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.
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.
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:
This applicant was accepted at several T14 law schools.
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:
This client was accepted to her top choice law school.
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.
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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Do you need guidance ensuring that your law school personal statement essay reflects you authentically and incorporates the lessons from these sample law school essays? Work one-on-one with an Accepted law school admissions consultant with years of experience in law school admissions. Your advisor looks forward to helping you tell your compelling story.
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