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How Long Should a Law School Personal Statement Be?

March 18, 2024
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 03/03/23

As you complete your law school application, you’ll have several questions, including “how long should a law school personal statement be?” To find the answer to this question and related ones, read on!

A well-crafted personal statement can set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate your potential to become a successful law student and lawyer. It should provide insight into your personal and professional goals, your passion for law, and what you hope to contribute to the legal field.

Considering how important your personal statement is, it may seem necessary to write several pages explaining why you’d be the best law school candidate. However, law school committees expect personal statements to be concise, to the point, and relatively short. 

While the exact length of your personal statement will depend on the schools you’re applying to, this guide will provide you with some direction on how long your personal statement for law school should be and how to keep it short but sweet!

How Long Should a Personal Statement Be for Law School?

Admissions committees have to read thousands of personal statements per application cycle. To ensure the committee can do so in a timely manner, personal statements are typically limited to around 500-750 words.

How Many Pages Should Your Law School Personal Statement Have?

Many law schools do not have rigid word count limitations but instead ask that the statements do not exceed a certain page length. This is most commonly two to three double-spaced pages, but can sometimes be four. 

To give you a better idea of law schools’ personal statement expectations, here are the page length limits for five top law schools:

Law School Personal Statement Length
Columbia Law Up to 3 pages, double-spaced
Harvard Law 2 pages, double-spaced
University of Chicago Flexible; generally 2-4 pages, double-spaced
Duke University Flexible; generally 1.5-3 pages, double-spaced
University of Michigan Flexible; generally 2-4 pages, double-spaced

Your personal statement should give the admissions committee more insight into who you are, what you value, and what you hope to achieve. As such, most students reach their page limits to share all of this information.  

For instance, if you’re applying to Harvard, your personal statement will likely be at least one and a half pages long. This length will help ensure you share your most meaningful experiences with the admissions committee and prove you’re an excellent candidate for law school.

Tips for Writing a Concise Personal Statement for Law School

So, the quick answer to how long your personal statement should be for law school is around two pages double-spaced or close to your page limit. However, meeting your page limit should not involve repeating information, adding unnecessary language to lengthen your essay, or rearing off-topic.

If your school does not have a strict word count, you have more freedom to write a longer personal statement, but you should only do so if you feel it’s necessary. Otherwise, stick to their recommended guidelines.

You want your personal statement to share valuable information in a concise way so that it reads well and effectively communicates your ideas. To ensure your personal statement does just this, follow these tips:

Start By Brainstorming

Before you start writing, take some time to reflect on your personal and professional experiences, interests, and goals. 

Consider what sets you apart from other applicants and what you hope to achieve with your legal education. Jot down all of your ideas so you can pick the best experiences to talk about.

Narrow Your Topic

For your first draft, ignore the word count. Write your ideas as they come to you so that you have a good foundation and can choose which ideas to keep and which to cut out.

Once you’ve completed your first draft, choose one or two meaningful experiences to center your personal statement around. Do not create a laundry list of your skills and accomplishments, as you will already be submitting a resume with your application. 

Use your story or stories as your focal point. Provide context and depth and relate these experiences to your decision and motivation to pursue a legal career.

Focus on Your Strengths

You want your personal statement to impress the admissions committee. Showcase your unique strengths, accomplishments, skills, and experiences that demonstrate your potential to succeed in law school and as a legal professional. 

Avoid talking about your weaknesses - it will waste valuable space and can work against you. 

Be Specific

Only mention skills or abilities that can be backed up with concrete examples. Avoid any generalizations. Share your specific passions and how you’ve developed them. 

For example, rather than simply stating you’re interested in environmental law, share the exact topics within this area of law that intrigue you and what influenced you to follow this passion. 

Use the Active Voice

Writing in an active voice can make your statement more direct, personal, and engaging. It can also help you avoid wordiness that can confuse your reader.

Keep It Simple

Use vocabulary you are comfortable with! Don’t pull out your thesaurus and try to find the biggest words you can to replace your own. Use simple language that you understand and use regularly to ensure that you do not misuse words or over-complicate your sentences.

Ask for Feedback

Whether you get feedback from your best friend or one of our expert admissions counselors, it’s important to have another set of eyes look over your personal statement to identify areas that need improvement or clarity.

Revise Multiple Times

Don’t be afraid to revise your draft multiple times until you’re absolutely confident it is concise and compelling. Your personal statement is a direct reflection of you and your writing abilities, so spend time perfecting it. 

Start early so that you can take your time with the revisions!

FAQs: Personal Statement Length

In this guide, we focused on answering the question, “how long should a law school personal statement be?” To ensure all of your concerns are addressed, here are the answers to other common questions about personal statements.

1. Are Three Pages Too Long for a Law School Personal Statement?

Three pages may be acceptable, depending on your school’s limit. Most schools ask that students submit personal statements that are between two to four pages long. 

If you choose to write three pages, ensure each sentence is meaningful and adds value to your essay. Focus on quality more than quantity, and don’t feel obligated to meet the maximum page limit.

2. What Is a Good Length for a Law School Personal Statement?

Typically, the best law school personal statements are about two pages long. This gives students enough space to share their most meaningful experiences while being concise.

However, the perfect length depends on your school’s formatting restrictions and the narrative you want to share. If you have had several meaningful experiences that have influenced your decision to pursue law, you may need to write a longer statement. Just ensure you only share relevant details and stay focused. 

3. How Can I Make Sure My Personal Statement Is as Effective as Possible Within the Given Length Limit?

You should begin early so that you have enough time to revise and refine your work before submission. Spend time brainstorming key traits and experiences you want to share and focus on highlighting your strengths. Use concrete examples to illustrate your points and avoid repeating ideas or including unnecessary information.

Use language you’re comfortable with and ask others for feedback on your statement.

Final Thoughts

While most statements are between two to three pages long, use your judgement and school’s expectations when deciding how long your personal statement should be. 

As tempting as it may be to try to include as much information as possible in your personal statement, it's important to focus on crafting a strong and concise statement that effectively communicates your passion, motivations, and potential to succeed in the legal field!

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