Winning Components of Law School Personal Statements (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 15, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021

Updated November 15, 2021

Published February 8, 2021

Applying to law school is a multistep process that includes writing personal statements, taking the law school aptitude test (LSAT), getting recommendations and collecting transcripts. Law school personal statements are a way to showcase yourself and express your goals. A well-written personal statement can make your application more attractive than other candidates' who have similar test scores. In this article, we discuss what a law school personal statement is, explain how to write one and show you two winning law school personal statement examples.

Related: How To Write a Standout Personal Statement

Jenn, a certified career coach, shares her key steps for crafting a personal statement that is authentic, impressive and helps you stand out from the crowd.

What is a law school personal statement?

A law school personal statement is a brief, introductory essay that describes why you want to attend law school. A personal statement might:

  • Demonstrate your personality and intellectual and emotional fit for the program

  • Tell sincerely why you want to pursue a legal career and would be an excellent addition to the school

  • Recount an event that led you to apply to law school

Related: 7 Steps to Law School: Pre-Law Requirements

How to write a law school personal statement

Here is how you can write a strong and effective personal statement:

1. Read instructions thoroughly

Each law school might have different instructions for its personal statement. There could be prompts to choose from or questions to address,or you could be free to choose the direction of your statement. Ensure that you also take note of guidelines like word count, formatting and spacing.

2. Open with a story

Beginning your statement with a personal narrative can help capture your reader's attention. If you have multiple anecdotes to tell, try making a list or outline to help you focus on one common thread connecting them, such as purpose or central point. Your story should show:

  • Uniqueness: Try picking an anecdote that shows your special connection to your chosen career path.

  • Growth: Choose a story that illustrates growth in your academic abilities or mindset.

  • Connection: Your personal statement might begin with your narrative, but you can weave it throughout the piece to tie it all together and present a compelling story.

Related: How to Start a Personal Statement

3. Concentrate on why

The next part of your personal statement can center on why you want to pursue a law degree. You could use your story to connect your desire to practice law to your academic goals. For example, your anecdote might be about a childhood hero who took you fishing every month. Waters around your city became more and more polluted, so your childhood hero started lobbying for stricter environmental restrictions. In this section, you might mention how watching your hero advocate for the environment inspired you to pursue a career in environmental law.

Related: 15 Pre-Law Jobs to Explore

4. Connect your path to the school’s

The next section can address what values you hope to embody as a legal professional. Some law school essay prompts might even request a discussion of the passion, interests and values that have helped you to grow. This section can help admissions counselors get to know your character.

Include statements about the school, why you chose this program and your excitement for the opportunities that await. You also might mention an alumnus of the school who inspired you to attend the program.

Related: How To Prepare for Law School (With Tips)

5. Conclude your essay

Consider ending your personal statement by linking back to your introduction and personal narrative. Revisit some elements of your anecdote and why that moment or event motivated you to apply to law school.

6. Proofread multiple times

Many applicants go through multiple drafts of their personal statements to get the best possible version. Read your draft out loud to friends, family or colleagues to see if they notice any parts you could improve upon. Here are some items to check for:

  • Grammar and spelling

  • Clear and concise language

  • Passive voice

  • Relevance to the topic

  • Specificity

Related: 27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume

7. Ask for feedback

It can help to get opinions from someone who has written a successful law school personal statement and has experience with the law school admissions process. This person could include practicing lawyers, law school students, your current professors or your college's career center staff.

Students in a classroom

Law school personal statement examples

Here are two examples of law school personal statements:

Example 1

Every day after high school, I had a ritual: I'd go to the local cafe, order a muffin and pass the afternoon quietly doing my homework. I enjoyed this daily practice, but most days were not particularly memorable. That changed when one day, a woman I hadn't seen in the cafe before came in to sing. Her music was hauntingly beautiful. I was not prepared for how her songs would make me feel. She moved me to tears, and at the end of the show, I knew I had to speak to this musician. I had to know her story.

She told me her name was Mary. She was from the mountains and was passionate about the environment, which was reflected in her songs. She grew up camping in the woods, fishing in streams and hiking in forests. She spent her free time conducting environmental cleanups and directing local campaigns to educate tourists about water pollution. We talked for a long time in the cafe, sharing stories. At the end of the night, we both hugged.

I had always wanted to become a psychologist, so I started applying to colleges with that career choice in mind, but I still thought often of Mary. I took some legal procedure classes and interned at a firm that specializes in environmental law. I worked with Jann Seymour, a local lawyer and activist, and I was able to assist her in some of her work with the Clean Water advocacy group. I helped her team research various environmental policies, which helped us win several key cases.

Working alongside environmental attorneys and other local officials made me keep Mary's story and songs close to my heart. I felt her music from that night when I heard the distress in some activists' voices. I really understood that I must do my part to advocate for these people—not as a psychologist, but as a lawyer. I became very passionate about water pollution in particular and what we can do to minimize its effects.

I am applying to the Calico University Law School to assist me in my dreams of improving our current water pollution policies. With an extensive history of advocacy for environmental rights, I know CU can help me become a formidable ally as well. I am particularly keen to work with Professor Michael Allen, who has authored several Clean City and Clean Water bills across the country. I have also seen what Sylvester Henry, a graduate of CU's law school, has done with the Clean Water Bill. It is my dream to not only join him, but to do more to help those currently working with our system, just like Mary.

Example 2

August 2 is one of my favorite days of the year. When I was little, my mother always called it "Baking Is Beautiful Day." She loved creating new baked good recipes for our family. We spent every summer tracking down new and elusive ingredients just for August 2. She'd create large cakes, small cakes, towering frosted cupcakes and frozen treats. As I grew up in our kitchen, I learned from my mother how important it was to make something yourself, something uniquely yours.

I again felt that same feeling while studying graphic design at Northern University. One of my projects involved creating unique design elements for a restaurant, including a new logo, new menus and a new typography for all of their printed materials. Seeing my creations have real-world applications thrilled me.

However, for other inventors or designers in our country, the actuality might be that their creations are at risk. The legal system is the ultimate protection for all creatives, like bakers creating recipes for cookbooks or and musicians writing new songs. Many citizens with ill intentions can file patents ahead of unsuspecting new artists or budding scientists. Copyright and patent lawyers can assist these individuals, helping them to retain the rights to their creations and protecting that same sense of value that my mother instilled in me.

During my junior year at Northern University, I shifted from wanting to become a graphic designer to wanting to help other designers with their own intellectual property. When Dr. Ella Harris, a patent attorney, consulted with the graphic design students on our semester-long design projects, she advised us on how her work intersected with our design work. The interactions she shared truly helped me see a role for myself in the legal field. Here, I could use my expertise in design to advocate for those who needed assistance in patent law.

I started interning with Dr. Harris in my senior year. I helped her team prepare patent applications for clients, and I was also able to accompany her to several court appearances. Because of the interactions I shared with Dr. Harris, I knew I had to apply to Aldrich Law School. Your program in patent law is one of the strongest in the country, and the opportunity for high-achieving students to complete a year-long internship will provide me with the professional experience I need to begin my career after graduation. I know that after my tenure at Aldrich is complete, I will be ready to advocate for the creators and inventors who need me.

Explore more articles