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Posted February 25, 2009 by

Writing a Personal Statement for Law School

In order to gain entrance into law school, prospective students are required to write an essay detailing the reasons why they want to become lawyers. Unlike the college entrance application, personal statements for law school are essays that have an open format. Successful lawyers are high achievers long before they enter law school. They exude confidence and accomplish their goals.
When you write your law school statement, you need to write in a way that shows your skills, competence, and achievements. Think of the person reading your essay as you write. He or she will want to know what you have to offer society as a lawyer. That person also has an interest in your motivations for wanting to be a lawyer and what it is that makes you a better prospect than other law school applicants.
Remember that admissions officers review hundreds of applications. Tell them the true story of the things in your life that made you decide to become an attorney. Do not embellish or say anything false because they will see through it. Do not use cliches that you have heard from someone else or tell them what you think they want to hear. For instance, if you really enjoy helping the homeless, write it down in such a way that it shows your reasons rather than telling them.
What qualifies you to be a lawyer? What character traits, skills, and talents do you have that would make you a good lawyer? Describe everything you know about yourself that you feel qualifies you above other people. Don’t be disingenuous by exaggerating your skills and accomplishments.
If you have any weaknesses that you feel may potentially disqualify you from law school, how do you get around them in your personal statement? That is a tough question. If you have a period of time where you had below average grades, using excuses is not the solution to your dilemma. Try to find something positive that you learned that helps you overcome the flaw. In the case of grades, you could tell how you improved them.
One writer’s technique that works effectively on essays and personal statements is active voice. Use active verbs in your senses. Passive voice sounds weak and that is not the way you want to come across to the admissions board. That however does not mean that you should try to impress anyone with your knowledge of legal terminology.
A personal statement does not mean writing your complete personal life memoirs. In other words, don’t write a book. Instead, write a 1 to 2 page statement using the tips contained here. When you’re finished, ask people you know to read your statement. Take their suggestions seriously.
This is perhaps the most important step of all in writing your personal statement. Revise once. Set it down for a day. Revise twice. Set it down for another day. Read it again and revise and edit once more. Let someone read it again and get their opinion of your statement.
Writing our personal statement for law school is not rocket science. When you put the time and effort into writing it, you will likely end up with a personal statement that will effectively get the notice of the Board of Admissions.
Tip: Get a head start on writing your own personal statement by starting with a sample personal statement. Your writing will be faster, easier, and more professional as a result.
Jason Kay is a professional writer offering advice in a number of areas including resume writing and personal statement writing. You can learn more useful tips at his resume writing blog.