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Personal statements provide universities with an insight into their potential students, including their background, experience, motivation, and interests. As the people reading your statement most likely don’t know you, the statement acts as a testimonial to who you are and why you want to study law.

This is important as everyone has different reasons for wanting to find out more about the law, and universities will want to know why you have decided to study this intellectually demanding and fascinating subject. Perhaps you’ve got your heart set on being a barrister or you’d like to work for a human rights charity – whatever your ambition, the statement needs to be personal to you (as the name suggests) and to show yourself in the best light possible.

As you’d expect, there are effective and ineffective ways of going about writing a personal statement, and this guide will lead you through the most effective approach that includes:

Why are Personal Statements Important? 

Imagine you’re an admissions tutor for law at a university and you have to choose next year’s cohort of students. There are certain things you’d want to know about the people who’d like to come to study there. For example why they want to study law, what their academic background is, and whether they have the abilities and motivation to see the course through to the end. Your personal statement has to do all this and more, in very few words.

The statement is your chance to show your chosen universities that you’re willing and capable to devote yourself to a highly competitive and demanding course for at least the next three years. Remember that not everyone who applies gets in, so you want to ensure the statement marks you out as the right choice. It forms an important and necessary part of the application procedure and is designed to inform subject experts all about your special subject: you.


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What Should I Include in a Law Personal Statement? 

Since a personal statement aims to inform someone you don’t know about your suitability for admission onto a law degree, it’s obvious it should be 1) about you and 2) about law.

A personal statement is not meant to be a potted history of your life or the first chapter of your autobiography, but rather an account of your motivation for wanting to study law, your background interest in the subject, and why you’d be a good student to have on the course. It’s probable that the reader of your statement would ultimately end up teaching you, so you want to come across as likeable, professional, and capable.

As the word-limit is tight, you have to be discerning when it comes to deciding what to include, so keeping it relevant to you and the subject is key. The following are suggested areas that you should consider when choosing content for your statement:

Why Law?

Let’s face it – law’s not for everyone. That said, others are so enthused by it they couldn’t imagine studying anything else. Universities want to know that you’re closer to the latter than the former, but specifically why law when you could have chosen another degree? What about it fills you with fascination? Where did your passion stem from?

Some people choose law because they’re indecisive and can’t make up their minds about what to study, or they’ve been told to do it. Universities don’t want to admit these people; they only want genuinely passionate people. Make sure your motivation and interest are conveyed beyond all doubt.

Due Diligence

As law is not offered as a course at many schools, there is no expectation that you’ve studied it formally in any way. There is, however, an expectation that you’ve looked into law through reading widely, perhaps attending a court to watch a trial, or doing some work experience in a law firm.

However you’ve pursued your interest, you want to show that it’s not a fleeting one and that you’re serious about exploring this subject over the next three years. Remember that although universities don’t expect a knowledge of substantive law before starting, they will want to see how you reason and solve tricky issues; reading judgments of interesting cases is a good way to familiarise yourself with legal reasoning.

Looking Forward

While law is not a vocational degree (that part comes later), and many graduates go on to careers other than legal ones, there remains a high proportion of students who undertake the degree with the intention of practising law. The personal statement is an appropriate place to mention any plan to have a career in law, but universities expect plans to change, so don’t sound overly settled on a career path too soon. You can also mention what you look forward to about the degree, such as certain topics or becoming involved with mooting.

What Should I Avoid in a Law Personal Statement? 

Your personal statement will be sent to all of your UCAS university choices, so you can’t mention anything that singles out any one institution, no matter how much you want to study there.

Likewise, you should leave out anything you deem as irrelevant to the study of law and your application to do so; piano grades or Duke of Edinburgh Award may be impressive in themselves, but they don’t tell anyone how good a law student you’ll be.

When it comes to writing, your language should be simple. Avoid clichés, quotations, and storytelling; just be realistic, honest and genuine. You should also avoid mentioning anything you could be quizzed on in an interview and wouldn’t like to expand on (so don’t lie!)

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Advice on How to Start a Law Personal Statement  

Your introduction is your chance to grab the attention of the reader. The opening should be simple and to the point, but interesting enough that the reader wants to continue.

You should avoid starting with quotations from others (this is your statement) or doing any melodramatic ‘scene-setting’ (this sounds disingenuous). Instead, you should aim to convey the roots of your motivation to study law, which may have come from a personal experience, something you read, or someone you spoke to.

There’s no ‘right way’ to start, and some people find it helps to begin with other sections first and to return to the introduction when they’ve thought more about it. However you begin, though, the introduction should leave the reader in no doubt about why you’re applying for that degree.


Advice on How to Finish a Law Personal Statement  

Finishing a personal statement can be as tricky as beginning one as you’re giving an impression to the reader in both cases. Like with the introduction, it should avoid sounding clichéd or dramatic, but instead should reiterate your desire and motivation to study law, as well as your abiding interest in the subject more generally, without repeating anything you’ve already said.

You may also wish to mention here how the degree would help you to achieve any goals, such as working in a certain area of the law or satisfying curiosity. The lasting impression you want to give is that you’re genuinely passionate about the subject, are looking forward to spending at least three years studying it, and will be a diligent and conscientious student along the way.



As the law underpins all our lives, there are various ways you can engage with it to demonstrate your motivation and interest. A strong personal statement will include several of these, so watching a trial from the public gallery, speaking to lawyers and the police, and researching seminal cases are all ways to achieve this. In addition, demonstrating an awareness of how law is made and unmade, as well as any changes it has undergone, shows you have a good understanding of its history.

UCAS limits you to 4000 characters (including spaces) or 47 lines on the form, whichever you reach first. This means you should try to use as much of the allowance as you can, in order to express your enthusiasm and drive for studying law.

While it’s understandable if you enjoy legal dramas and films, try to avoid mentioning these in your statement in favour of, for example, attending or watching lectures on legal topics as that will give you a better idea of how law really works in practice. Reading around the subject is vital, of course, so dipping into introductory texts on the English legal system and areas of law (no expectation to read from cover to cover) will help, as will reading summaries of cases, judgments, and books written for prospective law students.

Whilst you cannot be too specific to any one course, as your statement is sent to all of your UCAS applications, you can ensure that you tick certain boxes that Oxbridge tutors will be looking for.

For example, like all courses at Oxford and Cambridge, teaching for law will take the form of both lectures and tutorials/supervisions. The latter are small group sessions, sometimes one-to-one, so there will be an expectation that you engage in self-directed study and can work with a high degree of independence. Being able to demonstrate in your personal statement that this comes easily to you will show the universities that you could cope well with this unique teaching method.

Book your Law Personal Statement Package

You can contact our Oxbridge-graduate Consultants on +44 (0) 20 7499 2394 or email [email protected] to discuss our personal statement packages. 

If you’d like to know more about Law, we have admissions test guidance and interview preparation readily available. 

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