Sample Law School Essays

The essay told an epic tale about a student who struggled to achieve passing grades – moving on and off of academic probation, and through a myriad of stops, shifts, and re-starts, from one college to another – for the better part of a decade following his graduation from high school. For a time, it appeared that he was destined to be a college drop-out. To make matters worse, as the student floundered academically, he bounced around from one retail job to another. Then, one day, he took a position as a grassroots worker on a local political campaign. He quickly realized that he had found something that he loved to do, but just as importantly, he was very good at it. His life soon changed in dramatic ways. He almost immediately became a star local operative for a major political party, and in a very short time period worked his way up and into state-wide and national campaigns. His confidence ultimately inspired his academic career. He transferred any grades that he could (i.e., not the bad ones) to a new university, changed his major to political science, and revamped his study habits. For his final two years of college credit (which were required to attain a degree from the institution to which he had transferred), he aced nearly every course that he took and set his sights on a career in law.

As compelling as the above storyline is, it is important to always keep in mind that an outstanding story counts for little without an effective organizational structure and proper literary execution. Toward that end, the applicant in this case sought to engage the reader by presenting a scene in the opening paragraph which depicted one of the happiest moments of his life – his triumphant college graduation. It was as he moved toward the end of the first paragraph and into the second that he added the engaging twist which showed that his academic success story was far from the norm: it had been ten years (and many failures) in the making. Most importantly, the applicant did not harp on the lengthy, negative period in his life that I described above. Rather, he took a straightforward and succinct approach in recounting the great challenges that had stymied him for so many years. From there, it was off to the heart of the essay – how the applicant overcame his struggle and succeeded, ultimately setting a clear and direct course for law school along the way.

Finally, in the concluding paragraph of the essay, the applicant brought the reader full circle – back to the opening story. There he was, still standing at graduation, but instead of thinking simply about his past and how he had made it to this point, he was now looking toward the future and thinking about how he was fully prepared to conquer the challenges that lay ahead in law school and beyond.

I will never forget the excitement that this applicant felt when he received three acceptance letters from top law schools over three consecutive days. One of these letters came with a handwritten note from a law school dean who praised him for doing such an outstanding job on the personal statement. I should mention that this applicant ultimately ended up declining each of those three offers in favor of an offer from one of the most renowned and oldest law schools in the United States. While these successful results certainly help to keep this applicant’s memory in my mind, it is the personal statement that he wrote which most stirs my recollection.

Like many of my colleagues, I’ve advised on thousands of application essays over the years and been a part of success stories that are far too numerous to mention, but this was one of my most special cases because it showed not only how an applicant can overcome years of struggle, but also how in two double-spaced pages, he can demonstrate his success in a powerful way.

Every once in a while, somewhere out there, a law school applicant does something in the application process that can be described as a real game changer. The personal statement that this particular applicant wrote would probably best be described as a life changer.

Admission Essay & Personal Statement Development Services
Law School Sample Personal Statements
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." Oscar Wilde

I know that today’s society usually associates lawyers more with the latter half of the above quote than the former, but never the less I hope to become a lawyer myself, and in so doing, help change public perception of the profession one client at a time. My road to the law has not been a smooth one, but every rut and pothole along the way has been essential in helping me mature as a student, and as a person...
I was born into a traditional Middle Eastern family where the man is the head of the household and all major decisions first go through him. As a young woman learning to adapt to American cultural norms, it was difficult for me to balance the input I was getting at home with the messages I received daily from the world around me. Even my college major, architecture, was chosen by my father so that I could follow in his footsteps...
Growing up in America the son of Indian parents, I never felt truly American or Indian. I spoke Hindi at home, but was educated in English so I had difficulty with both languages; being fluent in spoken Hindi, but unable to write it, and being able to write in English, but hesitant to speak it. I felt like an outsider, not fully embraced by either culture and so left to drift in this netherworld between the two...
"A diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the person perfected without trials." -- Chinese Proverb

The truth of this proverb has only become clear to me in the past few years as I have had to grow and mature at an accelerated rate due to the misfortunes of my family and my own increasing drive to ensure that I arm myself with the tools to build a stable career that will stimulate my mind, while also benefiting society at large. As a youth growing up in California, I had very few concerns and much was taken care of for me...
Sometimes fiercely competitive friendships can push you towards successes you never would have dreamed possible on your own. I have one such friend who pushes me to do better. Her name is Mary and we grew up together in Thailand. The academic system in Thailand is very different from that in the U.S.: there are so few openings in the universities for new college students that ever year thousands sit for the entrance exams, all desperate to pass after months or even years of fevered preparation, only to see their hopes of furthering their education dashed forever by less than adequate scores...
Being raised in a family of high achievers is wonderful in many ways, but there are occasions when it can actually be a draw back. My father is from China and he is a genius. A real genius: not just a smart guy, but an off the charts genius. He got into graduate school in the United States at 18 and has devoted his life to being a dedicated mathematician ever since. My mother, an American, is no slouch herself with a MD and a successful career as an Pediatrician...
“What I believe I should have and can have is what I will have” -- (anonymous)

The meaning of the quote pasted above is only now beginning to become clear to me. There have been times in my life that I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I could succeed in anything I set my mind to. Through much effort I have now come to a place where I know that no goal is too lofty, and this is why I am now applying to ____ School of Law...
I often wonder what kind of career I would be driven to pursue of events in my life had not transpired as they did. Perhaps I would take my love of cooking to the next step and be pursuing culinary school right now rather than applying to law school with the ultimate goal of becoming a prosecutor on the horizon. You can’t, however, change the past, and at least I can be grateful that I have been spurred on in a positive direction from the tragic events that changed my family forever...
We didn’t have great seats, we weren’t the best looking family in the crowd, and there certainly wasn’t anything glamorous about our hand-me-down clothes, but when I think about the minor league baseball games my parents used to take my 6 siblings and me to every week, I recall that these outings were the most magical and exciting events in my life, and I wouldn’t have traded places with the richest kid in America if it meant I would miss them...
The prospect of law school that so many students ponder has always been a certainty to me rather than a possibility. I devoted my undergraduate course work towards the task of acquiring admissions into Law School, and my professional career towards attending Business School. As a finance major, I quickly realized how nicely the knowledge of law and finance complemented each other...

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