Reading Harvard Law School personal statement samples is a great way to learn how to write your own for your application to law school. As arguably the best law school in the world, Harvard has extremely competitive law school acceptance rates. Your personal statement for law school is a tricky challenge and writing one for Harvard requires superb writing skills and following specific directions. In this blog, our law school admissions consulting experts provide 6 samples to guide you on how to write a personal statement that will impress the admission committee at Harvard Law School.
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Writing a Law School Personal Statement
Writing a personal statement for law school is always a challenging task. Writing a statement for your Harvard Law School application might seem even more intimidating, but reading sample law school personal statements can help you understand what is needed to write your own.
In this blog, we’ve included several Harvard Law School personal statement samples to help students like you prepare to write your own. Reading these samples is useful even if you are preparing an application to other law schools, or if you’re applying for other elite programs like Stanford Business School. Harvard Law School, as one of the best law schools in the world, is selective about its applicants, and has specific instructions in writing a personal statement. So whatever program or school you’re applying to, using guidance from Harvard personal statement samples can help you craft a stellar statement for your application.
Want to learn about the top Harvard law school personal statement examples? Check out this video:
Personal Statement Requirements for Harvard Law School
You can read our Harvard Law School personal statement samples below, but you can also read some Harvard personal statement examples for medical school too, to get more ideas of how to write a fantastic statement.
Harvard Law School Personal Statement #1
There’s more than one way to lose your home. Tragedy is sudden and its traumatic effects linger long after the original incident. But when you feel a slow, steady disconnect between yourself and the place you grew up, it’s another kind of loss.
In recent years, I’ve noticed this loss more than ever before. As we grow up, there’s bound to be some disillusionment. But my hometown is just the same, only some of its uglier sides have been brought into the light.
This pandemic has taken a huge toll, but I’ve never imagined it would stir up hatred and resentment in a place I always considered friendly and open-hearted. When I walked past the first anti-mask protest outside my local legislature, I was surprised by the vehement emotions from the crowd. I didn’t understand their anger over very light restrictions from officials.
After many months, as the protests continued, became more disruptive, I began to understand their frustrations. Every week, I would tune in to hear from the province’s premier what sort of restrictions could be expected or what the policy would be on handling the rising virus cases. Every week was disappointing as officials refused to take a stance or address the growing problem. When the issue became too much to handle, they cracked down too little too late. As a political science student interning as a campaign assistant for my local MLA, I witnessed some of these events up close.
My own frustrations rose. It was strange to me to see so many of the people in my hometown become so filled with resentment. Even more aggravating was that no one in my circle at work seemed to agree on how to handle the situation. There was even disagreement on whether there was a situation still to be dealt with. The lack of clear policy and direction astounded me.
The chaos and division were making my hometown unrecognizable to me. I realized, with a lack of policy and proactive action, individual communities were banding together, further isolating themselves from others to find solutions to the collective mess on their own. Rather than come to a unified, strong solution, it has fractured us. Broken us into multiple dysfunctional pieces where no one is happy with the result.
It was this fracturing that sparked my decision to apply to law school. As I finish my undergraduate studies, I’ve realized the solution doesn’t lie with making speeches. My goal of a career in politics has evolved. I want to be able to defend the policies we’ve put into place to help and protect us, and fight against the policies we should update and abandon. We had and do have legal measures in place to handle these situations—why aren’t we using them? I believe an education in law school will allow me to recenter myself. As a future lawyer, I will be much better equipped to help bring balance back to the people of my community and help them heal from this trauma.
Harvard Law School Personal Statement #2
We all have a childhood memory about our favorite treat. Maybe it’s getting ice cream from the roving neighborhood ice cream truck or stopping at a corner store for an ice-cold popsicle. For me, the sweetest treat was running by a local mom-and-pop bakery after school.
The place was practically an institution. Cupcakes of every flavor, with the fanciest icing and the biggest choice of sprinkles and toppings to go with. It had been in the neighbourhood for 20 years, at least, catering every child’s birthday and local celebration. I went there once a week with my friends.
When I was in high school, I still visited once in a while. Around this time, a bakery in another city became overnight famous for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The internet backlash was incredible. Many establishments, in support of the bakery, began putting up signs in their windows advertising themselves as Christian-owned businesses that wouldn’t cater to the LGBT crowd. A few places in our town did the same.
A year later, I moved away to attend university, and the issue dropped out of the news for a while. Over summers, when visiting home, I would stop in for a delicious cupcake and say hi the owners to make small talk. On one such occasion, I was visiting when a family friend stopped in to make an order for her daughter’s birthday. The owners’ faces dropped the moment they saw my friend, and they busied themselves with other customers.
As I chatted to my friend about her daughter’s birthday and how she wanted to get cupcakes from the local bakery as was tradition, I couldn’t help but notice the cold treatment from the owners. My friend confided to me that they’d refused her service last time because she’d come into the shop with her wife in tow and asked for cupcakes for a birthday celebration. This time, she wanted to try again and ask for generic cupcakes for an event, without her partner there. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. That my friend had to outright lie to be served, and served with subpar service at that, was appalling. After attempting to order cupcakes for the second time that day, my friend was actually told by the owners they would call 911 if she entered their shop again and refused her service. I have not been back to their bakery since.
As the kind of kid who always liked standing up to bullies, I’d thought about being a lawyer before, but experiencing this exchange confirmed my decision for me. My friend should be able to enter a business and be served like any other customer. She was not disrupting their business in any way or infringing on their rights as business owners. She just wanted some personalized birthday cupcakes for her child.
These may seem like small incidents, but together they add up to a disturbing pattern. And unfortunately, there are too many in the LGBT and other marginalized communities that don’t get to have their voices heard on issues like this. I think the world needs more people who are willing to stand with them and speak up about what’s right.
Harvard Law School Personal Statement #3
Coming from a family of immigrants, I’m not a stranger to discrimination, injustice, and hate. I understand the silent inner struggle. My parents left Lebanon in the years after civil war broke out, taking my infant brother with them. I was born once they landed safely in Canada.
My mother was always tight-lipped about home, preferring not to talk about it. My father believed we should know about our culture and history at home. Hearing about the atrocities my parents witnessed and the things they experienced has given me a divided view of my ancestral home. My mother often says how much she wishes to go home again, but she never will.
Growing up, with the weight of my parents’ experiences and memories, I used to think that those ghosts would not follow my family to our new home. For the most part, we were content and peaceful. Yet there have been incidents. I vividly remember the man who shouted at my mother in the supermarket for speaking in her native language, asking me to hand her a can of beans from the shelf. My mother never took us back to that store.
My mother especially has been sensitive to the plights of others like her. She knows that often, no one will speak up or speak out. Some are too afraid. But the one thing we can all do is volunteer our help and our kindness. The past several years, my brother and I have gone with her to our local mosque to help refugee families from Syria acclimate to their new home. Speaking with them, I often see my mother’s face in my mind’s eye. I try to offer my help and compassion, but I know there is only so much I can do. I cannot undo what they have gone through. I cannot fix the injustices that were done.
My father likes to say that we are not alone in our fight. That there are many of us, but we can always use one more soldier of faith and love. This is how I view my dream of being a human rights lawyer. As being a soldier in this enormous fight for peace. I view it as my duty and my privilege to take on some of the work that is so needed. When I think of those, like my mother, who need someone in their corner, who don’t have anyone to defend them, I realize how important this work is. And it is monumental, but we are not alone. I feel that it is my calling to do my part and stand up and speak up.
Want to revisit those Harvard Law School personal statement requirements before reading the rest? This infographic is for you:
Harvard Law School Personal Statement #4
I’ve always been a drama fan. Whether it’s my mother’s latest soap opera, a medical show, a forensics thriller, I always found them entertaining and stimulating to my investigative mind. I was that annoying person who tried to figure out who the killer was before the episode ended. It was secretly on my bucket list to witness a real live courtroom drama.
In reality, being in court is not as dramatic as it’s portrayed on TV. And it’s nowhere near as exciting or fun. When my mother was diagnosed with a rare disorder, we explored all our options. We finally landed on a drug trial that looked promising. We did our research, everything checked out. We were told the initial studies were promising. It was our last option.
Everything started well enough. My mother’s condition improved, and our hopes were rising for the first time in a while. Then came the night we had to rush her to ER after she suffered unforeseen side effects from the trial, and she was left partially paralyzed. The response we got from the drug trial company was disappointing to say the least. They hadn’t disclosed the side effect, and many of the other patients we’d met experienced similar side effects, fortunately none as drastic as my mother’s.
As the case became a lawsuit and we wound up sitting on those hard benches, it was harder to watch the procedure unfolding at the front of the room. I wished I could be the one up there, arguing on behalf of the other patients, telling the jury about their experiences and how these undisclosed side effects had changed my mother’s life forever. There were a lot of emotions I couldn’t process in the courtroom. And the settlement we won wasn’t enough to cover my mother’s medical bills and the care she now needs for the rest of her life at 57.
Watching those old shows, I used to think being a lawyer was a dramatic and exciting job. And I’m sure it can be. But from experience, I now realize how crucial it is, and how serious. You’re not just arguing about the law or questioning witnesses. You’re advocating for people’s lives. It’s definitely not a soap opera. It’s real life.
My mother’s story is something no one else should have to go through. And if they do, hopefully there’s someone there like our lawyer, like me, to care enough to do something about it. I wanted to become a lawyer, so I could stand up and take on what looked like an exciting role. Now, I want to become a lawyer, so I can stand up for others who are suffering and right the legal wrongs they’ve experienced. And nothing could be more exciting than that.
Harvard Law School Personal Statement #5
On cool springtime mornings, when the sun is barely crawling over the horizon and the water is still grey with a streak of fire, you can spot them. It’s easy to mistake them for shadows or ripples on the water, just a trick of the eye. But they’re there. Sometimes you can hear them, crying out to each other with shrill, echoing bursts.
It used to be common to see orcas in the waters around Vancouver Island. Five minutes from where I grew up, I used to be able to walk along the shore and see them every morning. Their fins are so black, they look like the shadows of birds swooping. But then you catch a peeking patch of white when they come out of the water, and you can see them in all their majesty. It’s hard not to be entranced by something that awesome. And, like every other kid in my neighbourhood, I thought about being a marine biologist. Learned everything I could about orcas and humpbacks and all the other fantastic creatures of the island.
As their numbers dwindled over the years, my mind turned to conservation efforts. There’s no shortage of volunteer opportunities for a high school and undergrad wanting to do their part to clean up the oceans. I started volunteering with local groups before finding the Surfrider Foundation, which cleans up shoreline on the island to prevent plastic waste from entering our waters. This experience, while rewarding, hasn’t been without reminders of how important it is.
Having to see an orca slowly dying on a beach instead of slicing through the waves is a harsh reminder of the impact of human pollution on our planet. You can hear the difference in their cries in those moments. And you can see the change in their eyes. Somehow, morning walks on the beach aren’t the same after that.
My desire to protect these beautiful creatures evolved the more I educated myself on current events and kept up to date on what was happening in the news. Last year, there wasn’t much I could do as a conservationist except continue to advocate and perform solo beach cleanups in my backyard since we couldn’t gather together. But after 12 months of this same routine, I went out one chilly April morning and saw a surprise.
I looked out to the bay that had been empty for so long. Sightings were rare now, and I was growing more used to the quiet. But that morning, there was an entire pod of orcas swimming there, their voices loud and echoing. It was no shock that I had to take a minute on the beach before I continued my cleanup.
Without human interference, even with smaller cleanup efforts, they had rebounded just fine on their own. And they weren’t the only ones to return, as humpback whales are becoming more frequently sighted again, too. It reaffirmed for me that conservation was only one goal. Protection for these creatures was still needed. And if this pandemic had taught us anything, it was that we can’t go back to the way things were.
We need to change the patterns and policies we have in place. We need to implement policies of protection. We need to be the voices of these animals. At its heart, I believe this is what environmental law should be. The protection and conservation of our world and all that inhabit it.
Harvard Law School Personal Statement #6
When you grow up in a low-income neighbourhood, you expect to have your stuff stolen sometimes. I have more than one missing backpack. A bicycle my parents saved up 6 months to buy me for Christmas, I never saw again. They’re things, and things get stolen sometimes when you have something others want. I learned to expect this, but I also learned to stand up to thieves when I saw them.
My dislike of thieves is still strong, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized they could steal more than stuff. As a high school student, we were told not to cheat, not to plagiarize. I think probably most of us didn’t understand that. And we certainly didn’t know what copyright law was. When I went to college, the anti-plagiarism slogan was drilled into me again, and I had a passing understanding of intellectual property laws. A case study on stolen intellectual property and corporate spying piqued my interest—it was like one of my favorite heist movies told in the form of a less dramatic, real-life story.
The example went from marginally interesting right back to dramatic when my own work was stolen from me. In my spare time, I’d written a short story for another class submission. I’d, perhaps foolishly, posted it on a student forum to get some feedback. A few weeks later, a friend tipped me off that it had been published in an outside short story contest and even won a prize. Unfortunately for me, I was never able to do much about it. I reported it to the school, and the student who stole my work did face consequences. But my work was never returned, as they had changed just enough from my original story that it still passed the contest’s anti-plagiarism check.
I still write short stories, but I rarely share them with others now. To me, my intellectual work is not just a backpack or a bicycle that can be replaced if you have the money. Writing and other creative works aren’t so easily replicated. And having them stolen is a feeling I’d never experienced before. I wasn’t sure what the proper procedure was for getting my writing protected and what to do if copyright was violated.
I ended up going back to that professor who’d taught the case study, and we discussed copyright laws and intellectual property rights. As he pointed out, there are some gaps there. There are complex situations and arguments to be made. Protecting intellectual property from thieves is a little different than busting someone cutting locks at the bike rack.
The experience made me realize my desire to protect things could have a lot of benefits if I become a lawyer. And it could prevent people from experiencing what I did with my stolen short story. And the truth is, I kind of always wanted to be the cop chasing down the bad guys in those old heist movies.
1. How do I write a personal statement for Harvard Law School?
To write a superb personal statement for your Harvard Law School application, it’s most important to follow the provided directions, answer the prompt if you’re provided with one, and create a well-written essay full of pertinent details.
2. How long does my personal statement need to be?
Harvard Law School asks students to submit a double-spaced, 11-point, two-page personal statement. This equals about 500 words.
3. Does Harvard provide any prompts for personal statements?
Yes; Harvard may provide applicants with a prompt for writing their personal statement. Although these prompts can be vague and open to interpretation, students should focus on answering the question in their own way.
4. What is the Harvard Law School admissions committee looking for in a personal statement?
Harvard’s admissions committee stresses authenticity. They are seeking students who can write clearly about themselves and demonstrate deep thinking. They expect students to provide strong evidence of why they will be a good addition to their school.
5. How competitive is Harvard Law School admissions?
Harvard is one of the most competitive law schools in the world, with a notoriously low admissions rate. The school admitted 12.9% of applicants in recent years. But submitting a well-written personal statement can help improve your application considerably.
6. How do I write a good personal statement for law school?
Law schools are extremely competitive. Writing a good personal statement for law school requires being able to write well, follow instructions, provide solid evidence, and tell a compelling story. And above all, be genuine in presenting yourself and your background.
7. Should I write about why I want to attend Harvard Law School?
Harvard Law School does provide a prompt asking students why they chose to apply. However, if you do write on this prompt, it’s important to give a unique, personal reason why you chose Harvard other than “it’s the best law school in the world”! The admissions committee has heard this many times before, and they are looking for more compelling reasons.
8. Do I need a personal statement for Harvard Law School?
Yes; the personal statement is a required component of your application to Harvard Law School.
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