What will convince admissions committees that they are the ones who should be offered the coveted seats in the entering class? Your statement should have a theme, tell a story, and leave your readers feeling that you are an interesting, intelligent, and insightful person. It should tell admissions officers that you know where you have been and where you are heading; that you have the ability, intellect, and maturity to succeed in the study of law ; and that you will add something positive to their law school communities and to the legal profession.
You want to grab the attention of committee members in your first sentence; you want to keep their attention, both with the content of your story and clear, skillful writing. And when they finish reading your statement, you want them to want to have a conversation with you. The best personal statement shares insights about you, based upon your experiences and self-reflection.
It builds from and enhances the rest of your application package. One personal statement I particularly enjoyed was a story about how the applicant loved to bake. She had developed and mastered certain cake recipes through trial and error — and persistence. She had started her own bakery and grown it into a successful business. She used this story as a case study, a way of exemplifying the precision with which she approaches her work.
The essay showed that she is attentive to detail and always strives for perfection while accepting that some failures along the way are inevitable. She concluded the piece by explaining how her experiences with the baking business — and the skills and strengths she had developed through it — would help her excel in legal studies. Her story was well-written, interesting, provided some nice imagery, and was different from many others.
Another very strong statement I read was from a young man discussing his service during a faith-based mission in South America.
He recounted the trials and tribulations that accompanied living in a foreign country where he felt unwelcome. He went on to describe how — eventually — he was able to win over people in the community. This applicant used specific examples of interactions in which both he and others opened their minds and hearts to learn more about each other.
He explained how his notions of tolerance and acceptance had changed, how his spirituality and character grew during his mission, and how, during his time in South America, he had come to realize that he wanted to devote his professional life to serving others through a career in the law.
His commitment was genuine, and that came across immediately. What you should not do is grab attention in a negative way. Some of the most memorable statements I read during my many years as an admissions dean did just that, and demonstrated extremely poor judgment on the part of applicants in the process.
These essays were game changers for applicants who otherwise would have been admitted. One example came from a young woman who discussed traveling with her college track team and going to a male strip club.
In excruciatingly graphic detail, she described the behavior of her friends and the anatomies of the male dancers. Law is a profession marked by almost unmatched prestige. Nearly all top applicants have high grades and test scores. Law applicants with LSAT scores in the top five percent and competitive grades are almost guaranteed admission. How can you make your resume and experiences shine?
Unlike many undergraduate applicants, most students applying to study law have very specific career goals in mind. They generally have more life experience and may have already worked in the legal field. Their personal statements need to be more focused, their goals more clearly outlined. This is just one area in which the law school admission essay is crucial.
A strong law school personal statement frequently marks the difference between getting into a school of your choice and not. It gives you the opportunity to discuss what areas of law interest you and what you hope to do with your degree. Choose from one of our services below and let us help you prepare yourself for the challenging road to law school and beyond.
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