Unlike medical and business schools, law schools usually do not include a personal interview as part of the admissions process. Therefore, your law school personal statement is your only opportunity to impress the admissions committee as a person – to show them the living, breathing human being behind your GPA and LSAT score.
Think of your personal statement as a five-minute long personal interview on paper. Many of the same things that would help you make a good impression in person will help you make a good impression in writing:
– Be concise. Don’t ramble. Don’t repeat yourself. Get to the point, quickly, keeping within the word or page limit the school has set. (Law school personal statements are often limited to two pages, typed and double-spaced.)
– Be clear. Say exactly what you mean to say. Start with an introduction and end with a conclusion.
– Be genuine. Don’t use words you don’t know in your law school personal statement. And don’t resort to clichés.
– Be interesting. Don’t bore your audience.
– Be focused. The ‘interview’ is about you. Don’t spend your time talking about other people or about things or ideas.
– Be courteous. The ‘interview’ is about admissions to this school. Don’t let slip anything that suggests you’d rather go to a different school.
– Be mindful of time. Don’t use any ‘interview’ time to tell committee members what they already know from reading the rest of your application.
– Be memorable. That doesn’t mean, ‘Be weird.’ But do convey something in your law school personal statement that will help them distinguish you from hundreds of other applicants with similar backgrounds and qualifications.
– Be confident. You know you belong at this law school. Project the calm self-confidence that will persuade your readers of that, too.
Adds Heike Spahn, a senior law school admissions consultant at Admissions Consultants and former Assistant Dean at University of Chicago Law School, “The best law school personal statement is one which compliments and/or completes the rest of your application. I recall reading essays where the content or tone didn’t match the rest of the application. In those cases, a quick review of the LSAC writing sample would confirm whether or not the personal statement was written by the applicant.”
Click the links below for specific information on the following types of personal statements: