Law School Personal Statement Ideas

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Join the Crowd

You’re reading this article because you have absolutely no idea what to write your law school personal statement about. Take a deep breath and relax—you are not alone.

For example, take a look at the following tweets about law school personal statements:

  • “This Personal Statement for Law School apps is killing me.”
  • “Writing my law school personal statement for the third time.”
  • “My personal statement is [expletive]. I don’t have any work experience in law firms . . . like other people.”
  • “Personal statement for law school is harder than I thought.”
  • “This personal statement might be the death of me… I hate law school already.”
  • “This law school personal statement will be the death of me. Hands down the most ambiguous two pages I’ve ever written.”

As you can see, for many applicants, the hardest part about applying to law school is coming up with a personal statement topic. It’s hard to write about yourself—we get it.

But if we asked you to tell us what makes your best friend unique and interesting, you would be able to respond without hesitation.

  • “He traveled the world for six months and loves learning about new cultures.”
  • “She volunteers all of her spare time at the local homeless shelter.”
  • “He is hilarious and can always cheer me up when I’m feeling sad.”

So what’s the problem with writing about yourself?

Why You Are Having Difficulty

Applicants who have a hard time coming up with a personal statement idea generally fall into two categories:

In the first category are the people who have spent their whole lives doing things that improve their resume. Jobs, research assistant positions, clubs, fraternities/sororities, volunteer activities, study abroad trips, etc. You name it, they have done it. These applicants face the “paradox of choice.” Because they have so many great experiences to choose from, they are overwhelmed and do not know where to begin.

In the second category are the people who have few experiences. Quality instead of quantity. A person in this category may be a student who put him or herself through college while working a full-time job in a service position, such as a waiter or bartender. Maybe someone in this category graduated from college several years ago and has since been working in a full-time position to earn a living. These applicants are full of self-doubt because they believe that their experiences are not impressive enough for law school.

Applicants in both categories also face another problem. They think that they must conform themselves to what other applicants are doing. They don’t want to choose the wrong topic. But when it comes to personal statements, there is no right or wrong answer. There is only good execution and poor execution. It is better to choose a sincere and genuine topic than a random topic chosen only because you think that you should write about it.

Legal Experience

The good news is that working in a legal profession is not a prerequisite to attending law school. That’s right—you don’t need to have worked in any legal capacity to get into law school.

Most law school admission committee members know that most applicants have no legal experience. In fact, many law school graduates do not even have legal experience. Get this out of your head right now. Eliminate your self-doubt.

The Goals of the Personal Statement

Although we could write pages about the goals of the personal statement, this article is about choosing a personal statement topic. Therefore, we will limit our advice to two short tips:

Your first goal, if possible, is to be as unique as you can. Make yourself standout from the thousands of applicants.

Your second goal should be to tell a good story that makes the reader like, respect, or admire you. You do this by only writing about one or two interesting experiences. You do not do this by simply retyping your entire resume.

For more personal statement tips, read: How to Write a Great Personal Statement.

Law School Personal Statement Ideas

Gradvocates has compiled a list of personal statement ideas. Please note that some topics won’t be applicable to you. For example, if you have absolutely zero interest in public-interest law, then do not write about how you want to get a law degree to help make the world a better place.

Spark and solidification: This topic involves writing about what sparked your interest in becoming a lawyer. Explain the steps that you took to explore that interest. Put particular emphasis on the event that solidified your desire to attend law school.

Desirable Qualities: This topic involves writing about one or two of your best qualities and then providing examples of these qualities through one or two experiences. For example, if you assert that you are “hardworking,” then you could write about how you worked and went to school full time during college. If your quality is “a desire to serve your community,” then you can write about specific things that you accomplished that show that quality. The quality you talk about should have some sort of connection to the practice of law. For example: hardworking, perseverance, serving your community, or leadership.

Overcoming Difficulty: This topic involves writing about difficulties that you have overcome in your life. If you choose this topic, you must make it clear that the experience fostered specific qualities in you that make you a good fit for law school.

First-hand injustice: This topic involves writing about an injustice that you witnessed or experienced and how it made you want to become a lawyer, so you can help change the status quo. Be careful, as this topic can come across as extremely cliché. If you choose this topic, then it is not sufficient to just explain the injustice and how you want to advocate for those affected by it. Make it clear why specifically becoming a lawyer, as opposed to a counselor or volunteer, is necessary to help out. You must also realize that this is a personal statement, and so you cannot just write an essay on a social problem. Be sure to include your own thoughts and feelings.

Change of Careers: This topic is for older applicants who have been working in a different career for several years before realizing that they want to attend law school. Write about what your previous career involved and what exactly made you want to pursue law instead. For example, applicants in this category may be scientists who want to practice intellectual-property law, or a teacher who wants to work to reform the education system (this latter example overlaps with “First-hand injustice” discussed above). Another real example involves a firefighter who decided to obtain a law degree after successfully representing himself in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against his municipality for employment discrimination.

Still Stuck? Gradvocates Can Help

The Gradvocates Editing team can help you pick your topic. Every purchase of Law School Personal Statement Editing comes with unlimited email interaction with our editing team. After purchasing personal statement editing, send us an email so we can help you come up with a great topic for your personal statement. You can then submit it for editing whenever you are ready.

If You Will Apply Next Cycle…

If you will not apply to law school for another cycle, please be sure to read: Engineering Your Personal Statement Topic: Do Something Worth Writing. That article explains that if you absolutely do not have anything to write about, you can actually use the time from now until you apply to law school to choose impressive experiences that you will write your personal statement around. You can essentially come up with a great personal statement idea and make it happen, so you don’t find yourself in this situation when you are ready to apply.

We hope that his article has served as a great starting point for writing your law school personal statement. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help you in any way.

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  1. Your Law School Personal Statement Should Be Personal Not Informal

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