Book Review: The Art of the Law School Personal Statement

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We’ve written dozens of blog posts about law school personal statements here on our helpful little LSAT blog, and I know you’ve read every one of them. But believe it or not, there are other resources out there that can help you craft the perfect law school admissions essay.

One of them is a new e-book called The Art of the Law School Personal Statement, by Michelle Fabio. Fabio is the former About.com Guide to Law School who became a Personal Statement Artist. Her latest work checks in at 89 pages, but manages to cover all the bases of writing an effective law school personal statement.

The book’s first point is that students should never underestimate the importance of the law school personal statement. Reading a book about how to write a 2-page essay is a good start in taking it seriously. According to Fabio, your law school personal statement can be major factor in whether law schools give you the green light or toss your application in the trash. When you send off your law school personal statement, you should have no doubts about how admissions officers will read it.

So how do you write the law school personal statement?

That’s what the rest of the book is about. Fabio splits it into three sections: Choosing a topic, writing, and rewriting/revising. Fabio goes in-depth in each section, laying out the 12 Commandments of Law School Personal Statements and what topics to avoid (as well as a slew of brainstorming ideas) for how to pick what to write about, the types of law school personal statements and basic formatting rules (as well as 15 ways to conquer writer’s block) when writing, and what to look for in content, form, and structure (as well as a bare-bones grammar lesson) for revising.

The Artist Formerly Known as Lawyer also covers the not-so-frequently discussed areas of addenda, diversity statements, and Why X statements. Among the highlights, Fabio recommends writing a diversity statement any time possible. She writes that diversity statements are a great opportunity to showcase yourself to law schools even more (“one of those rare second bites of the apple”).

The Art of the Law School Personal Statement is great for anyone who wants to write a great admissions essay but doesn’t know where to start. You can buy it on Amazon (link above) or right on the Personal Statement Artist website.

You can also enter to win a copy of the book, as well as a free law school personal statement review by Fabio herself, simply by commenting on this blog post on Personal Statement Artist, as well as earn extra entries by following Fabio on various social media sites. Hurry, though, the contest ends tomorrow.

2 Responses

  1. Jimmy says:

    I’ve read that personal statements should be considered like an opportunity to interview that most applicants don’t get.

    I wonder if Michelle Fabio agrees – and to what extent

    i.e. focusing ALL the substance of the personal statement on what you would want to share in an interview — or while that info is one component, should there be other components to the statement as well?

  2. Hi Jimmy, I would absolutely agree that a personal statement gives you the opportunity to present yourself as a three-dimensional person, so yes, something like an interview would do. I would caution, though, that you don’t want to try cram everything in a PS that you’d want to get across in an interview.

    Your goal is really to show the adcomm that you are a great fit for law school, i.e., that you are intelligent, determined, hard-working, focused, serious, organized, resourceful, and relentless when pursuing a goal. If you have examples/experiences from your life that show you have any/several of those qualities, that is where you should focus your statement. I hope this helps!

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