If you are applying for law school directly out of college, what are you going to say in your law personal statement? Certainly, you want to play to your strengths. Before you start, it would not hurt to write down what you consider to be your three most important achievements – in terms of academics, your personal life, and extracurriculars. Which one, two, or three achievements would best present you as a candidate for law school? This is probably what you want to consider as your content for your law school personal statement.
But there are three very simple law school personal statement tips that you can do in your writing that will give you an immediate advantage. Here they are:
1. The prompt of your law school personal statement.
Remember, this is marketing. The first thing you need to do in your personal statement for law school is win over your reader. But your reader is wading through a lot of essays that are generic law school essays. If you incorporate the wording of your reader’s prompt into the opening of your essay, this is one very effective way to get your reader’s immediate attention. Put yourself in your reader’s place! Your essay is no longer one version of a 12-essay set that you are sending off to your favorite dozen law schools. Instead, it is a personal note in response to your reader’s question. After many years of reading countless law school essays, I still fail to understand why candidates cannot see the inherent advantage of this approach.
2. It’s all about positioning.
Your positioning will depend upon your essays, your recommendations, and your interviews. You probably already have a good idea of who will be offering your recommendations. If you also have a good idea of what is going to be discussed in those recommendations, it’s important to get that material into your law personal statement(s). Again, this is marketing. If each section of your packet sends the same message, this will reinforce the message and your profile to your benefit. If your recommender is going to be saying great things about your performance on a specific project, by all means let your reader know about that project in your essay. You will be reinforcing your marketing.
3. Keep the message simple and direct.
The best way to do this is to use a classic five-paragraph structure, because this is the best structure for telegraphing your organization to the reader. It is a structure that actually serves as a courtesy to your reader. The structure indicates that you will be telling the reader what you are about to say, saying it, and then remindng the reader of what you have said. Nothing could be simpler. This is what your reader wants – clarity! How few candidates understand this!
Taking advantage of this five-paragraph format is particularly valuable if you are an undergraduate taking on your first law personal statement. Because your content is less important than your persuasiveness. It’s all about how you make the argument. Using a structure that telegraphs your argument’s organization shows wisdom on your part in terms of using every resource available to buttress your argument.
You may also like Discussing Goals in Law School Personal Statements