Law School Personal Statement Samples

Law School Personal Statement Samples

Many bright law school applicants have a very hard time with the law school personal statement. Their initial personal statement drafts and, indeed, all of their law school essays are frequently too dry, too impersonal, and too mechanical to really impress the admissions committees or help establish a personal connection.

The result is a missed opportunity to get an edge in the increasingly competitive law school admissions process.

If you haven’t already done so, we suggest you read our brief article about the personal statement. After that, you should take some time to carefully review the sample personal statements indexed below.

These essays are excerpted from an upcoming law school admissions guide and provide examples of what good personal statements look like. Although the law school essays are only one part of the law school admissions process, it may be worth noting that each of these applicants were admitted to Harvard.

If you’d like to find the best college admission consultants, just check our list of TOP niche college admission companies that can help all applicants increase their chances of admission.

Sample Personal Statements, excerpted from an upcoming guide to law school admissions:

  1. Non-Profit Microlender
  2. Self-Contained Universe
  3. White House Intern

Let’s begin with the first one – non profit microlender and then I’ll continue with others one by one.

Law School Personal Statement Sample – Non-Profit Microlender 

I grew up in an optimistic decade whose visionaries declared the dawn of a radical era: the “new world order,” “the age of globalization,” the “end of history.” These taglines are already tart with cynicism, but I am still an unabashed believer in their vision of progress. I am not naïve about human nature; I think that people, like rivers, often tend to seek the lowest ground. But even if their currents are irreversible, I have always had faith that these rough waters could be tamed and channeled, tapped for their vast energy. Despite the shortcomings of individuals, a free society – if thoughtfully crafted and vigilantly maintained – would make everyone’s lives better. During my junior year, however, my experience with a man named BJ, nearly cracked open my liberal worldview like an oyster-shell. BJ seemed like an ideal client for the Elmseed Enterprise Fund, the non-profit microlender my friends and I founded to provide small loans to low-income entrepreneurs in New Haven . He was our first loan recipient and for a while I considered him my great, baffling failure as Center Manager.

BJ was born without arms. He had been abandoned as an infant in India and raised in New Haven by an impoverished black family of twelve, as either an instance of Christian charity or a welfare scam. Now in his thirties, he is short, gaunt, and hunched over like a vulture. Watching him struggle to shrug off his backpack or drink a can of soda provokes jarring pity; the dark blankness of his eyes conveys decades of daily self-awareness of such perceptions. When I met him he was irritable and suspicious, long resigned to a life of closed doors.

Elmseed, he once confided in me, was like a rebirth. In his client group he found the first friends who treated him as an equal. He let down his guard and began to laugh easily. Over the fall semester of my junior year, I helped him compose a business plan and loan application. Our Board of Directors initially approved only half his request, I protested tenaciously until they relented. When he pulled off his sneaker to endorse his check with his toes, his whole body shaking, he affirmed my missionary zeal in the metamorphic force of entrepreneurship. I was humbled to see a man so proud to finally make a living, so grateful for the opportunity to sell hats, gloves, and scarves in a windy park all winter.

After a warm December of slow profits, BJ’s confidence flagged and he sulked defensively at weekly meetings. Following a violent outburst he stopped attending altogether. I left him a range of voicemail messages – friendly, inspirational, frank, severe – all declaring my faith in open dialogue could resolve any crisis. But BJ had vanished. Months later, I heard he was living homeless in Hartford . I could not understand – could not forgive – BJ’s choice to slam shut the door Elmseed opened. But how could I presume to lecture someone like BJ about his “rational self-interest”? BJ’s exit exposed a fault-line in my rational worldview; my sense of betrayal and impotence became an emotional deadweight.

My bedrock belief that people, once freed from political and economic entrapment, would reliably and productively pursue self-betterment had grounded my passion in college for international development and liberalization. I studied democratic theory, ethics, international relations, and religious studies. I participated actively in the Yale International Relations Association, worked in political and non-profit internships, and spent a summer researching sustainable development in an Athabascan village in the Alaskan Yukon. But in co-launching Elmseed, I gave my faith its greatest test.

Elmseed was inspired by a Scientific American article I read freshman year about a Bangladeshi innovation called microcredit. Microcredit banks are self-sustaining non-profits that grant impoverished people tiny business loans, guaranteed by peer pressure rather than collateral. Clients form small groups that scrutinize each new loan application, aware that all future loans would be cut off if any member fell behind in weekly payments. Such a strategy has yielded miracles in the developing world, but the large staff it requires has proved prohibitively costly in America . Three friends and I thought of an untried solution: a microlender run entirely by student volunteers. By democratizing access to capital, we could bolster the fabric of enterprise in America ’s seventh-poorest city. If it worked, students could replicate the model nationwide.

We spent sophomore year researching and composing a fifty-page business plan to compete in the Yale Entrepreneurial Society’s “Y50K” venture capital competition. The only undergraduate finalists out of a field of fifty teams, we faced charges of naivety. One city powerbroker called Elmseed “a communist scheme.” But such skepticism only spurred our zeal and helped us pinpoint our weaknesses. We knew our model was sound; the challenge was to communicate it professionally. Working together, we prevailed. The Mayor handed us an oversized check and a staggering new challenge.

After a summer of preparation, I started my junior year as the Center Manager of Southern Connecticut’s first microcredit bank. I managed the client groups – developing rules and training materials, chairing meetings, collecting payments, and working one-on-one with clients. Despite a summer of preparation, I faced new trials: teaching accounting to a functionally illiterate immigrant; weathering for hours the foul-mouthed threats of an expelled applicant; explaining to a group leader why it does not violate Second Amendment rights to forbid him to “flash his piece” when meetings got out of hand. Three of our first clients defaulted and disappeared; all, like BJ, had seemed perfect.

Elmseed, however, slowly took root. We exceeded fundraising goals and attracted a talented staff that energized Elmseed after we stepped down. We absorbed the lessons of our early failures and made successful starting loans to several clients who left dead-end jobs to become proudly self-employed street vendors, computer repairmen, and one party clown. Even BJ’s group still survives – they sold balloons at a parade to repay BJ’s burden.

Years after BJ’s disappearance, Elmseed boasts $50,000 in loan capital and thirty clients. I still want to work towards fairer laws and open doors in the world, to help untapped people escape the traps of poverty and despotism and join the free society. B ut I now see that my old vision had abstracted the world into a blueprint of rational, predictable systems and solvable problems. We live, however, in a world of people. And people react to freedom and structure in varied ways, sometimes capricious or self-destructive. I no longer think freedom is a sure path to utopia, or that it brings out the best in everyone. What it does elicit, rather, is the essence of our humanity. In promoting freedom through the pursuit of just laws, I aim not to bring people happiness, but to help them achieve dignity.

Sample Law School Personal Statement – Self-Contained Universe

Sometimes I pretend that I’m the god of my own self-contained universe, complete with a personalized set of commandments like “Thou shall not cry in public” and “Thou shall not kiss on a first date.” I even create little challenges for myself. Instead of creating goals on a seven-day deadline, I gave myself seven quarters and a summer school session to graduate from college. Being the center of my own universe gives me complete control. Everything has a place, and I’d notice a turned leaf or a missing apple. It’s for that reason I rarely entertain guests. My universe is skintight and there’s only room for one.

But then there are circumstances where the boundary lines bleed a little. Those pesky matters of life and death that remind me I’m merely mortal after all. Recently I started making direct blood donations to Sylvia Soriano, a coworker of my mother’s. While I had enjoyed donating at the on campus drives—having no fear of needles makes me feel powerful—I mainly stopped by for the free juice box and cookies. However, when Sylvia’s cancer started to spread and her O negative type was in short supply, I decided to drive the extra 20 minutes to Cedars Sinai Medical Center .

I filled out the appropriate paperwork, had my finger pricked to measure my iron levels, and watched the tubes and bags turn from white to red. Afterwards I stopped by the seventh floor to meet Sylvia. She had the kind of hospital room with the shower-curtain dividers. She and all her brothers and sisters and grandmothers could barely fit into the space. Sylvia was lying in the center of all this, surrounded by the people who loved her most, who shared her blood. And now I was giving her mine.

From across the room Sylvia smiled. She had the smile of a boxer about to start the final round, certain that any further bloodshed would not be her own. Even though I did not remember meeting her before, Sylvia retold stories of me visiting my mother at work when I was five and less cynical, she younger and less bed-ridden. It’s always disconcerting to me when strangers know you. It sort of gets under my skin, makes the hair on the back of my neck feel like pinpricks.

As I made my awkward good-byes, her family rushed forward with a wad of dollar bills. Caught by surprise I attempted to wave the money away. However, unversed in Portuguese I was not an effective negotiator, and amongst all the hand waving the money was summarily shoved into my purse. Resigned, I shrugged my shoulders rationalizing that now I could pay the hospital-parking garage fee—in Beverly Hills

the only thing feared more than a botched Botox injection is a meter maid. But when I got out the cash I was horrified to find almost $200, and I was the one who felt sick.

Driving back home I felt like a mobster, getting money for blood. There is a myth that cars make you invisible. No one can see you singing along to your favorite oldie’s station, or picking your nose, or crying. But a car is not a private corner of the galaxy. I broke one of my cardinal rules: I sobbed the whole way home. All my cool control dissolved. One puncture and my whole world deflated. I found my emotional outpouring uncomfortably humbling. What kind of self-proclaimed deity whimpers like a little girl? But by the time I pulled into my driveway I was reconciled to my reaction. Surprisingly I still had warm blood coursing through my veins. And it was good.

Needless to say I returned the money. However, three weeks later I got a package from Sylvia: a set of little gold earrings. This time I accepted her bequest with gratitude because I realized that what Sylvia was offering wasn’t payment, but remembrance. She simply did not want to be forgotten. But what I’ll remember most doesn’t fit in a box. Sylvia’s greater gift was teaching me that it’s okay to believe in yourself, but that it is more important to believe in others. Nothing is skintight. It’s in those places where you aren’t in control that you grow the most. And it’s the people you meet along the way that make the growing pains worth bearing. We are all connected: by blood, by tears, by a smile exchanged from across a room—or in some cases a universe.

I await your decision on pins and needles.

Sample Law School Personal Statement – White House Intern

“You have defiled the name Adam,” the email read. It was from Adam Sullivan*, an Oberlin student known for being a radical leftist. Other angry emails filled my inbox on March 18 th, 2003. The previous evening President Bush held a press conference during the prime time hour about his intentions of going to war with Iraq. Coincidentally, that was the day that a picture of me shaking President Bush’s hand appeared on the front page of the Oberlin College website. Yet despite the uproar on campus, I did not regret my decision to spend time interning at the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA).

I was awarded an Albert Rees Policy Fellowship through Oberlin’s economics department to spend the month of January working at CEA, a part of the Executive Office of the President in charge of non-partisan economic analysis of implemented and proposed government policies. As a staunch Democrat and an openly gay man, working for a Republican administration was not an easy decision. However, with the urging of a few professors I admired, I decided to put aside my reservations.

I felt uneasy from the first day. Not surprisingly, I was surrounded by Republicans primarily working on tax reduction policy with which I didn’t agree. Quickly I told my supervisor that I was interested in international as opposed to domestic policy so as to avoid working on issues I felt would compromise my values. I found projects with a more global focus, such as monitoring emerging bond and currency markets, and researching cycles of third-world debt associated with IMF loan procedures. Yet the gnawing feeling of discomfort persisted. Past experience and time-tested clichés reminded me that avoiding a problem is not a solution. Although I was working on projects that didn’t force me to choose my beliefs over my work, my commitment to my own integrity seemed to be at the bare minimum level. I needed a more proactive solution.

Slowly, I let my political and economic ideas be heard – first to other interns and research assistants, but then later to staff and senior economists. At times, the process was just as nerve-racking as coming out was at the age of 15. For the first time in a long time, I was in an environment where my views were the minority, and I was anxious at the risk involved in letting who I was be known. Certainly I didn’t fear verbal or physical attack, as I had in high school, but I could have potentially faced the consequences of spending the rest of my internship in the photocopy room instead of doing international finance research. Luckily, coming out at the CEA, not only as a gay man but as a liberal democrat, led to mutual respect and stimulating debate – not a relationship with the Xerox machine. Defending my social and economic views to conservative economists was a challenge that forced me to synthesize what I’ve learned in the classroom and the values that guide me through life. This required me to critically analyze my beliefs and question the assumptions I base my convictions upon, which ultimately led to a strengthening of my confidence and a clarification of the principles that provide the foundations of how I lead my life.

At the end of my internship, I was invited back to Washington, D.C. to meet the President and take a picture in the Oval Office. During that time, anti- Bush sentiment had reached a head on campus: students were angry with the President, and seeing our hands clasped resulted in a barrage of disparaging emails, along with letters to the editor in the school newspaper. Not only had I tarnished the name Adam, but in the words of other students, I was “a sell-out,” “a disgrace,” and “a Republican-sympathizer.”

This response from the Oberlin student body, known for being as reactionary as they are liberal, was not surprising. The homogeneity of the politics of Oberlin students can lead to one-sided debates in which more conservative or even moderate positions are left out. As an economics and environmental studies double-major, I feel this disparity most acutely when I try to bring economic theory or rationale into environmental studies classes. I find it unacceptable that debate is often limited to what is comfortable to discuss. It is exactly this sentiment that motivated me to come out from the closet I put myself in at the CEA. I didn’t take this internship to try to change the Bush administration’s policies, nor was I naïve enough to think my conversations with those around me would. However, I was not willing to let another perspective be unheard.

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t take the time to critically examine every side of an issue. Yet, this can be difficult when the matter strongly affects me, and my moral compass urges me to take action. This seeming conflict of needing to act while also considering all other perspectives is always with me. I think my desire to consider both the big picture and subtle details will enable me to be an effective lawyer. However, it is my passion for seeking justice that drives me to Public Interest Law. I envision working for the government or a non-profit NGO as a way to move forward from the conversations I had at the CEA. Sparking provocative dialogue is not proactive enough; though it may plant a seed, it does not create the tangible change I want to be a part of. A legal education at the Harvard Law School and a commitment to public service will empower me to make a positive impact in people’s lives by providing the knowledge and skills to fight for equality and justice on behalf of those in our society whose voices have been silenced or unheard.


Hope we were able to provide enough samples with different details, so you can use them for inspiration. Also, make sure to read our law personal statement writing guide which will also answer all your possible questions regarding the process.

Moreover, if you think that being lawyer is the only option with a law degree, you better read our article that will give you more ideas of what to do after getting a law degree.

I wish you all the best with your personal statement.

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