Law Personal Statement
Whether you’re applying for undergraduate LLB law degrees via UCAS, Legal Practice Courses (LPC) via LawCabs or Bar Professional Training Courses (BPTC) via BarSAS, you will be required to provide a law personal statement.
When preparing a law personal statement, the aim is to persuade the reader that you are a great candidate to study and/or practise law. This page includes some key information on how to write a law personal statement before offering a step by step guide on what you need to do to get ahead.Get Your Personal Statement Reviewed
What is a Law Personal Statement?
A law personal statement is essentially your big chance to promote yourself to universities (in the case of UCAS) and law schools (in the case of LawCabs and BarSAS). Given the limitations on the number or words/characters you can use when creating a law personal statement, it is vital that you are precise and use your unique selling points as well as you can to gain an edge over the competition.
What Should My Law Personal Statement Include?
Broadly speaking, your law personal statement needs to cover three main strands:
- Motivation – Why do you want to study/practise law?
- Exploration – What have you done to learn about it?
- Suitability – Why are you a great fit for it?
Your law personal statement needs to be written in a clear and precise way. Why not take a look at ourLaw Personal Statement Writing Style Guide for more hints and tips?
Take a look at our Law Personal Statement Tips: Do’s and Don’ts blog post!Law Personal Statement Tips: Dos and Donts
Structuring Your Law Personal Statement
Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. But you need to make sure you have a clear and logical framework. We would suggest that following the guidance below gives you a strong foundation on which to showcase your attributes. In brackets, we state the main function of each segment.
- Why you want to study law and for the purposes of Lawcabs and BarSAS why you want to be a solicitor/barrister respectively (motivation)
- Law work experience – first-hand experience shows you have taken time to explore the legal profession and that you have a genuine interest in the law (exploration)
- Volunteering, for example pro bono work (which involves offering free legal advice) shows you have gone above and beyond to find out more about the law and the legal profession generally (exploration)
- Wider reading and study (exploration)
- Extracurricular activities – for example, mooting and debating experience and any other experiences which have helped you to develop skills which are key to the study and/or practise of law. You can visit our page on What Makes a Good Lawyer? for more information (suitability)
Law Personal Statement: How Many Words is 4000 Characters?
One commonly asked question when writing a personal statement is ‘how many words is 4000 characters?’ This is the character limit for personal statements, and is also sometimes defined as ’47 lines’.
Whilst this entirely depends upon what you’re writing and the length of words used, the number of words this (very approximately) equates to is 500-600 words.
However scary this may seem, characters can often be easier to cut out than whole words – try swapping adjectives for shorter descriptions, or taking them out altogether. Writing an overly descriptive personal statement can often be a mistake many students make, thinking longer vocabulary will make them stand out.
Sometimes, the simplest personal statement is the most effective.
Step by Step Guide: Writing a Law Personal Statement
- Keep your reflective diary up to date. You can do this by using your free personal portfolio. This will prove to be a goldmine of material for your law personal statement.
- Plan your structure properly. This might follow our guidelines above but it doesn’t have to. Just make sure it is clear.
- Start drafting. Make notes for each section in your structure. Don’t worry if you are writing too much – you can always edit it down to the best bits later.
- Edit and refine. Begin honing your draft down into something resembling the final form in the appropriate writing style.
- Get advice. When you’re fairly happy with your personal statement for UCAS/LawCabs/BarSAS, give it to parents, tutors, friends and family. Get feedback and make improvements.
- Get a law personal statement review. Send your personal statement for university (UCAS) or law school (LawCabs/BarSAS) to The Lawyer Portal for professional feedback. Incorporate this feedback and repeat step 5.
- Upload and submit. Transfer the final version from Word onto your UCAS/LawCabs/BarSAS application form.
Sample Law Personal Statement
My ambition to become a lawyer comes from my observations of the world around me and the image of agents of justice I have come across in books and films. I was inspired by the character of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a man who possesses many qualities I admire. He is non-judgemental, always ready to be fair in his views of others and passionate about the importance of giving justice to all. He accepts the job of defending a black man, knowing that it will earn him real hostility and scorn, but driven by an unflinching commitment to the principle of justice. My own ambition is to become a barrister working in the criminal law, but I am keen to learn about all kinds of law. I am strongly aware that law is one of the cornerstones of civilization, a set of conventional rules and judgements that makes human society possible. There can hardly be a more important job in the human world, and the prospects are both challenging and exciting.
I should like to gain an understanding of the key concepts in the study of crime and criminal justice, and of the processes of criminal enquiry. The relationship between argument and evidence interests me, and I am eager to learn about the historical context of crime and punishment and to gain the ability to evaluate criminological research findings. Applying legal concepts in practical situations is also a challenge. At the same time I am aware of how diverse law is as a study and as a profession. Although the criminal law is my first interest I should also like to explore areas such as banking and finance law, the growing body of law governing the environment, the law systems emerging from the EU, family law and human rights law, and the huge area of tax law. It is clearly a field which no one man can master in its entirety, and is further complicated by the fact that as an organic entity it is constantly changing and developing. There is certainly a lifetime’s interest in the subject.
I have some experience of the working world. I undertook a placement as an administrator in a GP’s surgery, using a database and dealing with patients’ enquiries, which gave me a taste of how the world of public service runs. I have also worked as a tutor to young people approaching their 10+ and 11+ examinations. We have a family friend who is a criminal defence lawyer who has given me much information and advice about his profession and the complexities of the criminal law. To hear him speak of his own personal experiences has been one of my greatest sources of inspiration.
At school I completed the D of E Bronze Award, an indication of my determination and sense of responsibility. It was a challenging event, calling for much hard work and careful planning. I am a very keen sportsman and have played football and cricket for many teams. I captain the Olympics FC, a team in the British Tamils League, which calls for leadership skills and an awareness of the abilities of others. I completed my Volunteering in Schools Award this year, in which I worked with younger people developing their cricketing skills. It was enjoyable and rewarding, and an achievement I really valued.
I believe that I am a realistic and sensible student. My desire to study law certainly originates in a commitment to principle and a sense that there is much injustice in the world, but I am fully aware that a degree course will be complex, detailed and intellectually very challenging, and that the job of a lawyer (particularly a criminal lawyer) can be harrowing and difficult. I know that there will be much hard work, that nothing less than 100 per cent commitment is ever acceptable in the professional lawyer and that the responsibility he or she carries is momentous. Nevertheless I can imagine no more fulfilling career. I am industrious and enthusiastic, work well with other people, and have an analytical mind and a good academic record. I hope you will consider my application.
We hope this sample Law personal statement has been helpful in writing your own.