Writing Your Personal Statement

The best approach to writing the personal statement is to choose an interesting story to tell. Law school candidates may write about an event that helped to teach humility, independence or self-confidence. Or, you can talk about an experience that changed the way you think about yourself or about the world, or that shows your motivation or personal style. You can write about an epiphany that you at some point (maybe even completely unrelated to law!), or something that you are very passionate about.

The most important idea to keep in mind while writing and editing the personal statement is that how well or how poorly it is written can play a critical role in the admission process. In addition to being focused, coherent, and interesting, the personal statement should be error-free and grammatically correct.

Tips on Preparing the Personal Statement

Do:

  • Keep a journal highlighting participation in community/campus events
  • Prepare a typed, double-spaced 2-page statement
  • Address any specific questions asked by law schools
  • Proofread carefully, checking for spelling and grammar errors
  • Read your personal statement draft out loud, and have others read it.
  • Ask for feedback from the pre-law advisor and your professors

Do Not:

  • Lecture about the law
  • Write an autobiography
  • Write a narrative of your resume
  • Make excuses for poor grades*
  • Make excuses for low LSAT scores*

*If there are extenuating circumstances that have impacted academic achievement or LSAT performance, they can be addressed in the personal statement or as an addendum to the application. However, this should not be the focus of the personal statement.

Further Reading

Ann Levine has some excellent resources regarding the personal statement and compiles a very good list of resources to explore. (Some of those resources she uses I’ll mention below including some others I discovered).