Law School Personal Statements

After you take care of the numbers by crushing the LSAT and showing off your stellar GPA, the next most important aspect of your Law School admissions is the personal statement. I was very fortunate to have my personal statement reviewed by a couple prominent academics, one a Pulitzer nominee. Most people, unfortunately, don't have that option.

I read a lot about the subject, but most example essays I found weren't terribly well written. What made them successful for admission to top law schools was the story they told. So-and-so has spent the last 8 years working with the Peace Corps in Rwanda. Such-and-such played a major role in freeing an innocent man on death row. These types of stories don't need a skilled pen to shine. The rest of us, who have led pretty normal, uneventful lives, are left with a bit more of a challenge when it comes to the law school personal statement.

What I learned from reading and talking with my reviewers was that law school admissions officers are looking for a number of specific elements in your essay. The first is that you can write. A well-composed essay on just about anything will reveal your competence as a wordsmith.

Second, they want to know that you actually intend to practice law. The number of people who begin law school and either don't finish, or don't end up practicing is very high, and this doesn't look good for the schools whose job it is to make them lawyers. In crafting the "ideal class," admissions people want motivated students who have put a great deal of thought into what about law attracts them to this career. Putting a great deal of thought does not mean citing your fondness of Perry Mason. Identify that piece of your personality or your past experience that sparked your interest in law.

Finally, they want to know that you're unique. The law school buzzword for a long time has been "diversity." The idea is if someone is just like you, you're unnecessary. With that in mind, show off the things that separate you from the field. The fact that you studied political science and worked as a paralegal like every other law applicant isn't going to impress anyone. The fact that you are a Wiccan who beat spinal meningitis has little to do with law but does more to separate you from your peers. And yes, these things can be spun into your intentions for law school--religious freedom or public health policy work, for instance.

Once you've got the scores to have a chance at your top-choice school, make sure your essay gets you through the door. My recommendation is to find the absolute most qualified writers to review your work and help you find revisions. If you don't have a Pulitzer nominee or Ivy League Grad in your Rollodex, I suggest you check out the law school personal statement editing services from Essay Edge. Their services range from basic proofreading for under $20 to their Platinum service that pairs you with an editor walking with your step-by-step from topic selection to outlining to editing, all the way to the final draft. Check them out at

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