7 Law School Personal Statement Topic Ideas

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The law school personal statement is a required part of most law school applications. Each law school provides their own instructions and the requirements will vary, so make sure to review them thoroughly. For example, some law schools will ask for specific information about you (e.g., academic background, professional experiences, personal identity), while others ask for a general personal statement. Many law schools are most interested in why you want to pursue law, but not all.

Regardless of any school-specific requirements, your personal statement must demonstrate exceptional writing abilities. The admissions committee will be considering your ability to communicate and present information effectively. In addition, although the personal statement does not need to address your interest in law, it should illustrate qualities that would make you a good lawyer. Most importantly, the essay should be personal in nature.

Good topics for personal statements can come from almost any part of your life: extracurricular activities, community service projects, professional experience, or personal challenges. The possibilities are endless, and most law schools do not provide specific writing prompts—a perfect recipe for writer's block. If you're feeling stuck on your personal statement, use our list of topic ideas to kick off the brainstorming process.

01
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Why Law School?

Most law school personal statements say something about why the applicant wants to go to law school, so it's important to make your essay personal and unique to you. Avoid legal jargon or overly abstract concepts. Instead, write a truthful essay that conveys sincere interest.

To jumpstart the brainstorming process, jot down all the reasons you want to study law. Then, look for patterns in the list to identify key moments or experiences that led you to pursue a legal career. Remember, your reasons can be personal, professional, academic, or a combination of all three. A typical "why law school" essay will begin with a pivotal moment that led to your decision, then explain your short and long term goals, potentially including classes you want to take, specializations you plan to pursue, and the area of law you intend to practice.

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A Personal Challenge You Overcame

If you have overcome significant personal challenges or hardships, you may wish to share those experiences in your personal statement. Make sure to structure the essay in a way that demonstrates personal growth, and consider connecting it to your interest in law. The description of the challenge should be relatively concise; the majority of the essay should focus on how you overcame it and how the experience affected you.

One caveat: it's best to avoid writing about academic failures in your personal statement. If you must explain a low grade or test score, do so in an addendum, rather than your personal statement.

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Your Proudest Personal Achievement

This prompt gives you the opportunity to brag about accomplishments that you may not have been able to include elsewhere in your application. For example, you might write about the time you navigated your hiking group out of the woods during a storm, or the summer you spent helping a neighbor develop their small business.

Be sure to provide details about how you felt as you worked toward and eventually achieved your goals. The accomplishment does not have to be academic, but it should be something that demonstrates personal growth or showcases your best qualities.

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A Project That Led to Personal Growth

Did you create or participate in a project that still influences you to this day? Consider writing about the project and its impact in your personal statement.

Don't worry if your project doesn't feel big enough. Remember, the most compelling projects are often those that initially seem small but are actually quite impactful. Good examples include community service work or a significant project undertaken at a job or internship. In the personal statement, explain the project and its impact on you with vivid language and anecdotes. In other words, take the reader on the growth journey with you, rather than just describing it to them.

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Growth Experienced in College

In addition to intellectual growth, many students experience significant personal growth in college. When you reflect on your undergraduate years, what stands out? Perhaps one of your long-held beliefs was challenged by friendships you formed in college. Maybe you discovered an unexpected interest that changed the course of your academic or professional career. Reflect on your core values and beliefs before and after college. If you see an obvious and interesting growth trajectory, consider using this topic for your personal statement.

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An Experience That Changed Your Life

This personal statement prompt allows you to describe formative experiences and how they impacted your life and career choices. Good examples include a mid-life career change or the decision to have a baby while in college.

Describing a truly life-changing experiences will help you stand out from other applicants, especially if you write reflectively and demonstrate how the experience connects to your pursuit of a law career.

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Introduce Yourself

If you were introducing yourself to an admissions officer, what would you want him or her to know about you? What makes you who you are, and what unique perspective can you add to the law school environment?

Get started by reflecting on these questions and free writing your answers. You can also ask friends, family, teachers, and classmates for their input about your special qualities. By the end of the process, you should have a list of unique personal characteristics and experiences. A great law school personal statement will either focus on one specific personal characteristic or experience, or braid several of them together to paint a rich portrait of who you are.

Remember, the admissions committee wants to know applicants through their personal statements, so don't be afraid to let your personality shine through.