Your Law School Admission Essay should convey PAAC!

The law school admission essay reviewer is going to want to see that you have thoroughly considered and developed your answer to the topic, and further that you properly investigated and prepared for your journey into the legal world. Law school personal statements should convey PAAC:

Perseverance, Attitude, Actions, Congruence.

Perseverance: Tell your reader about some form of adversity that you have encountered in your life. How did that adversity arise? Did you have a chance to prepare for that adversity? Did you originally have doubts about breaking through this adversity? (Including this in your law school admission essay makes you human and relatable to the reader.) What led you to success over this adversity? (If you didn’t succeed, then don’t include it in your law school personal statement. Remember you want to highlight your successes.)

Attitude: Are you mature enough to handle law school? Are you a hard worker? Is doing your job correctly important to you? Demonstrate in your law school admission that you are taking this process seriously; refrain from using slang, humor or sarcasm. However, do not be a robot and make the law school essay seem cold (discussed in more depth below in Congruence).

Actions: Prove to the reader of your law school admission essay that you are ready for the rigors of law school by telling the reader about your actions. Don’t mention things you are going to do in the future. What have you already done to deserve a spot in their incoming law school class? Back up all of your outline points with specific examples of actions and efforts you chose to 1) accomplish a goal, or 2) investigate your decision to attend law school or become a lawyer.

Congruence: Your law school personal essay has to be congruent with who you are. You want to personalize your law school essay and show the reader that you are different vs. the other law school candidates and that you will contribute something beneficial to your law school classes. Moreover, you are selling yourself to the reader of your law school essay. One of the most powerful elements of successful selling is likability… in this case you want your reader to like you. Write with feeling and talk about certain emotions related to adversity, and how you felt when you accomplished a task. Emotions are what your reader will relate to, and you want the reader to see you as a person and not “Applicant 1254”. But be sure to calibrate properly, do not go too far. You want to become human in the eyes of the reader, but not emotionally unstable. One or two references to how you felt when facing adversity and besting same are plenty.

Therefore, putting it all together, your law school admission essay should not just tell the reader why you think you will be a good lawyer; you have to demonstrate some ACTION. Past accomplishments that set you apart for others and are transferable to a law career are ideal. Don’t just say you want to be a lawyer because you like to argue or that you dreamed of same as a small child. Boring! A law school admission essay should show the reader that you put yourself out there… i.e. tell them about how you worked for a lawyer for one summer and how it difficult it was to get that job, but you got it without any help from family etc. Or perhaps you interviewed the top lawyers in your jurisdiction in a given field that interested you. Show the reader you did something! Moreover, law school essays should demonstrate to the reader you have a good ATTITUDE by giving the reader examples of your hard work, determination and PERSEVERANCE through difficult problems at work or school.

In conclusion, tell the reader about your ACTIONS, demonstrate PERSEVERANCE proper ATTITUDE and be CONGRUENT with who you are.


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