Personal Statements for Law Schools


Michelle Shaw '95 Associate Director/Pre-Law Advisor
Michelle Shaw ’95
Associate Director/Pre-Law Advisor

Whew!  The LSAT is (almost) over and you are off to a great start to the fall semester.  You have made a list of all the components to your application, and you are checking it twice.  You come to the item on your list that you have been dreading even more than the games section of the LSAT: the personal statement.  It makes you ask the important question, “what is it that these law school admission folks want from me, really?”

Most law schools do not interview applicants, so the personal statement often gives the admission officers the only opportunity to get to know you as a person and as a potential student. Unlike a statement of purpose, which may be required for other graduate school applications, the emphasis here is on personal.   What does this mean? Well, it means you can write on just about any topic that gives the admission officers insight into your personality and into how your background and experiences have contributed to the person you are today.

So, get ready to dive into the personal statement with the same energy and thoughtful planning with which you approached the LSAT and your academic career.  To keep you on track, here is a list of common Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind as you draft your statement:

  • Do follow the specific prompt from each law school;
  • Do be interesting, without being vulgar or inappropriate;
  • Do speak about your own accomplishments, not those of someone you admire or aspire to imitate;
  • Do be authentic and sincere;
  • Do be positive;
  • Do be specific and avoid weaving together everything you’ve ever done;
  • Don’t  send in poetry, videos or illustrations;
  • Don’t teach, preach, make a speech or use language that sounds “legal”;
  • Don’t include misspelled words and grammatical errors;
  • Don’t forget to change the name of the other school you applied to;
  • Don’t make vague statements about wanting to change the world as the reason you are going into the law;
  • Don’t use famous quotes unnecessarily;
  • Don’t use humor unless you can do it well;
  • Don’t reiterate your resume.

I look forward to reading your personal statements.  Please schedule an appointment with me on Handshake to discuss your personal statement.