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Ll.m. applications: the personal statement.

LL.M. Applications: The Personal Statement

The personal statement can be a daunting part of the LL.M. application process—what to write, and how to write it? Here are some tips from admissions officials to help guide you through the process.

While it’s only one of many elements going into an LL.M. application, the personal statement can be a tricky one to master. 

Many law schools are not very specific about the requirements for the personal statement, aside from word count. Georgetown University Law Center, for instance, asks applicants to describe their background, goals, and reasons for applying to the program; Stanford is looking for information about the applicant’s experience in legal practice, interest in graduate study, and professional goals.

“To be honest we are purposefully broad in our description because we want applicants to have the freedom to express themselves in whatever way they see fit,” says Justin Swinsick, director of graduate admissions at Georgetown. 

“However, applicants should think about what they would say to the admissions committee if they were sat in front of them and had the chance to highlight the very best things about themselves and how the program and school will take them where they want to go.”  

Other law schools are more explicit; Northwestern asks applicants to answer two essay questions, while Harvard requires a two-part statement—one addressing a theoretical framework or analysis to a current legal problem, and another that says something about the applicant’s motivations for the LL.M. and how it relates to his/her future plans.

This year, University of Pennsylvania also updated its personal statement requirement to include a bit more guidance, calling for a statement of no more than two pages, and specifically recommending that the applicant avoid repeating his/her CV. 

For some schools, like Trinity College Dublin, the personal statement is optional; around 10 to 15 percent of each year’s pool of applicants sends one as part of their applications, according to Kelley McCabe, senior executive officer of the School of Law at Trinity.

“We’re looking for further insight into the applicant's current research interests and their career plans and goals for the future,” she says. “But we focus mostly on academic transcripts, the two academic references and the applicant's CV.”

“These documents give us a holistic picture of the applicant.” 

Tackling the LL.M. personal statement

One of the cornerstone pieces of advice is: be specific. Admissions officers read many personal statements, and you want yours to stand out in their memories. 

“Spend some time really thinking about why you want to get an LL.M.” and why that specific program fits this reason, says Elise Kraemer, director of graduate programs at UPenn.

Be honest and open about yourself; you could be moved to write about an inspirational figure in your life, an important event, or even about the school itself—which is fine, as long as you direct the statement back to you, Georgetown’s Swinsick recommends. 

Kraemer agrees: “Although a personal and/or family stories can be moving, if you use one, be sure that it directly supports your application.”

Sometimes, a well-justified directness can pay off. Swinsick says one applicant start her statement by writing that she wanted to pursue an LL.M. in order to make as much money as possible. “This was certainly an unusual way to start and played into negative stereotypes of why one pursues legal education,” Swinsick recalls. But she went on to tie this into how she planned to leverage her legal studies, career and financial success into bringing help and visibility to problems plaguing her community in a developing country.  

“It was very well written, highlighted her best qualities, and tied together why she wanted to pursue the program and why Georgetown’s program in particular would help her achieve her goals.” 

Mistakes to avoid in your personal statement

While it’s a good thing to be personal, don’t overdo it either. “Some of the more colorful statements I have read entail very personal details that usually would only be shared with clergy, partners or close personal friends,” Swinsick says.

And polish is key: proofread, check your word limit, and make sure it looks as professional as possible. For Kraemer, a minor typographical or grammatical error—especially from non-native speakers—is not a deal-breaker, but a statement that is “poorly written or contains unprofessional content” can be. 

“Take some time to work on it,” Kraemer says. “Don’t leave it to the last minute.”

And the resounding consensus from every law school is: always, always check the name of the school at the top of the page. Every year, every admission committee receives personal statements addressed to the wrong school. “I tend to be relatively forgiving on this one, but it never looks good,” Kraemer says. 

How much does your personal statement matter?

The value of the personal statement can vary from school to school, but in general, a strong one can significantly bolster the merit of an application. 

“It’s the only communication that we receive in the applicant’s own voice and is one of the best ways for the committee to ‘get to know’ the person applying,” says Kraemer. “It is not uncommon for a personal statement to have a significant impact on how we evaluate a candidate—a particularly strong or weak statement can be determinative.”

It can also afford an opportunity for the applicant to explain or put in context to the admissions committee a negative element of their application—a poor grade or language score, for instance. And this effort will show; an applicant that puts time and thought into their personal statement shows that they are serious about pursuing graduate legal education, Swinsick says.

“A personal statement is just that—personal,” says McCabe. “It gives the admissions committee a sense of who the applicant is so, when writing it, they should be true to themselves.”

LL.M. personal statement quick tips

  • Be specific. Address why you want to get an LL.M. and your career goals.
  • Be honest, about your background and the reasons for applying for an LL.M.
  • Address any negative elements of your application, such as a low TOEFL or ITELTS score.
  • Make sure to proofread your personal statement and check your word count.
  • Make sure that you've addressed the statement to the right law school.

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Writing A Law School And LLM Personal Statement

Find your perfect llm program search our database of over 2500 courses.

LLM Personal Statement

A great LLM (Master of Laws) personal statement should be persuasive, concise and easy to read:

Persuasive – you want the admissions board to choose you over the competition.

Concise – you need to compress information about your past, present and future into a limited word count.

Easy to read – you don’t want the admissions board to give up on it halfway through.

Why is your LLM personal statement so important?

Your LLM personal statement is a vital part of the process of applying to an LLM course, and together with your academic record and relevant work experience , it is a key element to the success of your LLM application.

It is crucial that you allow yourself enough time to craft the perfect LLM personal statement, one that showcases all your skills, qualifications, experience and personality.

1. An LLM personal statement explains gaps

If you've got a few spaces in your work history or a job that ended poorly, then the LLM personal statement is your chance to explain what happened and what you have learnt from the experience. An unhappy or bad experience can be a significant learning experience and might have provided you with additional skills or motivations that will make you able to contribute to the course in a unique or significant way. Many law schools encourage students to explain any career gaps.

2. Provides insight into motivation

It's important that your motivations for applying for and doing the LLM course match with the law school's ethics and ethos. Your LLM personal statement is your chance to show that you are a good match for the law school and the LLM course. Explain your reasons for wanting to do this course and why you are passionate about the law or the particular part of the law you are planning on studying. You can show what you will bring to the course and why you will be an asset to the law school.

3. Make yourself stand out

A popular LLM course at a prestigious global law school will receive many more applications than spaces on the course. Everyone applying to that course will have an excellent academic record and a wealth of relevant work experience. Your LLM personal statement might make the difference between being accepted onto the course and not. Make yourself stand out with the language you use, but don't overdo it. Explain the finer details of your experience and why you've chosen to attend this course at this particular law school.

4. Important part of the law school’s decision making

Almost 90% of universities use the LLM personal statement to make their decision about applicants. This means the time you spend on your personal statement is crucial. Try and get some other people to read through your statement and offer their advice/opinion, especially if you know someone who has completed the LLM course recently. Make sure that your personal statement is your own work and that any revisions you make on the recommendation of others don't change your personal statement beyond recognition and lose the essence of you.

5. Proves you can follow instructions

There will be guidelines and advice provided by the law school or university to help you write your LLM personal statement. Use these instructions to prove that you can follow directions. It's also an opportunity to show off your written English skills, this could be particularly relevant if English is not your first language, and your English test scores are not what you would like them to be.

6. The first chance for potential professors to ‘meet’ you

Your LLM personal statement is your introduction to your future law school professors and the people who you might connect and reconnect with throughout your legal career. View your personal statement as the first introduction to this new part of your future network.

What information should you include?

LLM Personal Statement

Key things to bear in mind to achieve success when crafting the perfect LLM personal statement are:

1. Conciseness:  whatever you do, you MUST remain within the institution’s word limit. Legal professionals are expected to be able to summarise masses of information without losing any essential facts, and your personal statement is an indicator of your ability to do this.

2. Language:  don’t use complicated words in an attempt to impress. As a legal professional, you will be working with clients who may not understand technical terms so your ability to communicate in a formal yet simple style will not go unnoticed.

3. Format:  keep your LLM personal statement uncluttered, with lots of spacing and white space, to make it easy to read. It's important for the document to look good as well as to read well.

4. Structure and flow:  your intro could summarise the reasons why granting you a place is the right decision for the admissions board to make. The main body should be broken up into your past (academic, professional and personal info; relevant experience, your interests and motivations and what led you to the point of applying), your present (all the details about the LLM; why you chose it at that particular institution, which modules you’re really keen on) and your future (what you plan to do after you complete the LLM). Your conclusion is a summary of your main points and should end on a memorable note. After you’ve written your first draft, print it out and review it to see if it makes sense, making notes in the margins along the way as if you were an editor editing another writer’s work.

LLM personal statement top tips

Here are some tips and strategies to creating the perfect LLM personal statement.

Academic history

Discuss what you studied as an undergrad and whether the LLM is a natural progression or would represent a change in career path. Do you have a first degree in law and are you working your way towards a PhD in Law and a future in legal academia? If your first degree was not in Law, how would the LLM complement it; do you have a first degree in Economics and want to do an LLM in International Business Law for example?

Make it personal

Mention what interests and motivates you, and what has happened in your life that put you on the path to applying for an LLM at that institution. If you’ve chosen a small college, explain why you prefer institutions with a small population. If you’ve opted for a large law school, let the admissions board know why you thrive in a busy environment. It’s important to explain your preferences so the admissions board gets a sense of who you are and why you fit in with their law school. Include relevant information – like volunteer experience or extra-curricular activities – that have inspired you with your choice. The admissions team want to understand the personal reasons why you want to study their LLM course.

Don’t make claims you can’t support

Since you are applying for a postgrad legal program you should be familiar with making persuasive arguments. As legal arguments are evidence-based, be prepared to apply the same approach in your statement by avoiding unsubstantiated claims. If you state that certain modules are ‘relevant to your career’, state specifically how. Don’t leave it to the admissions board to try to work it out for themselves. If you claim that you are a top student, highlight your grades even though you will submit transcripts as part of your application. Use clichés like ‘leadership skills’ only if you can give examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits. And don't forget that if you are subsequently called in for an LLM interview, this personal statement will probably be used as the basis for the interview, so always tell the truth!

Don’t just write it, craft it

When it comes to the actual writing of your LLM personal statement be prepared to write, edit and rewrite your personal statement several times. Remember all those essays you wrote in your undergrad days? Well, the same rules of presentation, structure and flow apply to your personal statement; the only difference being that this time, the essay is about you. And once you think you’ve written the perfect LLM personal statement get a trusted friend or colleague to read it through to offer you constructive criticism and to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.

Relevant referees

Pick a referee who can provide you with a good academic reference, so choose a tutor and lecturer who will remember you from your undergraduate studies. Including your employer as a referee is a good idea if your current job is relevant to the course, or include someone you did relevant work experience for. You will need to ask potential referees before you submit your application.

10 things to avoid in your LLM personal statement

Here are the top 10 things that you should avoid doing when writing your LLM personal statement.

Including a mini dissertation – you are meant to explain your interest in the area that you wish to specialise in, which doesn’t mean writing an essay on your proposed dissertation topic! That can wait till you start your LLM program and are asked to submit a thesis proposal.

Underselling yourself – rather than blaming yourself later on for missing out on listing achievements from your work experience or undergraduate study, make it a point to highlight all the relevant information; ranging from past work experience on specific projects, skills acquired and applied, publications, moot courts, etc.

Being ambiguous – all your efforts will be futile if you didn’t make your personal statement read clearly with details relevant to the LLM course that you are applying for and clearly stating your interest for that course.

Writing too much or too little – usually universities provide the word count/A4 page limit for the LLM personal statement. Some students will have a tendency to write less hoping that the CV will cover all their academic and career highlights, whilst others may be tempted to write too much describing everything they have done in all possible detail. The sensible approach would be to mention enough to match the word count/page limit and to highlight only what is important to put your case forward.

Obsessing with templates – it might be a common trend to scour the internet for templates on personal statements but be warned that some may have been copied off the others and may all end up looking very similar. Your LLM personal statement should be unique and well drafted to make logical sense to the reader.

Making stupid mistakes – sometimes we tend to overlook minor mistakes that can have significant bearing on the outcome of our application. Things such as addressing the statement to the wrong university (or with a wrong date/address) can give a very bad first (and almost certainly final) impression!

Doing it last minute – our general advice when it comes to university applications is to never leave anything to the last minute. Some students tend to work hard on their personal statement redrafting it a 100+ times, while others only pick up this part of the application on the last day of its submission. Time must be given to this vital part of your application so that any mistakes including ones listed here can be corrected in good time.

Repeating information – although you may feel that you are trying to make a point by explaining a situation in different ways, university admissions staff may see this as a repetition of information that they don’t need to know. Once you make a point about a particular skill/achievement, move on to the next piece of information to show varied experience, knowledge and interest.

Name dropping – in professional services we tend to mention names of high-profile clients or popular legal representatives to get ahead of competition through our application. This may work in a casual networking setting, however when it comes to application processes for admissions, the focus is usually around your contribution to legal matters, your ambition to progress your career further through further studies, rather than just throwing some names in!

Making grammatical errors – although legal eagles tend to be careful on this one, it is best to proofread your LLM personal statement several times before handing it in. Ideally, you should share it with friends or colleagues to spot any noticeable errors.

Writing a personal statement – real-life examples

With all this key information on writing the perfect LLM personal statement – explore our law expert’s analysis of real applications to help you craft the ideal introduction and give yourself the best chance of getting onto your dream LLM program.

Introduction to our law admissions expert

LLM Personal Statement Robynn Aliveri

To help you achieve the success you deserve with your LLM applications we have taken four genuine (and successful) LLM personal statements from four genuine LLM students and asked LLM admissions expert Robynn Allveri to fine-tune them to make them as good as they possibly can be. To put it simply, our admissions expert cast her (very) critical eye over all four law school personal statements – that had already proved successful – and offers advice on how they can be improved. She highlights where the LLM personal statements let the candidates down, and of course also shows where and why they enable the candidate’s qualities to really shine through.

Our genuine LLM personal statements have been written by both international students and home students, applying to law schools in the UK, the USA and Canada. This unique selection of real law school personal statements will give you real insight into how to make you own law school personal statement a success. Armed with our knowledge of the dos and don’ts of LLM personal statement writing and unique admissions tips , you should be just a hop, skip and a jump away from LLM admissions success!

So here is our real-life guide on how to write a law school personal statement to guarantee success with your LLM application .

sample of personal statement for llm

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How to Write a Great LLM Personal Statement

Close up of hands typing on a laptop

It is a big decision to pursue an LLM or Master of Laws after completion of your LLB. However, the decision to apply is not the final hurdle you have to face. Part of applying is writing the perfect LLM personal statement to persuade admissions tutors at your chosen institution that you are a suitable candidate to undertake the programme. So, to help get started, the following tips will provide you with a helpful checklist to set up the foundation of your statement.

Be Specific

One of the purposes of taking a very specific masters programme such as one in finance law or criminal justice is to allow you to take your knowledge and understanding of the sector to a deeper level. Therefore, in your personal statement you have to be really clear and specific about why you want to spend a year, or two, delving so deeply into one particular area of the law. Fortunately, if you have chosen a very niche masters you probably already have a decent list of reasons for your interest. On the other hand, if you have chosen to apply to a more general LLM programme, you still need to demonstrate to tutors why you want to take your academic study of the law in general beyond your LLB and how the particular LLM programme you have applied to can help you do that.

Provide Evidence

This tip is inextricably linked to the first. You can argue that your passion for X area of the law is why you are the perfect LLM candidate all day long but it is unlikely to mean anything if you cannot provide evidence that this is true. It is vital to point to experiences in your undergraduate degree, in your wider life, relevant work experience or extracurriculars which have contributed to why you want to pursue this LLM. It is also crucial when providing evidence that you are honest about your reasons. This will be much more persuasive than vague or made up reasoning.

Look to the Future

It is really important to include why exactly, in your envisioned career path, an LLM is the vital next step for you. An LLM is not a required qualification for many legal careers, therefore admissions tutors will be interested to know why pursuing their LLM programme is right for you at this stage in your career over and above another route. Also, highlighting your key interests and how they link in with your future goals is really helpful to portray how an LLM can help you achieve them.

Check, Check and Check Again

Like your undergraduate personal statement and any assignment, work experience or job application you have ever written in the past, you need to make sure you go through your LLM personal statement with a fine-toothed comb before submission. You need to go through a checklist of important factors to make sure the content of your statement is not let down by minor errors.

Have other people check it for you. This is vital to prevent repetition, ensure clarity and to stamp out any glaringly obvious spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Not only this but if, after reading, a layperson is convinced and could explain why you are a perfect candidate for this LLM, then you are well on your way to convincing an admissions tutor of the same fact.

As above – spelling, punctuation and grammar are really important. So triple check you have not missed any errors. This means more than using the spellcheck function on Word. Grammarly is a great tool for this.

Stick to the Word Count

Make sure you do not exceed the word limit. If you have, your statement will not flow as well and it is unlikely that the admissions tutor will read the additional words, that’s if the application portal even lets you submit if you are over. It is always better to remain simple and concise than to overdo it with unnecessary explanations or flowery language.

Words: Alicia Gibson

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The Personal Statement – A Key part of any Law School Application


A good personal statement for an LLM application should be well-written, clear, and concise. It should explain your reasons for pursuing an LLM, your career goals, and how the program will help you achieve them. Here are some tips to help you write a strong personal statement:

Explain your motivation: Your personal statement should begin by explaining why you want to pursue an LLM and how it fits into your overall career goals. Provide specific examples and explain how the program will help you achieve your goals.

Highlight your qualifications : Use your personal statement to highlight your qualifications and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the program. Mention any relevant work experience, internships, research, or volunteer work that you have done.

Show your passion : An LLM is a postgraduate degree, so the admissions committee will be looking for candidates who are genuinely interested in the field and have a clear understanding of what they are applying for. Show your passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter and the field of law.

Be specific: Mention any specific areas of law that you are interested in, and explain how the LLM program will help you gain expertise in those areas.

Be honest: Be honest and authentic in your personal statement. Don’t exaggerate your achievements or qualifications, and don’t make false claims. The admissions committee will be able to tell if you’re not being truthful.

Show your personality: This is an opportunity for you to showcase your personality and stand out from other applicants. Use a unique writing style and express yourself in an engaging and compelling way.

Proofread: Make sure to proofread your personal statement multiple times before submitting it. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure that your statement is well-organized and easy to read.

Follow guidelines: Make sure to follow the guidelines provided by the university, such as the word count, and format.

In conclusion, a good personal statement for an LLM application should explain your motivation, highlight your qualifications, show your passion, be specific, honest, show your personality, proofread and follow guidelines. Remember that the personal statement is an important part of your application, and it’s your chance to make a good impression. Take the time to craft a well-written, thoughtful, and compelling statement that will set you apart from other applicants.

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Law personal statement

An LLM can make you stand out from the competition thanks to your enhanced subject knowledge and industry contacts. Find out what to include in an LLM personal statement

When writing a personal statement for an LLM you'll need to:

  • state why you wish to study this particular LLM subject. Its undertaking will require considerable time and expense so be clear in your motivation.
  • outline how your experience to date, both academic and non-academic has prepared you for the LLM and how this indicates that you will be successful on the course.
  • link your study of the subject to your future career goals and state how completion of the course will support your achievement of this.

This example should be used for guidance only. Copying any of this text could significantly harm your chances of securing a place on a course.

LLM personal statement

My primary motivation for applying for the LLM in Criminal Litigation is to enhance my existing subject knowledge and to gain a solid foundation from which to build a career as a criminal defence solicitor. I have not yet applied for a training contract, as I have a love of both academic study and the subject and wish to pursue this further, as well as enhancing my career prospects. Throughout the study of my undergraduate LLB I strove to maintain consistently high grades in each module and I believe my achievement of a first is testament to my commitment, which I intend to take forward when studying the LLM.

My interest in law is longstanding and was first piqued through a work experience placement with a local solicitor while still at school, where I had the opportunity to witness a criminal case first hand. Through attending court with an outdoor clerk I gained an insight into the workings of the court and into how cases were managed and argued. I was drawn towards this type of work due to its human aspect - the importance of trust between lawyer and client and the life implications for the client depending on the outcome of the case. I built on this experience by attending the public gallery of the Crown Court in my own time and developing a greater understanding of how the criminal justice system functions through observing proceedings and speaking to solicitors and barristers whenever possible. It was this experience that prompted me to study an LLB.

While my experience of the criminal sector provided my initial motivation, on the LLB I also felt it was important to take modules that would allow me to develop skills and experience across a range of legal sectors, to test the area I was most suited to in terms of interest and aptitude. I undertook Business Law and International Commercial Law, as well as modules in Employment Law, Family Law and Criminal Litigation and Evidence. I enjoyed the technical challenge of the commercial work and successfully applied to complete a work experience placement with a commercial law firm. There, I sharpened my legal skills by engaging in tasks such as researching relevant law, drafting a memo to a trainee solicitor and drafting a letter of advice to a mock client. I also gained an appreciation of the daily duties of a solicitor through shadowing them at meetings and reviewing contracts. I gained an insight into how corporate lawyers' relationships with professional clients have a far greater commercial focus than those of lawyers working with the individual.

I sought to build on these combined experiences by gaining as much practical experience as I could to gain real-world insight and skills with clients in my own right. I volunteered as a Gateway Assessor with Citizens Advice, which gave me excellent experience in how to manage an interview with a client using an appropriate professional manner and identify the pertinent legal issues and draft advice. It also gave me practical experience of building relationships with often vulnerable people, from all walks of life and the ability to speak to them in a way that they understood. 

Further to this, I have undertaken several pro-bono opportunities. These include working on projects such as Street Law, teaching young people about legal issues like online privacy and rights regarding stop and search, through practical and interactive methods. I have also taken part in the Schools Consent Project, leading workshops around the legal definitions of consent and assault in secondary schools and youth groups. Through these roles I further developed my ability to effectively communicate with audiences from a range of backgrounds and to adapt my approach according to their needs. I believe this ability, together with my deep interest in the subject, will stand me in good stead when working with clients involved in the criminal justice system.

In addition to academic work, I have a number of achievements in the field of music. I have obtained Grade 8 standard in both cello and violin and as part of my university's Symphony Orchestra I have played to audiences in Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as around the UK. I have achieved this while maintaining excellent grades in my undergraduate studies.

My goal is to work as a criminal defence solicitor in the future. I have chosen the route of solicitor, as opposed to barrister, as I place great value on the strong relationship built with a client and have the intention, once qualified, to undertake Higher Rights of Audience qualifications to allow me to advocate in court and see a case through to its conclusion. I see the achievement of the LLM in Criminal Litigation as a crucial step in gaining the enhanced knowledge to really excel in this role. My career aims beyond the course would be to secure a training contract with a Tier 1 ranked firm for crime, ideally in London or the South East, where I have strong personal roots.

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  • Learn about  personal statements for postgraduate applications .

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Inside the Black Box

Real Talk: The Personal Statement

For our first entry in the Re al Talk series, Associate Director Nefyn Meissner shares his advice on approaching the personal statement. 

Some applicants feel the need to start their personal statements with a bang by throwing in a colorful personal story or dramatic hook to grab the Admissions Committee’s attention right from the start. I, for instance, could spend the next page regaling you with a pithy vignette from my prior work in elementary education, opening with a vivid description of the time a lively Pre-K student chased me across the classroom with a pair of safety scissors after I tried to correct his attempt at identifying the letter Q. (He was adamant that it was the letter O…just fancier). Instead, I will start this post by reassuring you that our best applicants most often open their essays by making a clear statement in their opening paragraphs. Such essays start strong, dig deep, and end when they should end. These essays do so with a dash of authenticity and brevity. It is my hope that this short essay does just that.

Putting aside debates over whether or not the letter Q is indeed just a more dressed-up version of the letter O, the former elementary educator in me would be remiss if I did not remind you that the two most important things to do when writing an essay are to follow instructions and check your work. This is doubly true for those of y’all applying to law school. A jumbled memo, a rambling oral argument, or a misplaced comma in a contract can all have major implications in the real world. Law school will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to write incisive memos, craft compelling arguments, and draft ironclad contracts. Show us that you are ready for the challenge by formatting your essays appropriately, following word and page limits, and avoiding simple mistakes.

Content is just as important. Your personal statement should tell us something about who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go. Should you add a famous quote at the top for inspiration? No, please don’t. Should you mention you want to come to HLS? We already assume that if you’re applying. Should you talk about your grandmother? Only if doing so helps make the case for us to admit you. Otherwise, we might end up wanting to admit your grandmother. Whatever you write about, keep it relevant and real.

In closing, I’ll share the real secret behind a good essay. That secret? There is none. It’s fine if you can’t write about surviving a classroom showdown over the true identity of certain letters of the alphabet. Just start strong, dig deep, end when you should end, and remember to check your work.

Filed in: Inside the Black Box

Contact the J.D. Admissions Office

Website: hls.harvard.edu/jdadmissions

Email: [email protected]

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BrightLink Prep

[2024] 4 Law School Personal Statement Examples from Top Programs

sample of personal statement for llm

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement samples by field.

In this article, I will discuss 4 law school personal statement samples. These statements have been written by successful applicants who gained admission to prestigious US Law schools like Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. The purpose of these examples is to demonstrate how prospective applicants like yourself can artfully integrate their passion, skills, and pertinent experiences into a captivating narrative.

* To further guide you on your law school application journey, I will not only present these personal statement samples but will also provide my expert review after each one. This includes an analytical feedback, a graded evaluation, and a detailed discussion of any identified weaknesses and strengths within the personal statement. Through this comprehensive analysis, I aim to provide a clearer understanding of what makes a compelling law school personal statement.

In the process of composing these personal statements, the applicants have drawn upon valuable insights from several of my previous writings on the subject. Furthermore, you are encouraged to utilize my prior works as a resource to aid you in crafting your own personal statement.

In those posts I’ve discussed the  art of constructing a captivating personal statement , and I’ve highlighted the  pitfalls to avoid  to ensure your law school essay leaves a positive impression.

I’ve also shared valuable tips on  structuring your personal statement for clarity and readability, not to mention  how to create a powerful opening  that grabs attention from the start. And let’s not forget about maintaining brevity while effectively telling your story, as well as offering a vast range of  personal statement examples  from different fields for reference.

And yes, do not forget to explore my  8-point framework  that anyone can use to self-evaluate their law school personal statement. Complementing this, I’ve also created a  7-point guide  to help you steer clear of potential traps and missteps in your personal statement.

I encourage you to explore these topics in depth, as they will be useful while we explore the sample personal statement for law schools.

In this Article

1) Research the Law School

2) outline your law school personal statement, 3) write a compelling introduction, 4) showcase your achievements and interests in law, 5) articulate your motivations for pursuing law, 6) highlight unique qualities for the legal field, 7) addressing potential weaknesses or gaps, 8) craft a persuasive conclusion, my in-depth feedback on sample 1, my in-depth feedback on sample 2, my in-depth feedback on sample 3, my in-depth feedback on sample 4, why do law schools require a personal statement, does every law school require a personal statement, what should you avoid in a law school personal statement, can i use the same personal statement for all law schools, should i put my name on my law school personal statement, should you brainstorm your law school personal statement, how to write a personal statement for law school.

Writing a personal statement for law school requires thorough research, a well-structured outline, and a captivating introduction. The following steps will guide you in crafting a coherent and compelling narrative that effectively showcases your journey and aspirations in the field of law. For a more detailed post, follow this ultimate guide on how to write a personal statement .

Begin by immersing yourself in extensive research about the law school you are applying to. Explore the institution’s website, paying close attention to its mission, curriculum, faculty expertise, and any unique offerings such as clinical programs or specialized courses. Familiarize yourself with the admission requirements and tailor your personal statement to highlight relevant qualifications.

Immerse yourself in the law school’s culture and gain insights from faculty members, current students, or alumni. Attend informational sessions or open houses to gather additional details. Reflect on how the law school aligns with your career goals in the legal field and incorporate this understanding into your personal statement, showcasing your dedication and suitability.

Before delving into writing your personal statement, create a comprehensive outline of its content. Begin with a captivating introduction , which could include a compelling anecdote, an impactful quote, or a statement that highlights your passion for the law.

For example: “Ever since I witnessed the transformative power of the law in securing justice for the vulnerable, I have been driven to pursue a legal career that upholds the principles of equity and fairness.”

Next, outline your academic achievements and relevant experiences, such as internships, research projects, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your commitment to the field of law. Emphasize the skills you have developed and the honors you have received.

Articulate your motivations for pursuing a legal education, sharing your aspirations and long-term goals. Highlight unique strengths, such as critical thinking, analytical abilities, or effective communication skills. If necessary, address any potential concerns or gaps in your application, explaining the situation and showcasing your ability to overcome challenges.

Conclude by reiterating your passion and qualifications for the legal profession and express your enthusiasm for joining the law school. This structured approach will ensure a coherent and persuasive personal statement.

Begin your personal statement with a captivating introduction that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. Consider starting with an engaging anecdote, a thought-provoking quote, or a personal experience that sparked your interest in the law.

For instance: “In a world where justice often hangs in the balance, I recall the moment I witnessed a courtroom’s transformative power. The eloquence of the attorneys, the weight of their arguments, and the profound impact on the lives of those involved compelled me to pursue a legal career.”

Briefly introduce the central theme of your personal statement, whether it’s your passion for advocating for others, your commitment to upholding justice, or your desire to make a positive impact through the law. A compelling introduction sets the tone for the rest of your personal statement.

In your personal statement, focus on highlighting your academic and professional accomplishments that showcase your preparedness for law school. Discuss relevant internships, research projects, or academic achievements that demonstrate your commitment to the field.

For example: “During my internship at XYZ Law Firm, I had the privilege of working alongside experienced attorneys, analyzing complex legal cases and conducting in-depth legal research. This experience solidified my passion for legal advocacy and honed my ability to navigate intricate legal frameworks.”

Illustrate key achievements, such as publications, successful legal cases, or leadership roles within legal organizations. Explain how these experiences have shaped your interest in law and contributed to your growth and expertise in the field.

Clearly articulate your motivations for pursuing a legal education. Share personal experiences, challenges, or encounters that have fueled your desire to make a difference through the law.

For example: “Growing up in a community where access to justice was limited, I witnessed firsthand the disparities in legal representation. These experiences instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility to advocate for those who have been marginalized by the legal system.”

Outline your career goals and aspirations, illustrating how obtaining a legal education aligns with your vision. Discuss how the law school’s program, faculty, and resources will contribute to your growth and help you achieve your professional objectives.

Highlight personal qualities and attributes that make you well-suited for a legal career. Emphasize traits such as critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, research skills, or effective communication.

For instance: “My ability to analyze complex legal issues, combined with my unwavering commitment to pursuing justice, has enabled me to approach legal challenges with both empathy and determination.

Provide concrete examples that demonstrate how these qualities have positively impacted your academic or professional experiences. Showcase how these qualities align with the values and expectations of the law school, presenting a strong case for your fit within the legal community.

Address any weaknesses or gaps in your application candidly. If you encountered obstacles or faced academic challenges, briefly mention them, focusing on what you have learned and how you have grown as a result.

Demonstrate resilience and determination by highlighting subsequent achievements or steps you have taken to overcome difficulties. Showcase how these experiences have strengthened your commitment and prepared you for the rigors of law school.

Your conclusion should effectively summarize the key points of your personal statement. Recap your passion for the law, the skills you have acquired, and your future ambitions within the legal field.

For example: “Driven by an unwavering commitment to justice and armed with a solid foundation in legal research and advocacy, I am ready to embark on this transformative journey in law school.”

Express your enthusiasm for contributing to the legal profession, emphasizing how your unique perspective and experiences will enrich the law school community. Conclude with a confident and concise statement that demonstrates your readiness to excel in their program and make a meaningful impact in the field of law.

Sample 1: NYU, UCLA, and Duke

Variations of this personal statement got accepted at nyu, ucla, and duke..

One day, I decided to quit home, leave my parents behind and move to a small rural town called Leiah after being inconsiderately and incessantly forced to marry a cousin. It was a bold step, but I did not want to be like other women in my country who do not fight for their rights. While living in solicitude in Leiah, I stumbled upon a poor old man sitting beside a piece of furniture that would define his existence. Lying limply on a street corner, the old man had only one helping hand – the crippled furniture.

Coming from a privileged background, I saw for the first time the disparity between the haves and have-nots. Nothing, however, seemed more unlikely when I first arrived. Constrained by their poverty, these rural people took what jobs they could find, working for long hours in the field and finally retrieving their broken houses and furniture for respite. They were outrageously overworked and underpaid but never brought any bitterness home. At that time, I realized how blessed I was, and they were not.

Inspired by these experiences, I decided to use my education and connections to bring change to the lives of these people of Leiah. By collaborating with an NGO for money and resources, I started giving out basic amenities and finances to set up cheap livable houses for these people. I didn’t stop there – I joined a maternity home in Leiah as a public liaison officer and helped the clinic with legal and administrative issues. By understanding the numerous Federal and State laws regarding Health Care, I better equipped myself at work. After tireless efforts, I handled several cases of women and children who suffered abuse, violence, and neglect.

I wanted to discuss these experiences because I believe that, as an ever-present factor during many of these four formative years, these incidents played a significant role in shaping the adult I have become. Ten years ago, I would never have foreseen that I could become a powerful vehicle for others’ growth by living in a village. The experience has helped me develop a heightened sensitivity for those who have struggled to fit into our society. As a result, I decided to move back to the city after several years and pursue further education in law and political science. During these academic years, I was actively involved with various community service projects and as an investigator in law firms, allowing me to interact with troubled and disadvantaged youth and the mentally disabled.

I have long been interested in law as an academic discipline, and working in rural areas has confirmed that my academic interests would extend to the real-world application of legal principles. To this end, I purposefully chose jobs that provided very distinct perspectives on law practice. As a legal assistant, I became acquainted with both the advantages and disadvantages of private practice. As a member of the human rights commission, I investigated how non-profits worked at a larger scale to improve the lives of the underprivileged. Moreover, helping in DIL (development in literacy) has offered me a glimpse of how the law may be used constructively in the public sector. I am currently working as a member of the Michigan chapter on fundraising that will take place next year in LA. All these positions have equally impressed upon me the unique potential of the law to make a direct, positive impact on people’s lives.

Working as a legal consultant, I was initially turned off by the formal language, which permeated all writing and discourse (“Aforementioned • legalese had heretofore proven incomprehensible”). As one unfamiliar with the jargon, I found the law to be pretentious and distant. Gradually, however, I began to sort out the shades of difference between a “motion in limine” and a “56(f) motion.” Finally, I understood the law as a vast set of rules which could, with intelligence and creativity, genuinely be used on behalf of values such as fairness and justice.

In addition to my primary assignment on an antitrust case, some exposure to pro bono work further convinced me that law has a vital role in our society. I am also avidly involved in extra-curricular activities. For example, I went to India to attend my father’s book launch (a writer) organized by Ghalib Council, Delhi. By collaborating and bonding with the people of India, I could impart brotherhood and literacy since I found Indian people more educated than us. My society needs education and health, and I want to work in these areas when I return.

As with my experience at a law firm, I soon realized the practical application of the laws written here. Unlike most of the public, who see only the final version of a bill, being part of the health legislative process has forced me to examine all sides of any given issue. Although politics can make this process agonizingly slow and inefficient, my work here has given me a greater appreciation for how laws affect our constituents back home.

Given my skills, I am convinced that health law presents the single greatest chance for me to make a difference, both in the lives of individuals and in terms of influencing the broader fabric of society. Moreover, I am confident that my insistence on looking beyond those first impressions has provided me with an exciting opportunity to apply and study at UCLA Law.

The woman in my society is an artisan and a tradesperson. She’s an economist and a doctor. She is also a fisherwoman and a craftsperson. She’s a mentor, nurturer, parliamentarian, and cultivator. She’s brimming with life and capability, but she waits for what justly belongs to her: the right to a superior life.

Here is a brief review and rating of this personal statement based on different aspects:

  • Hook and Introduction (4.5/5): Your introduction is powerful and immediately hooks the reader. It shows strength, courage, and determination.
  • Background and Motivation (4.5/5): You’ve done a great job of illustrating your background and motivation, which stem from your experiences in Leiah. You could add more about how these experiences triggered your interest in law.
  • Relevance and Competency (4/5): You have demonstrated a clear path from your experiences to your interest in law, but a more explicit discussion about the legal skills you have developed and how you applied them would make this section stronger.
  • Passion and Personal Drive (5/5): Your passion for law, social justice, and helping others is palpable and will make a strong impression on the admission committee.
  • Program Fit and Future Goals (3/5): Your statement is currently lacking in specific references to the law school you’re applying to, making it difficult to assess fit. Discussing how the program aligns with your career goals and what aspects of the program particularly attract you would strengthen your application.
  • Conclusion (4/5): Your conclusion is effective in tying together your experiences and your desire to study law. However, a clearer expression of your readiness for law school and how you plan to contribute to the law school community would enhance this section.

Now, let’s delve deeper into each part of your statement:

  • Introduction: Your introduction is powerful and impactful. The raw honesty about your decision to leave home and confront societal norms hooks the reader immediately. It tells us you are strong, independent, and willing to make hard choices. One suggestion would be to more directly link this bold decision to your interest in law—did it spark a desire for justice, or a passion for advocating for others who are oppressed?
  • Background and Challenges: You effectively depict the stark contrast between your privileged upbringing and the poverty-stricken lives of the people in Leiah. Your empathy is palpable, and it showcases your character and capacity for understanding others’ situations. To provide more context, you could elaborate on the societal and cultural norms that were challenged by your experiences in Leiah and how these experiences shaped your view of law and justice.
  • Transferable Skills: You talk about your role as a public liaison officer and how it familiarized you with Federal and State healthcare laws. This shows you’ve already been using legal skills in a practical environment, a strong point in your favor. Perhaps expand on the specific skills or competencies you gained during this period, such as negotiation, critical thinking, or public speaking, and how they will be beneficial in a law school environment.
  • Passion and Goals: Your experiences, such as working with NGOs and maternity homes, indicate a strong passion for social justice. The goal of using law to improve the lives of the underprivileged is noble and will resonate with law schools. It might be beneficial to discuss specific areas of law you are interested in (e.g., human rights, public interest law) and how you see yourself contributing in these areas in the future.
  • Relevant Experiences: Your varied experiences, from community service to law firm investigation work, provide you with a wealth of practical experiences, all very relevant to your law school journey. Perhaps you could add more detail about how these experiences solidified your desire to study law and how they shaped your perspective on legal practice.
  • Specific Interest in the School: The personal statement does not mention a specific law school or its program. Including a paragraph detailing why you are interested in the specific school you are applying to, and how its program aligns with your career goals, could strengthen your application. Discuss the school’s specific courses, faculty, or values that attract you.
  • Conclusion: While your conclusion effectively ties together your experiences and future law goals, it could be more direct in expressing your readiness to face the challenges of law school and contribute to the school community.

Your personal statement is already compelling, but adding more context to your experiences and making clear links between your past, present, and future in the context of law could further enhance it. Remember, specificity is key—whether it’s about the skills you’ve gained, the experiences that shaped your interest in law, or the specific school you’re applying to.

Sample 2: Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and UC Berkeley

Variations of this personal statement got accepted at northwestern, vanderbilt, and uc berkeley..

Unlike many, my passion for acquiring a law degree is neither a childhood fantasy of fighting a case in a courtroom nor a preconceived notion of myself as a lawyer. Instead, I recognize that a law degree would enable me to advance my career as a taxation lawyer.

I had to skip schooling during 4th and 5th grade and instead studied at home. This was due to the financial difficulties stemming from my mother’s cancer treatment, which put a significant financial burden on us. Additionally, as a female from an agricultural and rural family, I faced family pressure to attend a public school instead of a private one. But I did not succumb to these pressures. Instead, I persevered in studying and investing in getting myself private education through partial financial support from my older brother and by working part-time as a writer and content curator. Six months before my high-school graduation, my mother succumbed to her illness and passed away. She spent the last eight years of her life bedridden. The loss was immeasurable, but life had to move on.

I first set my sights on becoming a lawyer when I interned at a law firm during the summer break following my high school graduation. Throughout this internship, I annoyed my supervisors by writing long-winded legal documents even when they asked for a few sentences – this was because of the writing habits I had developed as a content writer. With time, I started to write better legal reports, but my attention was increasingly turned toward tax law. With the guidance and counseling of my supervisors, I applied to an undergrad law program. I spent the next several years understanding the Federal Reserve’s proposed Income Tax Ordinance, including exemptions from income tax and withholding tax.

Throughout this time, I continued to work part-time with various firms, hospitals, and non-profits as a volunteer, legal advisor, and editor. Upon graduation, I applied for the position of legal advisor at the Monthly Atlantic. My current job entails researching and reporting for the newspaper on appropriations bills and export legislation. I also write daily summaries of major contracts awarded by the Federal Government. I am also primarily responsible for supporting discrete legal issues by advising the organization, drafting undertakings, and structuring remedies for the relevant issues.

I am excited but also apprehensive as I try to explain legal jargon to an informed general audience, some of whom may know more about these policies than I do. For example, recently, I had a significant challenge in understanding and decoding the budget proposals of the Federal Reserve, by section 42 of the MOPA Act, 1956 (the Act), in which the entire income of the Federal Reserve and its subsidiaries is remitted to the federal government. After thoroughly going through the provisions, I learned there are still some provisions in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, Sales Tax Act 1990, and Federal Excise Act 2005, attracting the application of taxes and duties.

Too often, I need more legal knowledge to fully grasp bills that control how companies do business overseas, the limits to which government agencies can go to collect covert intelligence, or the amount of funding an agency can receive in a given time. On the one hand, these limitations have yet to do much to impair me in my current position. I am called to turn out several short stories daily on various topics without going into significant detail. However, I would like to advance to more complex and challenging assignments one day. I fear I will be able to do so if I acquire more expertise than I can within the confines of my deadline-driven job. It is a belief shared by several of my colleagues and many of the senior legal consultants at the newspaper that those who hold advanced degrees in law, business, and related disciplines are at an edge. A law degree would put me in a better position to join their ranks, mainly if I could attend school while continuing to work as a legal advisor in taxation-related instances.

Given my circumstances and interests, a graduate degree in taxation law from UC Berkeley is my ideal choice. In addition, I have an acquaintance that is currently enrolled at Berkeley Law school. His generous feedback has convinced me that this program would also fit my needs considering its flexible schedule and emphasis on tax law.

  • Hook and Introduction (5/5): The hook and introduction effectively capture the reader’s attention and provide a clear understanding of your unique motivation for pursuing a law degree. The personal anecdote about your internship and your writing habits adds interest to the narrative and sets the stage for the rest of the personal statement.
  • Background and Motivation (4.5/5): The background section effectively outlines the challenges you faced during your education and personal life, showcasing your resilience and determination. It helps the reader understand the context in which your passion for law developed. The motivation behind your interest in taxation law is well-explained, highlighting how your experiences and skills have guided you towards this specific field.
  • Relevance and Competency (4/5): You effectively demonstrate your competence by discussing your experiences as a legal advisor, writer, and content curator. The mention of your work with firms, hospitals, and non-profits further strengthens your case. However, it would be beneficial to provide more specific examples or achievements that highlight your skills and expertise in taxation law.
  • Passion and Personal Drive (4.5/5): Your passion for taxation law shines through in your personal statement. The enthusiasm you express for writing legal reports and your desire to tackle more complex assignments demonstrate your genuine interest in the field. The mention of your colleagues and senior legal consultants’ belief in the value of advanced degrees in law further emphasizes your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth.
  • Program Fit and Future Goals (3/5): While you express your interest in pursuing a graduate degree in taxation law from UC Berkeley, the personal statement lacks specific details about why this program is a perfect fit for your goals. Providing more information about the program’s strengths and how they align with your aspirations would strengthen this section.
  • Conclusion (4/5): The conclusion effectively wraps up your personal statement and reinforces your commitment to pursuing a law degree. It restates your interest in UC Berkeley and highlights the feedback you received from an acquaintance at the institution. However, it could be enhanced by briefly summarizing your key strengths and accomplishments and how they will contribute to your success in the program.
  • Introduction: The introduction of the personal statement effectively hooks the reader by highlighting your unique motivation for pursuing a law degree with a focus on taxation law. The mention of it not being a childhood fantasy and instead recognizing the degree as a means to advance your career sets the tone for the rest of the statement.
  • Background and Challenges: The section detailing your background and the challenges you faced is compelling. The explanation of having to skip schooling due to financial difficulties resulting from your mother’s cancer treatment adds depth to your personal story. It showcases your resilience in overcoming obstacles and your determination to pursue education despite the circumstances. The mention of facing family pressure to attend a public school instead of a private one further emphasizes your determination and ability to make your own choices.
  • Transferable Skills: While you mention working part-time as a writer and content curator, the transferable skills gained from this experience could be further elaborated upon. Explaining how your writing skills, attention to detail, and ability to analyze information have prepared you for the demands of the legal field would strengthen this section.
  • Passion and Goals: Your passion for law and taxation law is effectively conveyed throughout the personal statement. The explanation of your interest developing during your internship at a law firm, where you consistently wrote legal documents, showcases your dedication and enthusiasm. The mention of your desire to tackle more complex assignments and the belief shared by colleagues and senior legal consultants that advanced degrees are advantageous demonstrate your long-term goals and commitment to professional growth.
  • Relevant Experiences: The inclusion of your various volunteer and advisory roles, as well as your current position as a legal advisor at the Monthly Atlantic, highlights your practical experience in the field. However, providing more specific examples or accomplishments from these experiences would enhance this section and further illustrate your competence and expertise.
  • Specific Interest in the School: While you express an interest in pursuing a graduate degree in taxation law from UC Berkeley, the personal statement lacks specific details about why this program is a perfect fit for your goals. Adding more information about the program’s strengths, faculty, or specific courses that align with your interests would strengthen this section.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion effectively wraps up the personal statement by restating your commitment to pursuing a law degree and emphasizing your interest in UC Berkeley. However, it could be strengthened by summarizing your key strengths, experiences, and goals and how they align with the school’s offerings.

Overall, your personal statement effectively conveys your passion for taxation law, your determination to overcome challenges, and your commitment to professional growth. Strengthening the sections on transferable skills, providing more specific examples of relevant experiences, and including more specific details about the school’s fit would enhance the overall impact of the statement.

Sample 3: Georgetown

Variations of this personal statement got accepted at georgetown..

My desire to apply to law school is not rooted in a childhood fantasy of arguing a case before a packed courtroom. I have never seen myself as a trial attorney, ala Perry Mason or Nora Lewin on Law & Order. However, a legal education would enable me to advance my career as a writer and analyst specializing in national security and global trade issues.

I first set my sights on becoming a writer when I learned my letters. But, of course, mastering the ABCs may have been a long way from winning the Pulitzer. Nevertheless, this minor detail did not prevent me from completing three “novels” and my version of Genesis before the age of seven. Throughout elementary and junior high school, I annoyed my teachers by writing 10-page themes whenever they asked for a few sentences. Later, as a high school and college student, I continued writing, though my attention was increasingly turned toward other subjects. Ultimately, one of my professors directed me on a path that would combine my background in writing with government and policymaking. With her help, I secured an internship with a government contractor. As a result, I spent the spring and summer writing copy for websites that the company managed for the government while taking additional classes at university.

In February, I accepted a full-time job as a researcher at Washington Post, where I am now an assistant editor. My current job entails researching and reporting on defense appropriations bills and export legislation, as well as writing daily summaries of major contracts awarded by the Department of Defense and other defense ministries worldwide. With enthusiasm but some trepidation, I attempt to decode pages of legal jargon for an educated lay readership, many of whom I suspect know more than I about such policies. But, too often, I lack the legal knowledge to fully grasp bills that control how companies do business overseas, the limits to which government agencies can go to collect covert intelligence, or the amount of funding an agency can receive in a given length of time.

On the one hand, these limitations have yet to do much to impair me in my current position. I am called to turn out several short stories daily on various topics without going into significant detail. However, I would like to advance to more difficult reporting assignments one day. I fear I will be able to do so if I acquire more expertise than I can within the confines of my deadline-driven job. I also would like to It is a belief shared by several of my colleagues, as well as many of the senior writers and editors at my company who hold advanced degrees in law, business, and related disciplines. A law degree would put me in a better position to join their ranks, mainly if I could attend school while continuing to work as a journalist.

Given my circumstances and interests, Georgetown University Law Center, with its top-ranked intellectual property and international law programs, is my ideal choice. In addition, I have a colleague that is currently enrolled in the Georgetown evening law program. His generous feedback has convinced me that this program would also fit my needs considering its flexible schedule and emphasis on legal writing.

Your personal statement presents a compelling narrative that effectively communicates your passion for writing, your current profession, and your interest in furthering your education in law to augment your skills and understanding. Here are a few suggestions to improve it further:

  • Specifics: While you mention you would like to join the ranks of your colleagues who hold advanced degrees in law and related disciplines, it would be beneficial to include specific examples of how having a law degree could have or will benefit you in your current role.
  • Motivation: You’ve done a great job discussing your professional path and how you hope a legal education will benefit your career. Still, it would help if you were to discuss any personal reasons or experiences that have led you to want to study law. Personal narratives often make an applicant more relatable and can help the reader understand your motivation better.
  • Intention: You may want to further discuss how you plan to apply your law degree to your current career or future aspirations.
  • Completion: Towards the end, it seems there is a sentence that is not completed: “I also would like to It is a belief shared by several of my colleagues…”. You might want to revise this sentence to make your statement clearer.
  • Why Georgetown: While you have discussed that Georgetown University Law Center is your top choice, consider elaborating on why Georgetown, in particular, is the perfect fit for your career goals, apart from its flexible schedule and the fact that your colleague is enrolled there. You could mention specific courses, professors, or the university’s ethos, for example.

Your personal statement is already quite strong, and these suggestions are only meant to fine-tune your narrative further.

Sample 4: Harvard Law

Variations of this llm personal statement got accepted at university of pennsylvania, oxford university, and harvard law school..

I grew up in a middle-class family in Malaysia, where discipline and responsible behavior were the only doctrines taught. At school, I maintained 100% attendance without exception – a feat that my parents and I take pride in. My parents’ utmost involvement throughout my growing years always made me outshine my peers. Though my school grades were average, I represented my school in many activities ranging from debates and dramatics to being a soccer team captain for the entire house.

I have always had complete freedom from my parents until I had to choose a career. A STEM career was my parents’ priority, but for the first time, I differed from my family and chose Social Sciences. I was told that career prospects were bleak and that I was making the wrong decision, but I persisted. While majoring in social sciences, I met a mentor, Dr. Anonymous, a top economist. He challenged me intellectually, which helped me become a better thinker.

Subsequently, I secured the second position in college. My life turned around as people started to value my opinions, and at that time, I discovered my passion, “to speak.” I was chosen as the Coordinator for a Student Leadership Program, where I was mainly responsible for teaching empathy to hundreds of students from elite schools.

At the same time, at age 17, I met the chief editor of the New York Times, who invited me to host the “Youth Forum,” a program to highlight young people’s perspectives on existing social issues. With 55 episodes spanning over 2.5 years, I questioned youth’s role in our turbulent political, social, and economic system. The show gained popularity and performed exceptionally on TRP scores, with viewership growing to over 500,000.

At college, I met another mentor, Justice Anonymous of the Federal Court of Malaysia, who allowed me to attend court sessions as an observer of cross-questioning sessions. In addition, I socialized with lawyers at many forums, including the Court’s Cafeteria, where all appreciated my love for the field. In my 5th semester, I took a course on U.K. Constitutional Law, where I learned about the history of the U.K. Constitution. In the session on “Parliamentary Sovereignty” and “Britain’s relationship with the European Union,” the professor gave me new energy to research further about the steps in forming its Constitution. The more I read, the more I appreciated the perseverance of the founding fathers and the strong foundation England and Wales is built on.

A few years back, I attended the Oxford University Experience-Summer Course for Teens, Summerfuel. The program helped me with experiential learning about what college life is like. During my stay, I had plenty of opportunities to experience English life outside the classroom. Here, in a session, I narrated the first paragraph of the declaration of independence and asked, “whether all men are equal?”. To this, the professor appreciated my enthusiasm for constitutional law.

On my return to Malaysia, I had new energy to question the existing constitutional norms of Malaysia and kept comparing the constitutions of both countries and analyzing the factors that led to present-day turbulence in Malaysia. It is evident through the literature and historical precedence that the Constitution of Malaysia has been used maliciously to favor the powermongers. This indicates the lack of sincerity and dedication of the leaders who have formed this country.

Sadly, very few competent constitutional lawyers exist in the country that also happened to have played in the hands of powerful politicians who manipulated the Constitution to favor their vested interests. Therefore, I decided to take a career in this area as I aspire to be one of the few upright constitutional lawyers. I want to be amongst those who have shaped law and politics in Malaysia. Not amongst those who played in the hands of the powerful.

I want to choose Oxford Law for several reasons. Its tradition for excellence, the unique constitutional law curriculum, the summer program, and the excellent opportunity to meet and network with individuals from different parts of the world. I believe that Oxford law school’s vibrant and diverse community actively affirms my personality of maintaining lifelong relations. These different connections serve as a general resource for the campus community and a source of empowerment for students like me. The diverse setting at Oxford will enable me to investigate and engage in current issues and more profound societal questions. As a result, I will be able to discover how I can positively impact the world around me.

I am looking for an environment that promotes lively debates to complement my active speaking and reasoning traits. I can access well-known professors and discuss legal issues with exceptional young lawyers from more than 35 countries. Oxford offers a culture of collegiality and collaboration, where international students feel comfortable. At Oxford, professors like Dr. Anonymous, who specialize in constitutional law, and courses such as Democracy, Judicial Law-Making, & Constitutional Law can help nurture my skills and move forward in my career.

Professor Dr. Anonymous, a former Lord Justice in Wales, will teach me the value of strategy in litigation. Next, professor Dr. Anonymous and Dr. Anonymous will introduce me to the fabulous world of copyright. Finally, professor Dr. Anonymous will show me the foundations of the England and Wales litigation system. My long-term goal is to teach and practice constitutional law and eventually join politics on the path to becoming a leading politician. I have been inspired by high-achieving lawyers in Malaysia, such as Justice Anonymous, who have shaped Malaysia’s media, politics, and legal practice. I aspire to be the next in line.

Oxford offers a vast clinical & pro bono program via externships ranging from civil practice clinic to Wales Human Relations Commission. These externships indicate that Oxford wants to help all, a notion uncommon in Malaysia. Oxford is a lab for innovation and opportunities, as seen from the example of hundreds of Alumni that Oxford Law has catered to. I firmly believe that Oxford will genuinely appreciate my leadership at every scale and will polish my raw qualities and channel them so that I can apply them in Malaysia. Actual change on the grass root comes through education, and Oxford Law School is the ideal medium to achieve the highest standards.

Overall, your personal statement is impressive and well-articulated, illustrating a journey of personal and academic growth that highlights your passion, determination, and ambition. You make a compelling case for why you are interested in studying law, and specifically constitutional law, at Oxford. The narrative is well structured, and your argument about the need for constitutional reform in Malaysia is compelling and novel. Your professional experiences and extracurricular activities are quite impressive, providing evidence of your initiative and leadership abilities.

However, there are a few areas where your personal statement could be improved.

  • Language & Tone: There are some areas where the tone may come off as overly self-congratulatory, which could potentially turn off some admissions officers. For instance, you could soften the phrase “My parents’ utmost involvement throughout my growing years always made me outshine my peers.”
  • Coherence: The transitions between paragraphs are sometimes abrupt. For example, the transition from your second to third paragraph, where you switch from discussing your choice of Social Sciences to your achievement of securing second position in college, lacks a clear connecting link.
  • Specificity: You could provide more specifics to demonstrate the impact of your work. For example, instead of mentioning that you taught empathy to hundreds of students, it would be helpful to illustrate what this entailed and what results it achieved.
  • Mention of Oxford: The reasons for choosing Oxford Law seem generic and could apply to any top law school. To make your statement more compelling, research more about what is specific to Oxford Law – perhaps a unique program or course, or a faculty member’s work you admire, and express why that appeals to you.
  • Criticizing Home Country: The criticism of Malaysia and its leaders seems a bit harsh, which may not resonate well with some readers. While it’s important to be honest about the issues you see, try to express these thoughts in a more constructive manner, focusing more on potential solutions rather than just pointing out problems.
  • Ending: The statement ends abruptly. It would be great if you could end on a strong note, summarising your aspirations, and how Oxford fits into that journey.

Here is how I would grade your personal statement:

Content: B+ (The content is strong, but it could benefit from more specific examples and better transitions)

Structure: B (The narrative is coherent but could benefit from smoother transitions and a stronger conclusion)

Language & Tone: B (The tone sometimes comes off as self-congratulatory, and the language could be more nuanced in places)

Alignment with Purpose: B+ (Your statement makes a compelling case for why you want to study law at Oxford, but reasons specific to Oxford could be made more clear)

Overall Grade: B+ 

Your personal statement has a lot of strengths, and with a few tweaks, it could be even stronger. I hope this feedback helps you in refining it further!

Law schools typically require a personal statement for several reasons:

  • Understanding You Better: The personal statement provides insights into who you are beyond your academic credentials and achievements. It helps the admissions committee understand your values, personal growth, and unique experiences that might not be evident from your GPA or LSAT scores.
  • Assessing Your Communication Skills: Law is a field that requires excellent written communication skills. A well-written personal statement allows the admissions committee to gauge your ability to articulate complex thoughts, express ideas clearly, and construct logical arguments.
  • Determining Your Commitment: A thoughtful personal statement can demonstrate your dedication to pursuing a legal career. It’s a way for you to express why you want to study law and how you perceive your future in the field.
  • Identifying Diverse Perspectives: Law schools aim to create a diverse and dynamic learning environment. Your personal statement allows you to highlight unique experiences or perspectives that you can bring to the school, thereby contributing to this diversity.
  • Evaluating Your Potential Fit: The personal statement gives the law school an opportunity to determine whether you’ll be a good fit for their institution. This isn’t just about you meeting their requirements, but also about whether the school can meet your academic and career aspirations.
  • Demonstrating Resilience: Personal statements often include narratives that reveal challenges and obstacles you’ve overcome. These stories can demonstrate your resilience and problem-solving skills, traits that are highly valued in the legal profession.

In summary, a personal statement is a tool that allows law schools to evaluate you holistically. It goes beyond objective measurements of academic potential and provides a more comprehensive view of you as an individual.

Almost all law schools in the United States require a personal statement as part of the application process. The personal statement serves as a critical component of your law school application, allowing admissions committees to understand your motivations, experiences, and skills beyond what is reflected in your academic records and LSAT scores.

However, the specific requirements for law school applications can vary from one institution to another. Some schools may have specific prompts or topics they want you to address in your personal statement, while others may offer more freedom in choosing what to discuss. Certain schools might even ask for additional essays or statements to supplement your application.

If you are applying to law schools outside of the U.S., it’s always a good idea to check the specific admissions guidelines for each law school you’re interested in. Remember that meeting all of the application requirements can demonstrate your commitment and attention to detail, which are valuable traits in the legal field.

What is a Good Length for a Law School Personal Statement?

The length of a personal statement for law school can vary depending on the specific instructions provided by each law school.

A common guideline is typically around two to three double-spaced pages, or approximately 500-750 words.

This length is usually sufficient to provide a detailed narrative without overwhelming the reader with too much information. Remember, admissions committees review many applications, so they appreciate concise and compelling personal statements.

It’s very important to adhere to the instructions provided by each law school you apply to. If a specific word or page count is given, make sure you comply with that limit. Failure to do so could give the impression that you either cannot follow instructions or that you lack the ability to express yourself concisely, neither of which will help your application.

Above all, make sure that every word you write is meaningful and contributes to your overall narrative or argument. A well-crafted, succinct personal statement can often be more powerful than a longer one that lacks focus.

Writing a personal statement for law school can be a challenging task. It’s equally important to know what to avoid as it is to know what to include . Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Vague and Cliché Statements: Avoid clichés and general statements that could apply to anyone. Be specific, personal, and honest in your writing. For example, instead of saying “I want to be a lawyer to fight for justice,” show through your experiences and reflections why and how you’re committed to justice.
  • Repeating Your Resume: Your personal statement should not be a recitation of your resume or transcript. It’s an opportunity to share your personal journey, perspectives, and insights that aren’t reflected in other parts of your application.
  • Being Overly Emotional or Dramatic: While it’s important to show passion, avoid being excessively emotional or dramatic. Aim to strike a balance between personal storytelling and professional tone.
  • Off-topic Content: Stay focused on what the prompt is asking, and tie everything back to your interest in law school and your future career. Avoid irrelevant details or anecdotes.
  • Poor Structure and Flow: A disjointed or confusing statement can be difficult to read and may give a negative impression. Plan your statement carefully to ensure it has a clear structure and logical flow.
  • Typos and Grammar Errors: These can give the impression of carelessness. Proofread your statement carefully, and consider having others review it as well.
  • Negativity or Excuses: If discussing challenges or setbacks, focus on what you learned and how you grew from the experience rather than blaming others or making excuses.
  • Making Unsupported Claims: If you claim a particular trait, back it up with concrete examples. For example, instead of just stating that you’re empathetic, share an experience that demonstrates this quality.
  • Controversial Topics: Be cautious when discussing potentially divisive subjects, as you don’t want to alienate the reader. If you do choose to address a controversial issue, be sure to do so respectfully and thoughtfully.

Remember, your personal statement is a chance to present an authentic and engaging narrative about your journey towards law school. It should showcase your unique qualities, motivations, and experiences, demonstrating why you would be an excellent addition to the law school’s incoming class.

While it’s possible to use the same base personal statement for all law schools, it is not generally recommended. This is because each law school may have different prompts or expectations for what they want to see in a personal statement. If you don’t tailor your statement to each school, you might miss an opportunity to show how well you align with that specific program or fail to answer the prompt properly.

Additionally, tailoring your personal statement to each school can demonstrate your genuine interest in that particular institution. For example, you might discuss how a specific program, course, or faculty member at that school aligns with your career goals or academic interests. Showing that you’ve done your research and understand what makes each law school unique can make your application more compelling.

That said, it’s also important to maintain consistency and honesty across your applications. You might have a central narrative or theme in your personal statement that remains the same across all versions, while adjusting specific details or sections to better fit each school.

Remember to carefully review the application guidelines for each law school you apply to, paying special attention to any specific prompts or instructions for the personal statement. It’s crucial to ensure that each statement you submit not only meets all requirements, but also clearly conveys why you are a strong fit for each particular law school. 

In general, it’s good practice to include your name and sometimes your LSAC (Law School Admission Council) number on every page of your personal statement, usually in the header or footer. This ensures that if the pages get separated for any reason, the admissions committee can easily match them back up.

However, each law school might have specific guidelines regarding formatting and what information to include. Always follow the specific directions provided by the school to which you’re applying. If the application instructions don’t specify whether or not to include your name, it’s generally safe to include it to ensure your personal statement is easily identifiable.

Also, it’s always a good idea to include a title for your personal statement, even if it’s just “Personal Statement,” so it’s immediately clear what the document is. If you are sending more than one essay or document (like a diversity statement or addendum), this will ensure that each one is clearly identified.

Prior to initiating the writing process, it is vital to set aside some time to formulate your thoughts. Given that the prompts for law school personal statements are usually quite generic—such as, “Why are you interested in studying law?”—candidates often face uncertainty about the best way to approach their response.

You may find yourself overwhelmed with numerous ideas, or conversely, completely devoid of inspiration. To start off, let’s consider a practical approach you can adopt if you’re grappling with where to begin.

Take a writing pad and respond to the subsequent questions:

  • Why do I want to go to law school? This question helps to clarify your motivation and passion for pursuing law as a career. It can be grounded in an event, an experience, or a specific interest you’ve cultivated over time .
  • What experiences have prepared me for a career in law? These could be academic, work, or extracurricular experiences, where you’ve developed skills that are relevant to a legal career, such as critical thinking, negotiation, or public speaking.
  • How have my past experiences influenced my world view? This can provide context about how you approach problems, deal with adversity, or interact with diverse groups, which are all relevant to a legal career.
  • How does a law degree fit into my long-term career goals? Here, you’re demonstrating an understanding of how a law degree can contribute to your aspirations, showing a commitment to the field.
  • Can I discuss a specific area of law I’m interested in? It’s a bonus if you’re able to tie your experiences and interests to a particular field of law. This shows a depth of understanding and dedication to the subject.
  • Is there a unique perspective or diverse background that I can bring to the law school? Schools value diversity in their student body, as it contributes to the richness of classroom discussions and the overall community.
  • Have I overcome any significant obstacles or challenges in my life that have shaped who I am? This might provide insight into your resilience, determination, and adaptability, which are valuable traits in a lawyer.
  • How have I demonstrated leadership or initiative in the past? Law schools are looking for leaders and self-starters, so any evidence of this will be useful in your personal statement.
  • Can I articulate the values and qualities that will make me a good lawyer? You might think about empathy, integrity, diligence, advocacy, or the desire to serve others and uphold justice.
  • Why am I a good fit for the specific law school I’m applying to? Consider the school’s mission statement, values, programs, faculty, etc. This can show that you’ve done your research and are committed to attending that particular school.

Formulating a compelling law school personal statement requires thoughtful introspection and strategic planning. By answering these guiding questions, you can navigate the broad prompts and articulate your experiences, motivations, and unique attributes effectively.

Remember, the goal is not to present a list of accomplishments but to paint a vivid picture of your journey towards the legal profession. So, use these questions as your starting point, and craft a narrative that stands out in the sea of applicants and resonates with the admissions committee. The journey towards a career in law starts with this crucial step, and you have the power to shape it.


  • 100+ Outstanding Examples of Personal Statements
  • The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Winning Personal Statement
  • Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Personal Statement
  • Writing a Killer Opening Paragraph for Your Personal Statement
  • Ideal Length for a Graduate School Personal Statement
  • 100 Inspiring Quotes to Jumpstart Your Personal Statement

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Law School Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an opportunity to present yourself as more than an LSAT score and GPA. The personal statement sets you apart from other candidates. It is also a sample of your ability to express thoughts clearly and cogently.

The Process

  • Brainstorm any topics or themes you might want to consider for your statement
  • Select 1-2 topics/themes you believe will be the strongest
  • Write a rough draft. Don’t worry about length, style, or grammar
  • Put it away for a while. Time adds an interesting perspective on your writing.
  • Redraft and edit as needed
  • Have several people read it including NCA’S prelaw advisor, a professor or the Writing Place
  • Consider the feedback you have been given and craft your final draft
  • Proofread, proofread, and proofread

Possible topics

If the school does not specify a topic (and many don’t, but always check) here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm:

  • Hobbies/work/other experiences that have shaped you
  • How you became interested in the law
  • Life events that have changed or motivated you
  • Challenges & hurdles you have overcome
  • An issue or subject that you feel strongly about and why (just make sure not to “preach”)
  • The growth you’ve experienced in college
  • A unique experience that you have had inside or outside the classroom
  • Your goals and the events that have shaped those goals

Things to Watch for when Writing and Editing

  • Ensure that you answered the essay questions they provided
  • Remember to put the “personal” in the personal statement – use a personal stories/anecdotes
  • DO NOT approach this as a “Statement of Purpose” ( which would be an essay about why you want to pursue a law degree) unless the law school essay prompt indicates to do so
  • Try to “Show” the reader/Do not “Tell” in your writing
  • Avoid just restating your resume or transcript: law schools are looking to get to know who you are outside of your achievements
  • Most schools do not place restrictions on the personal statement but a general guideline is 2-3 pages double spaced (although check with each school for specific guidelines)

Formatting your Personal Statement

  • Make it distinctive by telling a story
  • State your topic

Detailed Body Paragraphs

  • Focused, each with its own topic sentence

Relevant, each contributing/supporting to your main idea Conclusion

  • Summarization of your points
  • Brings essay full circle to the beginning

Top Mistakes Made in Personal Statements

  • Spelling and grammatical errors
  • Staying too detached in your writing style and not letting your personality come through in your “personal” statement
  • Using too many big words, “legalese,” or research jargon
  • Spending just a few hours on your personal statement and submitting your first draft
  • Not following directions: exceeding the specified page limitations, not answering the questions
  • Using gimmicks such as writing in crayon, modeling your personal statement as a legal brief, or writing it as a poem

The University of Chicago The Law School

Program info, faqs: personal statement, what is the admissions committee looking for in the personal statement.

The Admissions Committee is primarily looking for two things in the personal statement:

  • Who are you: Will this applicant be a likeable and interesting addition to our community? Are you thoughtful and reflective? Will our professors and your classmates enjoy working with you and learning from your perspective?
  • Writing and communication ability: Can you communicate your thoughts effectively? Are you able to present information in a clear, organized, and concise manner (much like you will be required to do in law school and as an attorney)?

What should I write about in my personal statement?

Our application does not provide a specific topic or question for the personal statement because you are the best judge of what you should write. Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you. This may include writing about a significant aspect of your background, a quality or trait you believe defines you, a transformative experience, or the things that interest and motivate you. Don’t worry so much about selecting a unique or novel topic. Just be yourself. Your personal statement will be unique if you are honest and authentic. See these examples of personal statements .

How does the personal statement fit into the rest of my application?

Think about the personal statement as the fun and interesting part of your application. This is where we get to learn more about who are you as a person and go beyond the transcripts, test scores, and resume. Let each part of your application speak for itself and do what it is intended to do - you don't need to worry about selling us on your credentials in the personal statement.  

Do I need to tell the Admissions Committee why I want to go to law school?

Not necessarily. We request a personal statement; it is not a statement of purpose. You are welcome to discuss your reasons for applying to law school, but please make sure we will still get to know you as an individual. Law schools have different views on this topic, so please consult each school to which you are applying. 

What are some tips for a successful personal statement?

There are few rules that apply to every applicant because of the individual nature of the personal statement, but here are some tips based on our experiences that all applicants should follow:

  • Be straightforward. Do not make it more complex than it is. We simply want a candid, well-written essay that helps us learn about you, your story, and your background.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Your personal statement should not have errors - this is a sample of your writing and it should be a strong reflection of your written communication skills. Edit extensively and make sure to remove tracked changes.
  • Be concise and organize your thoughts. Remember basic writing skills and essay structure. You want to present your ideas in a logical, clear manner.
  • Make sure your personal statement is about you . Keep the focus on you with any topic you choose. Focusing too much on a family member or family history, a social or legal issue, or stories about others is a very common mistake. Even if you tell a moving and interesting story, it will not be a successful personal statement if it does not allow us to get to know you.
  • Be yourself. We are confident every one of our applicants is unique. Be honest. Do not write about something you think you are supposed to write about or rely too heavily on sample topics or model statements. A topic will not be effective unless it is appropriate for your specific application and background. Don’t try to fit your personal statement into a defined category or box.
  • Write in your own voice. This makes your personal statement believable and authentic. Don’t use phrases and vocabulary that you wouldn’t normally use in writing and conversation. It is usually not a good idea to lead with a quote. We are looking for clarity and honesty.
  • Make it personal. If someone else could write your personal statement, it probably is not personal enough. We often see this happen when applicants discuss a social issue or area of the law. Remember you are not trying to educate the Admissions Committee about the law or any particular issue.  Your goal should be to educate the Admissions Committee about you.

What are some of the common mistakes I should avoid?

While what works for one individual will not work for another because the personal statement is so individualized, here are some common mistakes we see from applicants: 

  • Restating your resume. Resume restatements are one of the most common errors. We will read your resume in detail. We want the personal statement to tell us something new about you.
  • Listing your qualifications.  Don't try to overtly sell yourself to the Admissions Committee. This isn't the place to convince us how qualified you are. Your qualifications will shine through in other parts of your application. Remember, this is the part where we get to know you as an individual.
  • Typos and “tracked changes”. Make sure to upload the correct version of your personal statement into CAS. If you plan to reference law schools by name, please reference the correct school for each application. 
  • Legalese or Latin phrases.   Avoid using legal terms or Latin phrases if you can. The risk you are incorrectly using them is just too high.
  • Extensive discussions of the law and attorneys. It is not necessary to discuss the law, tell us what type of law you want to practice, or convey the extent of your legal experience. Legal experience is not a factor in admission.  It is not the place to demonstrate your knowledge of the law or the role of attorneys. These personal statements do not tell us much about the applicant as an individual.
  • Telling us you'll be a good lawyer because you like to argue.
  • Name-dropping. It is not necessary to cite the names of our faculty and programs from our website in your personal statement unless you are placing the reference in a meaningful context. It detracts from your authenticity. However, if one of our faculty members or something about our community has genuinely inspired you, you are more than welcome to tell us about it.
  • Covering too much information. You don't have to cover your entire life story. Use your discretion - we know you have to make a choice and have limited space. Attempting to cover too much material can result in an unfocused and scattered personal statement. 

Is there a page limit on my personal statement? 

There is no page limit, but we generally find 2-4 pages to be sufficient. If it is longer, make sure it is absolutely necessary and really interesting. We do not have any formatting rules with respect to spacing, font type, font size, or margins. 

May I submit additional essays?

You may submit additional essays to highlight particular topics you wish to bring to our attention. Please remember you want to be concise and genuine.

Examples of types of additional essays include Diversity Statements and explanations of undergraduate and/or standardized test performance. 

  • UChicago aims to train well-rounded, critical, and socially conscious thinkers and doers. Describe how your background or experiences will contribute to the UChicago Law and Chicago Booth communities. Example topics include: lessons you have learned; skillsets you have developed; obstacles you have overcome based on your background or upbringing; or topics you have become passionate about studying in law school based on your lived or educational experiences.
  • Undergraduate and/or Standardized Test Performance: If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why.

The Admissions Committee typically finds one page or less is a sufficient length for most additional essays. 

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  • Helpful hints on each major aspect of a typical LL.M. application
  • Sample answers for various questions found in the leading schools’ application forms
  • Full-length sample LL.M. personal statement (not found in our other eBook )
  • Sample academic reference letter
  • Sample work/professional reference letter
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Harvard Law School Personal Statement Samples

Harvard Law School Personal Statement Samples

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.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 14 min read

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

Most importantly, Harvard is looking for authenticity. The school believes that applicants themselves are the best persons to determine the content of their statement. So, after reading the prompts provided for your application\u2014or if you\u2019ve chosen to write on a topic of your choosing\u2014be sure to start brainstorming and use the strongest idea or details to include in your personal statement. In other words, write about what stands out most to YOU in your interests or background. Think hard about your reason for pursuing a career in law, or why a degree from Harvard is so important for you and your future. "}]">

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.

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.

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.

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.

Harvard Law School asks students to submit a double-spaced, 11-point, two-page personal statement. This equals about 500 words.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes; the personal statement is a required component of your application to Harvard Law School.

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sample of personal statement for llm

Student Good Guide

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Law Personal Statement Example

I hope this personal statement example for the LLB Law course and LLM will help as a motivation and inspiration to work on your university application. You can use this example as a guide to writing a personal statement for any university in the UK – Oxford , Cambridge , UCL, LSE, KCL etc.

As a child, I was fascinated by the stories my grandfather would tell me about his work as a lawyer. I was captivated by the idea of using logic and reasoning to solve complex problems and help people in need. As I grew older, my interest in the law continued to develop, and I began to explore the different areas of law and the ways in which they intersect with society.

During my high school years, I took advantage of every opportunity to learn more about law, including participating in mock trials, attending workshops and seminars, and conducting independent research. I also volunteered with a local legal aid clinic, where I gained practical experience and saw the law’s impact on people’s lives.

In college, I decided to major in political science and legal studies. I have been able to build on my earlier experiences and deepen my knowledge and understanding of the law. I have also been able to gain practical experience through internships and research opportunities, and I have developed strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

I am excited to take the next step in my journey and apply to a law program. I believe that a law degree will provide me with the knowledge and skills I need to pursue a successful career in law. I am eager to learn from experienced practitioners and engage in meaningful work that makes a difference in people’s lives. I am confident that I have the passion, dedication, and abilities to excel in a law program and make a valuable contribution to the field.

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Applying for a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree The Best Master of Laws Universities In The UK

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sample of personal statement for llm

LLM Commercial and Corporate Law - Sample Personal Statement

  • Sample personal statement

sample of personal statement for llm

19 April, 2018

Llm commercial and corporate law - sample personal statement share.

  • 12 May, 2013

My name is T Ahmed. My nationality is Bangladeshi and I am 25 years old. I am intending to pursue the LLM Comparative Commercial Law at BPP University to to achieve a deeper understanding of the field of Comparative Commercial Law. I look forward to having the opportunity to study it to a higher level. Following my SSC & HSC, I have completed my Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from ASA University of Bangladesh in 2019. Then I admitted myself at Jagannath University for my Master of Laws (Professional) and right now I am expecting for my result. I am a hard-working individual and tend to work patiently until I reach my goal. I love to watch documentaries during my leisure time. My command of the English Language has been developed through my bachelor's course, as the medium of instruction for this course have been in English. However, I believe that this course will enable me to show the best of my intellectual capacity and prosper in a competitive work environment.

I choose the UK as my study destination because British universities are renowned for their well-balanced academic programmes which offer opportunities for professional development through teamwork and participation in research projects. Moreover, Bangladesh government and private organizational structures and governance are UK system oriented. So I think to learn from the UK because the degrees meet the job requirements more than in other countries. Well, I looked at many Universities but choose BPP University becauseit is one of the UK’s leading Law Schools, with over 25 years’ experience delivering professional legal qualifications. Also The University is trusted by many of the most influential law firms and 60 leading firms educate their trainees exclusively with them. Tutors are expert and every single student is given personal attention and individual care with maximum contact hours with academics. The University has been exclusively education 4 out of the 5 magic circle law firms. This put BPP’s position at top in teaching law and demands of BPP graduates after they complete they qualify. Students have the chances to gain practical legal work experience by working with real clients through our award-winning Pro Bono Centre. Studying here would give me the chance to differentiate myself with distinct accomplishments and success. I have keep an eye on the course specification of my chosen programme and found that some of its modules are align with my study, research focus which will play a vital role on my future progression. The modules includes Comparative Commercial Law, Law Relating to Fraud and Financial Crime, Transnational Criminal Justice, Commercial Law and the Law of Investigations and Practice, Dissertation. All the practice ready modules of the course are highly demanding and suitable according to today's legal sector and these modules are designed to introduce students to the nature of commercial and financial activity from a comparative perspective. The assessment methods in my chosen programme which will also contribute to my development. Furthermore, I will be be able to gain deep understanding of law practice in a real world context. Basically I work hardly on my daily routine to improve my skills and ability and I am confident that my personal attributes and academic achievements make me a suitable candidate for the course.

Upon on completion of my course, I will be able to grow my career in different legal sectors of my home country. My goal is to be a Senior Commercial Lawyer in a well reputed firms of my home country. I am ready to increase my knowledge in this sector by studying my chosen course so that I can able to face the intellectual challenge this will bring. In this fast rising world, legal problems are becoming universal. So, I want to study the LLM Comparative Commercial Law at BPP to earn a professional level platform in my future career path. I believe that further study in the UK is the best decision to step on the path to my career goals as the UK is the ideal setting for refining my expertise in law while also acquiring a broader, international viewpoint. In my country, education system is theory based and learning materials are not adjusted with latest developments. Degrees in my country do not maintain international standards. Due to this, degrees are not recognized and valued. Tuition fees are commercialized heavily day by day. Degrees do not develop transferable skills like the UK. I am determined to study this course in the UK as the study environment in my country is quite different and we get to study with only the national students. Furthermore, the UK has a great multicultural and diversified student community which is an opportunity for me to learn with lot of students from different nationalities. UK education brand is highly respected by employers in our country as UK degree prepares graduates with academic competencies, developed personal and professional skills that are imperative for organizational success. The transferrable skills graduates carry forward from UK are pivotal for transforming organizational growth and gain competitive advantages. In a recent Survey of International Graduate Outcomes 2019 by Universities UK International produced by iGraduate shows that 82% international graduates say that their UK degree are worth the financial investment and same percentage say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their careers. Nearly 83% feel that UK degree has helped them to get jobs. These aspects have driven my ambition to gain the degree from a UK institution. These reasons have letting me to decide to pursue this course in the UK.

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  • Try Meta AI


  • 5 Steps to Getting Started with Llama 2
  • The Llama Ecosystem: Past, Present, and Future
  • Introducing Code Llama, a state-of-the-art large language model for coding
  • Meta and Microsoft Introduce the Next Generation of Llama
  • Today, we’re introducing Meta Llama 3, the next generation of our state-of-the-art open source large language model.
  • Llama 3 models will soon be available on AWS, Databricks, Google Cloud, Hugging Face, Kaggle, IBM WatsonX, Microsoft Azure, NVIDIA NIM, and Snowflake, and with support from hardware platforms offered by AMD, AWS, Dell, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm.
  • We’re dedicated to developing Llama 3 in a responsible way, and we’re offering various resources to help others use it responsibly as well. This includes introducing new trust and safety tools with Llama Guard 2, Code Shield, and CyberSec Eval 2.
  • In the coming months, we expect to introduce new capabilities, longer context windows, additional model sizes, and enhanced performance, and we’ll share the Llama 3 research paper.
  • Meta AI, built with Llama 3 technology, is now one of the world’s leading AI assistants that can boost your intelligence and lighten your load—helping you learn, get things done, create content, and connect to make the most out of every moment. You can try Meta AI here .

Today, we’re excited to share the first two models of the next generation of Llama, Meta Llama 3, available for broad use. This release features pretrained and instruction-fine-tuned language models with 8B and 70B parameters that can support a broad range of use cases. This next generation of Llama demonstrates state-of-the-art performance on a wide range of industry benchmarks and offers new capabilities, including improved reasoning. We believe these are the best open source models of their class, period. In support of our longstanding open approach, we’re putting Llama 3 in the hands of the community. We want to kickstart the next wave of innovation in AI across the stack—from applications to developer tools to evals to inference optimizations and more. We can’t wait to see what you build and look forward to your feedback.

Our goals for Llama 3

With Llama 3, we set out to build the best open models that are on par with the best proprietary models available today. We wanted to address developer feedback to increase the overall helpfulness of Llama 3 and are doing so while continuing to play a leading role on responsible use and deployment of LLMs. We are embracing the open source ethos of releasing early and often to enable the community to get access to these models while they are still in development. The text-based models we are releasing today are the first in the Llama 3 collection of models. Our goal in the near future is to make Llama 3 multilingual and multimodal, have longer context, and continue to improve overall performance across core LLM capabilities such as reasoning and coding.

State-of-the-art performance

Our new 8B and 70B parameter Llama 3 models are a major leap over Llama 2 and establish a new state-of-the-art for LLM models at those scales. Thanks to improvements in pretraining and post-training, our pretrained and instruction-fine-tuned models are the best models existing today at the 8B and 70B parameter scale. Improvements in our post-training procedures substantially reduced false refusal rates, improved alignment, and increased diversity in model responses. We also saw greatly improved capabilities like reasoning, code generation, and instruction following making Llama 3 more steerable.

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*Please see evaluation details for setting and parameters with which these evaluations are calculated.

In the development of Llama 3, we looked at model performance on standard benchmarks and also sought to optimize for performance for real-world scenarios. To this end, we developed a new high-quality human evaluation set. This evaluation set contains 1,800 prompts that cover 12 key use cases: asking for advice, brainstorming, classification, closed question answering, coding, creative writing, extraction, inhabiting a character/persona, open question answering, reasoning, rewriting, and summarization. To prevent accidental overfitting of our models on this evaluation set, even our own modeling teams do not have access to it. The chart below shows aggregated results of our human evaluations across of these categories and prompts against Claude Sonnet, Mistral Medium, and GPT-3.5.

sample of personal statement for llm

Preference rankings by human annotators based on this evaluation set highlight the strong performance of our 70B instruction-following model compared to competing models of comparable size in real-world scenarios.

Our pretrained model also establishes a new state-of-the-art for LLM models at those scales.

sample of personal statement for llm

To develop a great language model, we believe it’s important to innovate, scale, and optimize for simplicity. We adopted this design philosophy throughout the Llama 3 project with a focus on four key ingredients: the model architecture, the pretraining data, scaling up pretraining, and instruction fine-tuning.

Model architecture

In line with our design philosophy, we opted for a relatively standard decoder-only transformer architecture in Llama 3. Compared to Llama 2, we made several key improvements. Llama 3 uses a tokenizer with a vocabulary of 128K tokens that encodes language much more efficiently, which leads to substantially improved model performance. To improve the inference efficiency of Llama 3 models, we’ve adopted grouped query attention (GQA) across both the 8B and 70B sizes. We trained the models on sequences of 8,192 tokens, using a mask to ensure self-attention does not cross document boundaries.

Training data

To train the best language model, the curation of a large, high-quality training dataset is paramount. In line with our design principles, we invested heavily in pretraining data. Llama 3 is pretrained on over 15T tokens that were all collected from publicly available sources. Our training dataset is seven times larger than that used for Llama 2, and it includes four times more code. To prepare for upcoming multilingual use cases, over 5% of the Llama 3 pretraining dataset consists of high-quality non-English data that covers over 30 languages. However, we do not expect the same level of performance in these languages as in English.

To ensure Llama 3 is trained on data of the highest quality, we developed a series of data-filtering pipelines. These pipelines include using heuristic filters, NSFW filters, semantic deduplication approaches, and text classifiers to predict data quality. We found that previous generations of Llama are surprisingly good at identifying high-quality data, hence we used Llama 2 to generate the training data for the text-quality classifiers that are powering Llama 3.

We also performed extensive experiments to evaluate the best ways of mixing data from different sources in our final pretraining dataset. These experiments enabled us to select a data mix that ensures that Llama 3 performs well across use cases including trivia questions, STEM, coding, historical knowledge, etc.

Scaling up pretraining

To effectively leverage our pretraining data in Llama 3 models, we put substantial effort into scaling up pretraining. Specifically, we have developed a series of detailed scaling laws for downstream benchmark evaluations. These scaling laws enable us to select an optimal data mix and to make informed decisions on how to best use our training compute. Importantly, scaling laws allow us to predict the performance of our largest models on key tasks (for example, code generation as evaluated on the HumanEval benchmark—see above) before we actually train the models. This helps us ensure strong performance of our final models across a variety of use cases and capabilities.

We made several new observations on scaling behavior during the development of Llama 3. For example, while the Chinchilla-optimal amount of training compute for an 8B parameter model corresponds to ~200B tokens, we found that model performance continues to improve even after the model is trained on two orders of magnitude more data. Both our 8B and 70B parameter models continued to improve log-linearly after we trained them on up to 15T tokens. Larger models can match the performance of these smaller models with less training compute, but smaller models are generally preferred because they are much more efficient during inference.

To train our largest Llama 3 models, we combined three types of parallelization: data parallelization, model parallelization, and pipeline parallelization. Our most efficient implementation achieves a compute utilization of over 400 TFLOPS per GPU when trained on 16K GPUs simultaneously. We performed training runs on two custom-built 24K GPU clusters . To maximize GPU uptime, we developed an advanced new training stack that automates error detection, handling, and maintenance. We also greatly improved our hardware reliability and detection mechanisms for silent data corruption, and we developed new scalable storage systems that reduce overheads of checkpointing and rollback. Those improvements resulted in an overall effective training time of more than 95%. Combined, these improvements increased the efficiency of Llama 3 training by ~three times compared to Llama 2.

Instruction fine-tuning

To fully unlock the potential of our pretrained models in chat use cases, we innovated on our approach to instruction-tuning as well. Our approach to post-training is a combination of supervised fine-tuning (SFT), rejection sampling, proximal policy optimization (PPO), and direct preference optimization (DPO). The quality of the prompts that are used in SFT and the preference rankings that are used in PPO and DPO has an outsized influence on the performance of aligned models. Some of our biggest improvements in model quality came from carefully curating this data and performing multiple rounds of quality assurance on annotations provided by human annotators.

Learning from preference rankings via PPO and DPO also greatly improved the performance of Llama 3 on reasoning and coding tasks. We found that if you ask a model a reasoning question that it struggles to answer, the model will sometimes produce the right reasoning trace: The model knows how to produce the right answer, but it does not know how to select it. Training on preference rankings enables the model to learn how to select it.

Building with Llama 3

Our vision is to enable developers to customize Llama 3 to support relevant use cases and to make it easier to adopt best practices and improve the open ecosystem. With this release, we’re providing new trust and safety tools including updated components with both Llama Guard 2 and Cybersec Eval 2, and the introduction of Code Shield—an inference time guardrail for filtering insecure code produced by LLMs.

We’ve also co-developed Llama 3 with torchtune , the new PyTorch-native library for easily authoring, fine-tuning, and experimenting with LLMs. torchtune provides memory efficient and hackable training recipes written entirely in PyTorch. The library is integrated with popular platforms such as Hugging Face, Weights & Biases, and EleutherAI and even supports Executorch for enabling efficient inference to be run on a wide variety of mobile and edge devices. For everything from prompt engineering to using Llama 3 with LangChain we have a comprehensive getting started guide and takes you from downloading Llama 3 all the way to deployment at scale within your generative AI application.

A system-level approach to responsibility

We have designed Llama 3 models to be maximally helpful while ensuring an industry leading approach to responsibly deploying them. To achieve this, we have adopted a new, system-level approach to the responsible development and deployment of Llama. We envision Llama models as part of a broader system that puts the developer in the driver’s seat. Llama models will serve as a foundational piece of a system that developers design with their unique end goals in mind.

sample of personal statement for llm

Instruction fine-tuning also plays a major role in ensuring the safety of our models. Our instruction-fine-tuned models have been red-teamed (tested) for safety through internal and external efforts. ​​Our red teaming approach leverages human experts and automation methods to generate adversarial prompts that try to elicit problematic responses. For instance, we apply comprehensive testing to assess risks of misuse related to Chemical, Biological, Cyber Security, and other risk areas. All of these efforts are iterative and used to inform safety fine-tuning of the models being released. You can read more about our efforts in the model card .

Llama Guard models are meant to be a foundation for prompt and response safety and can easily be fine-tuned to create a new taxonomy depending on application needs. As a starting point, the new Llama Guard 2 uses the recently announced MLCommons taxonomy, in an effort to support the emergence of industry standards in this important area. Additionally, CyberSecEval 2 expands on its predecessor by adding measures of an LLM’s propensity to allow for abuse of its code interpreter, offensive cybersecurity capabilities, and susceptibility to prompt injection attacks (learn more in our technical paper ). Finally, we’re introducing Code Shield which adds support for inference-time filtering of insecure code produced by LLMs. This offers mitigation of risks around insecure code suggestions, code interpreter abuse prevention, and secure command execution.

With the speed at which the generative AI space is moving, we believe an open approach is an important way to bring the ecosystem together and mitigate these potential harms. As part of that, we’re updating our Responsible Use Guide (RUG) that provides a comprehensive guide to responsible development with LLMs. As we outlined in the RUG, we recommend that all inputs and outputs be checked and filtered in accordance with content guidelines appropriate to the application. Additionally, many cloud service providers offer content moderation APIs and other tools for responsible deployment, and we encourage developers to also consider using these options.

Deploying Llama 3 at scale

Llama 3 will soon be available on all major platforms including cloud providers, model API providers, and much more. Llama 3 will be everywhere .

Our benchmarks show the tokenizer offers improved token efficiency, yielding up to 15% fewer tokens compared to Llama 2. Also, Group Query Attention (GQA) now has been added to Llama 3 8B as well. As a result, we observed that despite the model having 1B more parameters compared to Llama 2 7B, the improved tokenizer efficiency and GQA contribute to maintaining the inference efficiency on par with Llama 2 7B.

For examples of how to leverage all of these capabilities, check out Llama Recipes which contains all of our open source code that can be leveraged for everything from fine-tuning to deployment to model evaluation.

What’s next for Llama 3?

The Llama 3 8B and 70B models mark the beginning of what we plan to release for Llama 3. And there’s a lot more to come.

Our largest models are over 400B parameters and, while these models are still training, our team is excited about how they’re trending. Over the coming months, we’ll release multiple models with new capabilities including multimodality, the ability to converse in multiple languages, a much longer context window, and stronger overall capabilities. We will also publish a detailed research paper once we are done training Llama 3.

To give you a sneak preview for where these models are today as they continue training, we thought we could share some snapshots of how our largest LLM model is trending. Please note that this data is based on an early checkpoint of Llama 3 that is still training and these capabilities are not supported as part of the models released today.

sample of personal statement for llm

We’re committed to the continued growth and development of an open AI ecosystem for releasing our models responsibly. We have long believed that openness leads to better, safer products, faster innovation, and a healthier overall market. This is good for Meta, and it is good for society. We’re taking a community-first approach with Llama 3, and starting today, these models are available on the leading cloud, hosting, and hardware platforms with many more to come.

Try Meta Llama 3 today

We’ve integrated our latest models into Meta AI, which we believe is the world’s leading AI assistant. It’s now built with Llama 3 technology and it’s available in more countries across our apps.

You can use Meta AI on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and the web to get things done, learn, create, and connect with the things that matter to you. You can read more about the Meta AI experience here .

Visit the Llama 3 website to download the models and reference the Getting Started Guide for the latest list of all available platforms.

You’ll also soon be able to test multimodal Meta AI on our Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.

As always, we look forward to seeing all the amazing products and experiences you will build with Meta Llama 3.

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sample of personal statement for llm

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