helps the review committee see what they are investing in and the ways that their money will go to good use.

This student has two major areas for improvement. As we have said, the purpose of a personal statement is for a student to humanize themself to a review committee. This student struggles to depict themself separately from their academic achievements. A solution to this would be for the student to establish a theme towards the beginning of their essay that relates to both their values as a human and their achievements.

At the beginning of the essay, the student explores how their interest in neuroscience began. They explain their interest through the following sentences: “During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions” and “Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.” The student made the great decision to tell the backstory of their interest, but they described their research in very mundane and redundant terms. Instead, they could have focused on their value of intellectual curiosity as a magnetic force that encouraged them to research their mother and sister’s ailments. Curiosity, then, could serve as a value-related thematic throughline to taking AP Capstone classes, taking college courses during the summer that weren’t required, and interning before even graduating high school.

A second area for improvement would be avoiding statistics. As the student identifies their valedictorian status and the number of AP classes they have taken, they might turn away certain personalities on a review committee by appearing braggy. Even further, these statistics are a waste of space. The review committee already has access to this information. These words distract from the major theme of the essay and would have been better used to humanize the student.

Throughout my academic career, I have been an avid scholar, constantly pushing myself towards ambitious goals. I held and continue to hold myself to a high standard, enrolling myself in rigorous curriculum, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses to stretch my mental potential. During my junior year of high school, I took four AP tests, two on the same day, and earned the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Additionally, I received the Letter of Commendation for the PSAT/NMSQT, and qualified for Rotary Top 100 Students both my freshman and senior year, a sign of my commitment to my studies. However, school has not been all about having the best GPA for me; beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem. I always give each class my best effort and try my hardest on every assignment. My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result. It is a major goal of mine to continue to aspire towards a high level of achievement regarding future educational and occupational endeavors; I plan on continuing this level of dedication throughout my educational career and implementing the skills I have learned and will learn into my college experience and beyond.

This fall, I will begin attending the University of California Los Angeles as an English major. I chose this major because I am fascinated by written language, especially its ability to convey powerful messages and emotions. I also enjoy delving into the works of other authors to analyze specific components of their writing to discover the meaning behind their words. In particular, I cannot wait to begin in-depth literary criticism and learn new stylistic techniques to add more depth to my writing. Furthermore, I recently went to UCLA’s Bruin Day, an event for incoming freshmen, where I was exposed to many different extracurriculars, some of which really piqued my interest. I plan on joining the Writing Success Program, where I can help students receive free writing help, and Mock Trial, where I can debate issues with peers in front of a real judge. The latter, combined with a strong writing background from my undergraduate English studies will be extremely beneficial because I plan to apply to law school after my undergraduate degree. As of now, my career goal is to become a civil rights lawyer, to stand up for those who are discriminated against and protect minority groups to proliferate equality.

As a lawyer, I wish to utilize legislation to ameliorate the plight of the millions of Americans who feel prejudice and help them receive equity in the workplace, society, and so on. Though this seems a daunting task, I feel that my work ethic and past experience will give me the jumpstart I need to establish myself as a successful lawyer and give a voice to those who are often unheard in today’s legal system. I have been a Girl Scout for over a decade and continually participate in community service for the homeless, elderly, veterans, and more. My most recent project was the Gold Award, which I conducted in the Fullerton School District. I facilitated over ten workshops where junior high students taught elementary pupils STEM principles such as density and aerodynamics via creative activities like building aluminum boats and paper airplanes. I also work at Kumon, a tutoring center, where I teach students to advance their academic success. I love my job, and helping students from local schools reach their potential fills me with much pride.

Both being a Girl Scout and working at Kumon have inspired me to help those in need, contributing significantly to my desire to become a lawyer and aid others. My extracurriculars have allowed me to gain a new perspective on both learning and teaching, and have solidified my will to help the less fortunate. In college, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and further develop my leadership skills, amassing qualities that will help me assist others. I plan to join multiple community service clubs, such as UCLA’s local outreach programs that directly aid residents of Los Angeles. I want to help my fellow pupils as well, and plan on volunteering at peer tutoring and peer editing programs on campus. After college, during my career, I want to use legal tactics to assist the underdog and take a chance on those who are often overlooked for opportunities. I wish to represent those that are scared to seek out help or cannot afford it. Rather than battling conflict with additional conflict, I want to implement peaceful but strong, efficient tactics that will help make my state, country, and eventually the world more welcoming to people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These goals are close to my heart and therefore I will be as diligent as I am passionate about them. My perseverance and love for learning and community service drive my ambition in both education and life as a whole, and the drive to make the world a better place is one that I will carry with me for my entire life.

This student emphasizes two values in this essay: hard work and community service. These are values that go together nicely, and definitely make sense with this student’s end goal of becoming a civil rights lawyer! That said, some changes could be made to the way the student presents their values that would make their personal statement more convincing and engaging.

Structurally, instead of using a past-future trajectory, this student starts by explaining their academic achievements, then explains their career goals, then explains their history of community service, then explains their future desires for community service. This structure loses the reader. Instead, the student should have started with either the past or the future. 

This could look like 1) identifying their career goals, 2) explaining that hard work and a commitment to community service are necessary to get there, and 3) explaining that they aren’t worried because of their past commitment to hard work and community service. Or it could look like 1) providing examples of their hard work and community service in the past, then 2) explaining how those values will help them achieve their career goals.

Additionally, like with our other example, this student shows a heavy investment in statistics and spouting off accomplishments. This can be unappealing. Unfortunately, even when the student recognizes that they are doing this, writing “beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem,” they continue on to cite their achievements, writing “My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result.” They say they are going beyond the numbers, but they don’t go beyond the awards. They don’t look inward. One way to fix this would be to make community service the theme around which the essay operates, supplementing with statistics in ways that advance the image of the student as dedicated to community service.

Finally, this student would be more successful if they varied their sentence structure. While a small-scale autobiography can be good, if organized, every sentence should not begin with ‘I.’ The essay still needs to be engaging or the review committee might stop reading.

Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your personal statement edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your scholarship essay is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of gaining those extra funds!

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personal statement for law scholarship

2 Law School Personal Statements That Succeeded

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

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

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

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

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

Why Law Schools Ask for Personal Statements

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a Great Personal Statement Accomplishes

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

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

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

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

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

How to Structure a Law School Personal Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Start Writing a Law School Personal Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mistakes to Avoid in Law School Personal Statements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law School Personal Statement Examples

Below are two law school admissions essays whose authors were accepted to their top-choice law schools. The first is written by Waukeshia Jackson, an intellectual property attorney who earned her J.D. from the Paul M. Herbert Law Center at Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge . The second essay is written by Cameron Dare Clark, a Harvard Law School graduate.

Pishko says these two personal statements demonstrate the necessity of sincerity in an admissions essay. "It has to be sincere, and it has to be you and what you want to write about and why you want to go to law school.”

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

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

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

Personal Statement about a Career Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Statement about Legal Internships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Statement about Cultural Identity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Statement about Weightlifting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Statement about Sexual Assault

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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8 Successful Law School Personal Statement Examples

Many people have asked me to share law school personal statement examples. Here are a few I am especially proud of.

1) This is one of my all-time favorite personal statements. It contributed to the applicant’s admission at 8 of the T14 law schools.

The smell effervescing off the water hits me like a blast of morning breath to the face. I zip up a rain jacket to cover my nose, choosing to overheat in the muggy sunshine rather than gag with each inhalation. Too much of this air can cause nausea, headaches, eventually even liver damage. My colleague rips the recoil starter on the skiff’s engine, but it putters out immediately. The propeller struggles to churn the mossy water, so thick with toxic algae that we bring an extra gas can to ensure our later return to shore. The lake didn’t used to be like this. Something has poisoned it. We are here to find that something.

Despite the noxious vapors and smoke from a nearby wildfire blurring the scenery, Upper Klamath Lake is gorgeous in the summer. Snowy peaks pierce the sky, and the weird, algal green of the water completes an otherworldly view. I’m no stranger to working against this sort of backdrop. My years studying geology have brought me to the painted deserts of Utah and the technicolor pools of Yellowstone. I’ve mapped the Flat Irons of Colorado, probed sand dunes on Adriatic beaches, and, in the mountains of Upstate New York, hammered out garnets the size of baseballs.

But this trip is about mud. My partner and I arrive at stop one, site KL-04. She cuts the motor while I reach over the water to grab a buoy. I pull, and up comes the first of six mud traps scattered around the lake. The contraption, built from PVC pipes, syringes, and industrial-strength rubber bands, emerges from the swampy depths, vegetated and covered in silt. I haul it over the side of the boat. On the deck, wriggling with leeches, is the answer to Upper Klamath Lake’s crisis. The trap’s syringes hold the essential nutrients of blue-green algae: phosphorus, nitrogen, and heavy metals. The lake is overdosing on them. We know these specific nutrients are leached from the volcanic bedrock underlying the region. However, there is another culprit.

Restarting the engine, we hook back toward the southern coast, where water meets farmland. Here is the second source of the nutrients. On this boundary, fertilizer runoff mixes with the lake, frothing as the algae multiply. If we tested only the surface water, we’d be unable to parse the volcanic pollutants from their agricultural analogs. Our novel method bypasses this problem by focusing on the lakebed, in time allowing us to determine whether this ecological illness is mainly the fault of nature or humans. Once armed with a clear breakdown of culpability, litigation can be pursued against the responsible parties, and legislation may be written to limit local fertilizer use. In short, the water system’s future relies on the sludge we’re dredging up.

It’s difficult work though. By this point in the morning, the plastic raincoat is stuck to my body with sweat. But unlike splashes of lake water, sweat won’t sting my skin. I decide to use the back brace for this next stop as the traps feel heavier than they did on my last visit. Because we’re conducting a long-term study, this expedition to the lake is just one of the eight I will make this summer. Each is an 18-hour round trip from the U.S. Geological Survey lab in Menlo Park. The time between voyages is saturated with analyzing samples and sanitizing and reassembling the equipment, sometimes keeping me lab-locked into the summer nights.

Many parties closely follow our research, as Klamath is ground zero in an environmental brawl. Conservationist groups, farmers, local tribes, and salmon fisheries will all one day pivot their litigation on the intricacies of our unbiased findings. Geology is often like this. Most of what I’ve learned in my four years studying nature is joined at the hip with human problems. It’s not only geology’s vistas that enthrall me; it’s also its utility in a world beset by complex and far-reaching challenges. That’s why I’ve decided to shift focus from the study of Earth to the relationship between it and its inhabitants. By going to law school, I plan to protect places like Klamath, using my technical background in geology to inform the policies with which we approach both mountain ranges on the horizon and the algae under the boat.

It’s around noon when I hoist the last trap. We accelerate once more, blowing away mosquitoes that had gathered on my wrists and face. The skiff’s bow points back toward the dock, where I see the fifteen-passenger van I parked three hours ago. I’ll spend the upcoming nine-hour drive with just an audiobook, the open California grassland, and an icebox full of controversial mud. Regardless of what the mud eventually tells us, this project is only among the first in a career working for the environment. The boat drifts to a stop by the dock, and I step onto it, trap in each hand. Setting these two traps by the van’s backdoor, I start back across the sun-bleached parking lot for another pair. My mind is on the long journey ahead.

2) This personal statement contributed to the applicant’s admission at a T6 law school with a 25th percentile LSAT.

A desk. A chair. A stack of letters. I arrive at the office at 9:50 a.m., grab a cup of coffee, and begin reading letters from incarcerated individuals. The first few contain simple requests: housing and employment options for individuals with a criminal record, information about medications, legal definitions. Easy enough. I research the relevant issues and respond with my findings. The next couple contain complaints about living conditions. Straightforward. I document them and reply that we will send a volunteer to investigate. Reviewing at a steady pace, I get through almost half the letters before lunch.

When I return, the stack has doubled. This is quite common. At [redacted], we field more letters than we can efficiently handle. I try to get through the letters as quickly as possible, but I want to ensure each gets my full attention. For many, we are their only link beyond the prison walls. While drafting each reply, I omit any details about the individual’s case; it is not uncommon for mail to be opened by someone else without consent. When I finish, I send a copy to the central processing facility and then forward the letter to the appropriate staff mentor at the [redacted] to ensure we do not lose the person’s case.

I go through the same process each day, reading and replying, balancing efficiency with focus. Over the next week, I notice a trend. Many individuals have been sent to solitary confinement for minor infractions with no clear timeframe for release. They endure claustrophobic conditions and mental and physical abuse. As I read, I feel chills. One writer, who has been in solitary confinement for two years, shares his journal: paranoia, hallucinations, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts. He’s not asking for anything—he just wants to be heard. Another writes about being repeatedly sexually assaulted by a corrections officer while being held without a reason. I reply that we’re working on their cases. We’ll update them eventually . But what do they do until then?

I read many similar stories as I work through the never-ending stack. One individual in solitary confinement had to drop his college classes because they weren’t offered in isolation. Another lost his job as a cook. One was on the verge of completing vocational training before being sent to the “hole” for mouthing off to a corrections officer. A theme is developing. Solitary confinement, though intended to house the most dangerous offenders to increase safety and reduce violence, is overused, creating a barrier to rehabilitation.

I want to learn more. During my free time, I research. Studies show that solitary confinement doesn’t work. It does not increase safety. It does not reduce violence. Humans are not meant to spend twenty-three out of twenty-four hours in a space the size of a parking spot with no human interaction, receiving food through a slot. No one benefits from such inhumane treatment.

I research further . If solitary confinement is not reducing violence, why is it used at all? Why are so many people relegated to solitary confinement for minor offenses if it’s only meant for the most dangerous offenders? Why are individuals ever sent there for years at a time? Somewhere along the way, prisons began to abuse and misuse solitary confinement. Data on solitary confinement is virtually absent and often underestimated, but in 2018, U.S. jails and prisons held an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 individuals in solitary confinement on any given day. It was never meant to be used as a precautionary measure, but during the pandemic, numbers ballooned to 300,000 as prisons attempted to curb infection rates. But at what cost? Solitary confinement has become a part of prison culture when it was only ever meant to be a last resort. The harm goes beyond the walls of the tiny cell. Individuals who spend time in solitary confinement are 15% more likely to reoffend within three years of release, five times more likely to commit suicide, and 127% more likely to die of an opioid overdose within two weeks of release. The overuse of solitary confinement creates a vicious cycle of punishment.

I want to go to law school to end this cycle, but I can’t do that through isolated victories. I must work from the ground up to shift the focus of our prison system. In advocating for reform, I intend to play an active role in transforming prisons into institutions that prioritize rehabilitative over punitive treatment. Re-entry programs must be emphasized. Re-entry barriers must be broken. Mistreatment by those in power must cease. I know this will not be a quick or easy change, but I have the drive and grit to embrace the challenge.

3) This personal statement contributed to the applicant’s admission at 2 of the T14 law schools with a sub-170 LSAT and sub-3.7 GPA.

Only five days remained in the legislative session, and I had just learned that the Senate Judiciary Committee had a major concern with our lead poisoning prevention bill: its million-dollar price tag. Almost all failed state legislation dies in Committee, and it looked like our bill was next. Worried that months of effort spent negotiating deals with our bill’s stakeholders would go to waste, I picked up the phone and got to work. I must have pleaded our case to a half-dozen state officials before, finally, the state’s Secretary of the Environment agreed to fund the bill and personally asked the Committee Chair to pass it. The bill crossed the finish line hours before the end of session, and it now helps thousands of children each year.

I started my political career at a well-regarded campaign fundraising firm. It was an arduous job, best suited for driven, resourceful people willing to sacrifice work-life balance for a chance to influence the political landscape. Prepared to do whatever it took to succeed, I was a perfect fit. I relished the feeling of hitting a campaign’s fundraising goal, seeing my clients’ numbers rise in the polls, and winning races. As I watched my clients transition from the campaign trail to public office, I realized that my passion for politics was evolving into a deep interest in policy and regulatory matters. After spending several nights weighing pros and cons, I decided to make a change. I gave notice and set up a meeting with a client of mine who had just been reelected as a State Delegate. She was surprised I was leaving the firm but also eager to bring me on as her new Legislative Director.

The first few weeks were a shocking adjustment. While my experiences in fundraising prepared me to run the office’s daily operations, I had so much to learn about policy. Constituents would contact us daily about a variety of issues, ranging from general questions about government programs to urgent crises that required immediate attention. As I worked to address each problem, I began noticing patterns, which enabled me to increase the speed of our resolutions.

On one occasion, a community group came in and expressed frustration that a local bus was skipping their stop nearly 25% of the time, negatively impacting hundreds of riders. They had reached out to several agencies before us, but each one just pushed the problem elsewhere. After listening to the group speak, I immediately reached out to the city transit authority and requested transit data for the area. Upon review of the data, I discovered that the route’s failures were symptomatic of a broader issue: severe traffic congestion. This bus, along with several others, often skipped stops due to road conditions. With clarity on the underlying issue, I was able to devise a practical solution. I reached out to city and state agencies and together we developed a bill that would enforce local bus lanes.

This bus lane bill, as well as our lead poisoning prevention bill, were two of the ten policy bills the Delegate and I put up for scrutiny during the 2019 90-day session. The ninety days represent our busiest time of year and is also when I get to fully embody my role as Legislative Director. On the strategy side, I utilize relationships with former clients to garner the necessary political support to pass bills. On the development side, I spend dozens of hours researching legal statutes and policy papers related to our legislation.

During the session, I worked closely with the General Assembly’s legislative analysts on perfecting the language of our bills to ensure they would be in the best position possible to get passed. I was eager to learn as much as I could, and they graciously spoke with me for hours, offering up insight into a range of policy issues and other regulatory matters.  I learned more about policy and state law over the course of a few meetings with them than through all my past independent research and study. By the end of the ninety days, the Delegate and I had passed four bills and secured almost $10 million in funding for 13 community-based projects. I am thrilled that our policy ideas are being put into action, and we are already underway with our upcoming legislative portfolio. I am most excited to introduce a bill to recoup hospital costs for indigent patients, before I take my next big career step.

Unlike leaving fundraising, deciding to pursue a legal career is a no-brainer. Through my work as Legislative Director, I learned to tackle real-world issues, such as those surrounding healthcare, housing, and public infrastructure, by developing and enacting public policy legislation. I learned how to collaborate with analysts to draft such legislation and with lawmakers to pass it. But I also learned that passing legislation is just the first step. In law school, I intend to study the legal factors that impact new laws, such as when they are interpreted or challenged in the court system. I seek to enhance my understanding of the entire legislative process and, in doing so, become a more effective change maker. I can’t wait to take this next step in my path, and I feel eminently prepared to tackle whatever challenges await me.

4) This personal statement contributed to the applicant’s admission at a T6 school and a T10 school with a 167 LSAT score.

I stared across the mat at Steve, an ex-military brown-belt in his late 30s, as I waited anxiously for the timer to start. I was fixated on his gi’s tattered collar, his wrestler’s ear, and the scars on his nose that had been broken far too many times. When the sparring began, it didn’t take long for Steve to sweep my leg and throw me to the mat. At first, I tried to escape from under him, but it was no use. I was pinned down by his 160 pounds of lean muscle and my sweat-soaked cotton gi. As I laid on my back, I defended patiently until I had an opening to set up the technique I’d been practicing for months. I grabbed Steve’s collar, wrapped my leg around his head, and then my knee around my own ankle, successfully executing the triangle choke submission.

Jiu Jitsu was an addiction for me. I had started martial arts at the end of elementary school, beginning with Tae Kwon Do before transitioning to Jiu Jitsu and other forms of grappling at the end of middle school. As a teenager, I routinely sparred with friends on mats set up in their garages. By the time I was a college sophomore, I was sparring almost daily, with a rotation of gi’s drying on the fire escape of my apartment.

The consistent sparring, running, stretching, and weightlifting ensured that my body was kept in peak physical condition. But Jiu Jitsu wasn’t only about endurance and athleticism; it was just as much focused on discovery and mastery of technique. At practice, I closely observed my coaches, thinking of creative ways to incorporate their moves into my own style. When I wasn’t at practice, I dedicated countless hours to film study, constantly exploring new sweeps, submissions, and takedowns. I would then take the moves I learned and focus on them during all of my sparring sessions for that week. Only after performing them hundreds of times did they become second nature.

My favorite move was the kimura. I saw my coach effortlessly sneak in the joint-lock submission one practice after his opponent escaped an attempted choke, and knew I had to learn it. I went home that night and immediately started my research, only to find that there were two other submissions, the triangle choke and arm bar, that I would have to learn in order to use the kimura effectively. Without proficiency in each move, my attacks would have little success, since it’s the combination of the three that make them so potent—defending against one usually creates openings for the other. For the next two months, I dedicated all my free time to memorizing and practicing different sequences. The off-mat studying soon paid off, as I found success in competitions by baiting my opponents into exposing their necks while protecting their arms, or vice versa.

My passion for Jiu Jitsu continued to grow until my sophomore year of college, when I dislocated my shoulder during a sparring session. As I rolled toward my opponent to escape an arm bar, I heard a click and felt my arm go limp. At first, the injury wasn’t a big deal. I was fully expected to recover, and I did. I was back on the mats three weeks later. But the same injury would occur twice more in the months to follow, landing me in the hospital a total of three times that year to place the joint back in its socket. After the third dislocation, I was told that, without surgery, I would risk severe injury that could affect even my daily functioning. I decided to undergo surgery in July 2017 to repair my labrum and rotator cuff, which required the doctor to reattach my shoulder ligaments with bioabsorbable anchors.

After the operation, I spent six weeks sleeping upright on my couch to allow my shoulder to heal before starting a half-year stint of physical therapy. I pulled resistance bands, rolled on yoga balls, and struggled with lifting even the smallest dumbbells as most of the muscle in my right arm had atrophied. After completing therapy, I returned to the mats, only to reinjure that same shoulder two months later. With the fourth and final dislocation, it became clear that I’d likely never compete in Jiu Jitsu again. For a moment I contemplated a second, more invasive procedure but decided in the interest of my health to focus my energies elsewhere.

That’s how I came to be an editor for the Hogwarts Undergraduate Law Review. A friend of mine had been a part of the journal for about a year and recommended I join. As an editor, I quickly took interest in the journal’s diverse articles, which covered anything from labor abuse to digital privacy. I worked with writers on their submissions, helping them storyboard ideas, conduct research, and form outlines, while pushing them to more meaningful analysis. I soon realized that my curiosity and eagerness for improvement were as important in the legal research process as they were in martial arts. And even though I was analyzing landmark cases and court opinions instead of arm bars and guard passes, the process was familiar: distilling information and applying it through constant revision.

My time on the Undergraduate Law Review gave me the chance to explore a diverse array of legal topics. It solidified my interest in becoming an attorney, as I was exposed to the law’s numerous social, political, and economic applications. While I no longer compete on the mats, I am confident that my curiosity and discipline will help me excel in law school.

5) This personal statement contributed to the applicant’s admission at Fordham Law and Emory Law as a splitter (above median LSAT, below median GPA).

Three hours after college graduation, I was on a flight from Atlanta to New York City to start a job as a litigation paralegal at a plaintiff’s firm. The position offered me a chance to observe the adversarial system beside an experienced trial lawyer and take part in every aspect of the litigation process. By my second week, we had started jury selection for an asbestos-related negligence trial, and by my sixth, I had witnessed my first multi-million dollar verdict. Having come from an isolated suburb of Pennsylvania surrounded by cow pastures and soybean farms, I had never even heard the word “asbestos.” I had never seen the agonizingly repetitive commercials jurors always seem to complain about, nor was I aware of the massive scope of asbestos litigation and the absolute devastation families face after a terminal mesothelioma diagnosis.

I still remember how nervous I felt for that first case. Despite having no experience, preparation, or training, it was my job to keep everything organized and the trial running smoothly. I sat beside my boss, yellow exhibit stickers in one hand and a pen in the other, keeping track of every exhibit. My boss was known firm-wide for his meticulous approach to preparation. Each night, I compiled thousands of pages of documents—just in case an expert witness needed to be reminded of their previous testimony or a Person Most Knowledgeable shown their company’s Interrogatory Responses. Then, at trial, I watched my boss craft a compelling narrative for the jury, demonstrating that had it not been for the negligence of a valve manufacturer, a man’s death could have been prevented.

After a month packed with four experts, eight boxes of exhibits, and fifteen days of trial testimony, it came time for the jury charge. Following two days of deliberation, the jurors found for the plaintiff on all issues. It was the first time in my life I felt integral in helping not just one person, but a whole family, receive closure.

About a year and a half later, in October 2018, my boss decided to branch into new areas of personal injury law, beginning with medical malpractice. Our first case was particularly tragic. Before what was supposed to be routine surgery for a 43-year-old patient, the anesthesiologist inadvertently inserted a catheter into the patient’s carotid artery instead of his jugular vein. We alleged that this critical mistake substantially contributed to the patient’s stroke, leaving him hemiplegic, wheelchair bound, and unable to live independently.

For months leading up to jury selection, I read through each fact and expert witness’s deposition. I attempted to relearn the science I grappled with in college, including the intricacies of heart and brain anatomy, to figure out how to best explain it to our jury. I then scoured various online databases for any scientific article I could find on facts relevant to our case, so we could try to challenge the opinions of the defense expert. Finding dozens of articles, I even happened upon minutes to a 1994 New Zealand conference—where the defendant’s expert witness had spoken—that addressed the standard of care at issue in our case.

I quickly learned, however, that despite how much we had prepared, it didn’t matter; the facts of the case appeared to change as the trial progressed. For example, defense witnesses offered a new theory of causation for the first time at trial, and an angiogram, which had been available for the duration of the patient’s hospital stay, had seemingly gone missing on the eve of expert testimony. We had to constantly reevaluate our trial strategy. By the end of it all, I wanted nothing more than to hear the jury’s finding of liability for the story I had been obsessing over for months.

But it never came. A few minutes into our wait for a verdict, defense counsel approached the plaintiff with a settlement offer, which he accepted. Handshakes were given and pleasantries were exchanged, but something felt off. How could some money, without a finding of liability, be justice? I couldn’t help but wonder if our work meant anything or if I had somehow failed our client. But after seeing his smile, I knew I was wrong. He was overjoyed. This was a man at his weakest, who needed someone to advocate for him when he and his family realized their lives would never be the same. Whether or not the jury foreman read out a verdict, our client still had his life to live, and this settlement, while maybe not justice in the usual sense, made that possible.

My experiences these past few years have motivated me to apply to law school. I want to become an attorney for the man who worked tirelessly day after day, fixing leaky pipes and valves to provide for his family, just to find out more than four decades later that he would die within the year due to that same work. I want to become an attorney for the man who went to a hospital, seeking the help of medical professionals, only to wake up hemiplegic due to a preventable mistake. Through each of these cases, I have learned not only about the law and legal procedure, but also about what helping a client really means. While the adversarial process seemingly allows for winners and losers, these trials are really about how the outcome—whether verdict or settlement—forever impacts the lives of the plaintiffs and their families. And if I can aid in bringing a sense of resolution to them, then I will be successful.

6) Each time I read this personal statement, I get a major yearning to go hiking. It contributed to the applicant’s admission at 5 of the T14 schools with a 168 LSAT score.

Granite pebbles crunch under the soles of my hiking boots, the only sound besides my heavy breathing. At this altitude, I am tired, my water is low, and the trailhead disappeared from view a little over two hours ago. But even in the grit and sweat and strain, I am most alive in the mountains—blood pumping in my ears, muscles driving against the incline, heart aching to push into the wilderness. In a moment of elation, I see the top. A pleasant breeze whispers across the ridge, and I catch a second wind. With renewed determination, I break into a jog and race to the peak.

Since I could walk, I’ve been hiking. I wish I could say that I’m exaggerating, but my mom lives and breathes physical activity, so I am completely serious. When I was eight years old, I hiked my first “14er”—backpacker lingo for a mountain 14,000+ feet in elevation—with my family, carrying a 50-pound pack and about as much resentment that I had to walk for two days straight on summer vacation. Back then, hiking was just a family activity for me, something I was “encouraged” to participate in and occasionally enjoyed. However, that didn’t keep me from doing the whole “Mom, are we there yet?” bit from time to time. Until high school, this was my relationship with hiking, a sort of grudging tolerance. It wasn’t until I was able to go off on my own that I fell in love with the sport.

The first time I prepped my pack for a solo hike, I felt the pull. Visiting my grandparents in Colorado Springs, I heard of a beautiful alpine lake accessible by trail a little out of town, and I decided to go find it. When my granddad went down for his mid-morning nap, I loaded my backpack and gear into the car and drove out to a trailhead in Pikes National Forest. From there, I walked for hours through the woods and up into the mountains, wondering if I should turn around, but quickly realized I was too stubborn to give up even if my lungs and legs hated me for it. Three hours and ten miles later, I reached the most beautiful lake I had ever seen, and I was so grateful that I hadn’t turned back. After standing at the edge of the water for almost an hour, I walked back down in silence, thinking about everything from friendships to life goals, loving the peaceful quiet of my wooded trail and the time to mull things over in my mind. I am naturally an extroverted person, but that day I learned that I need and love time out in nature with no one but myself to entertain.

Since then, I only became more and more obsessed. Living in Fort Worth, Texas, I lacked any meaningful mountain range, but as time went on, I found myself driving out to other states with friends (or alone) any chance I got. With every new mountain I climbed, I fell more in love with the weather, the adrenaline, and the challenge that drives me up above tree line. By junior year of college, I was hooked.

When the spring semester ended, I drove across state lines to spend the summer in Colorado. I hiked all over, spending every moment I had off from work on a different trail. I completely expected to wear myself out, walk to the point that I wouldn’t want to take another step, and be back home within a few weeks. But the opposite happened. The more I explored, the more I wanted to continue. I came to love the routine of waking up early, packing up my car, and driving to the next trailhead. Every day, I saw something new and unique, a little pocket of nature out of sight from the rest of the world, and walked away exhausted, having left all my energy out on the trail. Surfing from one couch to the next, I stayed with family and friends, extending my stay bit by bit until the summer was almost over. Eventually, I had to go home for school, but even as I drove back to Texas, I knew I could have stayed even longer and been completely content.

This past summer, my love of hiking came full circle. For years, my mom and I had planned a “someday” dream trip: hiking the Swiss Alps. After graduation, our dream materialized. Meeting a group in Chamonix, France, we started the famous Haute Route through the mountains, hiking from hut to hut for eleven days. The first two days, it snowed. On the fifth day, I sprained my ankle and had to use electrical tape as wrap until the next town days later. The rest of the way, my mom and I pushed each other as always and she was both impressed and annoyed that I finally outpaced her. By the evening of the eleventh day, we reached the end of the route, having hiked a total of 126 miles, and I could finally say I was ready to take a break.

In the last six years, hiking has become a non-negotiable part of my life. As much as coffee in the morning, it is a rhythm of being that I need and enjoy, a time to air out my soul. Not to my surprise, it was on one particularly grueling trek that I found clarity on my career path. As granite pebbles crunched beneath my boots, I considered my passion for people, love of problem-solving, and intellectual hunger. When my water ran low, I reflected on my inability to quit when I know I am chasing a worthy goal. As I spied the top, it was finally clear—law school was my next step. With this knowledge, I took off running. I reached the peak, bent over with my hands on my knees, and smiled as I breathed a sigh of relief. Law school was my next step, and if I have learned anything, it is that well-placed steps can have some pretty fantastic ends.

7) This personal statement contributed to the applicant’s admission to a T6 law school with a sub-25th percentile GPA.

“BEEEEEEP.” The dozens of TV screens lining the wall opposite me in the USC Annenberg Media Center all flash red at once: “Extreme Red Flag Warning – PREPARE TO EVACUATE.” As I fidget in one of the swivel chairs inside the editors’ circle, I peer out the floor-to-ceiling window facing campus—instead of the usual jumble of students I see racing to class, there’s a cloud of smog and an aura of emptiness. Somehow, the scent of wildfires raging about 55 miles away has crept into the newsroom I consider a second home.

“Scratch what you’ve been working on. Go get interviews with people evacuating ASAP,” I announce to my writers over the sound of phones ringing off the hook. At this point, USC’s campus is safe, but other schools closer to the wildfire have shut down. Many of my peers wait on edge, helpless as their childhood homes risk burning to the ground. Their families flee, with time to only grab a few prized possessions. 

It wasn’t uncommon for a news story to start out slow, then, all at once, explode like this one. When I started working on the wildfire story a few days earlier, I followed my usual process. First, I scheduled interviews with experts on the subject. Next, I researched. When writing the perfect piece, researching is an art. Much like how artists immerse themselves in their subject’s world to paint the perfect portrait, I must absorb every detail to create the perfect story. Why does California seem to have so many unmanageable wildfires? What exact protocols are in place to minimize damage? Who is responsible for implementing them? Then, I followed the most important step: remain unbiased and observational. I am not there to get involved, whatever the story might concern. Then, I write. And rewrite. And rewrite again.

Though breaking news like the Red Flag Warning no doubt shifts the narrative, my prior investigation into the problem remains relevant. It led me to one conclusion: mismanagement directly contributed to not just this wildfire but almost every prior one. I lead the story with the emergency notice, but my bottom line is unchanged—the government’s neglect of forests is quite literally adding fuel to the fire. That year, more than a hundred lives and a million acres of land were lost to wildfires. As gut-wrenching as the damage is, as a senior editor, I must keep cool, calm, and collected. I urge my staff to be empathetic but professional in conducting interviews. But staying levelheaded is difficult. A freshman whose family just fled her childhood home at 4 a.m. can barely speak. “How did this get so out of control?” she asks through short breaths. A junior who is having trouble contacting his twin sister evacuating a college near the chaos is bawling. It hits me that I can no longer bear staying on the outside, reporting as an observer. But I push the emotion away—I must remain objective.

For the remainder of my tenure with the paper, this feeling festered. When writing about the rising homelessness rate, though I researched the ways in which LA County’s policies weren’t working, I still felt I needed to do more. When writing about depression on campus, though I researched ways USC’s mental health initiatives could be reworked, still, not enough. I grew restless. In August 2019, I decided to stop feeling the need to do more and to actually do more. I was facetiming my father who wanted to show me a fire blazing a few kilometers from his home in Beirut. Moments later, the screen went black. I heard a blast. The explosion, which put my father in the hospital and killed more than 200 people, was a result of the Lebanese government’s negligence. I was shook, especially knowing the people there have no avenues to fight such negligence.

A year later, I went to Beirut to work for Siren Associates, a human rights organization that addresses a range of humanitarian issues in Lebanon, including public sector accountability and access to justice. The country is still in mourning and the government has yet to take responsibility for their negligence. We try to communicate with the government and advocate for transparency, but it’s no use. They won’t budge. Citizens take the streets and protest in an attempt to hold those in power accountable, but they’re met with excessive force from the military. I tried meeting with military personnel directly, presenting guidelines for handling protests without aggression, but they weren’t interested. And while the court system eventually launched an investigation to prosecute those responsible for the blast, they have hit a standstill as the government has delayed the judicial process indefinitely.

In countries like Lebanon, where governments disregard human rights and accountability mechanisms are ineffective, international courts are the only potential source of justice. However, the current court system is insufficient. It is reactive, first stepping in after disaster hits. I want to go to law school to learn how to prevent human rights tragedies before they occur. I aim to create hybrid court systems, ones that combine state-run courts and international ones to strengthen developing countries’ ability to self-regulate. Only when prevention is prioritized will ensuring human rights stop being a system of reaction. I want to be at the forefront of this movement, and am eager to leverage the observational and analytical skills I mastered during my career, as well as the knowledge I have gained through human rights work, toward achieving human rights for all.

8) This personal statement contributed to the applicant’s admission to a T6 law school with a large scholarship, despite a 3.1 GPA.

A soft chime prompts me to check my email. It’s from Flo, a senior case manager at the law firm. “See attached motion for summary judgment. Please work on the opposition. Send your draft to David and Nick no later than July 13.” I flip through the attached exhibits and find what I’m looking for: the defendant’s brief. It’s the typical corporate defendant arguments, ones I had seen and responded to on dozens of occasions. A due date of July 13 would give me two weeks to draft the opposition—more than enough time.

I joined [redacted] Law Group as a law clerk five months prior. The first few weeks were a whirlwind of education in consumer protection law. Our cases usually fall into one of two buckets: the client has identified an inaccuracy in their credit report or they have been subjected to abusive debt collection practices. This case falls into the first. A thief had stolen our client’s credit card and run up a fraudulent balance, after which the client filed a dispute with his bank. The bank rejected it. When our client couldn’t afford to pay, the bank started to tack on interest and reported the debt as delinquent to a credit agency, tanking his credit score. After two years of being ignored while asking the bank to remove it, he disputed the reporting inaccuracy with the credit agency, who submitted it to the bank. The bank rejected this dispute, too. We sued the bank and the credit agency, claiming neither completed a reasonable investigation of the dispute under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. While the agency quickly settled, the bank resisted through discovery and moved for summary judgment.

Proving wrongdoing requires us to show the bank failed to conduct a reasonable investigation of our client’s dispute to the credit agency. Opening the case file, I go directly to the discovery folder, where I look for evidence of an investigation. There are copies of internal records, deposition transcripts, and responses to written discovery requests. The responses are mostly useless, consisting of pages of evasive objections and little more. The transcripts are more promising. They show a pattern of questionable actions by the bank. When it received the dispute, the bank passed it back and forth between two departments like a hot potato. Neither was responsible for investigating this type of dispute, ensuring it wouldn’t be reasonably investigated. This evidence is enough on its own to prove the bank failed to fulfill its obligation to our client and prevail against the bank’s motion, but I review further. I realize the bank’s actions implicate far more than just this one lawsuit.

The bank’s witness identified a third department at the bank that investigates fraudulent transactions, but it was never called upon to look at our client’s dispute. When an attorney from our firm asked why, the witness blamed our client for not filing a dispute in a “valid” or “appropriate” way. Since he filed his dispute through a credit agency, the witness asserted, it wouldn’t be turned over to the fraudulent transaction team. In other words, because the client didn’t file in the bank’s preferred way, they didn’t properly investigate. However, the client did file as required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act; there was nothing else he could have done.

I reread the testimony in disbelief. This is a national bank, worth billions of dollars and serving millions of consumers. It knows it’s required by law to conduct a reasonable investigation of credit reporting disputes—and it must have known it wasn’t by excluding the fraudulent transaction team, the most relevant team, from the investigation. Questions fill my mind. How many times has the bank been sued for this? How many times has it not been sued and gotten away with these practices? Is it just going to continue taking advantage of consumers? The remaining evidence provides no answers. Fortunately, I can draft our opposition to their motion without them.

After we file, the defendant immediately extends a favorable settlement offer, which our client accepts. At first, I feel satisfied he was made whole. But then I feel frustration. The money pales in comparison to the billions of dollars in profit the bank generates annually, and their procedures won’t change. They will continue harming consumers and exacerbating social inequity. According to a 2021 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report, consumers residing in majority black areas were more than twice as likely to have a dispute on record than those residing in majority white areas. The common theme to the report was that low-credit-score and minority borrowers were drastically more affected by credit reporting inaccuracies. It’s an exacerbating cycle seen beyond banking. Low-income tenants struggle to obtain legal aid and are unable to defend themselves from eviction. Plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases who can’t afford an attorney rarely, if ever, see success in court. Those already in underprivileged circumstances face impeding inequity and the cycle continues.

These examples underscore the need for reform. Marginalized individuals take a back seat to profit as companies exploit them. In many cases, they don’t have the means or familiarity with the law to seek recourse. Protecting their rights is about more than winning individual cases. It’s about eliminating inequity by increasing legal accessibility for those in need. As an attorney, I will fight for reform and creation of laws to empower and inform marginalized individuals. By ending the cycle and improving social equity, perhaps consumer protection firms like [redacted] Law Group won’t be around in the future—hopefully they won’t be needed.

Interested in learning more? To set up a consultation, contact me at [email protected] or use my contact form: sharperstatements.com/contact .

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  • Sample Essays

You are a thoughtful, intelligent, and unique individual. You already know that—now you just need to convince top law school adcoms that you're a cut above the rest. To do so you need to write a powerful personal statement for law school. Let's first discuss what that personal statement should be and then examine examples and what made them powerful.

A law school personal statement tells the part of your story that reveals your motivation for attending law school and the reasons you will make a great lawyer (or whatever career you want to pursue after law school). 

By reading the sample law school essays provided below, you should get a clear idea of how to translate your qualifications, passions, and individual experiences into words. You will see that the samples here employ a creative voice, use detailed examples, and draw the reader in with a clear writing style. Most importantly, these personal statements are compelling—each one does a fine job of convincing you that the author of the essay is a human being worth getting to know, or better yet, worth having in your next top law school class.

These sample law school personal statement essays are here to stimulate your writing juices, not to shut them down or persuade you to think that these essays represent templates that you must follow. The writers of these essays, who were all once law school applicants just like you, sat down, thought about their stories, and crafted these essays. However, their first step, significant self-reflection and thought, you can’t see. They didn’t use a template or try to shoehorn their story into someone else’s story. You shouldn’t either. But you should take the same first step that they took: Think about your life, the influences upon it, and why you want to obtain a legal education. 

Your story will be different from these author’s stories, but as you review all four of the sample essays you will see commonalities among them, which are highlighted below. You will also see that they are very different essays written by individuals reflecting their different life experiences and dreams. The authors of each of these essays were all accepted to law school, in some cases to elite U.S. law schools. 

Now let’s explore what you can learn from each of these outstanding sample law school essays.

Lessons from Law School Sample Essay #1: The Archaeologist Enthusiast  

  • Attention-grabbing opening - The author of the essay immediately grabs the readers’ attention by placing them in the midst of the scene and vividly conveying what the author felt and saw as well as the excitement she felt. 
  • Vivid, visual opening and consistent use of opening imagery - You can practically feel the dripping sweat and the heat at the opening of this essay because the applicant used vivid, sensory language that we can all relate to. She also quickly develops a metaphor comparing archaeological excavation with research in general and legal research specifically. She uses the imagery of archaeology (“finding the shard of glass,” “reconstructing the pot”) consistently throughout the personal statement to convey not only the unusual experiences she’s had in the past, but to show her love of research and analysis. 
  • A clear theme that ties the essay together-  Her essay has a clear theme, which she states at the end of the first paragraph and in her conclusion. (You may not need to state it twice; that depends on your essay.) The applicant also relates every experience in the essay to her theme of research, analysis, and discovery. 
  • Solid structure - Because her theme is so strong, the essay is easy to follow even though she has diverse experiences that aren’t obviously related to each other – archaeology in Spain, research on Colombian environmental policy, working for an online real estate company considering entry into the art market, and her travels.
  • Good use of transitions - Transitions help your reader move from one topic to the next as you connect the topic in the preceding paragraph to the topic in the next. They can consist of a few words or a phrase or simply repetition of the topic by name as opposed to using a pronoun. The first paragraph in this sample essay ends with “research and analysis” and the next paragraph begins with “The challenge of researching and analyzing an unknown subject” as she turns from her introduction to her enjoyment of academic life and the research she had done in college. 

While one could argue that perhaps she has too many subtopics in this essay, because of the strong theme and excellent use of transitions, the essay holds together and highlights her diversity of experience, curiosity, and sense of adventure. 

Most importantly this law school personal statement earned its author a seat at an elite T10 law school.

Click here to read the essay >>  

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Lessons from Law School Sample Essay #2: Returning to School 

This sample law school personal statement is about half the length of Essay 1 and concentrates on the author’s post-college work experience. In its brevity and focus it’s the mirror image of Law School Essay 1. The contrast between the two highlights the diversity that can work in law school essays.

This applicant writes about the impact of his work experience on his law school goals – with no discussion of extracurricular activities, hobbies, or travels. He had a tight word limit on his personal statement and simply had to be concise. Regardless of the narrower focus and shorter length, this essay also shares certain elements with Essay 1 and in both cases it leads to an engaging personal statement and acceptance. Let’s review them:

  • Engaging, vivid opening that grabs attention - The applicant plops the reader right into his story and challenge: how to persuade the tired, grouchy doctors that the product he’s selling is better than the one they have been prescribing.
  • A detailed story of his developing interest in law and relevant experience - Using just enough details, he tells his story starting with research that led to evidence-based persuasion. He also highlights his success, which led him to be named Rookie of the Year. He then goes on to explain that he now seeks new, more-lasting intellectual challenge than he currently has as a pharmaceutical sales rep because the industry, or at least his segment of it, changes slowly.
  • Direction within law - Based on his background in science and his work in Big Pharma, he has direction in law. He clearly states that he wants to go into medical law. Given his background and work experience, that goal builds logically on his past, and is distinctive. 
  • Ties the essay back to the opening - At the end of his essay, he references “his grumpy physicians” and “staring at his professor…” Sometimes applicants will start an essay with a catchy opening that grabs attention, but has little or nothing to do with the rest of the essay. When reading that kind of essay, the opening feels like a tease or a gimmick. In this essay, the applicant paints a picture of what he faces on a typical workday at the beginning, refers back to the opening scene in his conclusion, and contrasts that experience with what he hopes to face when in law school. It’s not a gimmick. It unifies the story.

This applicant was accepted at several T14 law schools.

Click here to read the essay >>

Law School Sample Essay #3: The Twilight Zone

There is a story behind this law school personal statement. This applicant, a very early Accepted client, during her first meeting said that she wanted to write about a trip to Country X. When asked about the trip, she said, “Oh, I’ve never been to Country X, but I know many people who have visited, and I haven’t done anything interesting.” 

Surprised at this unexpected approach, her consultant asked if she had any creative writing experience. The client said she didn’t. The consultant said that she too lacked creative writing experience and suggested they discuss what the client had done as opposed to what she hadn’t. This essay is the result of that (and other) conversations. It is an oldie but goodie.

Let’s take a look at the lessons in this sample law school essay:

  • Don’t ever feel you don’t have a story to tell. Every single one of us has a story, and you don’t have to make one up or borrow someone else’s. Tell yours proudly and authentically.
  • Launch with a vivid, engaging opening.  While her opening is a more frightening than the other openings, it definitely grips the reader’s attention and starts her story.
  • Always have a clear theme.  Everything in this essay relates to the impact of the earthquake on her and specifically her decision to become a public interest lawyer. 
  • Tell a story.  This personal statement tells the story of the earthquake’s impact on the applicant. In telling her story, she highlights her community service, her internship, and the evolution of her goals. 
  • Use effective transitions.  As she moves from topic to topic, the author effectively carries the reader along. Look at the end of one paragraph and the beginning of the next one throughout the essay. You’ll see that in every case, there is either a word, phrase, or concept that ties one to the other. 
  • Write a conclusion that really brings the essay to a close and contributes to the sense of unity while still looking forward. The applicant repeats her thesis that her career direction was shaped by the earthquake and its aftermath. She touches on key experiences (and achievements) that she wants the reader to remember, looks briefly forward, and ties back to the Twilight Zone opening.

This client was accepted to her top choice law school.

Lessons from Law School Sample Essay #4: Change 

This essay takes a different approach than the other three essays. The theme opens the essay followed by images and sounds that make the change she is experienced something the reader can also experience or at least imagine because the applicant uses sensory language. The writer also takes a chronological approach to tell her story of change and how it shaped her. 

The author in this essay chooses not to directly address her reasons for wanting to attend law school. However, the essay still works. The essay highlights her communications skills, research, international exposure, bilingual language skills, and initiative.

However here, too, there are lessons to be learned and some may sound familiar.

  • Clear theme - Yes, this takeaway is in this essay as well as the preceding three. In fact, for any effective essay, you need a clear theme.
  • Effective use of specifics and anecdote - Whether referencing the “bleak Wisconsin winter,” the fact her mother added “barbecued brisket” to her menu in Texas, or the cultural challenges she faced in Bolivia, she effectively illustrates her ability to deal with change and adapt throughout her life. 
  • A conclusion that shows her evolution and growth - She subtly, but clearly reveals an evolution in her adaptability from complete adoption of the mores of her surroundings in New Jersey to more nuanced adaptability where she chooses what she wants to adopt and reject as she deals with change as an adult. Finally, while change is something she has to deal with throughout most of the essay by the conclusion she views it as an opportunity for growth.

Takeaways from These Law School Statement Samples

  • There are an infinite number of ways to write a law school personal statement that will help you get accepted. 
  • Begin your essay with an opening that grabs your reader’s attention. In today’s age of short attention spans and very busy people, there should be no long, slow warm ups. Put your reader in the scene as soon as they start reading.
  • Use sensory language to engage your reader and help them imagine experiencing what you were going through. Reference scenes, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes as appropriate.
  • Have a clear theme. Unless you are James Joyce, a stream of consciousness will not work. Know the core idea you want your essay to convey and ruthlessly ensure that every subtopic supports that idea. If it doesn’t, either make the connection clear or delete.
  • Use transitions to take your reader with you through your story.
  • Use specifics and anecdotes to support your theme in a distinctive way while highlighting your achievements.
  • Write a conclusion that contributes to the unity of your essay. Highlight key points in your conclusion. While you can take your theme into the future in your conclusion, it still must relate to your core idea and build on what preceded it. If you can tie your ending back to your opening, your essay will have a stronger sense of coherence. 

How would I like to see these essays improved? I would like to see them, with the exception of Essay 2, address why they are applying to a given school. Essay 2 didn’t have room for that. 

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[2024] 4 Law School Personal Statement Examples from Top Programs

personal statement for law scholarship

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement samples by field.

In this article, I will discuss 4 law school personal statement samples. These statements have been written by successful applicants who gained admission to prestigious US Law schools like Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. The purpose of these examples is to demonstrate how prospective applicants like yourself can artfully integrate their passion, skills, and pertinent experiences into a captivating narrative.

* To further guide you on your law school application journey, I will not only present these personal statement samples but will also provide my expert review after each one. This includes an analytical feedback, a graded evaluation, and a detailed discussion of any identified weaknesses and strengths within the personal statement. Through this comprehensive analysis, I aim to provide a clearer understanding of what makes a compelling law school personal statement.

In the process of composing these personal statements, the applicants have drawn upon valuable insights from several of my previous writings on the subject. Furthermore, you are encouraged to utilize my prior works as a resource to aid you in crafting your own personal statement.

In those posts I’ve discussed the  art of constructing a captivating personal statement , and I’ve highlighted the  pitfalls to avoid  to ensure your law school essay leaves a positive impression.

I’ve also shared valuable tips on  structuring your personal statement for clarity and readability, not to mention  how to create a powerful opening  that grabs attention from the start. And let’s not forget about maintaining brevity while effectively telling your story, as well as offering a vast range of  personal statement examples  from different fields for reference.

And yes, do not forget to explore my  8-point framework  that anyone can use to self-evaluate their law school personal statement. Complementing this, I’ve also created a  7-point guide  to help you steer clear of potential traps and missteps in your personal statement.

I encourage you to explore these topics in depth, as they will be useful while we explore the sample personal statement for law schools.

In this Article

1) Research the Law School

2) outline your law school personal statement, 3) write a compelling introduction, 4) showcase your achievements and interests in law, 5) articulate your motivations for pursuing law, 6) highlight unique qualities for the legal field, 7) addressing potential weaknesses or gaps, 8) craft a persuasive conclusion, my in-depth feedback on sample 1, my in-depth feedback on sample 2, my in-depth feedback on sample 3, my in-depth feedback on sample 4, why do law schools require a personal statement, does every law school require a personal statement, what should you avoid in a law school personal statement, can i use the same personal statement for all law schools, should i put my name on my law school personal statement, should you brainstorm your law school personal statement, how to write a personal statement for law school.

Writing a personal statement for law school requires thorough research, a well-structured outline, and a captivating introduction. The following steps will guide you in crafting a coherent and compelling narrative that effectively showcases your journey and aspirations in the field of law. For a more detailed post, follow this ultimate guide on how to write a personal statement .

Begin by immersing yourself in extensive research about the law school you are applying to. Explore the institution’s website, paying close attention to its mission, curriculum, faculty expertise, and any unique offerings such as clinical programs or specialized courses. Familiarize yourself with the admission requirements and tailor your personal statement to highlight relevant qualifications.

Immerse yourself in the law school’s culture and gain insights from faculty members, current students, or alumni. Attend informational sessions or open houses to gather additional details. Reflect on how the law school aligns with your career goals in the legal field and incorporate this understanding into your personal statement, showcasing your dedication and suitability.

Before delving into writing your personal statement, create a comprehensive outline of its content. Begin with a captivating introduction , which could include a compelling anecdote, an impactful quote, or a statement that highlights your passion for the law.

For example: “Ever since I witnessed the transformative power of the law in securing justice for the vulnerable, I have been driven to pursue a legal career that upholds the principles of equity and fairness.”

Next, outline your academic achievements and relevant experiences, such as internships, research projects, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your commitment to the field of law. Emphasize the skills you have developed and the honors you have received.

Articulate your motivations for pursuing a legal education, sharing your aspirations and long-term goals. Highlight unique strengths, such as critical thinking, analytical abilities, or effective communication skills. If necessary, address any potential concerns or gaps in your application, explaining the situation and showcasing your ability to overcome challenges.

Conclude by reiterating your passion and qualifications for the legal profession and express your enthusiasm for joining the law school. This structured approach will ensure a coherent and persuasive personal statement.

Begin your personal statement with a captivating introduction that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. Consider starting with an engaging anecdote, a thought-provoking quote, or a personal experience that sparked your interest in the law.

For instance: “In a world where justice often hangs in the balance, I recall the moment I witnessed a courtroom’s transformative power. The eloquence of the attorneys, the weight of their arguments, and the profound impact on the lives of those involved compelled me to pursue a legal career.”

Briefly introduce the central theme of your personal statement, whether it’s your passion for advocating for others, your commitment to upholding justice, or your desire to make a positive impact through the law. A compelling introduction sets the tone for the rest of your personal statement.

In your personal statement, focus on highlighting your academic and professional accomplishments that showcase your preparedness for law school. Discuss relevant internships, research projects, or academic achievements that demonstrate your commitment to the field.

For example: “During my internship at XYZ Law Firm, I had the privilege of working alongside experienced attorneys, analyzing complex legal cases and conducting in-depth legal research. This experience solidified my passion for legal advocacy and honed my ability to navigate intricate legal frameworks.”

Illustrate key achievements, such as publications, successful legal cases, or leadership roles within legal organizations. Explain how these experiences have shaped your interest in law and contributed to your growth and expertise in the field.

Clearly articulate your motivations for pursuing a legal education. Share personal experiences, challenges, or encounters that have fueled your desire to make a difference through the law.

For example: “Growing up in a community where access to justice was limited, I witnessed firsthand the disparities in legal representation. These experiences instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility to advocate for those who have been marginalized by the legal system.”

Outline your career goals and aspirations, illustrating how obtaining a legal education aligns with your vision. Discuss how the law school’s program, faculty, and resources will contribute to your growth and help you achieve your professional objectives.

Highlight personal qualities and attributes that make you well-suited for a legal career. Emphasize traits such as critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, research skills, or effective communication.

For instance: “My ability to analyze complex legal issues, combined with my unwavering commitment to pursuing justice, has enabled me to approach legal challenges with both empathy and determination.

Provide concrete examples that demonstrate how these qualities have positively impacted your academic or professional experiences. Showcase how these qualities align with the values and expectations of the law school, presenting a strong case for your fit within the legal community.

Address any weaknesses or gaps in your application candidly. If you encountered obstacles or faced academic challenges, briefly mention them, focusing on what you have learned and how you have grown as a result.

Demonstrate resilience and determination by highlighting subsequent achievements or steps you have taken to overcome difficulties. Showcase how these experiences have strengthened your commitment and prepared you for the rigors of law school.

Your conclusion should effectively summarize the key points of your personal statement. Recap your passion for the law, the skills you have acquired, and your future ambitions within the legal field.

For example: “Driven by an unwavering commitment to justice and armed with a solid foundation in legal research and advocacy, I am ready to embark on this transformative journey in law school.”

Express your enthusiasm for contributing to the legal profession, emphasizing how your unique perspective and experiences will enrich the law school community. Conclude with a confident and concise statement that demonstrates your readiness to excel in their program and make a meaningful impact in the field of law.

Sample 1: NYU, UCLA, and Duke

Variations of this personal statement got accepted at nyu, ucla, and duke..

One day, I decided to quit home, leave my parents behind and move to a small rural town called Leiah after being inconsiderately and incessantly forced to marry a cousin. It was a bold step, but I did not want to be like other women in my country who do not fight for their rights. While living in solicitude in Leiah, I stumbled upon a poor old man sitting beside a piece of furniture that would define his existence. Lying limply on a street corner, the old man had only one helping hand – the crippled furniture.

Coming from a privileged background, I saw for the first time the disparity between the haves and have-nots. Nothing, however, seemed more unlikely when I first arrived. Constrained by their poverty, these rural people took what jobs they could find, working for long hours in the field and finally retrieving their broken houses and furniture for respite. They were outrageously overworked and underpaid but never brought any bitterness home. At that time, I realized how blessed I was, and they were not.

Inspired by these experiences, I decided to use my education and connections to bring change to the lives of these people of Leiah. By collaborating with an NGO for money and resources, I started giving out basic amenities and finances to set up cheap livable houses for these people. I didn’t stop there – I joined a maternity home in Leiah as a public liaison officer and helped the clinic with legal and administrative issues. By understanding the numerous Federal and State laws regarding Health Care, I better equipped myself at work. After tireless efforts, I handled several cases of women and children who suffered abuse, violence, and neglect.

I wanted to discuss these experiences because I believe that, as an ever-present factor during many of these four formative years, these incidents played a significant role in shaping the adult I have become. Ten years ago, I would never have foreseen that I could become a powerful vehicle for others’ growth by living in a village. The experience has helped me develop a heightened sensitivity for those who have struggled to fit into our society. As a result, I decided to move back to the city after several years and pursue further education in law and political science. During these academic years, I was actively involved with various community service projects and as an investigator in law firms, allowing me to interact with troubled and disadvantaged youth and the mentally disabled.

I have long been interested in law as an academic discipline, and working in rural areas has confirmed that my academic interests would extend to the real-world application of legal principles. To this end, I purposefully chose jobs that provided very distinct perspectives on law practice. As a legal assistant, I became acquainted with both the advantages and disadvantages of private practice. As a member of the human rights commission, I investigated how non-profits worked at a larger scale to improve the lives of the underprivileged. Moreover, helping in DIL (development in literacy) has offered me a glimpse of how the law may be used constructively in the public sector. I am currently working as a member of the Michigan chapter on fundraising that will take place next year in LA. All these positions have equally impressed upon me the unique potential of the law to make a direct, positive impact on people’s lives.

Working as a legal consultant, I was initially turned off by the formal language, which permeated all writing and discourse (“Aforementioned • legalese had heretofore proven incomprehensible”). As one unfamiliar with the jargon, I found the law to be pretentious and distant. Gradually, however, I began to sort out the shades of difference between a “motion in limine” and a “56(f) motion.” Finally, I understood the law as a vast set of rules which could, with intelligence and creativity, genuinely be used on behalf of values such as fairness and justice.

In addition to my primary assignment on an antitrust case, some exposure to pro bono work further convinced me that law has a vital role in our society. I am also avidly involved in extra-curricular activities. For example, I went to India to attend my father’s book launch (a writer) organized by Ghalib Council, Delhi. By collaborating and bonding with the people of India, I could impart brotherhood and literacy since I found Indian people more educated than us. My society needs education and health, and I want to work in these areas when I return.

As with my experience at a law firm, I soon realized the practical application of the laws written here. Unlike most of the public, who see only the final version of a bill, being part of the health legislative process has forced me to examine all sides of any given issue. Although politics can make this process agonizingly slow and inefficient, my work here has given me a greater appreciation for how laws affect our constituents back home.

Given my skills, I am convinced that health law presents the single greatest chance for me to make a difference, both in the lives of individuals and in terms of influencing the broader fabric of society. Moreover, I am confident that my insistence on looking beyond those first impressions has provided me with an exciting opportunity to apply and study at UCLA Law.

The woman in my society is an artisan and a tradesperson. She’s an economist and a doctor. She is also a fisherwoman and a craftsperson. She’s a mentor, nurturer, parliamentarian, and cultivator. She’s brimming with life and capability, but she waits for what justly belongs to her: the right to a superior life.

Here is a brief review and rating of this personal statement based on different aspects:

  • Hook and Introduction (4.5/5): Your introduction is powerful and immediately hooks the reader. It shows strength, courage, and determination.
  • Background and Motivation (4.5/5): You’ve done a great job of illustrating your background and motivation, which stem from your experiences in Leiah. You could add more about how these experiences triggered your interest in law.
  • Relevance and Competency (4/5): You have demonstrated a clear path from your experiences to your interest in law, but a more explicit discussion about the legal skills you have developed and how you applied them would make this section stronger.
  • Passion and Personal Drive (5/5): Your passion for law, social justice, and helping others is palpable and will make a strong impression on the admission committee.
  • Program Fit and Future Goals (3/5): Your statement is currently lacking in specific references to the law school you’re applying to, making it difficult to assess fit. Discussing how the program aligns with your career goals and what aspects of the program particularly attract you would strengthen your application.
  • Conclusion (4/5): Your conclusion is effective in tying together your experiences and your desire to study law. However, a clearer expression of your readiness for law school and how you plan to contribute to the law school community would enhance this section.

Now, let’s delve deeper into each part of your statement:

  • Introduction: Your introduction is powerful and impactful. The raw honesty about your decision to leave home and confront societal norms hooks the reader immediately. It tells us you are strong, independent, and willing to make hard choices. One suggestion would be to more directly link this bold decision to your interest in law—did it spark a desire for justice, or a passion for advocating for others who are oppressed?
  • Background and Challenges: You effectively depict the stark contrast between your privileged upbringing and the poverty-stricken lives of the people in Leiah. Your empathy is palpable, and it showcases your character and capacity for understanding others’ situations. To provide more context, you could elaborate on the societal and cultural norms that were challenged by your experiences in Leiah and how these experiences shaped your view of law and justice.
  • Transferable Skills: You talk about your role as a public liaison officer and how it familiarized you with Federal and State healthcare laws. This shows you’ve already been using legal skills in a practical environment, a strong point in your favor. Perhaps expand on the specific skills or competencies you gained during this period, such as negotiation, critical thinking, or public speaking, and how they will be beneficial in a law school environment.
  • Passion and Goals: Your experiences, such as working with NGOs and maternity homes, indicate a strong passion for social justice. The goal of using law to improve the lives of the underprivileged is noble and will resonate with law schools. It might be beneficial to discuss specific areas of law you are interested in (e.g., human rights, public interest law) and how you see yourself contributing in these areas in the future.
  • Relevant Experiences: Your varied experiences, from community service to law firm investigation work, provide you with a wealth of practical experiences, all very relevant to your law school journey. Perhaps you could add more detail about how these experiences solidified your desire to study law and how they shaped your perspective on legal practice.
  • Specific Interest in the School: The personal statement does not mention a specific law school or its program. Including a paragraph detailing why you are interested in the specific school you are applying to, and how its program aligns with your career goals, could strengthen your application. Discuss the school’s specific courses, faculty, or values that attract you.
  • Conclusion: While your conclusion effectively ties together your experiences and future law goals, it could be more direct in expressing your readiness to face the challenges of law school and contribute to the school community.

Your personal statement is already compelling, but adding more context to your experiences and making clear links between your past, present, and future in the context of law could further enhance it. Remember, specificity is key—whether it’s about the skills you’ve gained, the experiences that shaped your interest in law, or the specific school you’re applying to.

Sample 2: Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and UC Berkeley

Variations of this personal statement got accepted at northwestern, vanderbilt, and uc berkeley..

Unlike many, my passion for acquiring a law degree is neither a childhood fantasy of fighting a case in a courtroom nor a preconceived notion of myself as a lawyer. Instead, I recognize that a law degree would enable me to advance my career as a taxation lawyer.

I had to skip schooling during 4th and 5th grade and instead studied at home. This was due to the financial difficulties stemming from my mother’s cancer treatment, which put a significant financial burden on us. Additionally, as a female from an agricultural and rural family, I faced family pressure to attend a public school instead of a private one. But I did not succumb to these pressures. Instead, I persevered in studying and investing in getting myself private education through partial financial support from my older brother and by working part-time as a writer and content curator. Six months before my high-school graduation, my mother succumbed to her illness and passed away. She spent the last eight years of her life bedridden. The loss was immeasurable, but life had to move on.

I first set my sights on becoming a lawyer when I interned at a law firm during the summer break following my high school graduation. Throughout this internship, I annoyed my supervisors by writing long-winded legal documents even when they asked for a few sentences – this was because of the writing habits I had developed as a content writer. With time, I started to write better legal reports, but my attention was increasingly turned toward tax law. With the guidance and counseling of my supervisors, I applied to an undergrad law program. I spent the next several years understanding the Federal Reserve’s proposed Income Tax Ordinance, including exemptions from income tax and withholding tax.

Throughout this time, I continued to work part-time with various firms, hospitals, and non-profits as a volunteer, legal advisor, and editor. Upon graduation, I applied for the position of legal advisor at the Monthly Atlantic. My current job entails researching and reporting for the newspaper on appropriations bills and export legislation. I also write daily summaries of major contracts awarded by the Federal Government. I am also primarily responsible for supporting discrete legal issues by advising the organization, drafting undertakings, and structuring remedies for the relevant issues.

I am excited but also apprehensive as I try to explain legal jargon to an informed general audience, some of whom may know more about these policies than I do. For example, recently, I had a significant challenge in understanding and decoding the budget proposals of the Federal Reserve, by section 42 of the MOPA Act, 1956 (the Act), in which the entire income of the Federal Reserve and its subsidiaries is remitted to the federal government. After thoroughly going through the provisions, I learned there are still some provisions in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, Sales Tax Act 1990, and Federal Excise Act 2005, attracting the application of taxes and duties.

Too often, I need more legal knowledge to fully grasp bills that control how companies do business overseas, the limits to which government agencies can go to collect covert intelligence, or the amount of funding an agency can receive in a given time. On the one hand, these limitations have yet to do much to impair me in my current position. I am called to turn out several short stories daily on various topics without going into significant detail. However, I would like to advance to more complex and challenging assignments one day. I fear I will be able to do so if I acquire more expertise than I can within the confines of my deadline-driven job. It is a belief shared by several of my colleagues and many of the senior legal consultants at the newspaper that those who hold advanced degrees in law, business, and related disciplines are at an edge. A law degree would put me in a better position to join their ranks, mainly if I could attend school while continuing to work as a legal advisor in taxation-related instances.

Given my circumstances and interests, a graduate degree in taxation law from UC Berkeley is my ideal choice. In addition, I have an acquaintance that is currently enrolled at Berkeley Law school. His generous feedback has convinced me that this program would also fit my needs considering its flexible schedule and emphasis on tax law.

  • Hook and Introduction (5/5): The hook and introduction effectively capture the reader’s attention and provide a clear understanding of your unique motivation for pursuing a law degree. The personal anecdote about your internship and your writing habits adds interest to the narrative and sets the stage for the rest of the personal statement.
  • Background and Motivation (4.5/5): The background section effectively outlines the challenges you faced during your education and personal life, showcasing your resilience and determination. It helps the reader understand the context in which your passion for law developed. The motivation behind your interest in taxation law is well-explained, highlighting how your experiences and skills have guided you towards this specific field.
  • Relevance and Competency (4/5): You effectively demonstrate your competence by discussing your experiences as a legal advisor, writer, and content curator. The mention of your work with firms, hospitals, and non-profits further strengthens your case. However, it would be beneficial to provide more specific examples or achievements that highlight your skills and expertise in taxation law.
  • Passion and Personal Drive (4.5/5): Your passion for taxation law shines through in your personal statement. The enthusiasm you express for writing legal reports and your desire to tackle more complex assignments demonstrate your genuine interest in the field. The mention of your colleagues and senior legal consultants’ belief in the value of advanced degrees in law further emphasizes your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth.
  • Program Fit and Future Goals (3/5): While you express your interest in pursuing a graduate degree in taxation law from UC Berkeley, the personal statement lacks specific details about why this program is a perfect fit for your goals. Providing more information about the program’s strengths and how they align with your aspirations would strengthen this section.
  • Conclusion (4/5): The conclusion effectively wraps up your personal statement and reinforces your commitment to pursuing a law degree. It restates your interest in UC Berkeley and highlights the feedback you received from an acquaintance at the institution. However, it could be enhanced by briefly summarizing your key strengths and accomplishments and how they will contribute to your success in the program.
  • Introduction: The introduction of the personal statement effectively hooks the reader by highlighting your unique motivation for pursuing a law degree with a focus on taxation law. The mention of it not being a childhood fantasy and instead recognizing the degree as a means to advance your career sets the tone for the rest of the statement.
  • Background and Challenges: The section detailing your background and the challenges you faced is compelling. The explanation of having to skip schooling due to financial difficulties resulting from your mother’s cancer treatment adds depth to your personal story. It showcases your resilience in overcoming obstacles and your determination to pursue education despite the circumstances. The mention of facing family pressure to attend a public school instead of a private one further emphasizes your determination and ability to make your own choices.
  • Transferable Skills: While you mention working part-time as a writer and content curator, the transferable skills gained from this experience could be further elaborated upon. Explaining how your writing skills, attention to detail, and ability to analyze information have prepared you for the demands of the legal field would strengthen this section.
  • Passion and Goals: Your passion for law and taxation law is effectively conveyed throughout the personal statement. The explanation of your interest developing during your internship at a law firm, where you consistently wrote legal documents, showcases your dedication and enthusiasm. The mention of your desire to tackle more complex assignments and the belief shared by colleagues and senior legal consultants that advanced degrees are advantageous demonstrate your long-term goals and commitment to professional growth.
  • Relevant Experiences: The inclusion of your various volunteer and advisory roles, as well as your current position as a legal advisor at the Monthly Atlantic, highlights your practical experience in the field. However, providing more specific examples or accomplishments from these experiences would enhance this section and further illustrate your competence and expertise.
  • Specific Interest in the School: While you express an interest in pursuing a graduate degree in taxation law from UC Berkeley, the personal statement lacks specific details about why this program is a perfect fit for your goals. Adding more information about the program’s strengths, faculty, or specific courses that align with your interests would strengthen this section.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion effectively wraps up the personal statement by restating your commitment to pursuing a law degree and emphasizing your interest in UC Berkeley. However, it could be strengthened by summarizing your key strengths, experiences, and goals and how they align with the school’s offerings.

Overall, your personal statement effectively conveys your passion for taxation law, your determination to overcome challenges, and your commitment to professional growth. Strengthening the sections on transferable skills, providing more specific examples of relevant experiences, and including more specific details about the school’s fit would enhance the overall impact of the statement.

Sample 3: Georgetown

Variations of this personal statement got accepted at georgetown..

My desire to apply to law school is not rooted in a childhood fantasy of arguing a case before a packed courtroom. I have never seen myself as a trial attorney, ala Perry Mason or Nora Lewin on Law & Order. However, a legal education would enable me to advance my career as a writer and analyst specializing in national security and global trade issues.

I first set my sights on becoming a writer when I learned my letters. But, of course, mastering the ABCs may have been a long way from winning the Pulitzer. Nevertheless, this minor detail did not prevent me from completing three “novels” and my version of Genesis before the age of seven. Throughout elementary and junior high school, I annoyed my teachers by writing 10-page themes whenever they asked for a few sentences. Later, as a high school and college student, I continued writing, though my attention was increasingly turned toward other subjects. Ultimately, one of my professors directed me on a path that would combine my background in writing with government and policymaking. With her help, I secured an internship with a government contractor. As a result, I spent the spring and summer writing copy for websites that the company managed for the government while taking additional classes at university.

In February, I accepted a full-time job as a researcher at Washington Post, where I am now an assistant editor. My current job entails researching and reporting on defense appropriations bills and export legislation, as well as writing daily summaries of major contracts awarded by the Department of Defense and other defense ministries worldwide. With enthusiasm but some trepidation, I attempt to decode pages of legal jargon for an educated lay readership, many of whom I suspect know more than I about such policies. But, too often, I lack the legal knowledge to fully grasp bills that control how companies do business overseas, the limits to which government agencies can go to collect covert intelligence, or the amount of funding an agency can receive in a given length of time.

On the one hand, these limitations have yet to do much to impair me in my current position. I am called to turn out several short stories daily on various topics without going into significant detail. However, I would like to advance to more difficult reporting assignments one day. I fear I will be able to do so if I acquire more expertise than I can within the confines of my deadline-driven job. I also would like to It is a belief shared by several of my colleagues, as well as many of the senior writers and editors at my company who hold advanced degrees in law, business, and related disciplines. A law degree would put me in a better position to join their ranks, mainly if I could attend school while continuing to work as a journalist.

Given my circumstances and interests, Georgetown University Law Center, with its top-ranked intellectual property and international law programs, is my ideal choice. In addition, I have a colleague that is currently enrolled in the Georgetown evening law program. His generous feedback has convinced me that this program would also fit my needs considering its flexible schedule and emphasis on legal writing.

Your personal statement presents a compelling narrative that effectively communicates your passion for writing, your current profession, and your interest in furthering your education in law to augment your skills and understanding. Here are a few suggestions to improve it further:

  • Specifics: While you mention you would like to join the ranks of your colleagues who hold advanced degrees in law and related disciplines, it would be beneficial to include specific examples of how having a law degree could have or will benefit you in your current role.
  • Motivation: You’ve done a great job discussing your professional path and how you hope a legal education will benefit your career. Still, it would help if you were to discuss any personal reasons or experiences that have led you to want to study law. Personal narratives often make an applicant more relatable and can help the reader understand your motivation better.
  • Intention: You may want to further discuss how you plan to apply your law degree to your current career or future aspirations.
  • Completion: Towards the end, it seems there is a sentence that is not completed: “I also would like to It is a belief shared by several of my colleagues…”. You might want to revise this sentence to make your statement clearer.
  • Why Georgetown: While you have discussed that Georgetown University Law Center is your top choice, consider elaborating on why Georgetown, in particular, is the perfect fit for your career goals, apart from its flexible schedule and the fact that your colleague is enrolled there. You could mention specific courses, professors, or the university’s ethos, for example.

Your personal statement is already quite strong, and these suggestions are only meant to fine-tune your narrative further.

Sample 4: Harvard Law

Variations of this llm personal statement got accepted at university of pennsylvania, oxford university, and harvard law school..

I grew up in a middle-class family in Malaysia, where discipline and responsible behavior were the only doctrines taught. At school, I maintained 100% attendance without exception – a feat that my parents and I take pride in. My parents’ utmost involvement throughout my growing years always made me outshine my peers. Though my school grades were average, I represented my school in many activities ranging from debates and dramatics to being a soccer team captain for the entire house.

I have always had complete freedom from my parents until I had to choose a career. A STEM career was my parents’ priority, but for the first time, I differed from my family and chose Social Sciences. I was told that career prospects were bleak and that I was making the wrong decision, but I persisted. While majoring in social sciences, I met a mentor, Dr. Anonymous, a top economist. He challenged me intellectually, which helped me become a better thinker.

Subsequently, I secured the second position in college. My life turned around as people started to value my opinions, and at that time, I discovered my passion, “to speak.” I was chosen as the Coordinator for a Student Leadership Program, where I was mainly responsible for teaching empathy to hundreds of students from elite schools.

At the same time, at age 17, I met the chief editor of the New York Times, who invited me to host the “Youth Forum,” a program to highlight young people’s perspectives on existing social issues. With 55 episodes spanning over 2.5 years, I questioned youth’s role in our turbulent political, social, and economic system. The show gained popularity and performed exceptionally on TRP scores, with viewership growing to over 500,000.

At college, I met another mentor, Justice Anonymous of the Federal Court of Malaysia, who allowed me to attend court sessions as an observer of cross-questioning sessions. In addition, I socialized with lawyers at many forums, including the Court’s Cafeteria, where all appreciated my love for the field. In my 5th semester, I took a course on U.K. Constitutional Law, where I learned about the history of the U.K. Constitution. In the session on “Parliamentary Sovereignty” and “Britain’s relationship with the European Union,” the professor gave me new energy to research further about the steps in forming its Constitution. The more I read, the more I appreciated the perseverance of the founding fathers and the strong foundation England and Wales is built on.

A few years back, I attended the Oxford University Experience-Summer Course for Teens, Summerfuel. The program helped me with experiential learning about what college life is like. During my stay, I had plenty of opportunities to experience English life outside the classroom. Here, in a session, I narrated the first paragraph of the declaration of independence and asked, “whether all men are equal?”. To this, the professor appreciated my enthusiasm for constitutional law.

On my return to Malaysia, I had new energy to question the existing constitutional norms of Malaysia and kept comparing the constitutions of both countries and analyzing the factors that led to present-day turbulence in Malaysia. It is evident through the literature and historical precedence that the Constitution of Malaysia has been used maliciously to favor the powermongers. This indicates the lack of sincerity and dedication of the leaders who have formed this country.

Sadly, very few competent constitutional lawyers exist in the country that also happened to have played in the hands of powerful politicians who manipulated the Constitution to favor their vested interests. Therefore, I decided to take a career in this area as I aspire to be one of the few upright constitutional lawyers. I want to be amongst those who have shaped law and politics in Malaysia. Not amongst those who played in the hands of the powerful.

I want to choose Oxford Law for several reasons. Its tradition for excellence, the unique constitutional law curriculum, the summer program, and the excellent opportunity to meet and network with individuals from different parts of the world. I believe that Oxford law school’s vibrant and diverse community actively affirms my personality of maintaining lifelong relations. These different connections serve as a general resource for the campus community and a source of empowerment for students like me. The diverse setting at Oxford will enable me to investigate and engage in current issues and more profound societal questions. As a result, I will be able to discover how I can positively impact the world around me.

I am looking for an environment that promotes lively debates to complement my active speaking and reasoning traits. I can access well-known professors and discuss legal issues with exceptional young lawyers from more than 35 countries. Oxford offers a culture of collegiality and collaboration, where international students feel comfortable. At Oxford, professors like Dr. Anonymous, who specialize in constitutional law, and courses such as Democracy, Judicial Law-Making, & Constitutional Law can help nurture my skills and move forward in my career.

Professor Dr. Anonymous, a former Lord Justice in Wales, will teach me the value of strategy in litigation. Next, professor Dr. Anonymous and Dr. Anonymous will introduce me to the fabulous world of copyright. Finally, professor Dr. Anonymous will show me the foundations of the England and Wales litigation system. My long-term goal is to teach and practice constitutional law and eventually join politics on the path to becoming a leading politician. I have been inspired by high-achieving lawyers in Malaysia, such as Justice Anonymous, who have shaped Malaysia’s media, politics, and legal practice. I aspire to be the next in line.

Oxford offers a vast clinical & pro bono program via externships ranging from civil practice clinic to Wales Human Relations Commission. These externships indicate that Oxford wants to help all, a notion uncommon in Malaysia. Oxford is a lab for innovation and opportunities, as seen from the example of hundreds of Alumni that Oxford Law has catered to. I firmly believe that Oxford will genuinely appreciate my leadership at every scale and will polish my raw qualities and channel them so that I can apply them in Malaysia. Actual change on the grass root comes through education, and Oxford Law School is the ideal medium to achieve the highest standards.

Overall, your personal statement is impressive and well-articulated, illustrating a journey of personal and academic growth that highlights your passion, determination, and ambition. You make a compelling case for why you are interested in studying law, and specifically constitutional law, at Oxford. The narrative is well structured, and your argument about the need for constitutional reform in Malaysia is compelling and novel. Your professional experiences and extracurricular activities are quite impressive, providing evidence of your initiative and leadership abilities.

However, there are a few areas where your personal statement could be improved.

  • Language & Tone: There are some areas where the tone may come off as overly self-congratulatory, which could potentially turn off some admissions officers. For instance, you could soften the phrase “My parents’ utmost involvement throughout my growing years always made me outshine my peers.”
  • Coherence: The transitions between paragraphs are sometimes abrupt. For example, the transition from your second to third paragraph, where you switch from discussing your choice of Social Sciences to your achievement of securing second position in college, lacks a clear connecting link.
  • Specificity: You could provide more specifics to demonstrate the impact of your work. For example, instead of mentioning that you taught empathy to hundreds of students, it would be helpful to illustrate what this entailed and what results it achieved.
  • Mention of Oxford: The reasons for choosing Oxford Law seem generic and could apply to any top law school. To make your statement more compelling, research more about what is specific to Oxford Law – perhaps a unique program or course, or a faculty member’s work you admire, and express why that appeals to you.
  • Criticizing Home Country: The criticism of Malaysia and its leaders seems a bit harsh, which may not resonate well with some readers. While it’s important to be honest about the issues you see, try to express these thoughts in a more constructive manner, focusing more on potential solutions rather than just pointing out problems.
  • Ending: The statement ends abruptly. It would be great if you could end on a strong note, summarising your aspirations, and how Oxford fits into that journey.

Here is how I would grade your personal statement:

Content: B+ (The content is strong, but it could benefit from more specific examples and better transitions)

Structure: B (The narrative is coherent but could benefit from smoother transitions and a stronger conclusion)

Language & Tone: B (The tone sometimes comes off as self-congratulatory, and the language could be more nuanced in places)

Alignment with Purpose: B+ (Your statement makes a compelling case for why you want to study law at Oxford, but reasons specific to Oxford could be made more clear)

Overall Grade: B+ 

Your personal statement has a lot of strengths, and with a few tweaks, it could be even stronger. I hope this feedback helps you in refining it further!

Law schools typically require a personal statement for several reasons:

  • Understanding You Better: The personal statement provides insights into who you are beyond your academic credentials and achievements. It helps the admissions committee understand your values, personal growth, and unique experiences that might not be evident from your GPA or LSAT scores.
  • Assessing Your Communication Skills: Law is a field that requires excellent written communication skills. A well-written personal statement allows the admissions committee to gauge your ability to articulate complex thoughts, express ideas clearly, and construct logical arguments.
  • Determining Your Commitment: A thoughtful personal statement can demonstrate your dedication to pursuing a legal career. It’s a way for you to express why you want to study law and how you perceive your future in the field.
  • Identifying Diverse Perspectives: Law schools aim to create a diverse and dynamic learning environment. Your personal statement allows you to highlight unique experiences or perspectives that you can bring to the school, thereby contributing to this diversity.
  • Evaluating Your Potential Fit: The personal statement gives the law school an opportunity to determine whether you’ll be a good fit for their institution. This isn’t just about you meeting their requirements, but also about whether the school can meet your academic and career aspirations.
  • Demonstrating Resilience: Personal statements often include narratives that reveal challenges and obstacles you’ve overcome. These stories can demonstrate your resilience and problem-solving skills, traits that are highly valued in the legal profession.

In summary, a personal statement is a tool that allows law schools to evaluate you holistically. It goes beyond objective measurements of academic potential and provides a more comprehensive view of you as an individual.

Almost all law schools in the United States require a personal statement as part of the application process. The personal statement serves as a critical component of your law school application, allowing admissions committees to understand your motivations, experiences, and skills beyond what is reflected in your academic records and LSAT scores.

However, the specific requirements for law school applications can vary from one institution to another. Some schools may have specific prompts or topics they want you to address in your personal statement, while others may offer more freedom in choosing what to discuss. Certain schools might even ask for additional essays or statements to supplement your application.

If you are applying to law schools outside of the U.S., it’s always a good idea to check the specific admissions guidelines for each law school you’re interested in. Remember that meeting all of the application requirements can demonstrate your commitment and attention to detail, which are valuable traits in the legal field.

What is a Good Length for a Law School Personal Statement?

The length of a personal statement for law school can vary depending on the specific instructions provided by each law school.

A common guideline is typically around two to three double-spaced pages, or approximately 500-750 words.

This length is usually sufficient to provide a detailed narrative without overwhelming the reader with too much information. Remember, admissions committees review many applications, so they appreciate concise and compelling personal statements.

It’s very important to adhere to the instructions provided by each law school you apply to. If a specific word or page count is given, make sure you comply with that limit. Failure to do so could give the impression that you either cannot follow instructions or that you lack the ability to express yourself concisely, neither of which will help your application.

Above all, make sure that every word you write is meaningful and contributes to your overall narrative or argument. A well-crafted, succinct personal statement can often be more powerful than a longer one that lacks focus.

Writing a personal statement for law school can be a challenging task. It’s equally important to know what to avoid as it is to know what to include . Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Vague and Cliché Statements: Avoid clichés and general statements that could apply to anyone. Be specific, personal, and honest in your writing. For example, instead of saying “I want to be a lawyer to fight for justice,” show through your experiences and reflections why and how you’re committed to justice.
  • Repeating Your Resume: Your personal statement should not be a recitation of your resume or transcript. It’s an opportunity to share your personal journey, perspectives, and insights that aren’t reflected in other parts of your application.
  • Being Overly Emotional or Dramatic: While it’s important to show passion, avoid being excessively emotional or dramatic. Aim to strike a balance between personal storytelling and professional tone.
  • Off-topic Content: Stay focused on what the prompt is asking, and tie everything back to your interest in law school and your future career. Avoid irrelevant details or anecdotes.
  • Poor Structure and Flow: A disjointed or confusing statement can be difficult to read and may give a negative impression. Plan your statement carefully to ensure it has a clear structure and logical flow.
  • Typos and Grammar Errors: These can give the impression of carelessness. Proofread your statement carefully, and consider having others review it as well.
  • Negativity or Excuses: If discussing challenges or setbacks, focus on what you learned and how you grew from the experience rather than blaming others or making excuses.
  • Making Unsupported Claims: If you claim a particular trait, back it up with concrete examples. For example, instead of just stating that you’re empathetic, share an experience that demonstrates this quality.
  • Controversial Topics: Be cautious when discussing potentially divisive subjects, as you don’t want to alienate the reader. If you do choose to address a controversial issue, be sure to do so respectfully and thoughtfully.

Remember, your personal statement is a chance to present an authentic and engaging narrative about your journey towards law school. It should showcase your unique qualities, motivations, and experiences, demonstrating why you would be an excellent addition to the law school’s incoming class.

While it’s possible to use the same base personal statement for all law schools, it is not generally recommended. This is because each law school may have different prompts or expectations for what they want to see in a personal statement. If you don’t tailor your statement to each school, you might miss an opportunity to show how well you align with that specific program or fail to answer the prompt properly.

Additionally, tailoring your personal statement to each school can demonstrate your genuine interest in that particular institution. For example, you might discuss how a specific program, course, or faculty member at that school aligns with your career goals or academic interests. Showing that you’ve done your research and understand what makes each law school unique can make your application more compelling.

That said, it’s also important to maintain consistency and honesty across your applications. You might have a central narrative or theme in your personal statement that remains the same across all versions, while adjusting specific details or sections to better fit each school.

Remember to carefully review the application guidelines for each law school you apply to, paying special attention to any specific prompts or instructions for the personal statement. It’s crucial to ensure that each statement you submit not only meets all requirements, but also clearly conveys why you are a strong fit for each particular law school. 

In general, it’s good practice to include your name and sometimes your LSAC (Law School Admission Council) number on every page of your personal statement, usually in the header or footer. This ensures that if the pages get separated for any reason, the admissions committee can easily match them back up.

However, each law school might have specific guidelines regarding formatting and what information to include. Always follow the specific directions provided by the school to which you’re applying. If the application instructions don’t specify whether or not to include your name, it’s generally safe to include it to ensure your personal statement is easily identifiable.

Also, it’s always a good idea to include a title for your personal statement, even if it’s just “Personal Statement,” so it’s immediately clear what the document is. If you are sending more than one essay or document (like a diversity statement or addendum), this will ensure that each one is clearly identified.

Prior to initiating the writing process, it is vital to set aside some time to formulate your thoughts. Given that the prompts for law school personal statements are usually quite generic—such as, “Why are you interested in studying law?”—candidates often face uncertainty about the best way to approach their response.

You may find yourself overwhelmed with numerous ideas, or conversely, completely devoid of inspiration. To start off, let’s consider a practical approach you can adopt if you’re grappling with where to begin.

Take a writing pad and respond to the subsequent questions:

  • Why do I want to go to law school? This question helps to clarify your motivation and passion for pursuing law as a career. It can be grounded in an event, an experience, or a specific interest you’ve cultivated over time .
  • What experiences have prepared me for a career in law? These could be academic, work, or extracurricular experiences, where you’ve developed skills that are relevant to a legal career, such as critical thinking, negotiation, or public speaking.
  • How have my past experiences influenced my world view? This can provide context about how you approach problems, deal with adversity, or interact with diverse groups, which are all relevant to a legal career.
  • How does a law degree fit into my long-term career goals? Here, you’re demonstrating an understanding of how a law degree can contribute to your aspirations, showing a commitment to the field.
  • Can I discuss a specific area of law I’m interested in? It’s a bonus if you’re able to tie your experiences and interests to a particular field of law. This shows a depth of understanding and dedication to the subject.
  • Is there a unique perspective or diverse background that I can bring to the law school? Schools value diversity in their student body, as it contributes to the richness of classroom discussions and the overall community.
  • Have I overcome any significant obstacles or challenges in my life that have shaped who I am? This might provide insight into your resilience, determination, and adaptability, which are valuable traits in a lawyer.
  • How have I demonstrated leadership or initiative in the past? Law schools are looking for leaders and self-starters, so any evidence of this will be useful in your personal statement.
  • Can I articulate the values and qualities that will make me a good lawyer? You might think about empathy, integrity, diligence, advocacy, or the desire to serve others and uphold justice.
  • Why am I a good fit for the specific law school I’m applying to? Consider the school’s mission statement, values, programs, faculty, etc. This can show that you’ve done your research and are committed to attending that particular school.

Formulating a compelling law school personal statement requires thoughtful introspection and strategic planning. By answering these guiding questions, you can navigate the broad prompts and articulate your experiences, motivations, and unique attributes effectively.

Remember, the goal is not to present a list of accomplishments but to paint a vivid picture of your journey towards the legal profession. So, use these questions as your starting point, and craft a narrative that stands out in the sea of applicants and resonates with the admissions committee. The journey towards a career in law starts with this crucial step, and you have the power to shape it.

WANT MORE AMAZING ARTICLES ON GRAD SCHOOL PERSONAL STATEMENTS?

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Writing A Law School And LLM Personal Statement

Find your perfect llm program search our database of over 2500 courses.

LLM Personal Statement

A great LLM (Master of Laws) personal statement should be persuasive, concise and easy to read:

Persuasive – you want the admissions board to choose you over the competition.

Concise – you need to compress information about your past, present and future into a limited word count.

Easy to read – you don’t want the admissions board to give up on it halfway through.

Why is your LLM personal statement so important?

Your LLM personal statement is a vital part of the process of applying to an LLM course, and together with your academic record and relevant work experience , it is a key element to the success of your LLM application.

It is crucial that you allow yourself enough time to craft the perfect LLM personal statement, one that showcases all your skills, qualifications, experience and personality.

1. An LLM personal statement explains gaps

If you've got a few spaces in your work history or a job that ended poorly, then the LLM personal statement is your chance to explain what happened and what you have learnt from the experience. An unhappy or bad experience can be a significant learning experience and might have provided you with additional skills or motivations that will make you able to contribute to the course in a unique or significant way. Many law schools encourage students to explain any career gaps.

2. Provides insight into motivation

It's important that your motivations for applying for and doing the LLM course match with the law school's ethics and ethos. Your LLM personal statement is your chance to show that you are a good match for the law school and the LLM course. Explain your reasons for wanting to do this course and why you are passionate about the law or the particular part of the law you are planning on studying. You can show what you will bring to the course and why you will be an asset to the law school.

3. Make yourself stand out

A popular LLM course at a prestigious global law school will receive many more applications than spaces on the course. Everyone applying to that course will have an excellent academic record and a wealth of relevant work experience. Your LLM personal statement might make the difference between being accepted onto the course and not. Make yourself stand out with the language you use, but don't overdo it. Explain the finer details of your experience and why you've chosen to attend this course at this particular law school.

4. Important part of the law school’s decision making

Almost 90% of universities use the LLM personal statement to make their decision about applicants. This means the time you spend on your personal statement is crucial. Try and get some other people to read through your statement and offer their advice/opinion, especially if you know someone who has completed the LLM course recently. Make sure that your personal statement is your own work and that any revisions you make on the recommendation of others don't change your personal statement beyond recognition and lose the essence of you.

5. Proves you can follow instructions

There will be guidelines and advice provided by the law school or university to help you write your LLM personal statement. Use these instructions to prove that you can follow directions. It's also an opportunity to show off your written English skills, this could be particularly relevant if English is not your first language, and your English test scores are not what you would like them to be.

6. The first chance for potential professors to ‘meet’ you

Your LLM personal statement is your introduction to your future law school professors and the people who you might connect and reconnect with throughout your legal career. View your personal statement as the first introduction to this new part of your future network.

What information should you include?

LLM Personal Statement

Key things to bear in mind to achieve success when crafting the perfect LLM personal statement are:

1. Conciseness:  whatever you do, you MUST remain within the institution’s word limit. Legal professionals are expected to be able to summarise masses of information without losing any essential facts, and your personal statement is an indicator of your ability to do this.

2. Language:  don’t use complicated words in an attempt to impress. As a legal professional, you will be working with clients who may not understand technical terms so your ability to communicate in a formal yet simple style will not go unnoticed.

3. Format:  keep your LLM personal statement uncluttered, with lots of spacing and white space, to make it easy to read. It's important for the document to look good as well as to read well.

4. Structure and flow:  your intro could summarise the reasons why granting you a place is the right decision for the admissions board to make. The main body should be broken up into your past (academic, professional and personal info; relevant experience, your interests and motivations and what led you to the point of applying), your present (all the details about the LLM; why you chose it at that particular institution, which modules you’re really keen on) and your future (what you plan to do after you complete the LLM). Your conclusion is a summary of your main points and should end on a memorable note. After you’ve written your first draft, print it out and review it to see if it makes sense, making notes in the margins along the way as if you were an editor editing another writer’s work.

LLM personal statement top tips

Here are some tips and strategies to creating the perfect LLM personal statement.

Academic history

Discuss what you studied as an undergrad and whether the LLM is a natural progression or would represent a change in career path. Do you have a first degree in law and are you working your way towards a PhD in Law and a future in legal academia? If your first degree was not in Law, how would the LLM complement it; do you have a first degree in Economics and want to do an LLM in International Business Law for example?

Make it personal

Mention what interests and motivates you, and what has happened in your life that put you on the path to applying for an LLM at that institution. If you’ve chosen a small college, explain why you prefer institutions with a small population. If you’ve opted for a large law school, let the admissions board know why you thrive in a busy environment. It’s important to explain your preferences so the admissions board gets a sense of who you are and why you fit in with their law school. Include relevant information – like volunteer experience or extra-curricular activities – that have inspired you with your choice. The admissions team want to understand the personal reasons why you want to study their LLM course.

Don’t make claims you can’t support

Since you are applying for a postgrad legal program you should be familiar with making persuasive arguments. As legal arguments are evidence-based, be prepared to apply the same approach in your statement by avoiding unsubstantiated claims. If you state that certain modules are ‘relevant to your career’, state specifically how. Don’t leave it to the admissions board to try to work it out for themselves. If you claim that you are a top student, highlight your grades even though you will submit transcripts as part of your application. Use clichés like ‘leadership skills’ only if you can give examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits. And don't forget that if you are subsequently called in for an LLM interview, this personal statement will probably be used as the basis for the interview, so always tell the truth!

Don’t just write it, craft it

When it comes to the actual writing of your LLM personal statement be prepared to write, edit and rewrite your personal statement several times. Remember all those essays you wrote in your undergrad days? Well, the same rules of presentation, structure and flow apply to your personal statement; the only difference being that this time, the essay is about you. And once you think you’ve written the perfect LLM personal statement get a trusted friend or colleague to read it through to offer you constructive criticism and to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.

Relevant referees

Pick a referee who can provide you with a good academic reference, so choose a tutor and lecturer who will remember you from your undergraduate studies. Including your employer as a referee is a good idea if your current job is relevant to the course, or include someone you did relevant work experience for. You will need to ask potential referees before you submit your application.

10 things to avoid in your LLM personal statement

Here are the top 10 things that you should avoid doing when writing your LLM personal statement.

Including a mini dissertation – you are meant to explain your interest in the area that you wish to specialise in, which doesn’t mean writing an essay on your proposed dissertation topic! That can wait till you start your LLM program and are asked to submit a thesis proposal.

Underselling yourself – rather than blaming yourself later on for missing out on listing achievements from your work experience or undergraduate study, make it a point to highlight all the relevant information; ranging from past work experience on specific projects, skills acquired and applied, publications, moot courts, etc.

Being ambiguous – all your efforts will be futile if you didn’t make your personal statement read clearly with details relevant to the LLM course that you are applying for and clearly stating your interest for that course.

Writing too much or too little – usually universities provide the word count/A4 page limit for the LLM personal statement. Some students will have a tendency to write less hoping that the CV will cover all their academic and career highlights, whilst others may be tempted to write too much describing everything they have done in all possible detail. The sensible approach would be to mention enough to match the word count/page limit and to highlight only what is important to put your case forward.

Obsessing with templates – it might be a common trend to scour the internet for templates on personal statements but be warned that some may have been copied off the others and may all end up looking very similar. Your LLM personal statement should be unique and well drafted to make logical sense to the reader.

Making stupid mistakes – sometimes we tend to overlook minor mistakes that can have significant bearing on the outcome of our application. Things such as addressing the statement to the wrong university (or with a wrong date/address) can give a very bad first (and almost certainly final) impression!

Doing it last minute – our general advice when it comes to university applications is to never leave anything to the last minute. Some students tend to work hard on their personal statement redrafting it a 100+ times, while others only pick up this part of the application on the last day of its submission. Time must be given to this vital part of your application so that any mistakes including ones listed here can be corrected in good time.

Repeating information – although you may feel that you are trying to make a point by explaining a situation in different ways, university admissions staff may see this as a repetition of information that they don’t need to know. Once you make a point about a particular skill/achievement, move on to the next piece of information to show varied experience, knowledge and interest.

Name dropping – in professional services we tend to mention names of high-profile clients or popular legal representatives to get ahead of competition through our application. This may work in a casual networking setting, however when it comes to application processes for admissions, the focus is usually around your contribution to legal matters, your ambition to progress your career further through further studies, rather than just throwing some names in!

Making grammatical errors – although legal eagles tend to be careful on this one, it is best to proofread your LLM personal statement several times before handing it in. Ideally, you should share it with friends or colleagues to spot any noticeable errors.

Writing a personal statement – real-life examples

With all this key information on writing the perfect LLM personal statement – explore our law expert’s analysis of real applications to help you craft the ideal introduction and give yourself the best chance of getting onto your dream LLM program.

Introduction to our law admissions expert

LLM Personal Statement Robynn Aliveri

To help you achieve the success you deserve with your LLM applications we have taken four genuine (and successful) LLM personal statements from four genuine LLM students and asked LLM admissions expert Robynn Allveri to fine-tune them to make them as good as they possibly can be. To put it simply, our admissions expert cast her (very) critical eye over all four law school personal statements – that had already proved successful – and offers advice on how they can be improved. She highlights where the LLM personal statements let the candidates down, and of course also shows where and why they enable the candidate’s qualities to really shine through.

Our genuine LLM personal statements have been written by both international students and home students, applying to law schools in the UK, the USA and Canada. This unique selection of real law school personal statements will give you real insight into how to make you own law school personal statement a success. Armed with our knowledge of the dos and don’ts of LLM personal statement writing and unique admissions tips , you should be just a hop, skip and a jump away from LLM admissions success!

So here is our real-life guide on how to write a law school personal statement to guarantee success with your LLM application .

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  • How to Apply

Required Materials

To apply, you'll submit some required materials via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and complete an online application by a specific deadline . 

Online Application and Electronic Attachments

Before you begin, review the Admission 2024 Application Instructions (PDF: 350 KB).

You’ll need to choose one program to which you’ll apply this cycle (September to June). 

Be sure to use the right application form for the program you’ve chosen and for the semester in which you’d like to start studies, if applicable.

You must fully and accurately complete each section of the application form, and attach the required materials. (Do not print and mail the form or attachments; they will be discarded.)

The $85 application fee is non-refundable. You will be prompted to pay it with a credit card when you submit the application form.

Contact us if you are unable to use a credit card, or if the application fee would present a financial hardship.

The fee isn’t a tuition credit, if admitted.

Tell us about all of your education and work experience in one to two pages. Please include details about any 3-month period when you weren’t in school or employed.

Other than length, there is no required format for your résumé/CV. It is fine to include extracurricular activities, publications, presentations, or other career-related information, if you have them.

This is a brief statement—make it no more than 500 words.

It is also personal. Describe aspects about yourself, your accomplishments, or your academic and professional goals. Take a moment to reflect on these, and consider including your thoughts about how they motivate you toward graduate study and/or illuminate the reason(s) you are applying for one of our programs or a particular specialization.

LLM in Legal Theory

If you are applying to this specialization, be sure to address your main field(s) of interest within legal theory and some of the potential research questions or projects you’d like to explore.

Part-time Applicants with a US JD

For candidates applying to the part-time LLM, E-LLM, or APC in Taxation programs, you are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit a personal statement. All other part-time applicants must submit a personal statement.

We offer the addendum option so that, if there is any information you’d like to share, you can.

Not all applicants submit an addendum—in fact, not even the majority—but we wouldn’t want to put you in the position of being unable to share important and relevant information just because we didn’t ask about it.

The addendum option can also be used if you need additional space to respond to a character and fitness question.

There are some items that are not an addendum; do not attach these:

  • Writing samples, articles, or research papers;
  • Digital versions of academic credentials, test scores, or recommendations;
  • An extended essay to augment your personal statement.

Hauser Global Scholarship Essay

If you’re applying for the Hauser Global Scholarship Program , you’ll need to attach an additional essay (500-750 words) before submitting the application.

Your essay should briefly describe a current legal dilemma, controversy, or issue facing a country, a region, or the world, and suggest a strategy to address the problem. 

Research and Writing Samples

If you’d like for your previous research and writing to be considered, please make note of it on your résumé/CV.

Do not submit samples. We do not require them for application to the LLM program and we do not review them.  

If you’re a CPA, please provide a digital image of your certificate.

We reserve the right to validate its authenticity or your standing with the governing board at any time. 

You must electronically attach these materials to the application form. 

Take your time to ensure you’ve arrived to the final versions of these materials before submitting the application. Late submission and/or revisions are not permitted.

Sample Research Paper

To fulfill this requirement, you can submit a published paper, a research paper written for seminar credit, or a paper prepared specifically for your application to the doctoral program. You must have originally written it in English.

Ideally, but not necessarily, it will address a question in the same substantive area you plan for your dissertation.

We do not set a page or word limit, but the file must be 2MB or smaller so that it can be attached.

Proposal of Study

You’ll need to submit a dissertation proposal of no more than 3,000 words. It must be written in English and contain a bibliography. 

Your proposal should have sufficient specificity to make possible an evaluation by a member of our faculty familiar with the proposed field. 

The substance of your proposal should:

  • Clearly state the research questions to be addressed;
  • Review the current literature in the field;
  • Identify the original contribution the dissertation will make;
  • State the methodological approach that the applicant plans to adopt;
  • Identify any difficulties that might be encountered during research.

If your proposal includes fieldwork, address the time needed for it, your plan to integrate it into the program’s required residency period , and any impact that plan may have on your project’s design or its completion.

You are not expected to be in contact with, nor seek approval from, faculty members in advance of application. Instead, you should identify in the proposal possible dissertation advisors after reviewing the  NYU faculty biographies online . Students admitted into the program will be notified of their designated advisor.

Supporting Materials Sent to LSAC

All applicants must use the LSAC Credential Assembly Service . If you hold foreign education credentials, you must purchase the International Authentication and Evaluation Service. While not required, we strongly recommend your materials arrive at least two weeks early for processing.

Official transcripts from all institution(s) you have attended are required. These should be accompanied by translations, if the original is not in English. 

Make sure your school includes a statement of your class rank with your transcript. If your school does not issue a class rank, a statement of that policy can be included instead.

Please follow LSAC’s instructions to ensure your school(s) send the correct documentation in proper form. You may also wish to view LSAC’s helpful country-by-country guidance as you prepare to ask institutions for your credentials.

Hint #1: Get transcripts from all the school(s) you attended, even if you didn’t earn a degree (e.g. exchange studies or transfer credit).

Hint #2: If you need translations, ask for two transcripts. Have the school send one to LSAC, and use the second for translation.

Hint #3: If you haven’t completed a degree, please have your school send any updated academic results to LSAC once they become available (including after the deadline). LSAC issues report updates at no additional cost to you.

Most foreign-trained applicants must take an approved English proficiency exam. Applicants are strongly advised to register for and take one of the approved tests at a test center. The Committee on Graduate Admissions prefers score results from exams taken at test centers, and there is availability for these exams in countries around the globe.

What tests are approved?

  • The internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language ( TOEFL iBT )
  • The academic version of the International English Language Testing System ( IELTS )

What are the minimum scores to be considered for admission?

Applicants should at least meet these scores; JSD applicants are expected to exceed them: TOEFL: 100/120

  • Listening: 26
  • Reading: 26
  • Speaking: 22
  • Writing: 22

IELTS: 7.0/9.0

  • Listening: 7.5
  • Reading: 7.5
  • Speaking: 7.0
  • Writing: 7.0

Who is exempt from submitting a score?

If you earned your law degree (or bachelor’s degree for MSL applicants) in English in a country where English is a primary language.

Have more questions?

Check out  our FAQs .

In your LSAC account, be sure to both register recommender(s) and assign letters . Whether requesting letters to be sent electronically or by mail, we encourage you to review the submission process with your recommender. 

Our master’s and certificate programs require one letter and the JSD program requires two. Three is the maximum.

If you’re applying to the LLM, E-LLM or APC program, submit at least one academic letter. Choose the person who knows you best as a student and who can comment with specificity about your academic skills, personal qualities, and preparedness for graduate study.

If you’re applying to the MSL, the required letter should be from someone who is able to comment on your substantive tax experience.

JSD applicants need two letters from law school professors who know your academic work and can attest to your ability to complete a doctoral dissertation that will make a significant scholarly contribution.

Should I submit more than the required number?

More is not necessarily better. If you opt to submit more than required, make sure the recommender will provide a new, relevant perspective.

For candidates applying to the part-time LLM, E-LLM, or APC in Taxation programs, you are strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit a recommendation. All other part-time applicants must submit at least one academic letter.

Reapplicants

If you’re reapplying, be sure that we receive your online application and all of the required materials in a timely manner. 

Typically, the easiest way to reapply is to use the same LSAC account because your credentials are preserved for a number of years after they are submitted to LSAC. Be sure to check if there are any incomplete transcripts or expired test scores before applying.

Provided the recommender agrees, it is fine to reuse letters that were submitted with a prior application. It is equally fine to obtain a new letter or choose new recommenders.

If you’re a current NYU Law student, check out special information about applying to the Graduate Division’s programs.

© 2024 New York University School of Law. 40 Washington Sq. South, New York, NY 10012.   Tel. (212) 998-6100

The University of Chicago The Law School

Program info, faqs: personal statement, what is the admissions committee looking for in the personal statement.

The Admissions Committee is primarily looking for two things in the personal statement:

  • Who are you: Will this applicant be a likeable and interesting addition to our community? Are you thoughtful and reflective? Will our professors and your classmates enjoy working with you and learning from your perspective?
  • Writing and communication ability: Can you communicate your thoughts effectively? Are you able to present information in a clear, organized, and concise manner (much like you will be required to do in law school and as an attorney)?

What should I write about in my personal statement?

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. This may include writing about a significant aspect of your background, a quality or trait you believe defines you, a transformative experience, or the things that interest and motivate you. Don’t worry so much about selecting a unique or novel topic. Just be yourself. Your personal statement will be unique if you are honest and authentic. See these examples of personal statements .

How does the personal statement fit into the rest of my application?

Think about the personal statement as the fun and interesting part of your application. This is where we get to learn more about who are you as a person and go beyond the transcripts, test scores, and resume. Let each part of your application speak for itself and do what it is intended to do - you don't need to worry about selling us on your credentials in the personal statement.  

Do I need to tell the Admissions Committee why I want to go to law school?

Not necessarily. We request a personal statement; it is not a statement of purpose. You are welcome to discuss your reasons for applying to law school, but please make sure we will still get to know you as an individual. Law schools have different views on this topic, so please consult each school to which you are applying. 

What are some tips for a successful personal statement?

There are few rules that apply to every applicant because of the individual nature of the personal statement, but here are some tips based on our experiences that all applicants should follow:

  • Be straightforward. Do not make it more complex than it is. We simply want a candid, well-written essay that helps us learn about you, your story, and your background.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Your personal statement should not have errors - this is a sample of your writing and it should be a strong reflection of your written communication skills. Edit extensively and make sure to remove tracked changes.
  • Be concise and organize your thoughts. Remember basic writing skills and essay structure. You want to present your ideas in a logical, clear manner.
  • Make sure your personal statement is about you . Keep the focus on you with any topic you choose. Focusing too much on a family member or family history, a social or legal issue, or stories about others is a very common mistake. Even if you tell a moving and interesting story, it will not be a successful personal statement if it does not allow us to get to know you.
  • Be yourself. We are confident every one of our applicants is unique. Be honest. Do not write about something you think you are supposed to write about or rely too heavily on sample topics or model statements. A topic will not be effective unless it is appropriate for your specific application and background. Don’t try to fit your personal statement into a defined category or box.
  • Write in your own voice. This makes your personal statement believable and authentic. Don’t use phrases and vocabulary that you wouldn’t normally use in writing and conversation. It is usually not a good idea to lead with a quote. We are looking for clarity and honesty.
  • Make it personal. If someone else could write your personal statement, it probably is not personal enough. We often see this happen when applicants discuss a social issue or area of the law. Remember you are not trying to educate the Admissions Committee about the law or any particular issue.  Your goal should be to educate the Admissions Committee about you.

What are some of the common mistakes I should avoid?

While what works for one individual will not work for another because the personal statement is so individualized, here are some common mistakes we see from applicants: 

  • Restating your resume. Resume restatements are one of the most common errors. We will read your resume in detail. We want the personal statement to tell us something new about you.
  • Listing your qualifications.  Don't try to overtly sell yourself to the Admissions Committee. This isn't the place to convince us how qualified you are. Your qualifications will shine through in other parts of your application. Remember, this is the part where we get to know you as an individual.
  • Typos and “tracked changes”. Make sure to upload the correct version of your personal statement into CAS. If you plan to reference law schools by name, please reference the correct school for each application. 
  • Legalese or Latin phrases.   Avoid using legal terms or Latin phrases if you can. The risk you are incorrectly using them is just too high.
  • Extensive discussions of the law and attorneys. It is not necessary to discuss the law, tell us what type of law you want to practice, or convey the extent of your legal experience. Legal experience is not a factor in admission.  It is not the place to demonstrate your knowledge of the law or the role of attorneys. These personal statements do not tell us much about the applicant as an individual.
  • Telling us you'll be a good lawyer because you like to argue.
  • Name-dropping. It is not necessary to cite the names of our faculty and programs from our website in your personal statement unless you are placing the reference in a meaningful context. It detracts from your authenticity. However, if one of our faculty members or something about our community has genuinely inspired you, you are more than welcome to tell us about it.
  • Covering too much information. You don't have to cover your entire life story. 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. 

Is there a page limit on my personal statement? 

There is no page limit, but we generally find 2-4 pages to be sufficient. If it is longer, make sure it is absolutely necessary and really interesting. We do not have any formatting rules with respect to spacing, font type, font size, or margins. 

May I submit additional essays?

You may submit additional essays to highlight particular topics you wish to bring to our attention. Please remember you want to be concise and genuine.

Examples of types of additional essays include Diversity Statements and explanations of undergraduate and/or standardized test performance. 

  • UChicago aims to train well-rounded, critical, and socially conscious thinkers and doers. Describe how your background or experiences will contribute to the UChicago Law and Chicago Booth communities. Example topics include: lessons you have learned; skillsets you have developed; obstacles you have overcome based on your background or upbringing; or topics you have become passionate about studying in law school based on your lived or educational experiences.
  • Undergraduate and/or Standardized Test Performance: If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why.

The Admissions Committee typically finds one page or less is a sufficient length for most additional essays. 

The College Application

How to Write a Killer Scholarship Personal Statement: Definitive Guide With Examples

A lady searching for scholarships, and preparing to write a scholarship personal statement

The Importance of an Effective Personal Statement

Whether you’re coming straight out of high school, are a transfer student, or are an adult student returning to college after a long absence, one of the first things you’ll want to do when preparing for college is to look for scholarships.

At all levels, college is expensive. Winning scholarships that cut down on costs is a priority for most of us, and writing an effective scholarship personal statement can help you do that.

There are many important parts of the process when it comes to scholarship applications. Locating the scholarships and gathering all the relevant information are key components, but your scholarship personal statement is arguably the most important part of a scholarship application.

Writing a powerful and memorable personal statement can really make your application stand out among the hundreds of other submissions.

Table of Contents

What Exactly Is a Scholarship Personal Statement?

A personal statement is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a statement, paragraph, or essay about yourself. It should tell who you are, where you came from, what your dreams, goals, and aspirations are, and more. It should focus on your strengths and tell scholarship committees why you deserve their money.

Sometimes, personal statements can be written in response to an open-ended question, such as, “ Tell us about yourself. ” More often, though, scholarship applications have a very specific prompt that you’re supposed to follow when writing your personal statement.

Following the Prompt

A prompt is something that many colleges or other types of scholarship committees will give you to help guide your writing. Some essays won’t have a prompt. We’ll discuss those later on in the article. For now, let’s focus on the applications that provide you with prompts.

When given a prompt, please stick to it and answer it fully. You don’t want to trail off onto some other tangent or write your statement how you want to write it simply because it sounds better or because you already have a standard scholarship personal statement you like to use. Answer the prompt that is given, and answer it honestly and completely.

Some prompts require you to respond to the questions asked in the order given, while for others ( most of them ), you can follow whatever order that suits you, so long as you address all questions.

Knowing about some common prompts beforehand will help prepare you for what you may be asked and will keep you from being blindsided. Knowing some common prompts early on can also prepare you a little more about what to write.

Common College Scholarship Personal Statement Prompts

1.   why do you deserve this scholarship.

This is probably the most commonly asked prompt for any scholarship personal statement. Most organizations that give scholarships know why you want the scholarship. What they don’t know is why exactly they should give it to you. Your answer to this prompt should be one that fully answers the question by telling the scholarship committee not only why you deserve the money, but also why you need it at all.

Why you deserve something and why you need it are two totally different questions. This prompt, though, requires you to answer both. The reasons you need the scholarship money could involve a number of factors, including:

  • Financial hardship in your family
  • Coming from a single-parent or foster-parent home
  • Older siblings already at college
  • Parent(s) is disabled, out of work, or incarcerated
  • Coming from a low-income family, neighborhood, or Title I school
  • Receiving government assistance (housing, food stamps, etc.)
  • Being a ward of the state with no support system

All of these reasons – and more – are why you might need the money. Tell the committee that in your scholarship personal statement.

Telling them these things should not be seen as “feeling sorry for yourself” or begging for help. These are all legitimate reasons you could potentially need help paying for college. As long as you’re being honest, these are definitely things that should be included in your personal statement.

Telling the committee why you deserve the scholarship is a little different. While all those reasons are why you need the money, they don’t explain why you deserve it. This is the part of the scholarship personal statement where you sell the committee on YOU.

Tell them about all the great things you’ve done. If you were an honor roll student, a member of the BETA Club or National Honor Society, or a National Merit Scholar, put that in your statement.

Other reasons you could cite as to why you deserve a scholarship include:

  • Exceptional athletic ability or talent
  • Many hours of documented community service
  • Having served your country honorably in the military
  • Impressive personal stories of overcoming adversity
  • Exceptional ACT/SAT scores
  • A schedule that shows an impressive balance of grades, sports, community service, etc.

Just as listing the reasons you need the scholarship isn’t begging, listing these reasons for deserving the scholarship isn’t bragging. There are hundreds, possibly even thousands, of people, trying to get the same scholarships you’re trying to get. You need to stand out above the crowd.

2.  Tell us about overcoming your greatest challenge.

Although this prompt is worded quite differently from the first prompt, in essence, you can answer them both in a similar way. All of those reasons you might have for needing the money are also challenges you’ve had to overcome to succeed in life.

Other possible challenges could include the loss of parents, a physical or mental disability you’ve had to learn to cope with throughout your life, or a dangerous, scary, or upsetting life event you’ve lived through in your past.

For this type of prompt, you’ll want to start with the challenge you faced. Be as honest and descriptive as possible about what it was. Then be equally honest and descriptive about the steps you took to overcome it. If, after overcoming the challenge, you received some kind of recognition or award, make sure you mention that as well.

3. Why do you want to attend college?/Why is education important?

This is another very popular question that’s asked on scholarship applications. A scholarship committee wants to know that you have actual, obtainable goals for your education and your future before they give you money to use for college.

If you can’t effectively explain why college – and education in general – is important to your future goals, most committees won’t want to take a chance on you.

There are different ways to approach this particular prompt. If you fit into a category of people who have notoriously been excluded from higher education in the past, such as African Americans, women, or other minority groups, talking about that can help your case.

You can discuss how hard the generations that came before you fought for you to be able to attend college and how you want to honor that.

You can also take a wholly personal approach to answering this question. Mention any relevant struggles you’ve been through, and don’t be afraid to talk about your family. Did they go to college?

If not, discuss what an honor it’ll be to be the first in your family to graduate from college. Those types of things are all relevant reasons you might want to attend college.

No matter which way you decide to go with your answer to this question, don’t forget to talk about your goals and how college is the only way for you to achieve them in your scholarship personal statement.

Be specific. Talk about your intended major and how that major and the classes you’ll take for it will help you become what you want to become. If you’re applying for a college-specific scholarship, talk about why you want to go to that specific college.

4. Random and Unique Essay Prompts

Sometimes, no matter how hard you study and prep in order to write a good essay, a scholarship committee comes up with a personal statement essay prompt that seems like it’s entirely out of left field. These types of prompts can be anything.

For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been known to ask students seeking scholarships in the past, “ What do you hope to find over the rainbow? ”. And for 2022/23, one of UNC’s application prompts required fill-in-the-blank type of responses, including:

  • If I had an extra hour in every day, I would spend it…
  • If I could travel anywhere, near or far, past, present or future, I would go…
  • The last time I stepped outside my comfort zone, I…

The 2022/23 Yale-specific questions on the Coalition and Common App included the following short answer questions:

  • You are teaching a new Yale course. What is it called?
  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What would you ask them to discuss?

Another unusual prompt you might come across is “What would you do if you were a superhero?” .

There really isn’t a way to prepare for these types of prompts, but knowing they exist and that you might run across one is a good start.

For many people, these are the best kinds of prompts to receive. They give you a chance to let your imagination run wild, and they’re a nice change from the same old “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” type of questions.

So if you do happen to run across one of these, don’t immediately dismiss it. These types of prompts give you a chance to have a little fun. They are a chance to have your personality shine a little, and who knows- you might just impress the scholarship committee!

Writing Scholarship Personal Statements for Applications without Prompts

If you’re asked to write a personal statement but aren’t really given a prompt, simply tell the college a mixture of all those things listed above. Talk about your achievements, accomplishments, and instances of overcoming obstacles. Talk about your history, and tell them why you need the scholarship and why you deserve it.

There are also a few other Do’s and Don’ts to remember. Do be specific, but don’t get too complicated. Keep things simple and light, while also being thorough. Your personal statement is like a mini autobiography.

You want to highlight all the key points while putting a heavy emphasis on your strengths. You can mention a weakness, especially if you’ve learned to overcome that weakness, but don’t focus too much attention there.

Arrange your essay in a logical order that makes sense and flows well. Also, try to keep to one or two central themes throughout the entirety of the statement. Clear, concise personal statements are easily read and extremely memorable. Don’t be afraid to tell a story, though.

You never want to lie or exaggerate in your personal statement, but you should make it as interesting and as entertaining as possible while sticking to the facts.

Be very clear and precise about your goals and dreams. Don’t add in a lot of hypotheticals, maybes, or uncertainties. Scholarship committees want to know that you have a solid goal for your future.

They don’t want to give money to someone who might want to be an engineer and thinks botany is great but also really loves the idea of cosmetology and is just going to “stay undeclared until I figure it all out.” Umm…that’s an extreme example, perhaps, but you get the idea.

Don’t add in a lot of unnecessarily long words. Your personal statement should read like an actual story of your life, not a poorly written thesaurus. Trust us on this.

Scholarship committees will be much more impressed if you write an honest, well-organized, and coherent essay about yourself than they will if you find a way to use the words “ platitudinous ,” “ audacity ” and “ impecunious ” in your personal statement.

Also, avoid cliches and extremely long and wordy sentences.

Personal Statement Review: If you need help brainstorming or reviewing your essay, check our personal statement helper page.

Standard Scholarship Essay Format

The first thing you want to do when writing your scholarship personal statement is to set the formatting up correctly. Some scholarship applications will provide you with specific formatting requirements.

If not, the standard formatting requirements of a scholarship essay or personal statement are usually as follows:

  • One-inch margins on all sides
  • Double-spaced
  • No additional line spaces between paragraphs
  • Typed in Times New Roman
  • Typed with 12-point font

Specific guidelines given in the scholarship instructions always supersede these formatting guidelines. Be sure to use proper grammar and punctuation. If these aren’t your strong points, ask a teacher, mentor, or friend to look over your essay for any errors.

You could also utilize this awesome  spellcheck and online grammar check tool , or use any other that works for you. 

After you’ve got the formatting correct, the next thing you want to do is put together your outline. This can be done on paper, on the computer, or just inside your head, but it does need to be done.

You need at least a loose outline to make sure your essay flows smoothly and makes sense as written. While the exact structure of your essay will depend largely on your own writing style and the essay prompt, here’s the general structure for most essays.

Step 1: Introduction

Your introduction should be no more than 2 paragraphs long, and you want to catch the reader with a very interesting and engaging first sentence. You should also outline the key points you’re going to be making in the remainder of your essay. If you were writing an English paper, this would be your thesis.

Step 2: Body Paragraphs

You should always have at least 2 body paragraphs, preferably 3. Remember, long paragraphs of text running together can be hard for readers to wade through and absorb, so try to keep your paragraphs to no more than 5 sentences if possible.

If you change topics, such as moving from talking about your family to talking about your strengths, you should also change paragraphs.

Your body paragraphs are where you really sell yourself as a great student with a lot of potential to the scholarship committee. Remember- be specific but simple!

Don’t get bogged down in big, thesaurus-like words, and avoid clichés. Just be honest about your life experiences, your accomplishments, and your future goals.

Step 3: Conclusion

In this last paragraph, you’ll want to sum up everything. This is also the paragraph where you talk about how much being awarded this particular scholarship would benefit you and what you would do with the money that will help you achieve your goals.

It’s also nice to thank the scholarship committee for taking the time to read through your application and consider you for the scholarship.

Scholarship Personal Statement Examples

Below you’ll find some examples of actual scholarship essays that were written by actual college students seeking scholarships. Some are examples of what to do, while others are examples of what not to do.

If you’re stuck and don’t know where to begin, hopefully, these will give you a little inspiration.

Sample Essay 1

“The day was May 28, 2014. My doctor told my parents that I would need Spinal Fusion Surgery with rods and screws, and it had to happen quickly. Before surgery, the doctor suggested strength training for the muscles in my back so that I’d recover faster. I immediately went to the local gym and began working with a personal trainer, Justin. I learned so much from him including how the body works and how surgery takes time to heal. After surgery, I knew that I wanted to use my experience to help others, just like Justin helped me.”

– Read the rest   here .

This is an excellent example of an introductory paragraph for a scholarship personal statement. With the author’s first two sentences, I was hooked. This student knows how to immediately capture the reader’s attention and pull him into his story.

He’s relating a true story in response to a prompt asking him about his after-college plans, but he’s doing it in such a way that it’s instantly interesting, and engaging, and makes us want to read more.

The student also has a great transition sentence. Although we only provided a portion of the essay that stops just before he tells us exactly what his goals are, it’s obvious by the last displayed sentence that that’s exactly what he’s about to do.

He’s about to tell us his plans for his future, after already telling us why he chose those plans.

In just a few short sentences, this student catches our attention, tells us about a horrible thing that happened to him that he had to overcome, explains how that situation shaped what he wants to do with his future, and transitions into telling us his goals.

This is a masterfully crafted introductory paragraph.

Sample Essay 2

“Unlike other teens, I’m not concerned about money, or partying, or what others think of me. Unlike other eighteen-year-olds, I think about my future and haven’t become totally materialistic and acquisitive. My whole outlook on life changed after I realized that my life was just being handed to me on a silver spoon, and yet there were those in the world who didn’t have enough food to eat or place to live. I realized that the one thing that this world needed more than anything was compassion; compassion for those less fortunate than us.”

In contrast to example one, this sample section is an example of what not to do when writing your personal statement. It starts off badly and just keeps ongoing.

The first couple of sentences of this student’s essay don’t paint her in a great light because of how they’re written. It’s fine to tell the scholarship committee that you aren’t a partier and that you care about your future, but it’s not okay to do it while sitting in judgment of other people.

The very first words of this essay are “Unlike other teenagers.” This automatically sets the writer apart, which would be fine if she were going on to say something positive about “other teenagers.”

For instance, if she were to say that she didn’t grow up getting to socialize and spend time with friends because she was homeschooled her whole life or that she didn’t learn about the advantages of technology because she grew up in a rural community, her opening words would’ve been fine.

Instead, she immediately jumps into saying harsh, degrading things about “other teenagers.” She lumps all teenagers into a stereotypical group of irresponsible partiers who care only about their appearances and material things.

Casting other people in a bad light is never a great way to let your light shine in any arena, but this is especially true when trying to craft a strong college personal essay.

The transition to her revolutionary life moment didn’t make a lot of sense, either. She says her “whole outlook on life changed” after realizing there were poor people in the world. This is off-putting for 2 reasons.

The first is that most people, including children, know there are poor people in the world. It isn’t really a secret and doesn’t usually come as a life-changing shock.

Secondly, the way her essay is written, she says she never did those bad things that other teens did. Then she says her whole life changed when she realized there were poor people in the world.

As written, this makes it sound like she changed and started doing these things after her revelation, which is certainly not what she meant at all, but because of the chronology of her essay, that’s how it sounds.

Sample Essay 3

“And, that strength was something that came not only from knowing how to cook my own food, lug armfuls of wood three or four times a day, and make my own safe and cozy place in the world, no matter where. It came from an inner sense of seeing things as they are. Life isn’t just out of a magazine with the best appliances and the nicest furniture. There are other things in life, like dirty floors, and relationships that don’t always work, and meals that have to be made. But, that’s not all bad.”

– Read the rest   here .

This is another example of an essay Don’t. The whole essay, which isn’t listed here, isn’t bad as a whole, but it also isn’t clear and precise. The sentences are long and wordy, and the student uses conjunctions, like “and” and “but,” to start sentences.

Grammatically, that isn’t the best way to write. This is an example of an essay that could have been quite good if only the student had spent some time editing it, proofreading it, and perhaps handing it over to someone else to look over it before he submitted it.

Never underestimate the power of revision and constructive criticism when writing your own scholarship essay.

Sample Essay 4

“Through the successes of my efforts, I also realized that poverty was just a societal limitation. I was low-income, not poor. I was still flourishing in school, leading faith-based activities, and taking an active role in community service. My low-income status was not a barrier but a launching pad to motivate and propel my success. […] Success is triumphing over hardships — willing yourself over anything and everything to achieve the best for yourself and your family. With this scholarship, I will use it to continue focusing on my studies in math and engineering, instead of worrying about making money and sending more back home. It will be an investment into myself for my family.”

– Read the rest here .

These are two paragraphs from the same essay, both excellently written. This student came from a very poor background and had to begin making money to help out their family at a very early age.

In this essay, the student does a great job of discussing hardships in the past in an honest, straightforward way that invites the reader’s admiration rather than pity.

The way he spends a brief amount of time talking about his hardships and then moving swiftly into how those hardships motivated him to want more from life is very well-done.

His conclusion paragraph is also spot-on. He acknowledges that the only way to overcome hardship is “willing yourself” to achieve. This shows that he has a willingness to work hard and experience to back it up.

He then goes on to tell how he’ll use the scholarship money if he receives it. He says that he’ll “invest into [him]self” and take this opportunity to work hard, even if it means he has to suffer financially for a few years, in order to achieve what he needs to achieve to ensure future financial success for both himself and his family.

This shows him to be a hard worker, someone caring and empathetic enough to put family first, and intelligent and enterprising.

These are all great things colleges want from prospective students, and he showcases these traits in himself without being overt or in-your-face about it.

Sample Essay 5

“To be able to hold onto your money you have to know how to manage it. Money management is a complicated process. As teenagers, we often have no idea how to manage money and we end up wasting a lot of it. But in a bad economy, most of us have had a crash course in what happens when you don’t manage your money properly. We have had to delve into a world foreign and unfamiliar to us and solve our own money problems. The most successful of us have managed to still have some semblance of a social life without going over our small budgets. The keys to doing this successfully are actually quite simple.”

The prompt for this particular essay was about managing money. In terms of staying on topic and having a good opening sentence, this writer did a really nice job.

The writer also makes the article very relatable because being a teenager and not knowing how to manage money is something most of us can remember quite easily.

In addition to being relatable, the first paragraph also holds our interest because it is easily read, not packed full of synonyms from the thesaurus, or written loftily.

The writer also does a great job with his “thesis” sentence. The last sentence of the paragraph is simple and straight to the point.

It lets us know what’s coming next; he’s about to list the keys to managing money successfully. This is a very well-organized introductory paragraph.

Where the writer falls short, though, is with his grammar. There are obvious run-on sentences and missing commas in that first paragraph. He also starts a sentence with a conjunction, which isn’t great as a general rule. The bad grammar and poor editing/proofreading take away from his entire paragraph, which otherwise would have been really good.

We’ve said it once, and we’re saying it again: Don’t skip the proofreading/editing stage ( fyi , we have great packages here to help with this ). If that isn’t something you’re good at doing, ask a teacher, mentor, friend, or loved one.

Grammar is important. You can have the best idea in the world, and bad grammar will keep people from hearing it because they’ll be too distracted by the errors.

When proofreading or editing for grammar, here are the most common questions to ask yourself:

  • Did you write in complete sentences? (No fragments, run-ons, or comma splices)
  • Did you run the paper through spellcheck and grammar check?
  • Is all of your punctuation correct?
  • Is it clear to whom or what your pronouns are referring?
  • Are there any  misplaced or dangling modifiers  in your essay?
  • Did you write in an  active voice ?
  • Are you being repetitive?
  • Did you use the right word between  commonly confused words ?
  • Did you use proper subject/verb and noun/pronoun agreement throughout?
  • Does your essay make logical, organized sense?

Before submitting your essay, edit through it using these questions as a guide.

Summing It All Up

The importance of writing a great, moving, and memorable scholarship personal statement cannot be overstated. Scholarship applications are uniform for all students.

Scholarship committee members are forced to read through the same types of information for all the students who apply. The one place you’re able to stand out and be creative is in your personal essay. That’s why it’s so important that you make it count.

A strong personal scholarship essay can be the tipping point between no money and lots and lots of money, so plan for it. Make time to do it right and edit it properly.

Consider it the most important part of your application process, and set aside the appropriate amount of time for drafting it, writing it, and editing it before the submission due date.

Finally, never be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s an educator, parent, spouse, or friend, there is someone out there who wants to see you succeed. That person will be happy to help you craft the best possible scholarship personal statement.

How long should a scholarship essay be?

A scholarship essay should typically be between 500 to 1000 words. However, always adhere to any specific word limits set by the scholarship. If no limit is specified, aim for a concise essay within this range.

Focus on clear expression of ideas and experiences, and ensure to proofread for clarity and coherence. It’s more about quality than quantity.

Further Reading:

The Best GMAT Prep Courses, According to MBA Students

Best MCAT Prep Courses, According to Med Students

Best NCLEX Prep Courses, According to Nurses

Accredited ABSN programs in North Carolina

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