Personal Statement Examples Law

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We hope our collection of UCAS Law personal statements provides inspiration for writing your own. Please do not plagiarise them in any way, or UCAS will penalise your application. Our Personal Statement Editing & Review Services are available if you feel you need a little extra help.

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The subject of law fascinates me extensively. I am intrigued by developments in the law and the way that it adapts to an ever-changing society. I feel I would be suited to a law degree as I am at my best when challenged, relish the opportunity of lateral thinking and enjoy evaluating the microcosm of human relations...

Academically, I have always been a very determined and studious individual, hence why I knew that a degree at University would be the definite next step. I have a broad interest in many subject areas yet feel drawn towards a law or business orientated degree...

Law Personal Statement

I first realised I wished to study law whilst reading a newspaper, when it suddenly occurred to me that every article was somehow related to the law. I remember thinking how amazing it was that such a diverse range of issues could be linked back to a single word...

Law Personal Statement

The injustices of the world bother me since childhood and I always wanted to be able to make a difference by helping people around me to find the right way to deal with maze of life. Law is in fact the bedrock of society which allows society to maintain the process of societal order and therefore it has a big impact on everyone's lives...

Law and Politics Personal Statement

Laws, in my opinion, are the cogs in the machinery of society; they are guidelines and deterrents that are fundamentally essential for humanity to function. Law is the combined public conscience that tells us right from wrong...

The degree course that I have chosen to follow is Law. I have a great passion forthe subject of Law and thoroughly enjoy the subject; learning about different aspects of Law, how the English Legal System operates and its' impact on society...

Law/International Relations Personal Statement

Through my insight into the UN's work I have learned that having declarations about Human Rights does not mean they are obeyed and automatically enforced. Law is not static, but develops all the time. It is part of everyday life, as in Berlin everyone is confronted with the issue of asylum seekers...

Law Personal Statement

I was travelling in the Philippines earlier this year when I witnessed a public outcry against corruption break out. An audit had revealed that monies intended for developmental purposes had been misappropriated by government officials...

Law Personal Statment

The legal system continues to absorb my attention to this very day. Something which bought forward this eagerness was how the legal system protects our social rights, civil liberties and sets an absence of coercion, yet how we, as a society continue to abuse and violate all of these...

As I stepped up to the platform to complete the cross-examination, a softball-sized knot took shape in my stomach. I prayed that my vocal cords would not fail me. Preparing to question the prosecution's key witness, I knew that my performance would determine whether my team left the courtroom with the smiles of victors or the furrowed brows of the defeated...

Law Personal Statement

When I started work as a legal assistant, the job was a means to an end. I did not intend to stay in law; however, with time my interest grew, as did my admiration. With experience in public and private practice, I saw first-hand the benefits legal decisions rendered, from protecting the public to awarding the injured...

The spectre of global terrorism is prevalent. Fundamental civil liberties are under threat, not only by those who seek to destroy our society, but also by those who have been charged with the task of safeguarding it...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study law at university is firmly rooted in my interest in world events and also with helping others. Law effects our everyday lives almost without us noticing. If we look at the news, there is always an aspect of law up for debate...

My work experience has been key to my choice to study Law. This in combination with my A-Levels, has allowed me to develop academic rigour with a strong spirit of enquiry and advocacy. I have worked with different types of legal professionals and dealt with important institutions during my gap year...

I consider myself to have the necessary qualities to enable me to be a successful lawyer. I am a confident speaker who can argue a case with efficiency and potency. I have participated successfully in the school debating society, covering an array of topics, including, Anselm's argument for the existence of God and whether Britain's future lies with America or Europe...

My interest in Law stems from a fascination with resolving conflict and the important contribution it makes to our society. I view Law as a career in which I will have the opportunity to improve the lives of others and be able to evaluate the nature of human relationships...

Law Personal Statement

Currently, I think of myself as a writer and a journalist. My next goal is to be an attorney. As a writer I like delving into abstract ideas and trying to wrap my mind around complexities that are neither black nor white...

History and Law Personal Statement

History and Law are critical to thedevelopment of society. The idea that the same mistakes will be repeated unless we learn to adapt and change, underlines the meaning of both subjects, As a civilisation we must find out where we came from and how we can and have changed...

Law Personal Statement

When the teacher said to stop debating, I understood that this is what I wanted to do. I never thought about doing something that would give me adrenalin even while I am working. As I spent my life in three different countries, I saw the enormous differences between Russian, Italian and English legal systems and I became more and more interested in finding out ways in which legislations could be improved or Parliamentary omissions by confronting countries and also see how the legislations were translated in Russian, Italian, Spanish and English language...

My aspiration to study Law comes from an appreciation I had of the subject stemming from my fathers' current and previous businesses. My involvement consisted of secretarial work which allowed me an insight in to how Law is imposed in a business environment...

Law Personal Statement

When I inform people of my intentions to study law at university, they tend to look at me with a look of shock, horror & dismay. I , however cannot comprehend why it is a “weird” for a unique & diverse Muslim male who happens to fashion green hair cannot have a profound interest in law...

My interest in Law stemmed from personal experiences in different foreign countries, especially with three years spent living in the Middle East. Living in foreign countries opened my eyes to different political and judicial systems within different countries of the world...

Business with Law Personal Statement

Exposure to my parents' restaurant businesses from an early age has given me an insight to the everyday running of the business. This has inspired me to follow in their footsteps and set up my own business one day...

Law Personal Statement

I read “The Colour of Justice” by Richard Norton Taylor which provided me with a better understanding of the complexities of the UK legal inquiry system. This inspired me to study Law. I was reassured by the outcome of the inquiry, although concerned at the flaws within the system given the length of time taken for the inquiry to take place...

The police in Sri Lanka torture, rape and kill. The justice system is nigh to breakdown, impounding the great societal depression. As long as I can remember my so far stable but monotonous life in Hong Kong has been broken up by visits to Sri Lanka...

English, being the most diverse language in the world in terms of vocabulary range and one of the most heavily influenced by other cultures, makes for fascinating study and usage. Drawing influences from Celtic, West Germanic dialects, Latin, Greek and French to name but a few make the English language riveting both in terms of use and etymology...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study Law arose at the beginning of my AS level course in Sociology. This was the point that I realised the complexity of society in today's era, and that Law affected everything within this society from abortion, crime and even the structure of society itself...

Law & Politics Personal Statement

I am conscientious team player with the ability to inspire my co-workers to greater productivity and cooperation. I enjoy learning, and am always able to taking on few challenges. My track record in education speaks itself...

Law and Criminology/Sociology Personal Statement

From a young age, I have been fascinated by law and was thrilled at the possibility of studying it at A-Level. In August 2007, I was able to spend two weeks working at Neves Solicitors in Luton. Most of my time was spent in the Conveyancing department, where Andrew Orriss, a partner in the firm, taught me how to draw up commercial leases and business contracts, and about buying, selling and renting residential properties...

My desire to read Law stems from the fascination I have with its ability to evolve alongside society. However, my interest was initially sparked by reading the American Novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee...

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Years of developing my intellectual capacity for my academic interests, wanting to hold privilege jobs and leadership positions in the future, I have a sense of purpose and unwavering dedication in doing the most with the opportunities available...

Law Personal Statement

Throughout my school courier I have constantly harboured the ambition to study a course at university that was completely new to me and like nothing I had done before, this gave ammunition to looking into a degree in Law, after reading around the subject I discovered that the course was perfect for me, especially with opportunities to combine other topics such as communications within my university courier...

It is always challenging, attempting to remain impartial and attentive to detail in a murder trial over a relative. My ability to do so was tested greatly during the trial over the killing of my cousin, Christopher Alaneme...

I am a jingoist. India, the land of diversity is truly magnificent; it is the heartland for more than a billion people and it is here in this land, which was amalgamated by Gandhi that I have found love for the subject of law...

Criminal Law Personal Statement

Advanced Higher Modern Studies in my final year at secondary school. Over the duration of the course I became deeply interested in the way crime and disorder influence the society we live in. In particular, the ways in which the upbringing of young people so greatly influences their future prospects...

Great figures like Ghandi and Martin Luther King caused massive changes and few would deny their impact on the world in which we now live. Sometimes, however, change and making a difference comes in smaller, less distinct steps...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study law stems back as far as primary school. It was at a very young age that I discovered that I wanted to become a lawyer and I have never wavered from this decision. Law is an area which I have always been fascinated by, mainly because of the vast array of topics covered and the massive implications law has upon our everyday lives...

Law Personal Statement

It was undoubtedly a courtship. As a child, Law caught my eye, shimmering glamorously in dramas and newspapers, piquing my interest. Lawyers outfoxed their opponents in dazzling displays of ingenuity, showcasing astute and discerning methods of legal enquiry...

Law Personal Statement

Studying law has always been my dream right from childhood. This dream was ignited by my aunt who became a judge while I was in Nigeria. My aunt's role in the judiciary has reinforced my enthusiasm for the legal profession as I had the chance attend court with her to watch some of her sessions...

To start with I shall point out that I have always been interested in Business and Legal studies. Even during my teenage years, I have seen myself as a person who is willing to prosper in the knowledge of modern Business and Legal studies...

In today's climate, an understanding of law is critical. The question of Scotland's independence and its legal repercussions; the European Treaty's effect on British law; the legitimacy of the war on terror and its effect on civil rights...

Growing up in a developing African country of Malawi, human rights was not something i had heard of, especially for the poor and the underprivileged. I often saw and heard of injustices being inflicted upon the poor and the underprivileged, yet no one seemed to do anything about it...

Law, for me, is a necessity to organise society and to maintain order. I view Law as a career in which I will have the opportunity to improve the lives of others and be able to evaluate the nature of human relationships...

Law Personal Statement

'Law'- this is a word that people in society makes use of everyday but do they know the actual meaning? I guess if they do then everyone would be as enthusiastic as I am about the legal profession. Law is a policy that regulates the attitudes and behaviours of individuals in a society; it is something that affects almost everything we do, right from just buying a bar of chocolate to committing an offence such as murder or GBH...

My desire to study Law developed initially from my genuine interest in the justice system. In recent years I have taken an interest in various cases of miscarriage of justice and property rights and have followed these cases right through to their judgements, trying to draw my own conclusions...

“I want to be a lawyer, I want to be a lawyer!”, is the phrase mostly heard from my child and adolescent self every time the age old question, “what are you going to be when you grow up?” was asked...

Eleven years later, I still remember the exact date. It was October 15, 1987 when I was asked to join Project Challenge, the honors program at Harris Hill Elementary School. I was in third grade at that time...

My study of law has enhanced my desires to work within the courts, and to pursue a career in commercial law. I have been involved in many extra curricular activities concerning law. I attended an LNAT workshop hosted by Durham University as well as law lectures such as that given by experienced lawyer Lynda Hall on fox hunting...

The 42 Day Detention, the National DNA database, the Lisbon Treaty, the Embryology Bill. Law surrounds us. It has evolved from the fundamental needs of society for structure and justice and it is part of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not...

Law and its complexities in being both precise yet open to interpretation; impartial yet sensitive to society's ever changing morals and philosophy has been of great curiosity to me. It is both an Art and Science...

Law is the foundation of every society. Professions in law are often depicted as glamourous and sometimes wrongly assumed to be simply fighting opponents in a court-room. It is hard work and, at the beginning, not well paid...

I decided to study Law some months ago when I visited Worcester Crown Court. A parent was alleged to have neglected his child. As I analysed the circuit judge's verdict, it seemed to me that to exercise discretion, and back up facts with Legal Precedent, using a solid knowledge base, shows a great intellect...

Law Personal Statement

Without laws then the low-life that was once a neighbour would have got away with murder seemingly innocent as the day he was brought to life. Without laws then the drunk that hospitalised my best friend would still be legal to possibly go one step further and see if going 5 miles faster would impress his so called friends or, cause an entire family a life time of sorrow...

Economics, Social Policy & Law Personal Statement

In today's competitive world, qualifications are of utmost importance. While that is indeed a factor that spurs me to take up higher education, the determining factor is my interest in the subjects. Admittedly, the only subject that I have had contact with is economics, but the fields of law and social policy intrigue me as well...

The world around us would be nothing like it is today if we did not have laws keeping society in line. My fascination with law has stemmed from reading of the Times law section every Tuesday helping me to gain crucial knowledge of the subject of law, and studying the subject at sixth form which has further enhanced my passion for the subject...

Law Personal Statement

I have always enjoyed the more qualitative and essay based subjects, where one is required to formulate one's own opinions and articulate thoughts. My A-level subjects have provided the ideal platform for me to advance both my analytical and investigative skills...

I consider myself an enthusiastic, hard working student who will do everything possible to achieve the best set of results possible. I have a very strong work ethic and get on well with teachers and my fellow pupils...

Criminology Personal Statement

Thinking about humanity nowadays and people's preoccupations made me realize the huge impact that crimes and criminal justice have on their decisions and the way they receive and react at the details and information about a crime...

I am a determined academic individual, leading me to believe that a degree course at university should definitely be in my life plans. I have always achieved high grades and I am confident that I can continue this success at university...

The decision to study Law lies deeper than a mere career choice, it has stemmed from my great belief that every individual in society deserves justice, and it is my genuine desire to help those individuals achieve it...

Law Personal Statement

Law. It affects everyone, regardless of race, age, size, or favourite football team. It isn't prejudiced; it doesn't expect you to break any rules. It's international; everywhere has laws. Law, in theory, is the essence of fairness, which is why it so interests me in a world that many deem unfair...

I have always been fascinated by the way police deal with stressful and demanding situations and find that when I always see them in the street in their uniform I want to be looked upon as an integral part of a community...

I developed interest in the field of law while doing my graduation in commerce. We had Business Law in B.Com . I found it so logical that after my Bachelor in Commerce.I could not think of anything but law...

Law Personal Statement

I've always been captivated by law and politics, from the time when I learnt of Rajiv Gandhi revolutionising the face of Indian government to John F Kennedy creating the peace corps to help underdeveloped nations...

To me the written word has always been the most effective medium of communication. It has acted as a reliable canvas for the great writers to express their ideas to me, no matter how fantastical, detailed or controversial, from Bronte's ethereal, vivid descriptions of the Yorkshire Moors during twilight to the terrifying realism of Orwell's vision of a totalitarian future in Nineteen Eighty Four...

Injustices exist everywhere. Current affairs daily reveal the devastating conflicts which have consumed certain peoples, but one does not need to scour the world to find these issues. I myself have been witness to countless cruelties on a more personal level, and together these experiences have served to strengthen my desire to work for the institution which brings about equity to all in our country...

Law Personal Statement

The legal system lays the bedrock of moral code for our society. Law influences every aspect of civilization, and I've become thoroughly enthralled and fascinated with the legal organisation and law system...

It often occurs to me how needs for rules and regulations are determined and fulfilled in today's ever-changing and emerging world? Take the example of internet, what copyright laws are there? How online dealings are regulated? What authority is there to manage all? Etc...

I dedicated my fist two years of high-school to studying mathematics and computer programming, in order to familiarize myself with progressive logical constructions and to gain a new type of awareness, one that improved my view towards work in general...

Law Personal Statement

I have wanted to study law from a young age largely because my grandfather is a well known judge in Pakistan. I have seen a lot of paperwork that he handles as a judge. While I was in Pakistan a few years back I was given the opportunity to sit in a court room and observe the law in action...

Law Personal Statement

My father is a prominent Islamic Law Professor, yet, I didn't receive his blessing to study law, according to him, I was destined for "greater things" in life. I never understood what he meant at first, so began my excruciating journey of discovering myself, I almost ended up studying medicine, but I have always find that, at least from my opinion, there exists an abstract reality which is neither right or wrong; a "grey" area that is never meant to be rigidly conformed...

Law Personal Statement

Law and justice are the ever-increasing sense of importance and self-respect of the individual. True, there are different conceptions of the idea of what is fair, but the concepts of law and justice are one of the same (Solomon 1995: “A Passion for Justice” pg...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study Law is firmly rooted in my enjoyment of being involved in ongoing issues, as I feel that the Law is the bedrock of a nation. I believe the study of Law, and an eventual vocation in the legal system would be ideal for me, primarily due to my analytical personality and ability to accurately separate congruous information from the irrelevant...

Law Personal Statement

My desire to study Law developed initially from my genuine interest in the justice system. In recent years I have taken an interest in various cases of miscarriage of justice and property rights and have followed these cases right through to their judgements, trying to draw my own conclusions...

I have always known that my career path would be related to humanities. Out of the subjects I studied at school, Romanian literature, History and foreign languages have particularly appealed to me. However, I chose to study sciences too, aware of their contribution to the development of my intellectual abilities...

What really intrigues me about Law is the unflinchingly honest portrayal of society it provides. As Helena Kennedy states in ‘Just Law’, it is the ‘bedrock of a nation’, always changing to support and reflect society’s needs...

Law & Business Personal Statement (International Student)

From an early age, Law has always been number one priority in my vision of the future. Probably because of my father's profession (he is Head of the Regional Criminal Police), I have always been intrigued by Criminology and the idea of analyzing and solving tangled cases...

Law Personal Statement

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My father had always told me my career destined in the profession of Law; I had of course been ignorant to this. Thinking the only reason he had told me so was to carry the family tradition, as he was one himself...

Through commonly accepted law, international organizations and sovereign nations establish and enforce vital laws and moral codes of conduct such as those relating to human and civil rights. Yet, despite many ratified agreements relating to principles that are universally accepted throughout the world, human and civil rights remain threatened in industrialized nations as well as third world countries...

Mature Student Law Personal Statement

I long recall having been amazed as to how law permeates every aspect of our lives. My career thus far has taken me to the City of London, as far away as New Zealand, and then back to Reading again and has served to cultivate my interest in law and made me yearn to study this fascinating subject at undergraduate level, and formally qualify as a solicitor, within criminal advocacy...

At the beginning it was infatuation, I was taken by the smart skirts the ladies wore and equally the men in their suits. But as I took more interest in this group of people it was not only the smart attire, there thinking, arguments and presentation of their arguments were equally “smart” and persuasive and reflected certain logic, deep reflection and considerable research on an issue they were arguing for or against...

The major of law has been always intriguing me as one of the most practical, useful tools in our life due to its broad coverage, fast rate of evolving and fundamental importance, I had already made up my mind to pursue my passion in legal study that could fulfill my dream, enables me to contribute to make the world a better place...

Law Personal Statement

I believe Law is relevant to everyday life as we live within a legal framework which controls every aspect and important decisions of our life. Due to my curiosity regarding the framework and how it controls and plays an essential role in the changing nature of society and its people, inspired me to pursue this subject at higher education...

English & Law Personal Statement

I enjoy being intellectually stimulated and challenging traditional views which is evident from my choice of A Level subjects- History, English and RE. These subjects have always been my forte, receiving the H...

I cannot remember a person in my life who has had a more significant influence on me than my father. Everything I have achieved with regard to academics, sports, or life in general, I am indebted to him for...

LLB Law Personal Statement

Human beings can only live in comunity with others, resulting a society. Societies can function provided they are governed by principles, regulations and laws that the majority of the people agrees with...

Law Personal Statement

Having grown up in a country where it’s hard for a woman to achieve a degree in such a well-respected profession such as the Law, my parents, understanding my aspirations to study and expand my talents, gave me the opportunity to study in Switzerland...

Law Personal Statement

From my middle school years I've looked to become involved with moral reasoning, especially regarding what is happening in our world today, in the news, newspapers, magazines. Stories such as the Guantanamo Bay prisoners make me question the injustice within today's society...

Law & German Personal Statement

I have always been fascinated by the structures of societies and how their laws are built. Due to the constant changes of the world, the ongoing conflicts, debates, and controversies, these laws are constantly evolving...

Law Personal Statement

I have always worked to reach beyond the highest standards I believe myself capable of across a challenging range of subjects. Because of this, I was unsure when first choosing a degree and it was not until I had begun studying Law that I realised my passion for it as it stretches me intellectually and also causes me to be analytical about everything around me and of myself...

LLB Personal Statement

Law has always been a subject which has fascinated me and since completing my degree in BA (HONS) Law and Management i have realised that i would like to progress my knowledge in this area and fulfil my ambition in becoming a fully qualified lawyer in the up and coming future...

Law Personal Statement

Law is ever changing, whether parliament is passing new legislation, existing legislation is being rewritten or the courts are interpreting laws in different ways. In the case of Anthony Bland the distinguishing of earlier precedents was vital...

Law and French Personal Statement

Law has always been a subject that has interested and appealed to me as an area of study. I believe that justice is the inherent foundation of our civilisation and find the application of it both a fascinating and vital field of learning, because of the central role it plays in the functioning of society and the diversity of areas it influences...

Law Personal Statement

I want to study and research Law at University because I thoroughly enjoy the subject and I really want to learn more. I have studied Law at A level for the last 18 months; it has challenged me with its complexity but I have found it stimulating and fascinating...

History and Law Personal Statement

Louis de Bernières writes in ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin` that history is fascinating `because everything [is] connected to everything else in the most elaborate, devious and elegant ways`. Perhaps this explains the importance of history in understanding the modern world; it governs the way in which we view society, dictates our actions and, perhaps most importantly, provides guidance to those who establish law...

Law Personal Statement (International Student)

I decided to read law in England because the country has one of the most historic and well developed educational systems in Europe. I chose courses at Universities with a great tradition, a tradition which can only be offered by English Universities...

I once attended a lecture by the late Barrister Gani Fawehimmi. He was a prominent human rights lawyer in my home country Nigeria. He spoke passionately about legal systems and human rights. I was particularly impressed by a man who helped the underprivileged and the cheated by representing them without asking for payment...

In terms of academic study, I have always been passionate about two subjects, law and Japanese language/culture. For the past year I have been pursuing the latter as an English teacher in Japan. At first, my life was quite difficult; however, as my Japanese improved, so did my comfort...

Law Personal Statement

As a hardworking, enthusiastic and responsible individual I am extremely fascinated and genuinely committed in working in the legal profession. My desire to study law stems from a growing fascination with world events...

Law Personal Statement

I have chosen a Law degree because it will enable me to study Criminal and Human Rights Law in more depth. This course has a practical and theoretical basis, which I find fascinating, and will expand my knowledge; it will also help me understand legal aspects of law and their impact on society...

Law Personal Statement

Throughout my school days, I was known by my peers as opinionated, confident, a good talker and being highly persuasive. My teachers knew me for my flair in Languages, Literature and Humanities, given my frequent participation and achievements in writing competitions...

Personal Statement Examples - Sample Law School Personal Statements

It requires a lot of effort and thought to write a personal statement that effectively captures your greatest qualities and stands out to admissions committees. While we have an entire article on writing personal statements, one of the best ways to assist and inspire your writing is reading and learning from several personal statement samples. Although writing personal statements requires that you reflect upon what is unique and exemplary about your background, the following personal statement samples will provide insight into how other applicants have successfully crafted their statement. Below you can find 31 personal statement examples found in the TLS Guide to Personal Statements book, which has sections on why these personal statement samples are strong and also how they could have been improved upon. More personal statement samples can be found in the personal statement forum.

See the following articles for more information:

31 Example Personal Statements

Chapater 8: The Personal Narrative (Structure)
  1. Silicon Valley Start-Up
  2. Senior Design
  3. Stay-at-Home Dad
  4. Happy Camper
  5. Minimalist
  6. Coming Out
  7. Belorussian Lawyer
  8. Mormon Conflict
  9. New York Artist

Chapter 9: The Organizing Quote (Structure)
  1. Ubuntu
  2. PR Agency Builder
  3. Alice in Casinoland
  4. Kentucky Governor’s Scholar

Chapter 10: The Character Sketch (Structure)
  1. South Dakota
  2. Magazine Industry
  3. Russian Grandfather

Chapter 11: Overcoming Adversity (Topic)
  1. Kenyan Immigrant
  2. Gordie Day
  3. Surviving Rape
  4. Parental Disability

Chapter 12: Diversity Candidates (Topic)
  1. Resisting the Label “Muslim”
  2. Muumuus and Moving On
  3. Hurricane Katrina
  4. Autism
  5. First to Attend College

Chapter 13: Chronological Growth (Topic)
  1. High-Stakes Law Experience
  2. Uganda and Cambodia
  3. UK Study Abroad
  4. Delmarva Shorebirds

Chapter 14: The Mentor (Topic)
  1. Debate Skills
  2. Korean American

Below are 2 of the 31 Personal Statement Samples

Sample Personal Statement #1 - Silicon Valley Start-Up 

Eighteen months ago, I was sitting at my computer, wedged between a dripping coffee maker to my left and the company’s CFO five feet to my right. Every keystroke shook the flimsy foldout card table that served as my desk, on loan to the company from another employee’s garage. We were packed in the largest of three rooms in a 2,500 square foot space baking in the heat generated by ten co-workers in close quarters, fifteen running computers, and an abnormally warm summer. On the glass doorway was etched the ghostly lettering of the former company occupying the space, serving as a grim reminder of the ever-present possibility of failure.

Two weeks earlier, I had been in my company’s small conference room sitting at the table surrounded by familiar faces from my last employer. Silicon Valley is incestuous: teams migrate from one company to the next, so I was not surprised to find myself recruited to join my old boss’s newest project. They were selling another David versus Goliath story, featuring a small rag-tag team of engineers defeating a seemingly insurmountable industry leader. Despite my skepticism, I still had a free-running imagination fed with nostalgic thoughts of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard working on their first audio oscillator in a Palo Alto garage. But at my last start-up company, we had challenged a corporation for a piece of the industry pie, and nine years and $330 million dollars later, the company was a hollow shell doing mostly engineering contractor work. I was lucky enough to join that company late in the game and sell my stock options early, but many others spent a significant portion of their career at a company that came close to glory but ultimately fell short: Goliath 1, David 0.

This time they were telling me it was going to be different; they were always saying this time would be different. I asked them how a small, poorly funded start-up company could go against a giant corporation, which was also the undisputed king of our market, with nearly $400 million in quarterly revenue. After signing a non-disclosure agreement, I was let in on the big secret, the meaning of the “C” in the company name: we were going to use recent innovations in carbon nano-tubes to revolutionize the industry. These nano-scopic cylindrical fibers that allow unparalleled circuit density would be David’s tiny, secret sling.

With the financial incentive of stock options and the confidence gained by working with a crack technical team, everyone was working at full capacity. There were scribbled drawings with names and dates taped up on a wall. These were the jotted ideas from our team of electrical engineers and physicists with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from schools like Harvard, Stanford, and M.I.T. One posting was my recent workings of a carbon nano-tube electro-mechanical configuration bit, an idea that a co-worker and I had developed that I would write up and the company would push through the patent process. By packing a dozen well-caffeinated physics and electronics geniuses into a pathetic three-room rental that resembled a low-budget movie studio, we had created the primordial soup of intellectual invention. As a result of our collective ideas, our seasoned team, our innovative ideas, and nano-technology being the latest buzzword in investment, we were soon funded by venture capitalists for $10 million. It was immensely exciting to be the tenth employee in a growing start-up company that would have to upgrade offices and dramatically expand staff in an up-scaling war against the industry titan.
The increased design responsibility and unbounded architectural creativity that comes with working for a start-up is unparalleled. However, the necessity of sidestepping our competitor’s patented intellectual property, which covered all aspects of our design, from manufacturing to testing, placed a heavy burden on the design team. This danger was extremely real, as a similar start-up had collapsed following an infringement lawsuit related to unauthorized reproduction of a bit stream. As the designer of three different components, I examined our competition’s sixteen patents related to the memory aspect of the device.  It was immensely satisfying to study, absorb, and then circumvent patent claims as I designed a conceptually similar but un-patented version of three memory blocks.

I am interested in serving as general counsel for a corporation focused on advanced semiconductor technology. My diverse work experience and master’s degree provide a perfect foundation to tackle the issues faced by a general counsel. I am drawn to the challenges I will find at the intersection of intellectual property, product liability, and corporate law. At this juncture in my life, I seek more challenge and personal growth in a field that calls on my written skills, attention to detail, and love of technology. My background in nano-technology will bring a unique perspective to the NYU classroom and will make me extremely marketable upon graduation. By pursuing a law degree, I intend to enter a profession that aligns with the interests and aptitudes I have discovered and developed through real work experience. It is through deep personal reflection that I have decided that law is the natural extension of my training, personality, and talents.

Commentary 1:  Silicon Valley Start-Up

Structure: Personal Narrative
Topic:  Internet Start-Up
Thesis:  I led a multi-million dollar design team; I can succeed in law school.
Elements of Style:  Comparison to David & Goliath
Committee Appeal: Tangible Impact, Real World Experience, Pro-Active Starter, Good Leader
Success Rating:  A/9

What’s Strong:
This is an excellent personal statement because it shows this candidate has had a tangible impact on organizations, and probably on the global economy.  The statement keeps the reader engaged by giving a meaningful story with background, context, conflict, and resolution.  It also provides a peek into the mysterious and increasingly legendary world of Silicon Valley start-ups.  This is a good model for someone who has been out of college for a while, but who hasn’t been working in a law firm.  The essay is focused on career goals, with career history to back up the writer’s plans.  This person is a doer, not a dreamer.  The writer shows a depth of technical knowledge and strong analytic reasoning skills that go far beyond linear thinking, especially in the description of finding new solutions to highly technical problems that do not violate patents.  The statement creates desire in the admissions committee to admit this person because other companies seek to hire the applicant and venture capitalists are willing to support the applicant with substantial funds.  This statement will inspire members of the admissions committee to act on the applicant’s behalf because he has successfully reached beyond the safety net of college. 

This applicant demonstrated his strong written communication skills by writing a compelling statement that uses several kinds of rhetorical appeals.  Logic is used to show how his analytical ability helps to keep the company afloat in the same waters where others have foundered.  He uses touches of pathos when he describes the “primordial soup of intellectual invention” inside the cramped office.  The analogy in which he compares his small start-up and the industry leader to David and Goliath uses both pathos and mythos to excellent effect: The story is one everyone knows, and so just by invoking the names, the writer brings a powerful story into his narrative without using valuable space.  This mythic story becomes a theme woven throughout the essay.  It is a rhetorical device that establishes a connection in the reader’s mind between this candidate and David, a leader known for his compassionate ethos. This writer has also composed the statement so that he comes across as an authoritative, competent, thoughtful, and honest leader. This statement helped earn the applicant acceptance to NYU and Columbia Law Schools.

What’s Wrong:
This essay is too focused on the details of the story and fails to give sufficient evidence for why this person is a good candidate for law school.  This essay is structured as a personal narrative, and the topic is the applicant’s professional experience.  The first paragraph is well written but is wholly descriptive prose that has very little to do with why this person is a good candidate for law school.  The first paragraph lacks a thesis or a direction for the essay.  Ideally, the reader should find a microcosm of the essay in the first paragraph.

The second-to-last paragraph packs in the most value to the admissions committee for the space used, but the background story is important for this paragraph to be so powerful.  To make the background story do more work for him, the writer could plant more indicators of his positive qualities and characteristics in the early part of the essay.  For example, he could mention how he used his oral communication skills to communicate with his design team and supervisors, so that the admissions committee knows he feels that mastery of oral communication skills is important.

The last paragraph is where the applicant draws together his themes with his self-assessment and goals.  He should mention what his master’s degree is in.  This writer commits the common error of throwing in the name of the school receiving this statement as a token.  Any law school program could fill that place.  The writer doesn’t appear to have done research about the law program at NYU.  Does the applicant feel that being in New York City will put him in contact with East Coast technology specialists who will give him an edge up in his career?  Or, is the applicant focusing upon NYU because of their strength in intellectual property law? The writer needs to persuade the NYU admissions committee that NYU is the only school for him, and he can do this by interpreting how the school’s particular strengths will advance his goals.  Despite these quibbles, though, this is overall a fantastic personal statement.


Sample Personal Statement 2 - Minimalist

I am a thinker, but not one to think out loud. I love myself, but am not in love with the sound of my own voice. I want to be loved, but not at the cost of not loving myself. I want to know everything, but realize that nothing can ever be known for sure. I believe that nothing is absolute, but I can absolutely defend my beliefs. I understand that chance is prevalent in all aspects of life, but never leave anything important to chance. I am skeptical about everything, but realistic in the face of my skepticism. I base everything on probability, but so does nature...probably.

I believe that all our actions are determined, but feel completely free to do as I choose. I do not believe in anything resembling a God, but would never profess omniscience with regard to such issues. I have faith in nothing, but trust that my family and friends will always be faithful. I feel that religion is among the greatest problems in the world, but also understand that it is perhaps the ultimate solution. I recognize that many people derive their morals from religion, but I insist that religion is not the only fountainhead of morality. I respect the intimate connection between morality and law, but do not believe that either should unquestioningly respect the other.

I want to study the law and become a lawyer, but I do not want to study the law just because I want to become a lawyer. I am aware that the law and economics cannot always be studied in conjunction, but I do not feel that either one can be properly studied without an awareness of the other. I recognize there is more to the law than efficiency, but believe the law should recognize the importance of efficiency more than it does. I love reading about law and philosophy, but not nearly as much as I love having a good conversation about the two. I know that logic makes an argument sound, but also know that passion makes an argument sound logical. I have philosophical beliefs informed by economics and economic beliefs informed by philosophy, but I have lost track of which beliefs came first. I know it was the egg though.

I always think very practically, but do not always like to think about the practical. I have wanted to be a scientist for a while now, but it took me two undergraduate years to figure out that being a scientist does not necessarily entail working in a laboratory. I play the saxophone almost every day, but feel most like an artist when deduction is my instrument. I spent one year at a college where I did not belong and two years taking classes irrelevant for my major, but I have no regrets about my undergraduate experience. I am incredibly passionate about my interests, but cannot imagine being interested in only one passion for an entire lifetime.

I love the Yankees, but do not hate the Red Sox. I love sports, but hate the accompanying anti-intellectual culture. I may read the newspaper starting from the back, but I always make my way to the front eventually. I am liberal on some issues and conservative on others, but reasonable about all of them. I will always be politically active, but will never be a political activist. I think everything through completely, but I am never through thinking about anything.

I can get along with almost anyone, but there are very few people without whom I could not get along. I am giving of my time, but not to the point of forgetting its value. I live for each moment, but not as much as I worry about the next. I consider ambition to be of the utmost importance, but realize that it is useless without the support of hard work. I am a very competitive person, but only when competing with myself. I have a million dreams, but I am more than just a dreamer. I am usually content, but never satisfied.

I am a study in contradiction, but there is not an inconsistency to be found.

Commentary 2:  Minimalist

Structure: Personal Narrative
Topic:  Self-portrait
Thesis:  I am a clever risk-taker.
Elements of Style: Literary play with contradiction and a variety of verbal punning
Committee Appeal:  Intellectual Excellence, Multiple Perspectives
Success Rating:  A-/8

What’s Strong:
This personal statement is constructed like a poem:  there is a rhythm to it that draws the reader in; there is also verbal play and the construction of a somewhat mysterious self-portrait.   This applicant had an impressive 4.0 GPA and 178 LSAT, so he could be a risk-taker with the personal statement.  This essay stands out because it is more artfully designed than other statements.  This is a good strategy if you are sure of your standardized scores or if you are applying to a reach school and so are trying to get yourself noticed.  An experimental personal statement such as this is just as likely to succeed as to flop, because some admissions committee members value creativity while others will be put off by the lack of specific details.  In its uniqueness, it is unclear how difficult this statement was to write; most admissions committee members will probably give the candidate the benefit of the doubt and see it as highly original rather than a series of clichés. 

This statement works by a clever rhetorical trick:  The author will repeat a word in the same sentence but shift the meaning to a different, often contrary, usage.  For example, the author writes, “I believe that nothing is absolute, but I can absolutely defend my beliefs.”  Most of the sentences are linked in a daisy chain of associative ideas.  For example, the first paragraph moves through the author’s views on thinking, loving, and doubting.  The author then gestures towards interests in philosophy, morality, law, economics, music, sports, and politics.  In the third paragraph, the applicant tells us he is good at synthesizing diverse information.  The admissions committee will like this ability, as well as the humor that concludes the paragraph with the chicken-and-egg joke.  The statement ends with a character sketch indicating the author is friendly but ambitious and complex.  And finally, there is an important punch when the piece ends:  “I am a study in contradiction, but there is not an inconsistency to be found.”  This statement worked for the applicant because this person was accepted everywhere, including Yale and Stanford, and was offered a $63,000 scholarship to NYU.

What’s Wrong:
Although this statement is put together like a poem, it lacks the internal logic and consistency that would make it an outstanding example of the personal statement genre.   The author starts out very well, linking each sentence to the previous one, but upon close analysis, the chain link falls apart rather quickly.  In the first paragraph, talking connects quiet thinking to self-respect, and then love connects self-respect to healthy relationships, but after this, the author enters stream-of-consciousness mode.  We learn the author is not religious.  He or she writes, “I know that logic makes an argument sound, but also know that passion makes an argument sound logical.”  The problem with a sentence like this is that it does not give the reader specific evidence that this person is either logical or passionate.   This personal statement encases the author behind a rhetorical wall that does not allow his personality to emerge.  We do not have a sense of whether this person is trustworthy because we have no specific stories or examples to evaluate for the author’s ethical appeal.

The fourth paragraph is somewhat damaging to the author when we learn, “I spent one year at a college where I did not belong and two years taking classes irrelevant for my major.”  The admissions committee will wonder:  Why didn’t you belong at that college?  Why did you take random classes for two years? Can you be trusted to maintain your focus in law school?  The word play at this point waffles between clever and stale.  This statement would do better to begin and end with the verbal play, but to have a solid paragraph or two in the middle of personal narrative, in which the admissions committee really get to know the person behind this rhetorical show. 

Closing Remarks on Sample Personal Statements

We hope the free personal statement samples with critique assist you with creating your masterpiece. But for more direction on how to write a personal statement please read our article on Writing Personal Statements and the complete TLS Personal Statement Book. While these resources convey information on personal statements for law school, they can also apply to other graduate programs. For even more free personal statement examples, visit the personal statement forum with over 200 personal statement samples.

Just how important is effectively writing personal statements? So critical that the personal statement is the first item in an application that is read by Ed Tom, the Dean of Admissions at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. In our exclusive interview, Dean Tom states that “[P]utting together an entering class is like organizing a choir; we want distinct voices. There are hundreds of similar applicants, but only one of you; so take the opportunity provided by the personal statement to let us hear your voice.”

What else did Dean Tom say about how to write a personal statement? “Personal statements for law school are the applicant’s opportunity to distinguish himself from hundreds of other applicants who have the same numbers, and the same major, and come from a similar school. The personal statement is an applicant’s opportunity to describe the distance they’ve come in their lives.”
“Most everyone is a very different person now than they were in high school and along that journey they develop a voice that they will be bringing into the classroom. I want to learn about the journey that developed that voice, and to the decision to apply to law school. We are looking for intellectually curious people, and we are looking for people with a diverse array of experiences. So, the ideal personal statement would bring all of that out.”

For editing of your personal statement, you can either swap your statement with someone on the personal statement forum for free or pay to have your statement edited by a professional editing service.


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