The application process for a law degree is a multistep one that entails taking the law school aptitude test (LSAT), writing supplemental essays, collecting letters of recommendation, and gathering transcripts. A well-written personal statement is your first impression to showcase who you are and express your educational and career goals. Admissions committees use these statements to distinguish which applicants are the best fit when they have similar test scores. Being clear about your motives for earning a law degree helps admissions committees understand your narrative, which is important because most law schools don’t have admissions interviews.
Why a Personal Statement?
A well-written personal statement shows your essence as a person, including your professional ambitions, your background, and your values. The statement gives admissions committees an idea of your writing strengths and your ability to market yourself, both of which are key skills that every lawyer needs. Your statement should discuss your vision for the future, your long-term and short-term goals, and how earning a law degree will help you achieve these.
The college admissions process is long and sometimes overwhelming, whether applying for an undergraduate degree or a law degree. It’s not enough for college applicants to have a high GPA, community service, and extracurricular activities. The key to getting into a top college is setting yourself apart with your application. The best way to improve your chances of acceptance into your dream school is to work with a hand-matched college admissions counselor.
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The Structure of a Personal Statement
Like any personal essay, you need to start with a strong introductory sentence summarizing your goal. Then, describe why you have an interest and how your background and personal experience have inspired you to pursue this goal. You need to address your motivation for wanting to pursue a legal career, and you should explain your interest in a particular area of law if you know what you want to focus on. An effective personal statement shows a clear connection between your background and how it has shaped you as an applicant. Always tailor your personal statement to each law program you apply to.
A great example of turning extensive experience into a rewarding and impressive career is the Tamil Canadian lawyer, Malliha Wilson. She was the first visible minority to hold an 8-year term as the assistant deputy attorney general of the Government of Ontario. She was also senior appellate litigation counsel with the Ontario Government and participated in over 20 notable cases at the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Malliha Wilson is currently a partner at her law firm Nava Wilson LLP, where she specializes in international human rights, Indigenous, constitutional, corporate, and labour law, and other complex litigation.
Mistakes To Avoid
There are some mistakes to avoid when writing a personal statement. Top schools want to see applicants who are focused, ambitious, driven, and persistent. The key is to demonstrate these things without rambling. It’s a good idea to use an outline to plan out your statement to ensure it’s coherent and streamlined and has a logical flow. Avoid being vague, repetitive, or melodramatic in your personal statement. The focus should be on conveying your personality, not an in-depth account of an event. Use clear and specific language, avoid oversharing personal information, and ensure your statement is free of grammatical and spelling errors.
Writing an impactful personal statement is key to submitting a winning law school application that will impress the admissions committee.