What should you write in a law personal statement?
Bringing your interest in law to life is key. If you’re already studying law, then you might want to talk about topics you've enjoyed and any wider reading you've done.
Haven't studied law at A level (or equivalent)? Don't worry – there aren't usually subject-specific entry requirements for law degrees. Learn more about the 'unspoken rules' of university entry requirements here.
Dr Murphy suggests these other ways to demonstrate your engagement with law:
- A book you’ve read that had a legal dimension to it.
- Work experience, which could be in a solicitor’s firm or a mini-pupillage, but equally could be shadowing at your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), some charity work, or even your Saturday job.
- Visiting your local magistrates' court, the Crown Court, or your nearest employment tribunal. As Dr Murphy puts it, ‘the English legal system is open and receptive to those wishing to experience law in action’.
- Join a debating club, or start your own. If you have the opportunity to conduct a personal project or the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) , consider giving it a legal focus.
But don't simply list what you've done. Write about relevant experiences in your statement in a reflective way. What did you see? What did you learn? Why did it enhance your interest in law?
What else to include in your law statement
- Why you want to study law: bring this to life by focusing in on aspects of law that are of particular interest to you, how it relates to your current studies, and what additional reading you've embarked on. But keep it concise – three or so paragraphs is probably fine.
- How your skills fit: demonstrate that you have, or are developing, the skills needed for success in law – from public speaking to persuasive writing, or your meticulous attention to detail when writing essays.
- Current affairs: the University of Cambridge (and many other universities) like applicants who keep up-to-date with current affairs and who are interested in the legal implications of the latest news stories.
- Good written English: sentence construction, spelling, and punctuation are absolutely vital, and sometimes a cause for rejection.
- Combined course applications: if you're applying for law in combination with a different subject, make sure you demonstrate something relevant to the other subject too.
- What you've drawn from extracurricular activities: this is another good way to demonstrate your motivation, skills and enthusiasm for the course.
What not to do in your law personal statement
- Fail to research your chosen courses: all that talk of your passion for company law won't impress a uni that doesn't offer it as an option.
- Spelling and grammatical errors: as Dr Murphy says, ‘law is a discipline of precision, so being careless in such an important document will not bode well for a future legal career’.
- Not explaining why it's relevant: if you read the law section of The Times, that’s great, but make sure you elaborate on why it's relevant to your application. Try reflecting on a specific article or feature, for instance.
- Overuse of quotations: ‘don't try too hard to impress with quotations. I don’t care what Locke thinks, I want to know what you think!’.
- Use clichés: including overuse of the word 'passion' or the phrase ‘law is all around us’. Don't just say it, demonstrate it in a personal, concise way. And remember, less is more.
Are a law personal statement and LPC personal statement the same?
No, these are two different things.
A law personal statement is part of the UCAS application process when applying to study law.
A personal statement for the Learning Practice Course (LPC) is submitted to the Central Applications Board (CAB) when applying to LPC training to become a solicitor, having already completed an undergraduate law degree (or conversion course).
While it is also a personal essay which you use to sell your skills, experience and passion for law, it is very different to a law personal statement – for one thing, the word limit for a LPC personal statement is 10,000 characters (compared to 4,000 characters for a UCAS personal statement).