How to Write a Law Personal Statement

If you’re applying to study an undergraduate Law course in the UK then you’ll know that Law is a notoriously competitive field. According to the Legal Cheek, over the past three years, Law applications in the UK have increased by over 17,000. One area that can help you particularly stand out is your UCAS personal statement.

Your personal statement is a crucial part of your Law application. It is the first and often only chance you get to tell your chosen universities why you want to study a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or related Law course, what your motivations are, and give context to any qualifications, skills and experience you have.

Your Law personal statement should be solely written by you and can follow any format you desire. However, based on the experience of our experienced Law admissions tutors, who help more than 95% of students get into their first and second choice universities, there are some guidelines you should follow. This article goes through the key stages of writing a personal statement for Law, including some top tips from The Profs’ Head of Consulting, Joseph Robbins, and information on how to access extra support. It will also include tips and examples from a team member at The Profs who successfully secured Law offers from top Russell Group Universities.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

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Don’t forget to check out our blog on ‘The Best Universities for Law in the UK’ and ‘How to Apply for Law’ to help you during your decision process for your applications.

Before you start, think about the goal of your personal statement

Your personal statement is essentially your sales pitch to your chosen universities. The goal is to tell them why you would make a great Law student and prove this through your skills, experience, and academic performance. If you’re applying for an LLB or similar qualifying law degree, it’s also your opportunity to prove that you are committed to pursuing a successful career in Law and understand the skills and ambition required to succeed.

Keep the overarching goal of your personal statement in mind as you write it, and make sure that everything you say is supported by an action or example.

How long should your personal statement be?

Your personal statement must be between 1,000 and 4,000 characters long. It is best to use as many of the 4,000 characters (approximately 47 lines) as possible in order to showcase all of your best qualities and experience.

Joe’s tip: Your personal statement is part of your UCAS application as a whole, so the deadline for completing it is the UCAS application deadline of 25th January (or 15th October if you’re applying to Oxford or Cambridge). However, schools often impose their own personal statement deadlines that are a lot earlier. If you feel like you are going to submit a poor quality personal statement to meet this early deadline, speak to your school.

8 tips to smash your Law personal statement!

Step 1. What are your motivations for studying Law?

Once you’ve got the goal of your personal statement at the forefront of your mind, start thinking about why you want to study a degree in Law, and what sparked your passion and commitment. If you’re applying for an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) or other qualifying Law degree, your motivation for studying Law may be to become a barrister or solicitor – if this is the case, think about why you want to become one. Then, weave that long-term goal throughout your statement.

Some universities, including Oxbridge and those that offer BA Law rather than an LLB, are less concerned about your ultimate career path and value your academic interest in the subject far more. Therefore, if you’re applying to Oxbridge, you should instead focus on your passion for Law, explain how a Law degree will benefit you academically, and pick out specific areas of interest that you are looking forward to studying.

Writing down exactly why you want to study your chosen course isn’t always easy. You might think that you have simply always been drawn to the legal profession, but there are nearly always some deeper rooted motivations underpinning this desire, and it’s important to identify those. 

Joe’s tip: Try to steer away from cliche introductions and catchphrases that may exaggerate or misrepresent your true motivations. Even if you did have a dramatic, life-defining moment in which you realised what you wanted to study at university, it can come across as insincere if you write it in your personal statement. For instance, if you find yourself writing, “I’ve wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a young child…” or “For as long as I can remember…” then really think about how you can make your personal statement represent you and stand out from other applicants. Remember, if someone else can take the paragraph you have written and apply it to themselves, then you may need to reword it to make it more unique.

Russell Group Law offer holder tip: You might have visited public courts and witnessed a case, have an inherent passion for logic and debate, or kept up with famous law trials that sparked your interest in pursuing a career in law. Either way, it’s important to spend time pinpointing ‘why’ you are dedicated to law. Here’s a quote from my successful personal statement: “Having visited the public galleries at The Old Bailey court and viewed a real-life murder trial, I felt invigorated to pursue a career in Law.” This is a unique stance as everyone won’t have witnessed a real life case, making it very tailored to you. Of course, this is only if you have actually visited a court case. Do not fabricate any events as you may get caught out in interviews.

Don’t forget to check out our previous blog on ‘Should I study law?’ which may help you gain a wider understanding of whether Law is the right course for you.

Step 2. What appeals to you specifically about the course you’re applying to?

Universities in the UK offer a range of Law courses at undergraduate-level – each are slightly different qualification types and contain slightly different modules. It’s important that you research the specifics of each course you’re applying for, including the topics you’d particularly like to study. Then, choose two or three topics in particular and discuss what you would like to learn from them and how they align with your motivations and help you towards achieving your long-term goals. 

However, be careful not to name-drop specific modules in your personal statement. In the UK, you are only allowed to submit one personal statement that then gets sent to all of your university choices (up to five). The problem with this is that each of the modules in these universities’ courses will be slightly different, both by name and by their contents. Instead of naming them, make sure you keep the topics mentioned in your personal statement general and check that all of your chosen universities offer them.

Joe’s tip: Depending on whether you are applying for a BA in Law or an LLB, universities will want to see different aspects highlighted in your personal statement. Typically, if you’re applying for a BA in Law, universities are more interested in your passion for the academic discipline of Law than your desire to become a lawyer. However, if you’re applying for an LLB, then law schools will want to feel confident that you have a long-term career plan and will land a job soon after graduation.

According to The Lawyer Portal (2022) 31.5% of applications were not successful in their Law applications. Our Law admissions tutors can give you advice on how to tailor your personal statement to the specific universities and courses you’re applying for, including top law schools like Oxford and Cambridge. In fact, our students are more than three times more likely to get into Oxbridge than those without our support, so get in touch with our team today to maximise your chances of receiving an offer.

Step 3. What work experience do you have and what did you learn?

Work experience and volunteering are important for Law applications, not only because they help your application stand out, but also because you cannot get the real-life knowledge and experience of how legal environments such as courtrooms work, and the typical responsibilities of a lawyer, in any other way. 

Your work experience should be woven throughout your personal statement and related back to your areas of interest and wider reading. Universities don’t want to see a list of your work experience, but are instead interested in the skills you developed through work experience and how it has helped you to really understand the necessary skills required and the challenges associated with being a legal professional. Ensure you are always reflecting on your experiences, thinking about what you learnt from them and how they will enrich your future studies and career.

Joe’s tip: When writing this section of your personal statement, concentrate particularly on how your work experience has informed your own career plan. If you are applying for an LLB or LLM, it’s expected that you will want to become a barrister or solicitor. But through your experience, have you gained an idea of which area you would particularly like to specialise in? And what is your long-term goal? Universities want candidates who are going to easily get a job after university, and showing that you have a realistic plan (not necessarily one you must stick to!) and that you know your industry is a great way to demonstrate this.

Russell Group Law offer holder tip: If you find this section challenging due to a lack of prior work experience, there’s no need to worry. Instead, tackle it by listing the three or four subjects you are presently studying at A-Level (or equivalent). Then, build on these subjects by drawing connections between the skills you’ve cultivated through studying them and how these skills can be advantageous in your upcoming law degree. For example“ Studying Psychology at A-Level has enhanced my critical thinking and analytical skills by evaluating numerous theories and research frameworks. This would be paramount in my law degree when facilitating a nuanced and analytical approach to legal frameworks and argumentation.”

Step 4. What relevant skills do you have?

Next, think about what skills you have that would make you a great student of the law. You may have already discovered some through writing about your work experience or motivations. If you have, that’s a great sign that you’re already tying together the different elements of what makes you well-suited to Law and developing a strong personal statement. 

There are some skills in particular that universities will be keeping an eye out for in applicants’ personal statements. They include:

  • Rational and logical thinking
  • Ability to form a clear and convincing argument
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Communication skills (both written and oral)
  • Organisational skills
  • Ability to cope under high pressure
  • Attention to detail

Make sure you specifically highlight these skills in your personal statement and explain how you have developed them. For example, has there been a particular work experience placement in which you had to think rationally and logically in order to solve a problem? Have you witnessed first-hand the pressure of the courtroom environment, and how have you learnt from that experience? You could even reference developing certain skills throughout your school-level education, in any extracurricular activities, or through any wider reading you have done.

Step 5. What wider reading and studying have you done?

While the studying you do at school in relevant subjects is certainly useful from an academic standpoint (for example, learning to form clear, written arguments and research thoroughly), your personal statement is your chance to show universities that you have gone above and beyond. Relevant wider reading and studying that you have done in your personal time shows that you are passionate and dedicated to your chosen field, so it’s important to highlight it. 

With Law, it’s also really important to go beyond the books. Try looking at specific statutes and jurisdictions that relate to your areas of interest. Avoid popular law books that are on the bestseller lists, such as The Secret Barrister, as these will be common among Law personal statements and won’t help you stand out. 

One area that is also important for all Law courses is a general knowledge of the legal system – universities aren’t looking for an expert (after all, that’s why you’re applying to study their course!), but they are looking for someone with a genuine interest in Law and a thirst for knowledge. The University of Cambridge, along with many other universities, particularly like applicants to keep up-to-date with current affairs and show interest in the legalities of the latest news stories. Some useful sources to help you stay up to date with legal news include: the Law Society Gazette, blogs on law firms’ websites, TED talks on Law, and Law sections of News websites, such as the Guardian.

Russell Group Law offer holder tip: For example, an excellent approach to this is identifying the specific topic you have come across, whether it is in a news article, journal, blog, or TED talk. Then, briefly explain what this particular topic shows, demonstrating your ability to analyse and condense information coherently and clearly. An example from my statement would be, “I utilise my free time by engaging in law articles, and a recent find titled ‘A Complex Case of Joint Enterprise’ has left a lasting impact. What intrigued me most was the examination of a defendant with severely impaired vision. While he was part of the group involved in the crime, the article prompts contemplation on the interplay between his participation and the limitations imposed by his impaired vision. It navigates the complexities of guilt, offering a nuanced exploration of responsibility within the context of joint enterprise.”

Joe’s tip: One area students tend to focus too much on is criminal law. Though criminal law is part of a Law degree, it will not make up the bulk of your course and you probably won’t stand out too much if you mention it in your personal statement (unless you’re referring to it in the context of some work experience or volunteering you have undertaken). 

Instead, consider including a variety of Law specialisms in your personal statement, such as civil rights, legal history, or immigration law. Universities will be impressed by students who can prove they understand the breadth of the law and how it intertwines with day-to-day life.

If you do feel like you want to include criminal law in your personal statement, we suggest finding a very niche area within the wider topic and researching it very well, whether that is through legal research papers, documentaries, or legal news articles. You should name-drop specific readings or TED talks you’ve watched on the topic and ensure you’re taking an insightful and critical approach that makes you stand out.

Step 6. Do you take part in any relevant extracurricular activities?

Once you’ve demonstrated your motivations for studying Law, your relevant skills and your work experience, you can include a line or two about any other extracurricular activities you feel are relevant. Specific activities you should think about mentioning include participation in debating clubs or competitions, such as the Oxford Schools and Debating Matters competitions. Not only do these demonstrate a passion for the subject area, but debating competitions are also a great way to demonstrate your ability to make sound and logical arguments – an important skill of successful lawyers. If you’re taking part in the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), you could also consider focusing that on a Law topic and including that in your personal statement, too. 

Joe’s tip: You only have so many words in your personal statement, so everything you include should be impactful and support your point that you’d be an excellent Law student. When it comes to extracurricular activities and hobbies, remember, they do not have to be linked directly to a law background. Instead, try and extract the transferable skills obtained from the extracurricular activities. Some examples are time management (undertaking the extracurricular activities whilst studying), organisational skills (planning academic deadlines and extracurricular activity demands) or networking skills (communicating with wider communities). All of these examples can then be linked specifically to law and can be leveraged throughout the degree.

Law offer holder tip: For example, student peer mentoring as an extracurricular activity may not seem related to Law on the surface level. However, if you think deeply into the extracurricular activity, you can leverage skills that can be transferred over. Check out this extract from my personal statement, for example:  “During years nine and ten, I was a peer mentor, in which I was fortunate enough to help out students in the lower years of my school. Within this, I have refined my oral communication skills by clearly attending to students’ needs in academia and welfare. This proficiency would be impactful in mooting, where the ability to present compelling arguments is paramount. Furthermore, it positions me favourably for instances where effectively conveying complex legal frameworks to diverse audiences would be necessary.”

Step 7. Summarise why you are well-suited to the course

The final paragraph of your personal statement should summarise everything you’ve described throughout. You should conclude by stating why you think you’d be well-suited to a Law degree course. You do not need to include any new examples or information here. Rather, you should summarise the key points you’ve already made and tie them back to the overarching goal and the motivations you established at the start of your statement.

Law offer holder tip: One good way to think of this last paragraph is finalising and conceptualising the question, “why me and not another applicant?”

Step 8. Think ahead to any potential interviews

Your personal statement is an important deciding factor in whether you get offered an interview with your chosen law school. 

If you’re invited to attend an interview, it is likely that your interviewer will refer to your personal statement when asking you questions or raising topics to discuss.

Some, but not all, universities interview for Law. So, it’s important to find out if any of your chosen universities do and prepare accordingly. Some universities that interview for Law are:

  • The University of Bristol
  • The University of Cambridge
  • Durham University
  • The University of Essex
  • The University of Glasgow
  • King’s College London
  • Lancaster University ​​(if you have borderline grades or for unconditional offers)
  • London School of Economics (LSE)
  • Newcastle University
  • The University of Nottingham
  • The University of Oxford
  • SOAS University of London
  • University College London (UCL)
  • The University of York

If you know there is a chance you’ll be interviewed, we suggest looking at each sentence you have written and considering what questions an interviewer could ask you about them. If you are able to expand on the sentence or talk more about the topic, then keep the sentence in. Conversely, if you’re unable to go into any more depth, consider removing it or reframing it in a way that will make it easier for you in the interview. 

During the weeks leading up to your interview, you should also go back through your personal statement and consider if there are any current ethical, political or newsworthy issues that relate to what you’ve mentioned. This will ensure you’re in-the-know and able to critically discuss current issues that could potentially come up in your interview.

Joe’s tip: It should go without saying, but always tell the truth in your personal statement – especially when applying to study a Law degree! That applies to your work experience and volunteering, your extra reading and studying, and anything else that relates to your skills and interests. You could be asked questions on anything you write in your personal statement in your interview, and you don’t want to get caught in a lie. Nothing will put off a respected law school more than if you are caught lying in your application.

How do we improve your Law personal statement?

Your personal statement is one of the most important parts of your Law application, so it’s a good idea to get professional help to make sure that it’s as compelling as possible. Our dedicated personal statement tutors can help you by:

  • Identifying where you need support in a free discovery call

Our experts offer a free discovery call to understand your goals and needs. From this, our experienced tutors will formulate a plan of action, including helping you build your personal statement from scratch to ensure that it is tailored specifically to you (or supporting you if you’ve already started!) and working with you on a regular, one-to-one basis.

  • Putting together a plan

You should plan at every stage of your Law application – including for your personal statement. Which universities you’re applying to, what experience you have, and other contextual factors will all impact how and what you should write in your personal statement. Your statement also impacts other areas of your application which you’ll need to plan for, including the LNAT admissions test and interviews (if required), all of which our admissions tutors can help you plan and prepare for.

  • Helping you develop your skills and academic profile

A great Law personal statement relies on great skills and relevant experience. Our tutors can advise you on what you can do to help build your academic profile and ensure that your personal statement stands out to your chosen universities for all the right reasons.

  • Giving a statement of review on your personal statement

Once you’re in touch with one of our personal statement tutors, you can submit a draft for review. Based on many years of experience helping students refine their personal statements and get into top universities, our experts will provide detailed feedback with action points advising you on how to improve. Nobody, not even a tutor, is allowed to make direct changes to your personal statement, and it is ultimately up to you what you write and whether you make changes based on any feedback you receive.

  • Proofreading for grammar

Though it might seem obvious, proofreading for grammar before you submit your Law personal statement is critical to your application’s success. Grammatical mistakes – even small ones – will detract from the contents of your statement and prevent assessors from focusing on all of the fantastic skills and work experience you have. Use a document that has a spelling and grammar checker incorporated in it, for example Grammarly to avoid mistakes, and always ask a tutor, friend or family member to proofread it before submitting. Remember, you can never proofread enough or ‘too many times’

  • Wider application support

Our team can also help you with your wider university application, including improving your grades, preparing for the LNAT (if required), and providing interview training. Get in touch with us to start your tailored Law admissions tutoring today.

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Getting students into top universities and helping them attain excellent grades is our thing. In fact, over 95% of our students get into their first and second-choice universities, including Oxbridge!

We have expert A level and IB tutors who can help you get the grades it takes to study Law at a prestigious university. We can assist you with your personal statement, LNAT, and even your Law degree. Just reach out to our expert tutors or university admissions team if you’re serious about securing a successful future.