Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: kmarks on July 21, 2010, 05:26:15 AM

Title: Is this overkill?
Post by: kmarks on July 21, 2010, 05:26:15 AM
Someone recommended that showing specific interest and careful research about a particular school in my PS would help me stand apart from the pack. For my top choice, I don't have the numbers to get in, but I would sell my left arm to go there. 

Would it would be overkill (/come across as insincere) for me to reference a professor and/or specific program that makes me want to go so badly?
Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: pacelaw2013 on July 21, 2010, 05:37:52 AM
I think it really depends, mostly on how you word it and how you fit it in. If it is cookie cutter for the first 1 1/2 pages (assuming max 2), and you throw in the references to the program/professor at the bottem it will probably come off as insincere. I might also avoid mentioning a specific professor, though information about the program is ceratianly a good thing.

It might not help, I applied to Syracuse directly for its counterterrorism program and was dinged, and I wrote about how I love the program yadda yadda yadda. Didn't help me, but at Pace I wrote about how the small class sizes were something I appreciated and threw in some statistics, and I got in. Go figure, they are almost the same school dinged one in another.

Just write it as well as possible, and throw in some numbers about the program, but most importantly, write about how you can benefit from the program, but also how they will benefit from you being there.
Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: amassherst on July 21, 2010, 05:39:33 AM
I'm not a law school admission authority at all, just an incoming 1L, but I would say that, generally, the person who told you that is incorrect.  I think schools want to see that you've put thought into your application to them.  Of course, they want to see your numbers and no amount of specific interest in the school will compensate for wholly subpar stats but when you're composing your PS on why you want to go to law school in general and X Law School in particular, it's in your best interest to do more than just end your essay with: "....and that's why I want to attend [insert law school name here".

Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: MEMEMEME on September 03, 2010, 07:50:28 PM
I think it will be interpreted as namedropping and therefore not good and I also think you never know if the admissions director has a high or low opinion of that individual. Anyway, what law schools want is someone who can add to their community. Research the law school extensively and see what you as a student, person, and future lawyer can add to that and prove it in your essay. But don't be arrogant.
Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: writetrackad on September 18, 2010, 10:40:53 AM

You should never draft your personal statement solely to speak to one law school.  While this may resonate strongly with that school and its admissions' committee, it will (very likely) marginalize the other law schools you submit it too.  The key is to draft one template statement, and then tailor it according to the strengths, faculty, and qualities of each law school you are applying to. 

"Namedropping" is only productive if you name a faculty member or instructor you want to take a class with.  For instance, "Columbia Law ranks as my top choice because of its strong international law curriculum, and taking Human Rights Law with Professor Smith, a prominent scholar in the field, will advance my knowledge of the area."  This is an example of proactive and effective namedropping.

Please email me directly if you have any questions, you can reach me at


Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: MEMEMEME on September 18, 2010, 11:51:15 AM
No offense, but no sh*t. Actually that little conclusion you gave is what I'm going to do. Not to insult your intelligence, but if someone is intelligent enough to go to law school, I don't think that person would write an entire personal statement about why they are the right candidate for columbia's law school based on research on columbia and then replace all in word with yale. I was merely suggesting at some point in his personal statement he use his research on his top choice and convince them he was a good student body member based on that. Anyway, I appreciate your advice but I know what's up, so to speak.
Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: smartandunique on September 18, 2010, 12:58:15 PM
If it's ur dream school why not take the time and write a statement just for that school?
Title: Re: Is this overkill?
Post by: writetrackad on September 18, 2010, 04:52:58 PM

I am glad you know how to approach this question, but trust me, many future law students do make the error of focusing too heavily on one program or curriculum on their Personal Statement.  However, best of luck on your statement, and again be sure to follow up with any specific questions if you have them.