Personal Statement

What is the Personal Statement?

According to the Notre Dame Law School website:

"The personal statement should provide the Admissions Committee with insights about the applicant and the applicant's interest in pursuing a legal education. The most effective personal statements also typically provide further insight into the writer's personality, background, professional interests, or matters that are not fully present in other parts of the application." 

Where can I get help with writing the Personal Statement?

In the Fall of 2020, representatives from Notre Dame, Duke, and Villanova Law Schools participated in a panel discussion about writing the Personal Statement and answered questions of students. Below is the link for the Zoom recording of that event, and it is highly encouraged to watch this panel to learn more about the Personal Statement. 

Personal Statement Workshop Recording

Seven Steps to Developing the Personal Statement

  1. Start the personal statement prep journal right away. Jot down legal questions that come to your mind; legal issues that come up in a class discussion; an experience you have that further confirms your reasons for wanting to practice law; etc. When it comes time to draft the personal statement you have so much more to start with than a blank page!
  2. Admissions representatives want to read your authentic voice, not an adjusted blog or personal statement template.
  3. It's fine to start with an interesting story that leads your reader into why you want to practice law; what experience(s) have led you to this decision to practice law.
  4. Usually 1 1/2 to 2 pages; put a header with at least your name, possibly "Personal Statement" and your LSAC number, on each page.
  5. One paragraph is dedicated to why that law school, unless the law school allows an optional essay on "why their law school." This must not be a "fill-in-the-blank" with the law school's name.
  6. Plan for 3-5 drafts of the personal statement.
  7. Schedule a review of your personal statement with the pre-law advisor at Mereulo Family Center for Career Development through Handshake or with the Mendoza College of Business pre-law advisor.