If you're struggling with your law school personal statement, review these excellent law school personal statement examples from past successful applicants and proven strategies from a former admissions committee member.
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Students are always asking how to write a personal statement for law school, particularly one that stands out from all the rest. After all, advice from most universities is vague at best. Take this zinger from the University of Chicago: “Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you… Just be yourself.” For motivated students with the world at their fingertips, it’s a tough ask to narrow your character down into a few hundred words!
We'll show you an example of a great statement that is “completely individual,” but that also highlights the self-awareness, professional skills, and writing ability that law schools are looking for. Feel free to use it as a template for your own statement (but don’t plagiarize, of course!).
When I was a child, my neighbors, who had arrived in America from Nepal, often seemed stressed. They argued a lot, struggled for money, and seemed to work all hours of the day. One day, I woke early in the morning to a commotion outside my apartment. Police officers were accompanying my neighbors out of the building. They were being deported. In my teens, I was shocked to see that our kind, friendly neighbors had exhausted their last chance to stay in America as they lost a court appeal.
Since that time, I have worked closely with the many immigrant families in my neighborhood, and now university town. I began by volunteering at a local community center. Together with social workers, I served food and gave out clothes to new arrivals. My diligent work ethic led to more responsibility, and I received training in basic counseling techniques, first aid skills and community services. Soon, I was tasked with welcoming new community members and assessing their health and social needs. I heard the many difficult stories of those who had traveled thousands of miles, often through several countries, risking everything to reach a safe, welcoming country. I was proud to contribute in some small way to making America welcoming for these individuals.
The community center is where I had my first formal contact with legal aid lawyers, who were a constant source of knowledge and support for those who needed assistance. I was struck by the lawyers’ ability to explain complex legal processes to nervous and exhausted incomers: law, I realized, was about more than procedure. I decided that I, too, would strive to balance a wealth of technical knowledge with my caring, compassionate personality.
As soon as I enrolled in university, I knew I had the chance to do so. In my very first week, I signed up to volunteer at the university’s legal aid center, where I worked closely with law professors and students on a range of cases. Academically, I have focused on courses, such as a fourth-year Ethics seminar, that would help me develop rigorous critical reasoning skills. More importantly, I knew that, given my experience, I could be a leader on campus. I decided to found a refugee campaign group, Students4Refugees. Together with a group of volunteers, we campaigned to make our campus a refugee-friendly space. I organized a series of events: international student mixers, an art installation in our student commons, and concerts that raised over $5,000 for the charity Refugee Aid. I am proud to say that my contributions were recognized with a university medal for campus leadership.
I have seen time and again how immigrants to the United States struggle with bureaucracy, with complex legal procedures, and with the demands of living in a foreign and sometimes hostile climate. As I plan to enter law school, I look back to my neighbors’ experiences: they needed someone who knew the law, who could negotiate with the authorities on their behalf, who could inform them of their rights—but they also needed someone who would provide a caring and compassionate outlet for their stresses. I know that Townsville University’s combination of academic rigor, legal aid services, and history of graduates entering labor and non-profit sectors will allow me to develop these skills and continue making contributions to my community by advocating for those in need.
To learn more about this technique, check out our video on "showing, not telling":
It focuses on just one theme: justice for immigrants. Every paragraph is designed to show off how enthusiastic the student is about this area (click here to find out why this is so effective).
Personal statements - including those for law school - often begin with a personal anecdote. This one is short, memorable, and relevant. It establishes the overall theme quickly.
This personal statement focuses on showing, rather than telling. The applicant describes specific situations they were involved in which demonstrates the applicant's commitment to law.
It is confident without being boastful—leadership qualities, grades and an award, are all mentioned in context, rather than appearing as a simple list of successes.
It ends with a conclusion that alludes to why the applicant is suitable for the specific school to which they’re applying and points to their future career plans.
Check out our law school personal statement examples video below:
In my home community, the belief is that the law is against us. The law oppresses and victimizes. I must admit that as a child and young person I had this opinion based on my environment and the conversations around me. I did not understand that the law could be a vehicle for social change, and I certainly did not imagine I had the ability and talents to be a voice for this change. I regularly attended my high school classes because I enjoyed the discussions and reading for English and history, and writing came easily to me, but I wasn’t committed to getting good grades because I felt I had no purpose. My mindset changed as I spent time with Mark Russell, a law student who agreed to mentor and tutor me as part of a “high school to law school” mentorship program. Every week, for three years, Mark and I would meet. At first, Mark tutored me, but I quickly became an “A” student, not only because of the tutoring, but because my ambitions were uncorked by what Mark shared with me about university, the law, and his life. I learned grades were the currency I needed to succeed. I attended mock trials, court hearings, and law lectures with Mark and developed a fresh understanding of the law that piqued an interest in law school. My outlook has changed because my mentor, my teachers, and my self-advocacy facilitated my growth. Still, injustices do occur. The difference is that I now believe the law can be an instrument for social change, but voices like mine must give direction to policy and resources in order to fight those injustices.
Early in my mentorship, I realized it was necessary to be “in the world” differently if I were to truly consider a law career. With Mark’s help and the support of my high school teachers, I learned to advocate for myself and explore opportunities that would expand my worldview as well as my academic skills. I joined a Model UN club at a neighboring high school, because my own school did not have enough student interest to have a club. By discussing global issues and writing decisions, I began to feel powerful and confident with my ability to gather evidence and make meaningful decisions about real global issues. As I built my leadership, writing, and public speaking skills, I noticed a rift developing with some of my friends. I wanted them to begin to think about larger systemic issues outside of our immediate experience, as I was learning to, and to build confidence in new ways. I petitioned my school to start a Model UN and recruited enough students to populate the club. My friends did not join the club as I’d hoped, but before I graduated, we had 2 successful years with the students who did join. I began to understand that I cannot force change based on my own mandate, but I must listen attentively to the needs and desires of others in order to support them as they require.
While I learned to advocate for myself throughout high school, I also learned to advocate for others. My neighbors, knowing my desire to be a lawyer, would often ask me to advocate on their behalf with small grievances. I would make phone calls, stand in line with them at government offices, and deal with difficult landlords. A woman, Elsa, asked me to review her rental agreement to help her understand why her landlord had rented it to someone else, rather than renewing her lease. I scoured the rental agreement, highlighted questionable sections, read the Residential Tenancies Act, and developed a strategy for approaching the landlord. Elsa and I sat down with the landlord and, upon seeing my binder complete with indices, he quickly conceded before I could even speak. That day, I understood evidence is the way to justice. My interest in justice grew, and while in university, I sought experiences to solidify my decision to pursue law.
Last summer, I had the good fortune to work as a summer intern in the Crown Attorney’s Office responsible for criminal trial prosecutions. As the only pre-law intern, I was given tasks such as reviewing court tapes, verifying documents, and creating a binder with indices. I often went to court with the prosecutors where I learned a great deal about legal proceedings, and was at times horrified by human behavior. This made the atmosphere in the Crown Attorney’s office even more surprising. I worked with happy and passionate lawyers whose motivations were pubic service, the safety and well-being of communities, and justice. The moment I realized justice was their true objective, not the number of convictions, was the moment I decided to become a lawyer.
I broke from the belief systems I was born into. I did this through education, mentorship, and self-advocacy. There is sadness because in this transition I left people behind, especially as I entered university. However, I am devoted to my home community. I understand the barriers that stand between youth and their success. As a law student, I will mentor as I was mentored, and as a lawyer, I will be a voice for change.
Although the applicant expressed initial reservations about law, the statement demonstrates when the applicant's initial interest in law began and with real examples, shows how that interest turned into dedication and passion.
It is captivating from the beginning and takes the reader on a chronological journey through the applicant's life.
This personal statement focuses on showing, rather than telling. The applicant describes specific causes they were involved with which demonstrate that the applicant is genuinely committed to a career in the law.
It discusses challenges that were faced, such as the applicant's original feeling toward law, and the fact that they lost some friends along the way. However, the applicant shows determination to move past these hurdles without playing the victim.
It ends with a conclusion that alludes to why the applicant is suitable for the specific school to which they’re applying and points to their future career plans.
I walked quickly, head up, arms swinging, breath steady. It was 8:00 am and I was heading to my university business course. I remember the crimson leaves swirling around as I passed a large group of seniors posing for their graduation photos. A flurry of questions filled my head, “What's next for them?” “Where will they go from here?” “What will they become?” As a first-year student watching those graduation photos taking place, I dreamt of the day when I too would graduate and earn my spot as a contributing member of society.
During that summer, I was presented with a very unique employment opportunity. The pastor of a local church received a grant from the government to support a student-run needs assessment of the community services available in the City of Wilmington. I was hired and selected as team lead to interview members of the community and organizations that serve the City of Wilmington to identify a specific area of need in the community. I remember speaking with a young, single mom named Renee. She had spent the last year living on the street after she and her daughter were evicted from their apartment. I listened intently to her struggles and was shocked and angry to learn of the lack of programs and shelters available to single women in the area. Other women echoed Renee's struggle during our interviews and I knew I had to help these women. With the support of the Pastor, I joined forces with the Couchiching Jubilee House, an organization dedicated to providing transitional housing to single women. We designed a program to increase the options available to single women in Wilmington and to help those staying at the Jubilee House attain independence more quickly, allowing a greater number of women to be accepted into the program as successful women moved on. I met with the women every week, forming a support group, and I planned day trips and outings for the women and their children. I also arranged a variety of seminars and events to encourage the development of skills such as budgeting, career development, and leading a healthy lifestyle. The program was a success, with a high participation rate and a great response from the women involved. This experience was monumental as I learned that social injustices do occur, but through advocacy, I could elicit change. I felt accomplished as I witnessed women who had successfully moved on from the Jubilee House come back and volunteer to help those struggling stay motivated. It was inspiring to see the difference we had made in the lives of these women and fuelled my desire for a career focused on making a difference in the community.
This ignited passion for advocacy motivated me to find further opportunities where I could strengthen my knowledge and awareness. As a commerce student majoring in Human Resources Management (HRM), I jumped at the chance to participate in a variety of unique and challenging opportunities. In my second year, I participated in a mock arbitration put on for students by a law firm that represents employees in labor disputes with management. I was assigned to represent an employee in a wrongful dismissal case and spent weeks preparing my argument to persuade the panel. I started to gain confidence, both in my ability to gather evidence and formulate arguments. On the day of the trial, however, I struggled to hold my ground while the panel sliced through the weak points in my argument, interrupted my speech, and pelted me with questions. It was frustrating but also exhilarating. I won my case and felt driven to develop and grow as a lawyer so I could one day effectively represent the people that needed me most.
Having had my share of a small victory, I realized real-world challenges ahead are going to be far more critical and will impact people's lives. I happily reminisced about my case while I donned a black robe and a sash of red and yellow stripes. I walked around campus with my closest friends, posing for graduation photos against a background of fall leaves. I felt the excitement of knowing that it was now my turn to take the path towards becoming a lawyer. I plan to use my law degree to work in the public sector, to strive for justice and positive outcomes for clients who have been treated unfairly. Now, I eagerly await the beginning of the next stage of my life and look forward to my future legal career.
I listened as I heard the front door slam followed by the screech of tires on pavement. I grew up in a household where drug abuse and domestic violence were common occurrences. My father was an addict and often took it out on my mother. I hoped that this time, he wouldn't come back. As a young child, I felt hopeless but was determined to find a way out, a way that could bring real change into my life and my mom's life. My dream of becoming a lawyer was routed in my desire to face the injustices that occurred regularly in my home.
Determined to make my dream a reality, in 2015, I graduated from the University of Arizona's pre-law program with honors. After completing a law clerk program, I was hired by a local law firm as a corporate law clerk. I provided support to the legal services team by preparing correspondence, notices and resolutions, maintaining databases, researching case law, and assembling case materials. I reveled in the fact that my contributions were making such a difference, but I felt the journey I could take as a law clerk always ended short. I wanted to stick with the cases to the very end and I longed for the opportunity to present the evidence and arguments I had spent weeks preparing.
After a year at the law firm, my mother's marriage officially fell apart in 2018 and her financial situation spiraled out of control. I was desperate to find a way to help ease her financial burden so I found an online legal software that would enable me to draft a separation agreement that her lawyer could review. At this time, my mother began renting out two rooms in our home to try and recover from financial losses. Both tenants took advantage of her by refusing to pay rent. As the Residential Tenancies Act protects disadvantaged tenants, they remained protected while my mother, as a disadvantaged landlord, was once again at a loss. I felt angry and frustrated that I could not protect my mom from these hardships, but I knew I could advocate on her behalf. With the help of a paralegal, I stayed up all night preparing the documents required for the evictions. I served them in compliance with the requirements of the act and attended the Landlord Tenant Board hearing. I was elated when we won the case which resulted in two successful eviction orders. I felt proud that my contribution, even though small, was able to reduce my mom's expenses. Being a part of the hearing temporarily filled the void I had been feeling as a law clerk, and I knew I had to continue my legal career as a lawyer.
Although my journey was challenging at the beginning, my personal experiences, coupled with my prior legal education, have allowed me to work with lawyers and paralegals to bring about real change to my familial circumstances. With a determination to serve those that are disadvantaged, I am confident that a law degree will allow me to pay it forward; to do the same for others, address the downfalls of our legal system, and best prepare me for a career of impact.
As a first-generation Canadian, I am the product of a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-religious family. With a Buddhist, Thai mother and a Hindu, Indian father, my childhood was full of discussion, active debate and compromise as we worked through our differing thoughts and opinions. I learned from a young age to be proud of my background and to respect, appreciate and understand contrasting perspectives and differing world-views.
From a young age, I was taught to advocate for vulnerable individuals. I remember canvassing door-to-door with my mother for the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF). This became a yearly tradition and it felt good to be making a small contribution to a good cause. My mother instilled in me the importance of helping others as we progress through life, and experiences like these gave me a strong belief in community and advocacy.
While studying social science at Albany University, I wrote about issues faced by new refugees settling in the US in the school newspaper. During my research, I learned that many families fled without having a chance to pack any of their required belongings. Determined to help, I decided to start a clothing drive for refugees and asked for donations in my column. I was shocked to see the level of contribution and overwhelmed with how many people were willing to give up their personal items to support those in need. Thanks to the help of the Albany student body, I delivered boxes of clothes to the local refugee organization. I witnessed a volunteer handing out clothing to a young family with two children. Seeing their smiles and gratitude as they tried on the new outfits left me joyful and deeply satisfied. I felt proud that so many of us had contributed to making a real difference in our community. Many people had learned of the clothing drive through the school newspaper column and I realized the importance my voice could play in bringing positive change.
With this new impetus, I began volunteering at the University's radio station. Here I had the privilege of hosting a weekly talk show. I used my voice to educate others on serious issues such as homelessness and drug abuse in our community and to lean on others for support in achieving goals. I felt proud to have initiated many successful fundraisers, food, and clothing drives to support underserved community members, but I wanted to do more. I was compelled to learn about how the law could provide support and justice for these disadvantaged groups.
With a fuelling passion to learn, I secured a summer position working as an entry-level legal assistant at a family law firm. In addition to managing case files and helping to prepare legal documents, I had the opportunity to assist lawyers and paralegals in court and at tribunals. I witnessed how strong evidence demonstrated in case law could provide justice and I was fascinated by the passion that drove lawyers to meticulously prepare for cases while building trust and connections with their clients. I quickly understood their dedication as I realized they believed in what they were fighting for, and they too wanted to help those who needed it most.
My experiences have shown me the impact a small contribution can make in bettering the lives of those in need. I want to continue using my voice to invoke positive change and will allow my family cultural experiences to guide me in connecting with those with diverse values, beliefs, and feelings. As a lawyer, I will strive to address issues in the legal system, communicate compassionately, debate respectfully, and bring service and justice to all different types of people in my community.
“Myshka - without effort, you cannot even pull a fish out of the pond.” As first-generation child of Russian immigrants, this was a common proverb in my household. I learned at an early age that everything worth doing requires effort, and I’ve constantly felt driven to “prove” myself and exceed expectations in everything I do. Additionally, I’ve continuously felt as though I didn’t quite fit in with my peers. Everything from my golubtsy lunches to the Russian folklore I grew up on didn’t seem to resonate with anyone outside of my immediate family. This led to feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately, determination. These feelings gave me the energy to do better, to be better, and to take advantage of every single opportunity.
My parents moved our family to Connecticut, from a small village in Sadovaya, to give us a better life in a free and democratic society. As talented cobblers, they established their own shoe repair shop as a means to earn income for our family. I’ve worked in the shop for as long as I can remember, I did everything from stocking shelves to balancing their checkbooks. I’ve seen the business flourish, and I’ve seen the shop struggle to persist under the shadow of large corporations. In one particular instance, an insurance dispute left my parents without a physical place of work after a local flood demolished their shop’s foundation. While the law would have been on their side, they didn’t want to get involved with a legal system they didn’t fully understand. I wanted to help them so badly, to do something but at the age of 17, I was unequipped with the resources to do so. From that moment on, I knew that I would dedicate my future to advocating for small businesses like my family’s. Small businesses, and the people who run them, are the bedrock of our communities and must be protected at all costs. They create jobs, keep our community connected, and solve real-world problems. I endeavor to fight for them, to use all of that energy I’ve been harvesting over the years and become the best support for them that I can be. I strive to fight the good fight.
My family’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t end with my parents’ shop. During my junior year as a software engineering major at UCLA, a friend and I found that there was an industrial need for facial recognition software that could gage user attention, motives, and interests. We immediately went to work on a platform, continuously improving our product over the process of hundreds of successes and failures. We even went as far as to interview with Y Combinator, but ultimately, we could not secure the financial resources required to see our product to market. After almost a year of struggling, we decided to retire our start-up venture and return to our full-time studies. I look at this time as one of the best in my life, I grew so much. I learned to collaborate, to grapple with uncertainty, and to celebrate those small wins and constantly build-up my teammates. I learned that I am at my best when I am designing creative solutions to problems. Being an entrepreneur taught me what it means to be a team player, and that I can persist through any failure.
In life, I have learned so much about the business world. For my next venture, I plan to apply the lessons I’ve learned to a future in law. I want to give a voice to small businesses and start-ups so that they can advocate for themselves. Furthermore, I look forward to working with driven individuals like myself. Law is a community that consistently requires innovation from its people. I look forward to this challenge and plan to bring everything I have.
Why do I want to go to law school? To answer this, we’re going to need to go back to one distinctive elementary school day. A little background first: I was born and raised in a single-parent household on the busy streets of Washington, DC. My mother typically worked evenings and weekends, and it wasn’t uncommon to not know where the next paycheck would come from. All of this pressure manifested itself in me as an excessive amount of uninhibited energy. I took every opportunity to goof off, and our class excursions were no exception. However, one of our trips was unique. We traveled to the National Mall to visit Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner. I remember every detail. His unwavering presence. The court dress. The decorum. The tradition. The knowledge that the important decisions that affect us every day were happening right there. I was silent for the entire trip. Transfixed with the idea of what could be, I decided that I would do whatever it took to earn a place at that table.
With the goal of earning a law degree, I successfully gained entry to the University of Virginia (UVA). This was no simple feat. I was the first in my family to attend university, and with no connections to the legal profession, I was left clueless as to what was involved in the career I was pursuing. I reasoned that participating in moot court would be a good logical first step. Moot court at UVA, much like many other schools, is a public speaking competition. To prepare, we developed legal arguments and practiced our rhetorical skills. At first, the idea of speaking in front of an audience, even that of my peers, was terrifying. Any feelings of inadequacy were further intensified by not knowing if my knowledge of the law was sufficient enough to formulate convincing arguments. However, over time, I slowly learned to trust my instincts and that my input was valuable. When competition season arrived, we went straight to work. There was legal research to be done and oral arguments to prepare, and I resolved to do my best on all my individual assignments. I familiarized myself with what happened in the courts and researched statutes that would reinforce my position. After weeks of intense research and practice, I became conversant with my arguments, the nuances of the case, and I was able to think on my feet. In fact, being in the court felt right. It was where I was meant to be.
Knowing that a career is right for you and preparing for that career are entirely different things. Preparing for law involves preparing for life, and being able to take care of one’s self. It’s commonplace in my program to hear about the need to “hustle”. That the short-term gains are worth the sacrifice of one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. While this is, without a doubt, commendable, I’m slowly learning that preparing for a successful law career will require a generous amount of self-care. I practice self-care through sport. I was accepted to UVA on a partial volleyball scholarship which has given me the financial support I need to study and a community to lean on. It’s also a great resource to release all of that pent-up energy. I’ve learned what it means to earn an achievement through hard work and persistence. I’ve also learned what it’s like to have a second family of people driven towards a single goal. As this year’s team captain, I’ve taken the responsibility to make sure that each and every player has the resources they need to do their best and feel heard. I will forever cherish my time with the UVA volleyball team and take refuge in the activities and the community that gives me strength.
As I reflect on my upbringing and on my time as a student at UVA, I am grateful for all the pieces that fell came together to make me the well-rounded individual I am today. I look forward to translating my experiences in moot court to the real thing, and to working my way up to a seat at one of the tables that will change the world.
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Brené Brown, once said that “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” As someone that has struggled with crippling timidity from a young age, it has taken over a decade to build up the courage required to put myself out there, to pursue the career that has consistently been at the forefront of my ambitions, even if it is the most uncomfortable pursuit imaginable - I have built up the courage to become a lawyer.
Growing up, I typically sought the company of the rambunctious Huckleberry Finn, the bookish Hermione Granger, and anything I could find from the minds of Sylvia Plath or the Brontë sisters. Over time, I longed to share my ideas about literature and philosophy with like-minded individuals and to find a way to utilize my keen sense of characterization and justice. In my freshman year as a Berkley English major, I decided to start a blog. Putting my ideas onto paper was difficult. Taking this a step further by publishing my writing online, where it could be taken-apart and scrutinized, was almost unbearable. However, contrary to all of my worst fears, I found a community full of warm feedback and genuine interest in what I had to contribute. I found myself energized, and ready to continuously challenge myself to make each piece my best one yet. I wrote about literature, art, my own personal struggles, my achievements, and my plans for the future. I found a community of like-minded individuals, and confidantes that supported me. It was through this blog that I gained the confidence to fully commit myself to the pursuit of a law degree.
I knew that to practice law, I would need to get out of my comfort zone even further and learn to effectively articulate my ideas, vocally. To challenge myself in this pursuit I signed myself up for the debate society during my sophomore year at UC Berkley. The first meeting with the team was excruciating, I felt my face flush, and my voice quaver to the point of incomprehensibility. Nevertheless, I endured week after week, feeling my confidence improve with each encounter. By the end of the year, my speech was unrecognizable. By the end of my junior year, my team went all the way to the Universities Debating Championships where we took third place. My experience with the debate team has completely transformed me as an individual, and I look forward to challenging myself further.
Another challenge, and opportunity to develop professionally, came to me in the form of an internship at a local Bay area law firm. In this position, I took notes during meetings and briefings, ran various errands for my superiors, and I even had the opportunity to help prepare some court materials. I was thrilled to notice that some of the most respected lawyers in the firm were not the most gregarious or outgoing people in the room, they were the ones that spoke very little. The thing that set them apart was that they were exceptional listeners. They succeeded because those around them, and those that they served, felt heard. The funny thing is, when they did speak – everyone listened. I learned not only the importance of active listening but also that there are respected lawyers in the field that I could look up to, lawyers with personalities just like my own.
Throughout my life, I have grappled to find the courage to let myself be heard, to be seen. I have come a long way and I look forward to finding out what new challenges the field of law has in store.
The old adage “life is what happens to you when you are making other plans” was most true for me in the spring of 2020. Despite the overwhelming evidence of a growing global pandemic, I had a plan to intern with an Indian NGO in Kolkata where I would contribute to their mediation efforts between tribal communities Assam. Contributing to public efforts is of the utmost importance to me and my family. My parents, two prominent Toronto lawyers, and philanthropists, instilled in me the importance of giving back to underserved communities. However, the impossibility of international travel became increasingly evident, and the internship of my dreams was ultimately canceled. Giving up the opportunity left me feeling frustrated and unfulfilled, but I was determined to find a way to contribute to populations abroad, just like my parents. Even if it meant that I will not be able to leave home to do so.
Growing up, there was no shortage of people around me that were willing to put in the effort to help me achieve my goals. I believe that every individual deserves to have this, so I make a point to take every opportunity to pay it forward. Notably, my longest-standing contribution has been in volunteering with Toronto’s underprivileged children’s communities as a tutor for math and the languages. In many ways, I feel like the children do more for me than I do for them. The most fulfilling part of the work has been in seeing them gain the confidence to succeed, and see them reach their ambitions by following the plans we’ve arranged for them. Through volunteering, I have discovered that helping others, through even the simplest of gestures, takes absolutely nothing away from myself and should generally be encouraged. I look forward to being able to use my expertise in the law to help those in underserved communities, both locally and abroad.
Being able to empathize with those struggling academically comes from a place of experience. When I received my first set of grades at the University of Toronto, I quickly felt a large range of emotions. Frustrated with my own incompetence, devastated that I hadn't achieved my goal and, most jarring of all, terrified that maybe I do not have what it takes to become a lawyer. However, years of tutoring taught me that it is important to let yourself feel the emotions, pick yourself up, and try again. From this setback, I began to understand where my strengths and weaknesses were, and what I needed to do to improve for the future. I made sure to attend every class, I made a schedule and stuck to it, and I completely overhauled the way that I studied. By the time I received my grades back for my second semester, I was already much closer to reaching my target GPA. I not only improved my grades, but I also became a better tutor and a better person. It is my indisputable belief that growth happens in times of failure, and I am appreciative of how this experience shaped me into the person I am today.
Learning how to deal with failure has made me learn the importance of determination and grit. Following the devastating blow in the spring of 2020, I took it upon myself to continue to search for the perfect internship. In only a few short weeks, I was delighted to learn that an opportunity to intern remotely in the field of human rights was still possible through a local NGO. I started work immediately and, thus far, I have conducted legal research to facilitates access and platforms for marginalized groups in Venezuela to engage with human rights systems and hold their government accountable. This experience taught me that one does not need to be physically abroad to partake in meaningful work and I look forward to seeing where the rest of the summer will take me.
My whole life has been centered around doing the most good. As a strong advocate and member of the effective altruism community, I’ve constantly sought out finding a career that allowed me to contribute something meaningful to the world. I considered government policy, medicine, and even computer programming before finally settling on the career that best suits my interests, personal attributes, and gives me the best career capital to make the biggest impact. I finally settled on law.
My first experience with the field of law came when I was asked to be part of an awareness campaign for a pro bono initiative. We worked to find members of the community who needed free legal aid in Calgary, AB. I quickly discovered that the practice of law is not the superficial profession that the media often portrays it to be. Law is about real people, and upholding their rights. The lawyers I worked with performed their duties with the utmost integrity, they showed compassion for their clients, the volunteers, and the community at large. I was equally surprised to learn that I looked forward to our conversations. Talking about our clients and the work we were doing brought out a sense of comradery and I found myself immersed in the cases, their outcomes, and the whole process. By the end of the campaign, I knew that I needed to practice law and that it would be the way I could contribute to society.
At the time, I was also completing a Master’s Programme in International Relations at NYU. As part of the program, I wanted to learn more about the impact that international organizations had at the intergovernmental level. Thus, I was thrilled to be offered an internship with the United Nations (UN) Peacebuilding Support Office at UN headquarters. During this internship, I supported the Peace Building Commission (PBC) by drafting background analyses, coming up with talking points, and writing meeting summaries. Notably, I was able to support the drafting of the PBC funding strategy for the 2020-2024 initiative. This experience taught me about the relationships between the UN and its’ Member States, and how the whole process worked. My superiors also gave me the trust and freedom to be creative and think outside of the box in order to adapt to changing situations. Furthermore, I was able to see the impact of the department of legal affairs on the UN community. They ensured that our department could work within an established legal framework so that together they would have a global impact. I was thoroughly appreciative of the opportunity to learn about global affairs from the perspective of the UN, and what I can do to contribute.
Ultimately, I believe that law is a field where one has the career capital to have an impact and make changes to the world around them. It’s a field that allows one to advocate for the common man, play a role in big-international decision making, and to do the most good.
Every pre-law student blames their lack of success on the large number of applicants, the heartless admissions committee members, the high GPA and LSAT score cut offs. Check out our blog on law school acceptance rates to find out more about the admission statistics for law schools in the US. Having taught more than a thousand students every year, I can tell you the REAL truth about why most students get rejected:
Most students don't do any form of planning for their applications. They scramble to complete their applications at the last minute, leaving their applications rushed and underwhelming. If you're applying to law school in Ontario, check out our OLSAS application blog for everything you need to know.
Most students don't formulate a strategy on WHAT to include in their personal statements, let alone HOW to present their ideas to their audience effectively. They just sit down and write their personal statement in one go.
Most students don't do any form of proofreading; if they do, they only revise their statement once or twice before throwing in the towel and declaring it "good enough". Quite frankly, "good enough" doesn't get you into law school.
Most students don't ask for expert feedback. They don't seek out someone who can provide them with a second set of critical eyes on their essays, because some random person in an online forum told them that they don't need professional editing, not realizing that everyone needs an editor. Even Hemingway had an editor. If Hemingway needed an editor, trust me, so do you (and so do I, for that matter!).
And this gets them in a vicious cycle of self-condemnation and rejection letters.
The most savvy and successful students normally escape the rejection letter by:
- Planning in advance
- Proofreading their personal statement multiple times
- Seeking expert feedback
If you do that, you can avoid the dreaded rejection letter, the ensuing headache, and the waste of time and money associated with the re-application process. If you're looking for even more advice, check out our blog for additional law school personal statement tips.
Right now, you have a big opportunity to schedule your FREE initial consultation with one of our admissions experts to find out how we can help make your application stand out before it's too late.
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About the Author:
Dr. Sarah Lynn Kleeb is an admissions expert at BeMo. Dr. Kleeb holds a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from the University of Toronto where she examined the connections between Critical Theory and Liberation Theology. She brings 10 years of experience teaching, advising, and mentoring undergraduate students to her role as an admissions expert, having taught extensively at UofT.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
*Please note that our sample essays are the property of BeMo Academic Consulting, and should not be re-used for any purpose. Admissions committees regularly check for plagiarism from online sources.