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How to Write a 'Why This Law School' Essay With Examples

February 6, 2024
8 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 2/6/24

Entering law school? Knowing how to approach the “why law” school essay is vital—it's your tool to articulate why their institution is the ideal match for your legal goals. Let's get straight to it.

Getting into law school involves more than just grades—it's about convincing the admissions team why their school is the perfect fit for you. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of crafting a strong "Why This Law School" essay, using clear examples and practical advice to help your application stand out in the competitive pool of applicants. So, let's get down to the essentials that will make your essay a key asset in securing your spot at the law school of your choice.

Writing the "Why This Law School" Essay

When writing your "Why This Law School" essay, it's important to thoughtfully consider key elements to express your connection with clarity and purpose. So, let’s take a look at how to write a “why law” school essay.

Generating Ideas for Impactful Content

When you're getting ready to write your “why law” school essay, start by doing some research. Dig into the school's culture, mission, faculty, and special projects. Learn about their history and what campus life is like.

Next, think about what genuinely interests you about the school. It could be their commitment to diversity, a specific course they offer, or interesting internship opportunities. Write down these things that catch your attention.

Now, connect your own experiences, events, and skills with the things you found interesting about the school. If they're big on diversity, share your own experiences supporting inclusivity. 

If there's a specific course you like, talk about how your past courses and work experiences make you a great fit. Basically, show them why you're not just any applicant but someone who can really add to what makes the school unique.

Stating Academic and Career Goals

A concise statement sets the stage, pinpointing what draws you to the school. Perhaps it's the renowned faculty or the emphasis on practical skills. Illustrate with a personal example—maybe a transformative moment during an internship or a class—that aligns with the school's values. Showcase your connection.

Highlight how your future aspirations intertwine with the school's strengths. Whether it's honing specific legal skills or contributing to a particular aspect of the academic community, paint a vivid picture of what you aim to achieve. Keep it focused, emphasizing the tapestry of alignment between your goals and the school's offerings.

woman typing on laptop

Exploring Unique Opportunities Related to Your Interests

When explaining why a specific law school captures your attention, it's crucial to move beyond generic features and explore the distinctive opportunities the institution offers. For instance, consider the case of the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Dive into specific clinics like the Environmental Law Clinic, renowned professors such as Professor Abhay Aneja, or cutting-edge research projects like the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. By delving into these unique aspects, you showcase genuine interest in what sets Berkeley Law apart.

Establishing a personal connection to these opportunities is key. It's not just about what Berkeley Law provides; it's about how programs like these align with your personal and professional goals. 

This connection adds depth to your application, demonstrating how you'll not only benefit from these opportunities but also contribute positively to the overall Berkeley Law community. Effectively communicating this alignment enhances your case for being an ideal fit for the institution.

Adding Top Academic and Extracurricular/Social Reasons for Application

Crafting a compelling application involves presenting a balanced approach that seamlessly integrates both academic and extracurricular or social reasons for your choice. Showcase a comprehensive understanding of the law school's offerings, not only in terms of curriculum but also in the broader context of the overall student experience.

To demonstrate fit, articulate how your academic pursuits align harmoniously with the school's curriculum. Illustrate how the courses, faculty expertise, and academic environment resonate with your educational goals. Simultaneously, emphasize how your extracurricular interests contribute meaningfully to the broader community. 

Whether it's involvement in student organizations, community service, or social initiatives, conveying a holistic engagement paints a picture of a candidate who will not only excel academically but also enrich the social fabric of the law school.

Knowing the Right Essay Length

If there are no guidelines, aim for around one double-spaced page, roughly 250–350 words. Format your essay like your personal statement, using "Interest in School X" in the header unless the application specifies otherwise (e.g., "Supplemental Essay One"). This ensures a smooth and organized flow of your thoughts throughout your application.

Thinking about length isn't just a detail; it's a sign of respecting the application process and the committee's time. This consideration makes your response more impactful and shows you get the importance of being concise without losing depth.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Starting your law school journey involves complexities, from crafting a strong application to excelling in standardized tests like the LSAT, GRE, Bar Exam, or MPRE. At Juris Education, our experienced admissions counselors are here to guide you through every step.

Navigating the details of expressing your achievements and overcoming setbacks can be challenging. Our team offers personalized guidance to help you strategically present your unique strengths, ensuring they connect with admissions committees.

Our consulting services are more than just advice; they make a real difference. Specifically designed for applicants dealing with challenges like low GPAs or LSAT scores, we specialize in turning setbacks into strengths, significantly improving your chances of acceptance.

We work closely with you to identify and highlight your standout qualities, tailoring your application to showcase what makes you exceptional. This personal touch sets you apart and boosts your appeal to admissions committees.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your “Why This Law School” Essay

Avoiding common pitfalls in your "Why This Law School" essay is crucial for clarity:

1. Vague Statements

When writing your essay, steer clear of vague language that could apply to any law school. Instead, focus on specific elements that make the institution unique, such as distinctive programs, esteemed faculty, or unparalleled opportunities. 

Get into the details when discussing academic offerings—highlight faculty members aligned with your interests and pinpoint programs resonating with your academic goals. This specificity not only reveals your research depth but also establishes a thoughtful connection to the school.

2. Overemphasis on Reputation

While acknowledging a law school's prestige is vital, avoid fixating solely on reputation without linking it to your personal and professional goals. Admission committees want to understand how the school's reputation aligns with your aspirations and why it's the ideal place for your legal education. 

Connect the school's reputation to your objectives to provide a nuanced perspective. For instance, if a law school is renowned for environmental law, emphasize this alignment if you're passionate about environmental advocacy.

3. Ignoring Extracurricular/Social Aspects

Don't overlook the significance of social and extracurricular factors in your decision-making process. Law school extends beyond academics; it's a comprehensive experience involving a community, networking opportunities, and extracurricular activities. Integrate both academic and extracurricular aspects into your essay. 

Discuss how the law school's social environment, student organizations, and community engagement contribute to a holistic educational experience. This showcases a well-rounded understanding of the institution and its role in your overall legal education.

Structuring Your "Why This Law School?" Essay Effectively

Let's dive into how to make your "Why This Law School?" essay stand out by structuring it effectively.

Outlining Key Points and Themes

Making your "Why This Law School?" essay easy to understand involves a strategic approach:

1. Identify School-Specific Elements

Begin by pinpointing specific aspects of the law school that catch your interest—unique programs, esteemed faculty, or notable achievements. This lays the groundwork for a focused and impactful essay.

For instance, if the law school is known for its environmental law program and you're passionate about sustainability, highlight this in your essay. Show a deep understanding of the school's offerings and how they align with your personal and professional goals.

2. Prioritize Impactful Points

Once you've figured out what matters to you, rank them based on how much they affect your decision. What stands out the most to you? What fits well with your career goals? Putting the most impactful points first helps keep your essay clear and persuasive.

For instance, if the law school has a special program where you can work directly with clients, and this lines up with your goal of getting hands-on legal experience, make sure to highlight this. The goal is to show a sincere and careful tie to the institution.

3. Create a Logical Flow

Plan your essay with a clear order, starting with the most important points. Transition smoothly between your academic, extracurricular, and personal experiences to create a cohesive story that highlights your deep understanding of the law school and why it suits you.

For example, if your interest in environmental law relates to your commitment to community service, make sure to emphasize this connection. A well-structured and logically flowing essay enhances readability and strengthens your overall argument for why the law school is an ideal match for you.

Combining Academic and Extracurricular/Social Reasons

Ensuring balance is key when shaping your "Why This Law School?" essay. It's not just about academics; it's about capturing the broader law school experience. Avoid going all-in on one side; try to reflect your appreciation for academic offerings and your potential impact on the law school community.

Discuss how your academic path blends seamlessly with the social dynamics of law school. Share how your classes and extracurricular interests harmonize, illustrating how your involvement in student organizations weaves effortlessly into your coursework.

For instance, if the law school's clinical programs align with your academic groove, delve into how it extends beyond conventional study methods. Emphasize the practical, real-world learning experiences it offers. 

By showcasing this interconnected approach, you demonstrate a well-thought-out perspective on your entire law school journey, adding an authentic and profound dimension to your essay.

students volunteering at food bank

Using Feedback and Editing Wisely

As you fine-tune your "Why This Law School" essay, let's talk about using feedback and editing in a smart and effective way.

1. Reach Out for Help

Before finishing your essay, get input from people you trust. Share your essay with mentors, peers, or advisors to get helpful feedback. Others can offer insights and spot areas for improvement that you might miss.

Choose people who know about the law school application process and can give constructive feedback on what you've written. Their input is essential for polishing both the content and presentation of your essay.

2. Revision Time

Revise your essay based on feedback, focusing on clarity, coherence, and strengthening your argument. Make sure to pay attention to suggestions that take your narrative to the next level. If feedback aligns with your goals, try to incorporate it. But, most importantly, trust your judgment and maintain the integrity of your narrative if a suggestion doesn't make sense with your vision.

3. Final Polishing

Before you submit your essay, focus on a last edit for grammar, style, and overall coherence. Make sure it fits the word or character limit and stays well-organized. Check how ideas flow, transitions between paragraphs, and the general readability.

A refined essay shows your dedication to a thoughtful application. Spend a moment on this final review to catch any remaining errors and guarantee your essay leaves the intended impression.

3 Examples of Successful “Why This Law School” Essays

Explore three successful examples of "Why This Law School" essays to gain practical insights into crafting compelling narratives and building strategic connections. Each “why law” school essay example has something to offer. Let’s get into them.

1. "Why Northwestern" Essay Example

Prompt: While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community. In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond. (300 words max)

Essay Example

“I love Northwestern’s academic flexibility, including the freedom of the curriculum to explore a variety of fields and the emphasis on cross-department study. Also, the quarter system provides a faster pace of learning and the opportunity to take more classes than a semester school.

Specifically, I am excited by the Spanish and Portuguese departments and the classes on Hispanic and Lusophone culture, literature, and phonetics. 

For example, the accelerated Portuguese program is a perfect way to pick up the language at a faster pace using my prior knowledge of Spanish. I intend to supplement my language acquisition through the study abroad programs offered at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro or an affiliate program in Santiago, Chile. 

Additionally, the GESI program in Costa Rica is another intriguing opportunity through its intersectionality. It will allow me to combine a practical application of my language skills with studies in environmental conservation that I find a pressing and interesting issue. As an open-minded learner keen to forge links between academic fields of study, I believe I would be an excellent fit for the program.

I am also interested in Linguistics and pursuing undergraduate research or possibly undertaking the coterminal BA/MA program. The opportunity to link my research to a modern language of choice and investigate, for example, regional variation in Latin American Spanish or how Portuguese loanwords have infiltrated native Amazonian languages sounds fascinating and exciting.

Finally, the unique sense of community at Northwestern captivated me when I visited campus. The residential college system, the school spirit at Wildcat games, and the friendliness of the students I met, one of whom described the school as “the most welcoming place ever”, were all emblematic of this atmosphere for me. I think I will thrive in such a dynamic and inquisitive place.”

Why This Essay Works

This essay does a great job answering the prompt. It's clear and to the point. The applicant talks about why they're excited about Northwestern, like the flexibility of the curriculum and the quarter system. 

They also get specific about their interests, like the Portuguese program and study abroad opportunities. Plus, they mention their enthusiasm for the community at Northwestern, which is a nice touch.

2. "Why Tufts?" Essay Example

Prompt: Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, "Why Tufts?" (150 words max)

Essay Example

“The cross-curricular focus and freedom of study at Tufts would allow me to pursue an interdisciplinary major and draw together my love for Spanish, Portuguese, Linguistics, and the natural sciences. This unique ability to design my own major by combining elements from a variety of academic fields definitely excites me. To support this, I intend to participate in the study abroad program in Chile or a civic semester in Urubamba, Peru that will allow me to practice my language skills while also benefitting the local community and gaining an invaluable cultural understanding through intimate homestay experience. Other than the academics, the vibrant community at Tufts also attracts me, with the warm and compassionate students acting as flattering adverts for the school. One student I spoke with described the average Jumbo as “goofy and loving” which I feel accurately matches my own character and outlook.

(144/150 words)”

Why This Essay Works

This essay works because it clearly shows how Tufts University's cross-curricular approach aligns with the applicant's academic interests in Spanish, Portuguese, Linguistics, and the natural sciences. 

It also conveys the applicant's intention to craft a unique major and engage in enriching experiences like studying abroad and contributing to local communities. Additionally, it portrays Tufts as a welcoming and compassionate community through the description provided by a current student, making a strong case for why the applicant is interested in the university.

3. "Why Tulane?" Essay Example

Prompt: Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University (optional). (50-800 words)

Essay Example

“Tulane University has a unique history, deeply established in the city it calls home, New Orleans. After transitioning from a medical school to a full college in in 1847, then undergoing a name change from the University of Louisiana to Tulane in 1884, as the city changed, Tulane changed with it. Tulane is the crossroad of two distinctly different ideals: being rooted in tradition and adapting to the needs of modern society.

When the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Tulanians answered the call to serve. Scott S. Cowen, then-President of Tulane, refused to let the hurricane ruin Tulane and the CIty. Tulanians were part of rescue and clean-up teams, devoting time and resources to rebuilding their school and the city it calls home. What was most impressive, however, was their resilience.

It would’ve been easy for the student body and staff to not come back. Being as smart and service-oriented as they are, the students and faculty could’ve found another place to live and learn easily. Yet, they returned. Tulanians have a certain sense of pride and commitment to the school that I admire. 

They could’ve stayed home and not gone back, but they wanted to pick up the pieces of the school they love. It’s clear that Tulanians take ownership in their education. I want to go to a school that my peers want to go to; I want to be immersed in a community as excited about being in it as I am. That’s Tulane.

I could go on and on about Tulane’s teacher education program. I could write about how Tulane-educated teachers are leaders in their fields because they have both a degree in their area of study as well as certification to teach. Maybe I could mention the service learning requirements necessary to graduate and enter the teacher certification program, ensuring that the teachers are prepared to instill morals in the students that walk through their classroom door.

Truthfully, I could go almost anywhere to become a teacher, but only schools like Tulane that synthesize in- and out-of-classroom learning produce great ones. Tulane, like I said before, houses a resilient and altruistic student body. They served New Orleans specifically in 2005, but Tulanians serve their community every single day. Newsweek ranked Tulane 19th for service-minded schools. Likewise, the U.S. News & World Report placed Tulane in the top 25 schools for service learning. It is one of the top schools for producing Peace Corps volunteers, a program that interested me for post-graduate work.

Whether it is through Outreach Tulane, CACTUS, Wave of Green, or another similar program, I will be immersed in service work throughout my four years. Tulane stands alone in its commitment to community. Classroom education is married with service learning, producing empathetic, worldly leaders ready to set the world on fire. In my case, that will be through educating the next generation.

I need a meaningful education to be a meaningful educator. Tulane is unparalleled in its dedication to development of the students, on a personal and intellectual level. From when I touch the Victory Bell after Convocation all the way to when I say farewell at the Wave Goodbye Party at Commencement, I’ll have changed and grown, both in my mind and in my heart.

The Tulane study body is diverse and well-rounded; finding people and groups with shared interests is inevitable. I could see myself writing for the Hullabaloo or being a tutor in the After-School Newcomb Tutoring (which will bridge my learning and my intended career and give practical application to my education classes). But more so, I can just envision myself at Tulane, as a Tulanian. The willowing oak, myrtle, and cypress trees, the world-renowned research facilities, the dedicated faculty, the motivated and inspired student body, and the timeless school spirit all lend itself to a picture I can see myself in.”

Why This Essay Works

This essay does a great job of showing why the applicant wants to attend Tulane University. It talks about the university's history, how it responded to Hurricane Katrina, and why the applicant is interested in their teacher education program. 

It also mentions the strong commitment to service and personal growth at Tulane. Overall, it makes a strong case for why the applicant is excited about being a part of the Tulane community.


To sum it up, writing your “why law” school essay is all about storytelling. From understanding the unique aspects of law school to combining academic and extracurricular reasons, your essay is a chance to show why you're a perfect fit. 

Explore the unique opportunities the school provides, creating a personal connection that enhances your application. Keep it simple: Steer clear of common mistakes, and make sure your essay is well-structured. And don't forget, the right essay length is more than a detail—it shows respect for the application process.

If you find it helpful, consider getting expert advice for a well-guided path to law school. Take inspiration from successful examples as you start your writing journey, creating a narrative that sets you apart in the competitive realm of law school applications.

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