Law School Diversity Statement Examples That Worked!

Law School Diversity Statement

Law school diversity statements seem simple enough at first glance, but crafting a unique essay that doesn’t simply regurgitate elements of your law school personal statement is harder than you may expect. Diversity statements demand concise but sophisticated introspection, and this tension can make drafting and editing feel dizzying. Don’t worry though—with some basic guidelines and a few examples to consult, you can easily craft a standout diversity statement that perfectly complements and enhances the rest of your law school application.

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Article Contents 11 min read

The law school diversity statement vs personal statement.

Understanding the ultra-specific purpose of the law school diversity statement is the first and most important step in beginning your drafts, and no one really knows these tiny differences except for law school admissions consulting professionals. And you are in luck! We are sharing these details with you today!

At first glance, it’s hard to figure out how to avoid redundancy with the personal statement. After all, answering the question of who you are is central to both essays, and since a big part of that is showing both the social and personal forces that have shaped you, it may seem difficult to determine what information goes where.

Fortunately, there are some significant structural differences that can help you organize your thoughts. At the outset, it’s important to understand that the diversity statement, with some exceptions, is almost always constructed in response to a specific prompt and is usually considered as a law school optional essay . Conversely, the personal statement is almost never constrained to a specific question, and rather asks you to explain who you are in a broad sense.

The law school diversity statement is therefore a counterpart to the personal statement, and serves as a deeper, more detailed explanation of how you understand yourself in relation to the world. Think of the personal statement as more heavily focused on your intrinsic understanding of yourself—your motivations and the experiences that illustrate them—and the diversity statement as more focused on extrinsic/external or contextual factors. It’s still about you, but it needs to show an understanding of your place(s) in the world.

It’s important to note right away that “diversity” and “adversity” are not synonyms. Many students fall into the trap of considering diversity in wholly negative terms, or that their diversity must have been the target of some sort of difficulty or bias in order to be worth discussing. This is often the case, of course, but diversity essays are often not so specific. Law schools want to understand how your uniqueness has shaped you and your relationship to the people and social structures around you. Even more importantly, they want to see what this allows you to bring to the school and your cohort of students if admitted. The uniqueness of your perspective and sense of self does not need to be the result of staggering adversity in order to warrant a diversity essay, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the essay prompt.So, what qualifies as diversity? There are some traditional categories of identity and experience that are commonly discussed in diversity statements, such as these:

Keep in mind that these are just examples of diversity topics you can cover in your diversity essay – you are encouraged to explore a variety of diversity elements that made you who you are.

It’s crucial to be able to talk about the ways in which these identifiers or characteristics posed experiences of difference or uniqueness at various points in your life, as well as how these experiences would shape your performance as a law student. Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been the target of overt bias or discrimination, although if that’s the case you absolutely should discuss it. What matters most is that these qualities allow you to contribute a unique voice to your chosen program.

On the other hand, there are ways in which these characteristics can be hard to mine, so to speak. You need to be able to discuss the ways in which the particularities of your identity make you stand out from other applicants, how they’ve influenced your pursuit of a law degree, and how they can make a positive impact both at the institutional level and in the lives of your fellow students. As Harvard Law School notes, “Think carefully about whether and how you use this optional component. There are times when an application is actually weakened by an optional statement due to a lack of cohesion or relevance to the rest of the file.”

You should take that note of caution with a grain of salt, however. Yes, it’s true that writing a flat or ineffective diversity essay is likely worse than not including one at all, but to reiterate a point we’ve made a few times now, a compelling narrative that captures your sense of difference and diversity is absolutely worth writing, even if the particularities don’t seem totally bombastic to you. Odds are you have something to discuss, whether it’s a big move or an unlikely extracurricular pursuit. The point is that it has impacted you and will, in turn, impact your performance in law school. 

Are you wondering which law school application components admission committees value the most?

In the prompts you encounter, it’s worth noting that many schools will offer a working definition of what they believe diversity to be. Be mindful of this when crafting your statement—that is, show that you “understand the assignment,” so to speak. In other words, always answer the prompt. Attention to detail is always important on graduate school applications, but especially so for law, which is rooted in linguistic specificity and careful constructions. Moreover, having a preexistent definition to work with can serve as a springboard for your own exploration of how your unique identity can contribute to a diverse student cohort.

Law School Diversity Statement Example 1 – Stanford

“[Describe] how your background, life and work experiences, advanced studies, extracurricular or community activities, culture, socio-economic status, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other factors would contribute to the diversity of the entering class (and hence to your classmates’ law school educational experience)."

Despite growing up surrounded by other Inuit in Igloolik, I have been aware of the fundamental uniqueness of my people and culture for as long as I can remember. Each time I travelled inland across the light blue, glimmering channel, I was met with an ever-evolving mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces, languages, and activities. As I got older and began travelling further away from the island, the vast complexity of Canada’s cultures both fascinated me and deepened my understanding of who I was. By the time I applied to college, I had amassed a network of friends and acquaintances that included French-speakers, recent immigrants, and people from many other first peoples and nations. Among the many diverging aspects of our identities and upbringings that we discussed, one dimension that continually piqued my interest was the role of tradition and law in our individual understandings of ourselves and our cultures. I was especially intrigued by the varying definition of law and legality across cultures—the diversity of oral and written traditions, of worldviews and codified legal systems. It’s not surprising that I became deeply drawn toward the study of environmental law midway through my undergraduate years, and have only grown more immersed as I’ve completed my studies.

The complexity of diverging concepts of law and tradition in relation to environmental stewardship has been a central drive for my seeking a career in law. It’s not simply that my being Inuk is unique in itself, but that the radical uniqueness of our traditional lands compared to that of the rest of North America makes my understanding of human and environmental interaction extremely unique. The ways in which institutional land management practices and legal designations have evolved over time, specific to regions and peoples, is something to which I’m keenly attuned, and is a central gravitational pull in my scholarship both present and future. The environmental law track at Stanford Law would therefore not only allow me to continue developing my own understanding, but to share it with other students and study groups who come from significantly different cultural backgrounds and places. I of course believe having representation of first peoples in any academic program is a boon to its diversity of worldview and ideology, but I think especially so in Stanford’s environmental law program, whose faculty have played an important role in positively resolving environmental disputes between the Muwekma-Ohlone and state and federal governments. The uniqueness of these tensions in Northern communities has afforded me, what I believe, an uncommon but deeply informed perspective that can be of great benefit to the work of students and faculty alike. (438 words)

Want to review the basics of a good law school personal statement? Our video’s got you covered:

“An applicant may choose to describe the challenges as a first-generation college graduate; an applicant's struggle with a serious physical or mental disability; an applicant's encounter with discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or national origin; or an applicant's limited educational opportunities due to geographical or other restrictions; or whatever the applicant believes is appropriate and relevant. The committee believes factors such as these may contribute to an applicant's academic potential and how they will enhance the richness and diversity of the learning environment.”

Breaking nearly half the bones in my body before finishing high school was in some ways almost a benefit as a student. My being born with osteogenesis imperfecta type IV was a terrifying prospect for my parents, and it has of course regularly been an obstacle to doing a lot of normal things. But recovering from broken collarbones, femurs, and more than a dozen skull fractures, among much else, gave me a lot of time to read. In fact, reading was about all I could do most of the time, as my parents couldn’t afford typical distractions like cable or gaming systems throughout my childhood. Although I did end up watching fuzzy reruns of Night Court when my recent library haul ran out, I’d much more readily cite Mary Shelley as an inspiration to pursue law studies than Harry Anderson.

Oddly enough, though, I often felt lucky as a kid. Growing up poor with a fairly dangerous genetic disorder didn’t register as an oppressive restriction most days but rather, oddly enough, a kind of natural simplicity in my environment. It wasn’t until I got into my teenage years that I understood just how hard my parents had to work to maintain the perceptual bubble that made me feel like our situation was at least mostly normal. Once I started to really understand just how much of a toll my condition and our economic circumstances took on them, I became firmly convinced that I wanted to make sure others in similar situations would have more resources and opportunities than we did.

Disability law became a central focus of my recreational reading during my prelaw years, and I was fortunate enough to gain a significant amount of experience volunteering with X University’s specialty legal aid clinic. What this afforded me most of all was an expansion of my perspective on disability’s ubiquitous intertwinement with poverty. What had been heavily conditioned by my personal experience was now complemented by the lives and cases of dozens of others who had experienced similar—and in one case nearly identical—difficulties, and this galvanized my drive to pursue a career in law to an even greater degree.

This aspect of my life is, I believe, an incredible gift to my ability to perform as a student and to add a unique perspective to those around me. There are still some hurdles that come along with it, but I’ve gotten pretty good at remembering my glasses and avoiding bone breaks. I hope to be a source not only of both anecdotal and professional insight into disability and poverty law issues, but also an encouraging and (if I may say so) pretty well-humored presence in my cohort. I can’t imagine getting to where I am without my sense of humor, but I also can’t imagine not trying to share that in the trenches with my fellow law students throughout the arduous experience of JD work. (487 words)

Law School Diversity Statement Example 3 – Georgetown University

“Georgetown Law is proud of its strong community of students from diverse backgrounds. We encourage you to attach a brief statement to help the Admissions Committee understand the contribution your personal background would make to our community”

Entering law school at 42 is frankly terrifying. Or, it would be, had I not spent so much of the last 15 years navigating an equally volatile environment: Bornean rainforests. The basics of my time with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation are covered in my other application materials, but what isn't clear through those details is just how tense and dangerous our rescue operations often were. The longstanding tension between agricultural concerns and animal welfare groups is something most people surmise, but the specifics of this tension are often poorly reported outside of Indonesia.

During my second year with BOSF I assisted in an operation near Kalimantan to rescue three orangutans who had hunkered down in the rubble amidst an illegal logging operation. They wouldn't move from the node of the forest they had lived in for years prior, and were under direct threat of being injured or even killed in a clearcut. Navigating the difficult and patience-testing process of extracting animals from their shattered home was one thing, but the sheer volume of armed timber company employees and their initial unwillingness to let us attempt to rescue the animals made it one of the most overwhelming days of my life. Many, even most, of the rescue operations we undertook didn't have that level of immediate, palpable tension, but this experience was sadly not totally unique, and despite my decade of work in the field I still found subsequent situations like this absolutely draining for days afterward.

I think the hard-earned ability and stamina to deal with that kind of situational complexity is a key part of what makes me a unique candidate for law school. Commercial arbitration and corporate mediation pale entirely in comparison to negotiating a pause between a moving excavator and a terrified huddle of great apes, all while a dozen rifles were pointed at me. (309 words)

It may be initially difficult to decide whether a supplemental law school diversity statement is the right choice for you, and that’s okay! Uncertainty is a natural part of the application process, and especially when it comes to your personal statement and other essays. Start early and give yourself enough time to really contemplate the factors that have shaped you and your understanding of yourself. Mostly importantly, understand the need to stay focused and on topic throughout your diversity essay—by submitting one, you’re asking for additional time and consideration, so make sure you communicate something unique and meaningful when you write it. And remember, every application component matters when it comes to getting that coveted law school interview invite! So, before you even start prepping with law school interview questions , make sure that every single aspect of your application is perfect before you submit!

This is a hard question to answer devoid of context, and to really decide you’ll need to take some notes and even write a first draft. However, the main things to consider are: what particularities of your identity have made your path to law school especially challenging or unique; and, will these contribute something notable or positive to your performance in the program? It’s important to remember that relevant identity characteristics aren’t necessary just ethnic or racial identity but can include nearly anything that’s made your path especially unique and challenging. Some schools want to a diversity statement if you’ve experienced significant adversity, but many schools encourage a broader discussion that doesn’t need to hinge on the problematic aspects of your identity.

As always, check your specific schools’ websites for a word count, as this does vary by institution quite a bit. However, a general range is 350-500 words.

Generally no. You’ll want to explain how this has impacted you, and ideally how you’ve overcome it to some extent. Law schools are incredibly competitive and the JD is a difficult program regardless of institution—law schools want to know you can adapt to difficult circumstances and make the best of them.

Difficulty is an inherently subjective thing. What seems like a minor inconvenience to you, even compared to the experienced of your friends or acquaintances, may still very well be fertile ground for a supplemental diversity essay. The key is to not rush mapping out your essay, and to give yourself time to examine the many ways—often subtle—in which your unique identity or class has impacted you.

Possibly! If you feel strongly that your application would benefit from an additional diversity essay, and that this information somehow can’t be adequately discussed in your personal statement, then reach our to the school’s administrative body to ask if they accept supplemental essays. While not every law school explicitly invites the diversity essay, they all profess a commitment to diversity in admissions and may be open to a diversity statement if you have a really clear reason for the request.

Although it’s quite a bit shorter than the personal statement and many other types of supplemental essays, the diversity essay should follow roughly the same structure as these other elements. The most important point is to get to the point quickly—within a sentence or two max, you need to make it clear why you’ve written a diversity essay and exactly what qualities/characteristics/experiences make you unique. From here, you’ll want to “show don’t tell” why this is aspect of you makes you a unique candidate. Don’t just list that you grew up on Neptune and move on, but describe the icy surface and supersonic winds that shaped your childhood. Develop these details into a discussion of how they shaped your personality and approach to life and/or law, and close with at least one or two sentences that clearly indicate why this difference is relevant to law school in particular. Keep in mind, though, that responding to the prompt’s specific wording is key. Some prompts will simply ask you to explain why you’re a unique candidate, others will ask you to more thoroughly relate this to law. You’ll want to do both to some extent, but it’s crucial to balance these two dimensions of your statement based on the specific instructions of your school.

One of the best aspects of the diversity essay is its flexibility—the potential topics are vast and numerous. Common foci include ethnic, gender, national, and cultural identity uniqueness, but these kinds of permanent or intrinsic qualities aren’t the only options. You should also feel encouraged to explore the experiences and commitments that you feel have made you a unique person and candidate for law school. These may include long-term and short-term experiences, jobs, trips, even uncommon relationships. The only real boundary is that this discussion needs to be at least somewhat relevant to law school, but as long as you’re able to relate your narrative or essay to this even somewhat, go for it!

Personal statements are on average quite a bit longer and somewhat general, whereas a diversity statement is asking you to answer a much more specific question in less space. Moreover, personal statements are meant to be comprehensive narratives that delve into your big-picture motivations for attending law school and what you hope to do in the future, at least to some extent. Conversely, a diversity statement is much more focused on the past, and specifically those factors that have brought you to the present moment. In a way, we can summarize the difference like this: a personal statement deals heavily in what you’ve done and what you want to do, and a diversity statement is about who you are.

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How to write a diversity statement for law school + example.

diversity essay law school

Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 09/1/23

If you’re wondering how to write a law school diversity statement, this article will provide insight into what you need to do to write a stellar law school diversity statement.

Two students writing their law school diversity statements

Deciding to write a law school diversity statement is not always the easiest call to make. In many ways, writing a diversity statement requires you to be vulnerable and speak candidly about factors in your life that have contributed to your identity. You'll have to talk about the core of who you are, which can often be challenging.

This article will cover when and how to write your diversity statement and dissect a few successful diversity statement examples. We will also go over some other burning questions you may have about writing a diversity statement.

A Complete Law School Diversity Statement Example

Now that we’ve gone over some tips on writing your law school diversity statement, we’ll be looking at a successful law school diversity statement example and breaking down what makes it a great one. The statement we’ll be looking at below was written by Madeline Baker, a student from the California Western School of Law . 

A Strong Start

Baker’s diversity statement starts strong as she dives straight into her story.

“I was adopted when I was less than one year old from the North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea. I grew up in Seattle, Washington with Caucasian parents and attended private school until college. American culture was inescapably my sole identity. Traditional American pastimes such as attending baseball games and eating hot dogs were staples of my childhood. However, as I've accumulated more life experience, I've come to acquire a taste for cultures dissimilar to my own. I'm a fanatic for spicy, flavorful foods and have become eager to understand social traditions that seem foreign to me. Although many people assume at first glance that I am accustomed to Korean culture and am fluent in the language, the comical truth is that I've never even had Korean barbeque. Unlike most of my friends and peers, I have also never met my birth mother. Having never experienced these traditions seemed normal to me until I noticed the pattern of assumptions that my outwardly Asian appearance dictated.”

‍ Why this is a strong start : She immediately highlights the conflicts she’s experienced between her racial and ethnic background and her cultural upbringing. This provides a strong base for the story she’s about to tell and keeps it straight to the point, as you know right off the bat what she’ll be talking about.

While this is only one of many great ways to start your statement, remember that your goal is to captivate your reader’s interest so they keep reading. Don’t meander too much here, and make every sentence count!

Character Development and Growth

As she continues to write, Baker discusses how she has grown in relation to a fragmented identity–one based on her appearance and the other based on her cultural upbringing. 

“As I've grown older, I have encountered more and more of a racial and cultural disconnect in my daily life. When I was a child, the fact that I had different-shaped eyes and a richer skin tone than most other children in my class was never questioned, nor was the fact that I didn't resemble my parents. Now, as an adult, I've become accustomed to looks of shock and interest when I share my life story—as if I were some type of exotic specimen. “

Why this body paragraph is successful : Discussing how your experiences have evolved and impacted you over time can provide more insight into your story. This will ultimately make a stronger essay as it provides a clear trajectory that seamlessly leads your reader from one point to the next.

A Diverse Perspective

The meat of your statement should be providing information on formative moments throughout your experience. Baker talks about going to a camp for Korean children adopted into Caucasian families in hopes of getting in touch with their Korean roots. 

“...attending camp for one week per year for eight years of my childhood was not exactly organic cultural immersion, which created a skewed view of my cultural heritage. My view of my cultural heritage. My encounters with others puts into light a new perspective for how quickly society and individuals jump to conclusions about people that they have never met. Although I have never felt discriminated against, it is eye opening to relate how I feel in culturally relevant situations to how others feel when they are treated differently for their skin color, their customs, and their lifestyles. This is a predominant issue in current society that many people will never have the opportunity to truly experience.”

Why this body paragraph is successful : These experiences contributed greatly to her perspective on culture and identity and provided some commentary on how we are often exposed to different cultures. When writing your law school diversity statement, it is essential that you consider how your story presents a diverse point of view. Once you’ve figured that out, use it as a focal point to drive your statement home.

Coming from a Place of Empowerment

Baker ends her statement with this:

‍ “I have been given a rare opportunity that every single day I am thankful for. An opportunity that many people will never have the chance to experience. I have the opportunity to see society from many different perspectives, a viewpoint I am constantly building on as I continue to blossom. I will continue developing my perspective and use it in a positive way to contribute to society through its justice system. Through my interest in criminal defense, I believe that I can help our country appreciate the benefits of a diverse culture, which will ultimately help non-predominant citizenry pursue their dreams. As a minority person with an Americanized upbringing, I hope to bridge the gap between our country's treatment of minorities in the justice system and the desire to create a society where minority citizens are encouraged to pursue their dreams—just as I am pursuing mine. We all have a right to be seen as individuals and not boxed into the preconceived notions of society. I will do all that I can to uphold this right for everyone.” 

Why this ending was successful: She speaks about her experience from a place of empowerment by stating how it has shaped her to be the person she is and how these interactions with her identity have driven her to pursue a career in law. 

While these experiences can be easily seen as negative ones, she reframes her own experiences as those of learning and growth. 

As you write your diversity statement, think about how you can approach your experiences from the vantage point of growth. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • How has this experience shaped me to be the person I am now?
  • How have I grown and learned from my experiences?
  • How have they impacted what I choose to do with my life?

These are some great questions that will ultimately highlight your strength, resilience, and character as you write your law school diversity statement.

How Important is a Diversity Statement for Law School?

Much like your personal statement, your law school diversity statement gives the admissions committee a chance to get to know you and the experiences that shape you. Though it isn’t the be-all and end-all of your application, an excellent diversity statement can definitely help you stand out. 

On the other hand, it’s also important to understand that a weak diversity statement can compromise the impact of your overall application. So, think about how this might affect your application.

Knowing When to Write a Diversity Statement

Diversity within any student body strengthens the community and expands the breadth of ideas and perspectives within it. As an aspiring law school student, writing a diversity statement allows you to talk about your life experiences. Doing this gives the admissions committee an opportunity to get to know what makes you, you. 

By the time you get to writing your diversity statement, you probably would have looked over your entire law school application about a million times. Going over parts of your application, like your personal statement , for example, should give you an idea of whether or should consider writing a diversity statement. 

Before you start writing your statement, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Have I covered everything that is essential to cover in my personal statement?
  • Am I trying too hard to find something to write about?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, it probably means that writing a diversity statement for your law school application may not be necessary. 

If you feel that your personal statement covers your background adequately, and you’re finding writing an additional diversity statement isn’t coming naturally to you, you’re probably better off skipping this part of the application. 

A person writing on a piece of paper

Generally speaking, the key to writing a diversity statement for your law school application is genuinely having something to write about. 

In the same right, it is crucial to consider what you have to offer in terms of diversifying the school community. Seriously think about your background and the experiences you have faced and how they enable you to contribute diverse perspectives and ideas to the community.

How to Write a Law School Diversity Statement

A student writing their law school Diversity statement

Now that we’ve covered whether or not writing a law school diversity statement is best for your application, we’ll go over a few tips on how to write a stellar diversity statement. 

Tip 1: Do Your Research

As with any supplemental essay or statement, you’ll want to do research on what is required to write a successful one. While this article will leave you with less guesswork on how to approach your diversity statement, it’s essential that you know what each school’s requirements are to write a successful statement. 

This includes how each law school defines diversity and what they expect in terms of statement length and formatting. For instance, Harvard and Yale law diversity statement prompts are vague, stating that you write about how you are able to contribute to their community based on your breadth of experience. 

In contrast, some law schools like Duke provide a more detailed set of sample topics to guide your writing, which include the following:

  • Economic disadvantage
  • Personal adversity or other social hardship (perhaps stemming from one’s religious affiliation, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity)
  • Experiences as a first-generation college student
  • Significant employment history (such as in business, military or law enforcement, or public service)
  • Experience as an immigrant or refugee
  • Graduate study or impressive leadership achievement (including college or community service)

While some schools may look at diversity as socio-cultural (things like race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual identity), some schools may also consider factors like age, career shifts, and socio-economic status, among others, so make sure you know what each school expects.

Tip 2: Find a Good Topic

Once you have reviewed the prompts and guidelines for each law school diversity statement, it’s time to find a topic. You’ll want to write about something memorable and impactful. All law schools look for a common factor: your ability to contribute diverse perspectives to the school community. 

With this said, use your background and life experiences to guide your writing. Although these things can often feel vulnerable and challenging to write about, whatever topic you choose should come naturally to you–but more on this later!

Tip 3: Approach Your Experience from a Place of Empowerment 

Many experiences highlighting diversity often go hand in hand with some hardship, challenge, or adversity. Though it might not be your intention, these statements can sometimes come across as a victim’s narrative. As you write your diversity statement, make sure you write from a place of empowerment instead of victimhood. 

Regardless of what experience you choose to write about, center your statement around how you were able to persevere against all odds. Talk about what you learned and how that impacted and expanded your perspectives. 

Tip 4: Know How to Start and End Your Statement

An essential aspect of any essay or statement is having a strong beginning and end. Your law school diversity statement should catch your reader’s attention, keeping them interested up until the very end. 

Once you’ve chosen your topic, there are many ways that you can go about starting a strong essay and finishing it off with a bang. To do this effectively, you’ll want to draft a strong trajectory for your diversity statement. See your law school diversity statement as your hero’s journey, and tell your story.

FAQs: Diversity Statement for Law School

After going over what makes a great diversity statement, you might still have some questions about writing a diversity statement for your application. Below, we will cover some frequently asked questions that might clarify any concerns you might still have. 

1. Should You Write a Law School Diversity Statement?

You should only write a diversity statement if you have something thoughtful to say. Remember that, at times, what you say in your personal statement may overlap with your diversity statement–if this is the case, you may want to skip it.  

2. How Long Should a Diversity Statement Be for Law School?

Typically, your diversity statement will be no more than 1-2 pages long, but remember to do research on each school’s requirements. 

3. What Can I Write a Diversity Statement About?

Generally, you’ll be asked to write about how your diverse experiences have shaped your perspective. While each school might provide a different prompt, you’ll want to write about experiences or parts of your life that are less conventional. 

If you’re an aspiring law school student who might be switching career paths or are returning after a long hiatus, you might consider writing about what has led you to law. 

Similarly, you can also write about your experiences as a socio-economically or culturally diverse student if that applies to you. There are a plethora of topics to consider–make sure you pick one that is true to you.

4. What Not To Write In A Diversity Statement For Law School?

There are many elements you should avoid in law school diversity statements (and personal statements) , including rehashing stories you’ve already shared in your application, using quotes, being too ambiguous, and focusing your story on others rather than on your own experiences. 

Final Thoughts

Figuring out whether or not to write a law school diversity statement can be tricky, and writing one can be even more challenging. Remember that this statement is a great opportunity for you to introduce yourself and share your background with the admissions team. 

Make sure that your statement highlights what you have to bring to your school community. Best of luck!

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A Guide to the Law School Diversity Statement

Padya Paramita

September 30, 2019

diversity essay law school

As you finalize your JD school list and look through the requirements, you might notice that many institutions provide you with the opportunity to add an optional diversity statement. The law school diversity statement is an essay that asks you to elaborate on an aspect of your identity, background, or extracurriculars that will bring a unique perspective to your future classroom. 

Though law school diversity statement prompts vary from school to school, they essentially ask the same question: what distinguishes you from other applicants? While your racial or ethnic identity might be the first criteria to jump out, you can also discuss an impactful activity, leadership opportunity, or work experience that provides the school with more context about why you’re an exceptional candidate. To help you navigate this component, I have outlined what the diversity statement is, prompts for top schools, what to include in the essay, and how the law school diversity statement plays a role in your admissions decision.

What is the Law School Diversity Statement?

As the name suggests, the law school diversity statement allows you to expand on a quality which makes you different from other applicants. Unless otherwise stated, the statement is not just for racial or ethnic minorities. Although racial and ethnic identities are a significant component of diversity, the term is far more expansive. If you aren’t racially diverse, it’s not something you can change. Instead of worrying about that, focus on how you can frame other parts of your profile as a meaningful focal point.

You should use the diversity statement as an opportunity to tell the admissions committee something unique about yourself, what makes you tick, or experiences that have shaped your worldview. This could include your background as well as any unique extracurricular activities, exceptional experiences, and honors and awards that make you stand out from the rest of the pack. Successful examples include family circumstances such as adoption, or unusual hobbies and accomplishments such as competitive weightlifting.

Diversity Statement Prompts for Top Law Schools

Not all JD schools ask for a diversity statement . For the majority of schools that do, the essay is optional. Let’s take a look at which schools in the top 20 allow you to add a diversity statement, and how the prompts are framed.

As you can tell from the table, the majority of top schools do have an option for you to add a law school diversity statement . The component might be optional or specific to certain underrepresented groups. On the flip side, many schools explicitly mention other kinds of diversity (employment, academic background, etc) in the prompt. If the school refers to diversity more broadly, you should answer the question even if you fear you aren’t diverse! It’s expected at schools that phrase it like that where most candidates in the pool will submit a response. So you need to submit an essay in order to distinguish yourself!

Even though most schools haven’t assigned a word limit, you should take clues from the ones that do such as UT Austin and USC, and make sure your essay doesn’t go beyond one to two pages double-spaced. 500 words is a good target to keep in mind when considering the length of the piece. Make sure you carefully review all of the instructions before deciding whether its inclusion would boost your application or not. 

What to Include in Your Law School Diversity Statement

A strong law school diversity statement requires you to be extremely introspective. The end goal is not to say “I am a perfect fit for law school.” The end goal of the diversity statement is to leave your reader with a better understanding of how your unique set of experiences has shaped your worldview. You shouldn’t mention adversity if what you’ve faced isn’t as challenging as what others might bring to the table. Think about how your topic will be read alongside your peers! 

You could write about how your racial or ethnic identity has shaped how you interact with the world around you. But it could just as easily be your religious experience, family makeup, significant age difference from the median law student, or upbringing in a rural community. Alternatively, it could simply be your love for art, or music, or – fill in another creative endeavor – and the confidence or solace you have found in it. Your options are abundant.

That being said, your diversity statement shouldn’t cover a topic that has already been described elsewhere in your application, especially in your personal statement . So another way of brainstorming would be to think of all the things you love that would tell an admissions committee who you are as a person, that you wanted to put into your personal statement, but couldn’t. 

Some of the examples Duke Law Schoo l provides to inspire applicants in search of topics are:

  • An experience of prejudice, bias 
  • Economic disadvantage
  • Personal adversity or other social hardship (perhaps stemming from one’s religious affiliation, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity)
  • Experience as a first-generation college student
  • Significant employment history (such as in business, military or law enforcement, or public service)
  • Experience as an immigrant or refugee; graduate study
  • Impressive leadership achievement (including college or community service).

Once you’ve pinpointed the part of your identity you wish to highlight, think about how to frame it in an interesting manner. Include anecdotes that depict how this background has affected your life and played a role in shaping your perspective. If the prompt asks any specific questions, make sure you answer them. A strongly written diversity statement could be the final positive sign the reader needs to swing the admissions decision in your favor.

Role of the Law School Diversity Statement in the Admissions Process

This added component gives you another opportunity to show that you’d be a strong asset to their institution. But if you answer the diversity prompt in a poor way, admissions officers could feel like you have nothing interesting to bring to the table. Think critically about what you would write.

JD programs want a class that is diverse, where every student adds something new to the classroom. Just like your personal statement, admissions officers use the diversity statement to determine whether your background makes you a unique addition to the class and school. They don’t accept students from one particular major or students who have all participated in one type of activity. In fact, it’s the opposite. Law schools do all they can to make sure their classes aren’t full of the same type of students. 

This essay is a chance for admissions officers to know who you are beyond the personal statement and the experiences mentioned in your resumé. When you are trying to distinguish yourself from thousands of applicants, it never hurts to include an additional layer to your application that provides admissions officers with more context on your background and interests. 

L aw school diversity statement essays helps institutions determine how diverse, in terms of race, gender, sexuality, class, and professional and extracurricular background an incoming class will be. Your essay should highlight an aspect of you that can help admissions officers understand your context better, and expand on a part of you that they wouldn’t guess easily. A well-written law school diversity statement might just be the component that sways the decision your way. So if you think that answering the diversity prompt can help make you memorable in the admissions officers’ eye, you should include one without a doubt.

General FAQ

What is the law school diversity statement.

As the name suggests, the law school diversity statement allows you to expand on a quality which makes you different from other applicants. Unless otherwise stated, the statement is not just for racial or ethnic minorities. Although racial and ethnic identities are a significant component of diversity, the term is far more expansive.

Is the diversity statement a required part of the application?

For the majority of schools, the diversity statement is optional. However, it is in your best interest to take advantage of this space and show admissions officers your unique qualities.

Do all schools offer a diversity statement?

No, some schools, such as Yale, the University of Michigan, and Washington University in St. Louis, do not have diversity statements as part of their applications.

What can I write about in my diversity statement?

Diversity statement topics could include: an experience with prejudice or bias, economic disadvantage, impressive leadership experience, significant employment history, personal adversity or other social hardships.

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Personal and Diversity Statements Differ for Law School

While personal statement prompts are fairly consistent, diversity statements vary widely.

2 Different Law School Essays

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Diversity statements have grown more diverse themselves, ranging widely from school to school.

The diversity statement was already one of the most misunderstood elements of the law school application. Then, in June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of decisions that overturned race-conscious admissions policies, forcing law schools to overhaul how they ask about diversity in their applications.

As a result of these changes, diversity statements have grown more diverse themselves, ranging widely from school to school. And they are likely to continue to diverge in the future, as law schools take different approaches to building diverse classes without running afoul of the law.

Since schools are no longer allowed to ask about candidates’ race or ethnicity, law school essays no longer mention these factors. But many ask about a candidate’s background or life experience. Some ask about a candidate’s experience with promoting inclusivity, working together with people coming from different perspectives or fighting racism or bias.

Importantly, the Supreme Court’s decisions specifically allow applicants to mention or discuss their own race or ethnicity, particularly as a factor in their own life experience. So, for example, it’s okay to talk about your ethnic identity, family background and experience with bias. You may do so in your personal statement or any other essays or materials.

It is also important to understand that law schools absolutely still value diversity, both in the sense that they want to build diverse classes and in the sense that they take into account hardships that applicants have faced because of their experience.

So, how can admissions offices account for an applicant’s full life experience without intentionally considering an applicant’s race or ethnicity? Answering that question is a burden that the Supreme Court placed on admissions offices, not you.

As an applicant, your focus should be on how to navigate these new variants of diversity statements. Exploring the major differences between the personal statement and diversity statement can help answer many of the questions that applicants have about the diversity statement, including what it is, who should write one and how to approach it. 

Diversity Statements Are Usually Optional

Every law school requires applicants to write a personal statement, the primary written essay for the law school application. In contrast, a diversity statement is almost always an optional essay .

Some law schools now require a statement of perspective or experience in addition to their personal statement, but these statements have a very broad prompt that could encompass a range of life experiences or influences beyond race or ethnicity .

Putting aside those few cases, nearly every other law school allows applicants to write some form of optional diversity statement, and no law school would regret receiving a short and insightful diversity statement.

But applicants should read prompts carefully before deciding whether to write one. For example, being a veteran  or in active military service may fit some schools’ diversity statement prompts but not others. In the latter cases, it may be best to highlight this aspect of your background elsewhere in the application, like your personal statement or resume . 

Diversity Statement Prompts Vary Widely Between Schools

Few law school applications now have an essay called a “diversity statement.”

In its place, some law schools have introduced a perspective statement, an identity statement, a statement of challenge or adversity , or another variation on the theme. Others provide an array of optional prompts, one or more of which touch on issues of diversity or simply provide space for applicants to write an open-ended essay about a topic of their choice.

Applicants should read these prompts carefully. There is often overlap between a statement about your perspective and a statement about your identity, but they may be framed differently in ways that will require at least some rewriting.

In contrast, law schools tend to have similar personal statement prompts about the reasons an applicant is applying to law school. Some personal statement prompts include extra questions, perhaps about an applicant’s interest in a specific school.

Applicants may also tailor their personal statement to meet differing length requirements. But otherwise, the same personal statement can generally be used for all schools. 

Not Everyone Should Write a Diversity Statement

Many applicants have the mistaken belief that writing a diversity statement is always a good idea, because law schools are looking for diversity. Or they may have the misimpression that law schools want applicants to write as much as allowed .

But a misconceived diversity statement can backfire and seem insensitive or trivializing. Everyone is different in some ways, and law applicants are not as monolithic as they once were. Many applicants come from minority backgrounds, and most applicants identify as women.

A diversity statement is not simply a place to talk about what distinguishes you from other people. It is not a place to detail your genetic or family history. Its contents should be guided by the wording of the prompt, but generally it is intended more to discuss the perspectives you developed, the lessons you gained or the challenges you have faced because of your background or life experiences. 

Diversity Statements Should Be Approached Differently

Just because you can write a diversity statement doesn’t mean you should. The diversity statement should complement your personal statement with extra context, not reiterate it.

For example, if you come from an Indigenous background and plan to devote your legal career to advocating for Native rights, that may be a great topic for your personal statement. In that case, there’s no reason to repeat the same information in your diversity statement. The reader already knows about your background. You could instead write an optional essay about a different topic or forgo it altogether.

However, if you come from an Indigenous background but are most interested in energy law for unrelated reasons, a diversity statement will save you from making an unfair choice between discussing your career goals and your heritage. Law schools want to give you space to discuss both.

Your diversity and personal statements may differ in tone as well as subject. A personal statement is about your achievements and dreams, and it may sound a bit self-aggrandizing . A diversity statement should be more reflective and self-aware, showing that you have the maturity to engage with others with different points of view.

It can be hard to strike the right tone in your diversity statement, and it may take a few drafts. Avoid self-pity, self-justification and persistent negativity. Focus on your experience, how it shaped you and what you bring to the table because of it.

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About Law Admissions Lowdown

Law Admissions Lowdown provides advice to prospective students about the law school application process, LSAT prep and potential career paths. Previously authored by contributors from Stratus Admissions Counseling, the blog is currently authored by Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach , an admissions consultancy. Kuris is a graduate of Harvard Law School and has helped hundreds of applicants navigate the law school application process since 2003. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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The Law School Applicant’s Guide to the Diversity Statement

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Most law schools offer applicants an opportunity to write a short diversity statement illustrating how their diverse background and upbringing has impacted their lives. Law schools understand that a diverse student body benefits students, faculty, and the school community at large. Though not required, this statement supplements the applicants' admissions materials with information about their life experiences.

A diversity statement can also help your application and offer further insight into why you are an ideal candidate for admission. Note, however, that you should not address any of the topics or ideas covered in the personal statement. It should be a complement, not a replacement for your personal essay. The two should work together to provide a complete portrait of you, the applicant, without being repetitive.

Key Takeaways: Diversity Statement for Law School Application

  • The diversity statement is an opportunity to tell the admissions committee how your unique experiences as part of a diverse group can enrich the school's environment. It is different to your personal essay, which addresses why you want to go to law school and why you are qualified to attend.
  • Be sure to consider the school's definition of diversity. It may include race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, among other characteristics.
  • The diversity statement should be personal and reflective in tone.
  • Your statement should be short, but memorable. Aim for about 500 words, but no more than 800.

Reasons to Write a Diversity Statement

When schools and colleges talk about diversity, they're discussing how people with different backgrounds and varied life experiences work together and learn from each other. Diversity expands students' outlook by allowing them to share their varied cultures and backgrounds. 

A strong diversity statement can illustrate how your particular background and life experience can bring a unique perspective to your law school class. But before you begin, make sure you understand how each law school would like you to address the topic of diversity. The term itself and its implications can have different meanings to different people, and law schools are no exception. Some schools may have a broad definition, while others ask that student statements reflect only racial, ethnic, gender, or sexual identity issues. New York University Law School , for example, broadly describes diversity as "all aspects of human differences (including, but not limited to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, etc.) that give an application a unique perspective different from the general application pool." Your statement should illustrate how your experience as a member of a diverse community impacted your upbringing and shaped your understanding of the world.

Make sure your statement addresses only the type of diversity the law school wants to address. For example, some schools, such as the University of California—Berkeley , ask students who have experienced disadvantages that adversely affected their performance but were successfully overcome to complete a socioeconomic questionnaire with their application materials. Other schools, such as Harvard , allow applicants to submit an additional statement to explain further how their background can contribute to the diversity of the law school community.

Reasons Not to Write a Diversity Statement

If your particular type of diversity doesn't speak to any of the characteristics outlined in the law school application, don't submit one. If you can't think of anything or if writing something feels in any way forced or artificial, don't provide one. Former Yale Law School Dean Asha Rangappa counseled students against submitting superfluous additional material: "While you can include as much information as you like, you also want to be judicious in the number and amount of additional essays/addenda that you provide. ...If you do choose to write a diversity essay, please, PLEASE try to be serious about it and make sure it is something that has truly shaped your experiences and perspectives. Do NOT write a diversity statement on how you are "a good listener" or something similar."

The diversity statement is entirely different from the personal statement. The personal statement explains why you want to go to law school and why you are qualified to attend. The diversity statement is an opportunity to tell the admission committee what you can uniquely bring to the law school experience.

American University suggests first thinking about how you define diversity and then asking how your experience played a part in your personal growth. Then, consider the ways you might embody that diversity and how you can contribute to the overall culture at the school and as part of the profession.

Length and Formatting

Most admissions departments prefer the diversity statement to be no longer than one double-spaced page with one-inch margins, so aim for about 500 but no more than 800 words. Look for sample diversity statements in your school's websites to gain further insight and to understand what topics and formatting each school requires.

Choosing a Subject

You must keep your statement short but memorable. You should address one topic only: you, your background, and your family. Everything else belongs in your personal statement. Use the limited space you have to tell a brief story about your diverse background. Many students do this by choosing one moment or incident that reveals something significant about who they are. For example, one student might write about her experiences performing traditional Chinese dance as a way to talk about both her Chinese heritage and the discipline she learned from dancing. Other examples of statements that have impressed admissions counselors—according to US News —include a former waitress who wrote movingly about the plight of the working poor from her co-workers' perspectives, and a house-painter's statement about learning about integrity, dedication, and optimism from his fellow painters. An HIV-positive applicant discussed the strength he developed through coping with his diagnosis.

Tips for Getting Started

Before beginning to write your statement, take some time to look back on your own life, and ask yourself what makes your experience different from most other applicants. Some examples might include: 

  • Growing up in a particular religious tradition
  • Living with a chronic illness or disability
  • Serving in the military
  • Being an older student or a single parent returning to school
  • Issues related to sexual orientation
  • Growing up in poverty, addiction, or abusive circumstances

When you have a moment or an experience in mind, stop to consider how it may have influenced you as well as your decision to attend law school. A good plan of attack is to draft an outline before you begin to write. Begin with a persuasive paragraph giving the reader a roadmap to the experiences you're going to describe. The next two or three paragraphs should take the reader into your world and your experience. Be as descriptive as you can. The last paragraph should conclude by saying why this experience has helped prepare you for law school. Read a few more examples of diversity statements to help you format your own. 

Voice and Tone

The diversity statement should be personal and reflective in tone . Write about your experiences sincerely and in your own voice. Even though you may be writing about difficult moments in your life, your overall tone should be positive. Avoid hints of self-pity, and don't suggest that your background can or should excuse any flaws in your application profile. In your own words, tell the story of a moment that taught you something positive about yourself.

A good diversity statement should illustrate how these experiences helped to give you insights that will make you an asset to the law school community. Even if you are writing about a painful or negative experience, try to end your statement on a positive note. Admissions officers want to read a story that illustrates how where you came from has influenced who you are why that path has led you to law school. Did it give you a depth of understanding your peers may not have? State how it inspired you to become an advocate for others in similar circumstances? Make sure this last paragraph ties where you came from to your desire to become an attorney. 

  • "Diversity Statement Resource Guide." American University College of Law . https://www.wcl.american.edu/career/documents/diversity-statement-resource-guide/
  • “Application Components.”  Yale Law School , https://law.yale.edu/admissions/jd-admissions/first-year-applicants/application.
  • O'Connor, Shawn P. “3 Ways Personal, Diversity Statements Differ in Law School Applications.”  U.S. News & World Report , U.S. News & World Report, 17 Aug. 2015, https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/2015/08/17/3-ways-personal-diversity-statements-differ-in-law-school-applications.
  • O'Connor, Shawn P. “How to Discuss Diversity in Your Law School Applications.”  U.S. News & World Report , U.S. News & World Report, 10 June 2013, https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/2013/06/10/how-to-discuss-diversity-in-your-law-school-applications.
  • Shemmassian, Shirag. “How to Write an Amazing Law School Diversity Statement.”  Shemmassian Academic Consulting , Shemmassian Academic Consulting, 31 Jan. 2019, https://www.shemmassianconsulting.com/blog/diversity-statement-law-school.
  • Spivey, Mike. “Examples of Successful Diversity Statements.”  Spivey Consulting , Spivey Consulting, 29 May 2018, https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/examples-of-diversity-statements/.
  • “The Law School Diversity Statement.”  The Law School Diversity Statement , http://cas.nyu.edu/content/nyu-as/cas/prelaw/handbook/Law-School-Application-Process/the-law-school-diversity-statement.html.
  • “What's a Diversity Statement and How Do You Make Yours Stand Out?”  Best Masters Degrees & Masters Programs 2020 , 18 Apr. 2018, https://www.lawstudies.com/article/whats-a-diversity-statement-and-how-do-you-make-yours-stand-out/.
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3 ways to nail the diversity essay and get into a top law school

  • Grad school essay expert Robert Schwartz shares how to nail the law school diversity statement.
  • It's an essay where applicants can show parts of themselves they struggle with, he says.
  • Or, consider diversity of thought or experience.

In addition to the required personal statement , many law schools — including Stanford and Harvard — give applicants a chance to write an optional diversity essay .

According to Robert Schwartz, president of college application consulting company Your Best College Essay , this essay gives candidates a wide-open playing field to share information that might help them get in.

"There is literally nothing you can't write about," Schwartz said.

He added that applicants should take this freebie seriously. 

"Think about all the other applicants who will take the time to do so thoughtfully and with sincerity. They're your competition," he said.

One reason it's important to prioritize this part of the application is that law schools are increasingly looking for a diverse student body.

"Once upon a time, law schools were very homogeneous," Schwartz said. "In the last few years, they wanted to better reflect what America looks like. If you don't fit into one certain box, you will bring a unique perspective to that campus."

Schwartz shared with Insider three tips for coming up with an exceptional diversity statement that will support your application and give admissions officers another reason to accept you.

Share a part of yourself you've struggled with

If you have one aspect of your life you want to explain or go into detail about — even if it has nothing to do with law school or being a lawyer — Schwartz said you should include it in your diversity essay.

For example, last year, Schwartz worked with an applicant who's dyslexic and spoke about her struggles in class, personal relationships, and extracurriculars, using it as an example of her resilience and ability to persevere. 

Another applicant wrote her personal statement about being two years old when her parents died and how she (with help from aunts and uncles) raised her younger siblings. 

"The challenge was powerful, but she somehow managed to get her undergraduate education, work, and keep her siblings on track to also attend college," Schwartz said. 

Remember there's diversity of thought, too

While law schools want all races, nationalities, ethnicities, and genders represented in their student body, applicants often overlook the fact that admissions directors are also looking for people who think differently.

Last year, Schwartz had an applicant who was pro-life. The applicant told him about a time when she met a group of pro-choice students and they discussed their beliefs together. What transpired, he said, was a fascinating conversation that spanned not just the pro-life/pro-choice divide, but religion and women's rights, too. 

"At the end, no one changed sides, but at least they all heard the other one out and there was a mutual respect," he said. The applicant realized she was never going to turn her pro-choice friends into pro-life supporters and turned the highly charged conversation into a learning experience. 

"She was gathering information, researching how pro-choice people defend their point of view," Schwartz said. "She saw it as a good way to learn good interrogation techniques, to ask follow-up questions, to make her friend defend her opinion in a way that might have made an opening to prove her friend wrong." 

In the end, Schwartz wasn't surprised she was accepted into a top 10 law school. 

It's OK to be a little funny

Bringing humor into your application may feel like going out on a limb, but Schwartz said it's "not the risk you may think it is."

"Being light and fun is like a gift to admissions officers, something unexpected. When I hear a story or perspective that I think would work, I wholeheartedly support a lighter tone," he said. 

One applicant of his told a story about a bachelor party he attended where he drew the short straw and had to be the designated driver. 

"In the story, he lamented about not being able to enjoy himself as much as his friends did at the party," Schwartz said. "But as the night went on, he saw his role being the designated driver as an important role which he took seriously. The night got way out of hand, and he ended up putting out many fires, and no one got into trouble." 

The takeaway of his story was subtle. "The experience of being the designated driver showed the applicant to be responsible and trustworthy, cool-headed, and supportive," Schwartz said.

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How to write a diversity essay for law school

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In addition to a personal statement, many law schools also encourage applicants to submit a supplementary “diversity” statement. Applicants are often confused about how to approach a diversity essay, as law schools provide significantly more leeway and less guidelines in terms of the type of content they are looking for. Often, applicants forgo writing a diversity statement altogether, out of the fear of not being “diverse enough” or feeling as if they do not have a unique enough experience to merit a separate essay.

But, this is a mistake! During the admissions process, your application is often compared against applications with similar GPA and LSAT numbers. Writing a diversity essay is an excellent way to make sure admissions officers have a better understanding of what makes you a great candidate for their law school.

Given the importance of writing a diversity essay, follow the tips below in order to make sure your essay provides the most benefit to your application:

What “counts” as diversity?

Keep it personal., show, don’t tell., sell yourself., finally, keep it short..

Related Content

Six Tips for Writing a Successful Diversity Statement for Law School Applications

December 8, 2021

Stratus Admissions

When applying to law school, the diversity statement is typically an optional essay that serves as a companion to your required personal statement essay. The diversity statement provides law schools details about you: your personal experiences, your unique voice, and how you will add a diverse perspective to their class. Keep the following tips in mind to write an effective diversity statement:

1. Remember, it’s about YOU!

The diversity statement conveys to law schools deeper dimensions of who you are as well as what circumstances and events have shaped your life. While your personal statement communicates why you want to go to law school and what qualifications, experiences, and accomplishments have prepared you for this endeavor, the diversity statement is more personal in nature and focuses on what makes you unique and how you would help increase diversity in the classroom.

Diversity statement topics can range from overcoming hardship (poverty, illness, abuse, death in the family, etc.) or volunteering to serve your community to encounters with other cultural or sub-cultural groups. These are just examples; be sure to focus on what makes your story uniquely yours .

One former Stratus Admissions client wrote about his experience on a religious pilgrimage through Spain during his senior of college. Through this pilgrimage, he learned about his own heritage as well as modern-day poverty in Spain. This experience cultivated his desire to go to law school and become an advocate for human rights.

To begin drafting your diversity statement, think about the most formative experiences of your life and jot them down digitally or in a journal.

2. Start with an outline.

Like your personal statement, you should outline your diversity statement before you begin writing.

Pick one major life experience or event, summarize that event in an introduction, and then use each body paragraph to provide details about the experience or event and the various ways it has shaped who you are.

Conclude with your reflection: How has your unique experience shaped your perspective, and how will this add to a law school’s diversity?

However, here is one caveat: do not repeat information that you’ve already included in your personal statement.

3. Include stories that add value.

Most essays can benefit from anecdotes and stories, and this is especially true for the diversity statement. Incorporating details and dialogue can make an essay even more compelling.

For example, if you write about growing up in a poor rural community, share stories about the people with whom you grew up. What was a typical day in your life like? How far did you have to drive just to get to the supermarket? Did you have access to legal aid if you needed it? These details can bring your essay to life.

4. Keep it brief.

Typically, the diversity statement is only one to two pages double-spaced (while most personal statements run two to four pages). Formatting varies from school to school, so be sure to confirm each school’s requirements.

5. Ask for feedback.

Just like with your personal statement, obtaining feedback is important to build a strong diversity statement. Ask someone you trust—perhaps a professor who is writing your letter of recommendation or a colleague—to review the essay and provide detailed feedback. Take sufficient time to evaluate their feedback and make necessary edits.

6. Proofread!

Always, always proofread your diversity statement before you submit. Typos and errors will not be well received by law school admissions committees and will weaken your application.

A strong diversity statement can convey to law school admissions committees a deeper sense of who you are, what has shaped your values, and how you will bring diversity to their classroom. Getting a head start well before applications are due ensures that you will have the strongest possible diversity statement to support your candidacy for law school.

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6 Successful Law School Diversity Statement Examples

Many people have asked me to share successful law school diversity statement examples. Here are a few I am especially proud of.

1) This adversity-focused diversity statement contributed to the applicant’s admission at a T20 school with a large scholarship, despite a sub-2.8 GPA.

I grew up in Ohio with my parents and two younger brothers. Though I lived with my parents, I was often left caring for my brothers, as my father was frequently unfit and my mother was out working well over sixty hours a week to keep a roof over our heads. I made sure my brothers went to school, had food to eat, did their homework, showered, brushed their teeth, and were cared for when they got sick. That was the easy part.

I also had to shield them from our father’s addiction. Since I was a toddler, he has been an addict. He has been to rehab eight times, prison three times, and threatened suicide at least six times. And he never hid his problems from my brothers and me. When I was six, I had to wrestle away his gun as he waved it around during a drunken stupor. When I was twelve, I had to discard bags of pills and needles he left out on the kitchen table one night. If I hadn’t woken up early the following morning, my brothers likely would have got to them. On more occasions than I can remember, I hid and spilled out his alcohol. Despite it all, each time he went to rehab I told myself that he would get better. He never did.

A few weeks into my senior year of high school, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It progressed rather quickly and, by the time I started college, he was no longer able to perform routine self-care. With no relatives willing to have anything to do with him, I was left as his sole caregiver. It remained this way for my stay at [university 1] and [university 2]. As I pursued my first bachelor’s degree, I cared for both my father and brothers.

For years, I let my family struggles prevent me from reaching my potential. I worked for the moment, trying to keep things together and make sure that each day ended with my brothers safe and my father not out on the street. It wasn’t until my senior year at [university 2] that I realized my experiences were not normal and that I was letting them hold me back. While they no longer do, I still use them as a lens to view the world, which enables me to better understand and help those in difficult circumstances. I will continue to do so as I pursue a legal career.

2) This is an outside-the-box diversity statement I like to call, “Animal House.” It contributed to the applicant’s admission at 8 of the T15 schools.

A camel seeking retirement from a lifetime of pulling carts. A duck left locked in an abandoned house. A starving group of emus set free in the wild by their owners. A gentle draft horse abused by his handler in preparation for rodeo work. Goats, sheep, parrots, alpacas, and miniature brahmin cows, all relinquished by overeager owners unprepared for the routines of feeding and care. With each story, the size of our family and rescue operation grew.

We took in our first rescue when I was four, and by the time I was seven, I was one of about sixty “children.” Like any siblings, we sometimes squabbled. In the living room, I competed with a dozen rescue dogs for space on the couch. In the kitchen, I wrestled with our potbellied pig, Moo, over cereal in the pantry. I quickly learned the difficulty of pulling an indulging pig from his food. But it wasn’t all fighting; we also loved each other. My first responsibility was caring for a pair of emu chicks that nested in my bathtub. Their hungry chirps served as my alarm for school. During dinner, I ate with one hand while the other held a bottle for our orphaned baby llama.

As I grew older, my role shifted from sibling to parent. Starting in fourth grade, I spent weekends trimming goat hooves, shearing alpacas, and tossing hay to our motley herd. Groggy school mornings involved carrying four happily chattering parrots to their outdoor aviary. During the summer, I mixed peacock feed and cleaned stalls before breakfast, occasionally finding myself holding down a kicking donkey for his midday shots.

The work was the easy part. Much harder was establishing friendships with creatures taught to distrust humans. When I was thirteen, I remember always crouching to approach Napoleon, our miniature horse, who would have bolted otherwise. It would be months before I could stand in front of him. When I was sixteen, I learned that reared ears on a camel is a sign of comfort, while the same on a llama precedes spitting. It wasn’t an easy lesson, and I got pretty wet while learning it. Just last year, I spent several hours a day over twelve weeks soothing a petrified Great Pyrenees. She eventually stopped peeing herself at the sight of a human and was adopted to a good home.

Decades on the ranch have taught me to work with compassion and accept long stretches with little progress. I have learned that what works for one creature may be the complete opposite for another, each idiosyncrasy revealed over time. My siblings instilled in me the virtues of adaptability and patience, and those are the lessons I carry closest—knowing how to sit, listen, and understand others, regardless of species.

3) This diversity statement tells the story of an applicant’s difficulty growing up with conflicting ethnicities. It contributed to their admission at 8 of the T15 schools.

I sat down at a dinner table covered in all sorts of Turkish and Armenian meats, fish, and cheese. It was like this every Sunday. My family got together, talked, laughed, and shared stories about our week, code-switching between languages as easily as we did ethnic dishes. After we finished eating, my grandma put the leftover enginar , a traditional Turkish dish made of artichoke hearts, into my lunch box for school.

I obviously couldn’t bring enginar to my Armenian school, so I woke up early the next day to make a PB&J. If I had brought the enginar , my peers would have tauntingly called me a Turk and claimed I wasn’t a real Armenian. As a result of the Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I, there is enmity between the two countries. My family is Armenian but lived in Turkey for many years before moving to the U.S. in the 80s.

In my first few years in Armenian school, I became a cultural chameleon. I couldn’t show my Turkish self without risking ridicule, so I embraced my Armenian side and distanced myself from anything Turkish. I studied pages of Armenian words I had only known in Turkish, created playlists mixing System of a Down with Armenian church hymns, and discussed the country’s history with peers at lunch. At home, I blurred boundaries between my two cultures. I filled my dinner plate with Turkish and Armenian food, affixed Turkish prefixes on Armenian nouns, and watched episodes of Turkish dramas with my Armenian-speaking grandparents.

As time passed, while I flourished in school, I felt out of place at home. I couldn’t balance the two cultures and elected to just cut out my Turkish half. This led to a strain on my family relationships. I was quiet when anything Turkish came up, in a way embracing my peers’ negative outlook. It wasn’t until I attended an event about a slain Turkish-Armenian journalist that things clicked. Learning how Hrant Dink dedicated his life to seeking positive change in Turkish-Armenian relations made me realize I didn’t need to be a cultural chameleon. What defined Dink wasn’t his culture or ethnicity but his work.

With this in mind, I no longer felt conflicted by my mixed culture. I am defined by my actions, values, and goals, not my countries of origin. While I stayed sensitive to my peers, I focused more on cultivating my unique sense of self and less on fitting everyone else’s idea of who I should be. As a law student and attorney, I will keep this lesson at the forefront of my mind. Ultimately, it is my work and impact on the world and those around me that is most important. And I will do everything in my power to make a mark worth remembering.

4) This diversity statement focuses on the applicant’s experience growing up as a third-culture child.

After an absence of almost three years, I’m back in Shanghai and meeting an old friend for dinner. She asks if I miss being in America. Without hesitation, I say no, explaining that in many ways I feel more at home in China, since this is where I spent most of my childhood. Plus, the food is better, I joke. “That’s surprising,” she says, “because you’re American, not Chinese.”

My heart sinks. In America, I am seen first and foremost as Asian. In China, I’m a foreigner. In reality, both are right. I’m half Chinese and half American. Being a “halfie” means my features are a kind of a Rorschach test for the viewer, morphing according to who sees me. Although my friend may feel certain I am American, my mind wanders through memories that would challenge her conviction—such as being teased as the only Asian girl in my third-grade ESL class or being told to “go back to China” during the height of the Covid-19 crisis. In the eyes of many, I am Chinese.

My father was an American diplomat to China and my mother was a stage and film actress from Shanghai. Every one to three years, we moved between Singapore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. By the time I started high school, I had already attended seven schools in three countries and mastered code-switching between Mandarin and English.

Moving so often taught me to leave certain assumptions behind and to see “normal” in a new light. Ordinary things like classroom etiquette became sources of novelty and revelation. In Washington, D.C., I was encouraged to ask questions. But in Beijing, my questions were reprimanded as undermining the teacher’s authority. In Hong Kong, I took exams that rewarded my ability to memorize long passages of text. In New York, pure reproduction was not enough; I also had to critically analyze what I learned. These contrasts were disorienting at times, but I embraced them with an open mind, adapting to the environment I was in.

While I used to feel lost among the many places I have lived, I now see my bicultural upbringing as a gift. It taught me how to navigate ambiguity and adapt quickly in unfamiliar places. It helped me internalize the practice of leading with empathy, not judgment. And while it has taken me time, I no longer define myself in fractions, as a “halfie,” but as the sum of whole parts: Chinese and American. As I step into the classroom, I look forward to sharing the multiplicity of values and perspectives I have been exposed to. They have shaped who I am today and will no doubt shape my journey in law.

5) This is another example of an outside-the-box diversity statement. “The Tinkerer” contributed to the applicant’s admission to a T6 law school with a sub-3.2 GPA.

Growing up, I was a tinkerer. I began as my father’s assistant for home construction projects—building benches, installing drywall, wiring audio systems—before going off on my own. As I fiddled, my father’s favorite maxim replayed in my head: “measure twice and cut once.” Except I usually cut several times. Any time I got my hands on a new device, I grabbed my toolset and tested how much I could take it apart before I had to put it back together.

When I saw how simple the inside of my first electric guitar was, I took out its shoddy pickups and soldered in noiseless ones. I did the same with the tone and volume potentiometers, and it was soon a pattern for me. Any time I got something new, I upgraded it. I stopped being interested in full devices, rather seeking out parts. This approach allowed me to get an electric guitar with a sound as smooth as a Santana solo. I saved up money from odd jobs for a bridge, tuners, bone nut, strings, and pickups. For pennies on the dollar, I assembled a new guitar. To my friends, it was high-end; to me, it was a Frankenstein masterpiece.

I took a similar approach with my computer when it could no longer keep up with my music production needs. In my basement were old desktops covered in dust, so I stripped them for their best parts to build a “new” one. As my music became more complex, however, my computer was no longer able to handle my processing needs, so I did the same thing again. I used what remained of my savings to buy parts from Newegg and built a faster computer from scratch. That did the trick for a couple of years, but over the last half-decade, I have tinkered with it at every opportunity, swapping out and upgrading parts. The computer almost looks like a taped-together kid’s project at this point, but you would never know once it’s turned on.

As I have matured, my love for disassembling gadgets and rebuilding a stronger version has carried into my intellectual pursuits. Examining the components and logical structure of an argument enlivens me, and I am not averse to playing devil’s advocate. Beyond the theoretical, my love for incorporating technology into my pursuits surfaces in everything I do, whether it’s tackling web design for a research project or fixing people’s laptops on weekends. As a law student, I look forward to using my technical skills to provide insight on legal issues where technology plays a role. Likewise, I know that my experiences will enable me to approach issues from an unconventional angle and contribute a nuanced voice inside and outside the classroom.

6) This diversity statement shows how the applicant connects with their culture through cooking. It contributed to their admission at a T10 law school with a sub-3.0 GPA.

As soon as I enter the Iranian market, I go straight to the butcher and ask for the best Cornish hens that day. Then it’s over to the produce section in search of the freshest leafy vegetables. I grab some parsley and remember what grandma told me: more than two brown leaves is a bad sign, no dry stems, and when in doubt, use the smell test. I sift through a dozen wilted stocks, grab the brightest one, and throw it in the bag.

Cooking has always been my way of connecting with my culture and ancestry. Although I have never actually visited Iran, I have experienced it in the kitchen many times over. From a young age, my grandma taught me how to make Iranian dishes that were passed down to her and had me repeatedly practice the relevant techniques until I perfected them. In her eyes, patience and attention to detail were necessary prerequisites for success in any endeavor.

When I return from the market, I start preparing grandma’s signature dish: Zereshk Polo Morgh , chicken and saffron rice mixed with barberries and pistachios. Task one: long and fluffy rice. I start the brief boiling process, removing a grain every minute to check the consistency. A slightly mushy exterior is my cue to begin steaming. I slowly layer the rice into a giant pot and crank up the heat to ensure a crunchy bottom tahdig layer, the crown jewel of all Iranian rice-based dishes. When steam pours out of the lid, I reduce the flame and let it simmer. Task two: juicy Cornish hens. The dry rubbed hens go into the oven belly up, with a small base of broth to retain moisture. Set it to 385 degrees for 3 hours, then 5 minutes in the broiler for crispy skin. Task three: shiny barberries. I sauté them in saffron butter for roughly 2.5 minutes, immediately removing the pan from the heat when they start ballooning. A quick stir with brown sugar provides a sweet and glossy finish.

Preparing a feast each week has been a tradition in my family for generations. Although I was usually grandma’s assistant, today, I’m in the kitchen alone while she chats with my family in the living room. Aromas of Iran fill the air as I put on the finishing touches. I grab sixteen plates and begin filling them. A mound of barberry laden saffron rice, a sprinkle of slivered pistachios, and a serving of golden Cornish hen with parsley to garnish. I bring the plates out to my family and wait for grandma’s nod of approval. She nods. I smile widely.

My years in the kitchen have bonded me with a culture I deeply cherish. Through grandma’s teachings, I have learned to value patience and precision, knowing that prioritizing the little things will always make for a better, more complete product. I am confident these values will help me excel in law school and my career.

Interested in learning more? To set up a consultation, contact me at [email protected] or use my contact form: sharperstatements.com/contact .

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Should You Write a Diversity Statement for Law School?

  • by M Hope Echales
  • Sep 23, 2015
  • Admissions, Personal Statements
  • Reviewed by: Matt Riley

diversity essay law school

Everyone knows you need to write a personal statement when applying to law school, but did you know you might need to write a diversity statement too?

Before I share tips on how to write one, let’s first talk about the purpose of the diversity statement.

Good law schools want a rich learning environment for their students. A rich learning environment involves the inclusion of different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies contributing to the dialogue, debate, and discussion in each class. Good law schools recognize that having a diverse student body is a benefit to all law students (and to law professors as well). The diversity statement is one way to see if an applicant would contribute to a diverse 1L class, because the application form may not give the law school admissions committee enough information about the applicant’s background and diversity factors.

If you’re applying to law school, I highly recommend that you think hard about whether you have any diversity factors.

Diversity factors include, but are not limited to, the following: • Ethnic minority • Low-income childhood • Low-income now • First generation in your family to graduate from college • GLBTQ community • Non-traditional student (i.e., older student) • Single parent while attending college • Disabilities (learning, physical, mental) • Underrepresented religious affiliation • Immigrant • Foster child • Grew up in an unusual neighborhood, town/city, or country • Grew up with unique circumstances that are underrepresented in the law school’s student body

If you have any of these factors in your background, you should consider writing a diversity statement.

Most law schools’ application instructions state that the diversity statement should be submitted as an addendum and/or optional essay. If the school does not specifically ask for a diversity statement, contact the admissions office to see if they will accept one. Some schools would rather you incorporate your diversity factors into your personal statement, while others are open to it being a separate essay.

So, how do you go about writing a diversity statement?

First, I recommend reading some great diversity statements. Download my FREE Personal Statement Packet and read the four diversity statement samples included in it. You can get a good idea of how to approach and structure a diversity statement by carefully reading and analyzing these samples. Similar to the personal statement, the diversity statement is essentially a structured short story about YOU. Keep in mind, though, that your diversity statement is much shorter than your personal statement–it should generally be one page, double-spaced, with a 11- to 12-point font.

Second, read each of the diversity statements again and read the adjoining personal statements that go with them. Notice how the applicant’s diversity factor(s) might be mentioned in his or her personal statement, but they are covered in more detail in the diversity statement. I recommend that you do this. As law school officials always tell me, “Applicants need to self-identify!” And I would add, applicants need to self-identify in more than one place in their law school application.

Third, please remember as you’re writing your draft that the diversity statement should be focused generally on your family background and upbringing. If you start veering towards other stories about your life or career, or why you want to go to law school, know that you’re veering towards personal statement territory. Steer yourself back to focusing on your family background and upbringing.

Lastly, when you have a draft of your diversity statement that is ready for human consumption (usually your second or third draft), have several trusted and objective people review it. Look for patterns in the feedback given to you. If two people say the same thing, pay attention. Then revise, revise, revise until your diversity statement is the best that it can be.

PEG CHENG is the author of The No B.S. Guides for applying to law school and the founder of Prelaw Guru , where you can find law school admissions tips, videos, books, and more.

Diversity statements may not apply to everyone. Your LSAT score will still reign supreme over your law school application. Make sure you can do your best by using the best LSAT prep. Schedule a call with us to find what LSAT prep course works best for you!

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Race and Ethnicity in Law School Admissions

Important baselines following the supreme court’s sffa v. harvard/unc decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2023 that institutions of higher education can no longer consider an applicant’s racial or ethnic status in admissions — even as they may consider an applicant’s experiences, perspectives, and interests that may be expressly tied to their individual racial identity. This shift in the legal landscape, which applies to public and private law schools that are recipients of federal funds, means, in practical terms, that essay questions and interviews may merit enhanced attention, particularly with respect to questions about an applicant’s life experiences and goals. These questions may include a discussion of issues related to, for example, perspectives or commitment on matters of social justice or racial equity. Nothing in the Court’s ruling prohibits any applicant from telling their complete and unique, individual story — including where their racial or ethnic identity may be important in and integral to that story. 

Of course, the kind of information that law schools elicit and evaluate will vary, school by school, based on the precise mission and context of each law school. Where considered by law schools, background information regarding an applicant’s life experiences and perspectives will be considered in light of other relevant admission factors considered by the law school.

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How to Write a Statement of Perspective/Diversity

Writing a statement of perspective and diversity is a lot like writing a personal statement. The stages include 1) brainstorming , 2) outlining (loosely or in detail), 3) drafting , and 4) revising .

Broadly speaking, your statement of perspective has two parts: your experience, and the insight you took from it.

Below are some more specific tips.

1. Don’t speak for your group; speak for yourself.

Being Mexican American is a valid starting point for a statement of perspective, but it’s not a specific topic. Don’t write about “the” Mexican American experience; write about your experience. The same goes for any essay about race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc.

If you faced adversity, write about it. But your statement of perspective doesn’t have to be an adversity statement. “ Majority Minority ” is a great example of an essay that decouples minority status from hardship.

2. Tell us what it’s about in the first paragraph.

Your first paragraph can be either anecdotal or direct. An anecdotal opening means that you tell a short story which pinpoints your experience. “Identity Carousel” begins this way:

Wrapping up the day’s math lesson, I asked the class if there were any questions. “Yea. Mr. Frank,” said a boy I’ll call Jeremy. “For real, why you always talk like the white people?”

The story encapsulates the narrator’s dilemma: some members of the black community see him as too white.

A direct intro entails a succinct statement in which you state your topic. “Homeschool” begins with a direct intro:

When I was fourteen years old, my mother gave me the choice of being homeschooled or attending a public high school. My older brother had shuddered at the thought of being associated with the stereotype of socially awkward, unfashionable “homeschool kids.” However, I saw the idea of spending my days at home as a challenge and an opportunity.

3. Make sure all the circumstances are clear.

In the first draft of “Taking Care Of My Sister,” the narrator tells us, “As the oldest sibling, I took on the parental role before my sister was a one-year-old.” But she doesn’t make it clear why she had to take on that role. In the final draft , she explains that her immigrant parents worked long hours in factories, leaving her in charge.

4. Try anchoring the story of your heritage or identity to a specific moment.

The writer of “Armenian Heritage,” for example, anchors the story of his heritage to a trip that he took to Baku during which he reconnected with his Armenian roots.

5. Back up your main assertions with specific details.

In the first draft of “ Homeschool ,” the narrator wrote, “Being entrusted to guide my own education gave me self-confidence and taught me to become more independent.” But she didn’t illustrate that point. By the last draft, she gave some examples: “I would work backwards, step by step, to find my mistake in a math equation or track down an explanation for a French grammar rule.”

6. State what you gained from your experience in the last or penultimate paragraph.

Two examples:

I learned how to be my own teacher and to identify my strengths and weaknesses. Homeschooling also helped me be creative and analytical in ways that a more traditional education might not have. -“Homeschool”

I attribute my success to the values my parents instilled by example: hard work and grit. -“Grit”

7. Keep it optimistic.

The first draft of “Rugby” ends: “Income invariably plays an insidious sinister role. It’s a damn shame.”

You too might believe that America is plagued with intractable problems, and you might be right. You may feel angry and combative, and you’re justified in feeling so. But your diversity statement is a place for optimism. Think Disney, not HBO: “I have a unique perspective,” not “I can see that this country is fucked.”

8. Look forward!

At the end of your statement of perspective, it’s a good idea to look forward and tell the admissions committee how your insights will shape your future. Admissions officers often look to a statement of perspective for another indication of what kind of voice you will be on campus, or how your experiences will shape your legal career. You don’t need to be ultra-specific and name affiliation groups you plan to join (though you can!), but you should give some indication of how your perspectives will influence your social/professional presence. 

You have more leeway on your statement of perspective than you do on your personal statement.

Three paragraphs is probably enough. You can write a longer essay if the school’s application permits you to. I’d encourage you to skew short, though. In most cases, your personal statement should remain the star of the show. A page or less double-spaced is often enough for a great statement of perspective.

Format your statement of perspective the same way you format your personal statement , but instead of “Personal Statement,” the last line of the header should use whatever term that school used on their application description, e.g., “Statement of Perspective” or “Optional Essay Two.” If the school doesn’t indicate a preferred term for the essay, you can go with the old tried-and-true “Diversity Statement.” 

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Georgetown University.

Law School Personal Statement Dos and Don’ts

The personal statement, one of the most important parts of your law school application, is an opportunity to highlight your writing ability, your personality, and your experience. Think of it as a written interview during which you get to choose the question. What one thing do you wish the admissions evaluators knew about you?

To help you write a law school personal statement that best reflects your abilities as a potential law student, we have some recommendations below.

  • Discuss possible personal statement topics with your pre-law advisor (or someone else) before you invest a lot of time writing.
  • Choose a narrow topic. Offer details about a small topic rather than generalities about a broad topic. Focus on a concrete experience and the impact it has had upon you.
  • Be yourself. Do not tell law schools what you think they want to hear — tell them the truth.
  • Pay special attention to your first paragraph. It should immediately grab a reader’s attention. Reviewers are pressed for time and may not read beyond an uninteresting opener.
  • Keep it interesting. Write with energy and use the active voice. You do not have to explain how your experience relates to your desire to attend law school. Tell a story. Paint a vivid picture. The most interesting personal statements create visuals for the reader, which make your personal statement more memorable.
  • Keep it simple and brief. Big words do not denote big minds, just big egos. Choose your words with economy and clarity in mind, and remember that your reader has a huge stack of applications to read. A personal statement generally should be two to three double-spaced pages.
  • Proofread. Ask several people to proofread your essay. Grammatical or mechanical errors are inexcusable.
  • Include information from your background that sets you apart. If your ethnicity, family, religion, socioeconomic background, or similar factors are motivating you to succeed in law school, be sure to highlight them. You can do this in the personal statement itself or in a separate diversity statement. If you are writing a personal statement and a diversity statement, make sure the two essays address different topics.
  • Consider your audience. Most admissions evaluators are professors, third-year law students, or admissions professionals not long out of law school. Therefore, you want to come across as an attentive student, interesting classmate, and accomplished person. Again, consider what you most want them to know, beyond the information provided in the rest of your application.
  • Read the application carefully. Most law schools allow you to choose a topic, but some will require you to address a specific question. Follow whatever instructions are provided.
  • Do not play a role, especially that of a lawyer or judge. And stay away from legal concepts and jargon. You run the risk of misusing them, and even if you use them properly, legal language may make you appear pompous.
  • Do not tell your life story in chronological order or merely re-state your resume. Furthermore, resist the urge to tie together all of your life experiences. The essays that try to say too much end up saying nothing at all.
  • Do not become a cliché. You may genuinely want to save the world. Maybe your study abroad experience transformed the way you look at the world. But these topics are overused. Before writing your essay, consider how your story is unique and highlight your individuality.
  • Do not use a personal statement to explain discrepancies in your application. If your academic record is weak in comparison to your LSAT scores, or vice versa, address that issue in an addendum. Emphasize the positive in the personal statement.
  • Do not offend your reader. Lawyers rarely shy away from controversial topics, but you should think twice before advocating a controversial view. You do not want to appear to be close-minded.
  • If you are in the bottom of an applicant pool, do not play it safe. You have nothing to lose by making a novel statement.

The University of Chicago The Law School

In their own words: admissions essays that worked.

Throughout this issue, countless examples show why we are so proud of the students at the law school. One might think that we get lucky that the students the admissions office chose for their academic accomplishments also turn out to be incredible members of our community, but it’s really all by design. Our students show us a great deal more in their applications than just academics—and we care about a lot more than their numbers. In these pages, meet five of our students in the way we first met them: through the personal statements they wrote for their law school applications. And through their photos, meet a sixth: Andreas Baum, ’12, the talented student photographer who took these pictures for us.

Tammy Wang, ’12

EDUCATION: Johns Hopkins University, BA in International Relations, concentration East Asian Studies, with honors (2007) WORK EXPERIENCE: AsianFanatics.net LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: University of Chicago Law Review, Immigrant Child Advocacy Project Clinic, APALSA, Admissions Committee, Law School Film Festival I fell in love for the first time when I was four. That was the year my mother signed me up for piano lessons. I can still remember touching those bright, ivory keys with reverence, feeling happy and excited that soon I would be playing those tinkling, familiar melodies (which my mother played every day on our boombox) myself. To my rather naïve surprise, however, instead of setting the score for Für Elise on the piano stand before me, my piano teacher handed me a set of Beginner’s Books. I was to read through the Book of Theory, learn to read the basic notes of the treble and bass clefs, and practice, my palm arched as though an imaginary apple were cupped between my fingers, playing one note at a time. After I had mastered the note of “C,” she promised, I could move on to “D.” It took a few years of theory and repetition before I was presented with my very first full-length classical piece: a sonatina by Muzio Clementi. I practiced the new piece daily, diligently following the written directives of the composer. I hit each staccato note crisply and played each crescendo and every decrescendo dutifully. I performed the piece triumphantly for my teacher and lifted my hands with a flourish as I finished. Instead of clapping, however, my teacher gave me a serious look and took both my hands in hers. “Music,” she said sincerely, “is not just technique. It’s not just fingers or memorization. It comes from the heart.” That was how I discovered passion. Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn: the arcs and passages of intricate notes are lines of genius printed on paper, but ultimately, it is the musician who coaxes them to life. They are open to artistic and emotional interpretation, and even eight simple bars can inspire well over a dozen different variations. I poured my happiness and my angst into the keys, loving every minute of it. I pictured things, events, and people (some real, some entirely imagined— but all intensely personal) in my mind as I played, and the feelings and melodies flowed easily: frustration into Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique, wistfulness into Chopin’s nocturnes and waltzes, and sheer joy into Schubert. Practice was no longer a chore; it was a privilege and a delight. In high school, I began playing the piano for church services. The music director gave me a binder full of 1-2-3 sheet music, in which melodies are written as numbers instead of as notes on a music staff. To make things a bit more interesting for myself—and for the congregation—I took to experimenting, pairing the written melodies with chords and harmonies of my own creation. I rarely played a song the same way twice; the beauty of improvisation, of songwriting, is that it is as much “feeling” as it is logic and theory. Different occasions and different moods yielded different results: sometimes, “Listen Quietly” was clean and beautiful in its simplicity; other times, it became elaborate and nearly classical in its passages. The basic melody and musical key, however, remained the same, even as the embellishments changed. The foundation of good improvisation and songwriting is simple: understanding the musical key in which a song is played—knowing the scale, the chords, the harmonies, and how well (or unwell) they work together—is essential. Songs can be rewritten and reinterpreted as situation permits, but missteps are obvious because the fundamental laws of music and harmony do not change. Although my formal music education ended when I entered college, the lessons I have learned over the years have remained close and relevant to my life. I have acquired a lifestyle of discipline and internalized the drive for self-improvement. I have gained an appreciation for the complexities and the subtleties of interpretation. I understand the importance of having both a sound foundation and a dedication to constant study. I understand that to possess a passion and personal interest in something, to think for myself, is just as important.

Josh Mahoney, ’13

EDUCATION: University of Northern Iowa, BA in Economics and English, magna cum laude (2009) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Student Admissions Committee, flag football, Tony Patiño Fellow The turning point of my college football career came early in my third year. At the end of the second practice of the season, in ninety-five-degree heat, our head coach decided to condition the entire team. Sharp, excruciating pain shot down my legs as he summoned us repeatedly to the line to run wind sprints. I collapsed as I turned the corner on the final sprint. Muscle spasms spread throughout my body, and I briefly passed out. Severely dehydrated, I was rushed to the hospital and quickly given more than three liters of fluids intravenously. As I rested in a hospital recovery room, I realized my collapse on the field symbolized broader frustrations I felt playing college football. I was mentally and physically defeated. In South Dakota I was a dominant football player in high school, but at the Division I level my talent was less conspicuous. In my first three years, I was convinced that obsessively training my body to run faster and be stronger would earn me a starting position. The conditioning drill that afternoon revealed the futility of my approach. I had thrust my energies into becoming a player I could never be. As a result, I lost confidence in my identity. I considered other aspects of my life where my intellect, work ethic, and determination had produced positive results. I chose to study economics and English because processing abstract concepts and ideas in diverse disciplines was intuitively rewarding. Despite the exhaustion of studying late into the night after grueling football practices, I developed an affinity for academia that culminated in two undergraduate research projects in economics. Gathering data, reviewing previous literature, and ultimately offering my own contribution to economic knowledge was exhilarating. Indeed, undergraduate research affirmed my desire to attend law school, where I could more thoroughly satisfy my intellectual curiosity. In English classes, I enjoyed writing critically about literary works while adding my own voice to academic discussions. My efforts generated high marks and praise from professors, but this success made my disappointment with football more pronounced. The challenge of collegiate athletics felt insurmountable. However, I reminded myself that at the Division I level I was able to compete with and against some of the best players in the country.While I might never start a game, the opportunity to discover and test my abilities had initially compelled me to choose a Division I football program. After the hospital visit, my football position coach—sensing my mounting frustrations—offered some advice. Instead of devoting my energies almost exclusively to physical preparation, he said, I should approach college football with the same mental focus I brought to my academic studies. I began to devour scouting reports and to analyze the complex reasoning behind defensive philosophies and schemes. I studied film and discovered ways to anticipate plays from the offense and become a more effective player. Armed with renewed confidence, I finally earned a starting position in the beginning of my fourth year. My team opened the season against Brigham Young University (BYU). I performed well despite the pressures of starting my first game in front of a hostile crowd of 65,000 people. The next day, my head coach announced the grade of every starting player’s efforts in the BYU game at a team meeting: “Mahoney—94 percent.” I had received the highest grade on the team. After three years of A’s in the classroom, I finally earned my first ‘A’ in football. I used mental preparation to maintain my competitive edge for the rest of the season. Through a combination of film study and will power, I led my team and conference in tackles. I became one of the best players in the conference and a leader on a team that reached the semi-finals of the Division I football playoffs. The most rewarding part of the season, though, was what I learned about myself in the process. When I finally stopped struggling to become the player I thought I needed to be, I developed self-awareness and confidence in the person I was. The image of me writhing in pain on the practice field sometimes slips back into my thoughts as I decide where to apply to law school. College football taught me to recognize my weaknesses and look for ways to overcome them. I will enter law school a much stronger person and student because of my experiences on the football field and in the classroom. My decision where to attend law school mirrors my decision where to play college football. I want to study law at the University of Chicago Law School because it provides the best combination of professors, students, and resources in the country. In Division I college football, I succeeded when I took advantage of my opportunities. I hope the University of Chicago will give me an opportunity to succeed again.

Osama Hamdy, '13

EDUCATION: University of California, Berkeley, BA in Legal Studies, AB in Media Studies (2010) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITES: BLSA, Intramural Basketball I was a shy thirteen-year-old who had already lived in six locations and attended five schools. Having recently moved, I was relieved when I finally began to develop a new group of friends. However, the days following September 11, 2001, were marked with change. People began to stare at me. Many conversations came to a nervous stop when I walked by. However, it wasn’t until one of my peers asked if I was a terrorist that it really hit me. Osama, my name is Osama. I went from having a unique name that served as a conversation starter to having the same name as the most wanted man in America. The stares and the comments were just the beginning. Eventually I received a death threat at school. I remember crying alone in my room, afraid to tell my parents in fear that they might not let me go to school anymore. My experience opened my eyes up to racial and religious dynamics in the United States. I started to see how these dynamics drove people’s actions, even if some were not aware of the reasons. The more I looked at my surroundings with a critical eye, the more I realized that my classmates had not threatened me because of hate, but because of fear and ignorance. This realization was extremely empowering. I knew that mirroring their hostility would only reinforce the fear and prejudice they held. Instead, I reached out to my peers with an open mind and respect. My acceptance of others served as a powerful counter example to many negative stereotypes I had to face.With this approach, I was often able to transform fear into acceptance, and acceptance into appreciation. I chose not to hide my heritage or myself, despite the fear of judgment or violence. As a result, I developed a new sense of self-reliance and self-confidence. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the change that I had brought about in my own life. I wanted to empower others as well. My passion for equality and social justice grew because I was determined to use my skills and viewpoint to unite multiple marginalized communities and help foster understanding and appreciation for our differences and similarities alike. The years following September 11th were a true test of character for me. I learned how to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations. This allowed me to become a dynamic and outgoing individual. This newfound confidence fueled a passion to become a leader and help uplift multiple minority communities. During the last two summers I made this passion a reality when I took the opportunity to work with underprivileged minority students. All of the students I worked with came from difficult backgrounds and many didn’t feel as though college was an option for them. I learned these students’ goals and aspirations, as well as their obstacles and hardships. I believed in them, and I constantly told them that they would make it. I worked relentlessly to make sure my actions matched my words of encouragement. I went well above the expectations of my job and took the initiative to plan several additional workshops on topics such as public speaking, time management, and confidence building. My extra efforts helped give these students the tools they needed to succeed. One hundred percent of the twenty-one high school juniors I worked with my first summer are now freshmen at four-year universities. I feel great pride in having helped these students achieve this important goal. I know that they will be able to use these tools to continue to succeed. Inspired by my summer experience, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the position of Diversity Outreach Ambassador for the San Francisco Bar Association Diversity Pipeline Program. In this position, I was responsible for helping organize a campus event that brought educational material and a panel of lawyers to UC Berkeley in order to empower and inform minority students about their opportunities in law school. In this position I was able to unite a diverse group of organizations, including the Black Pre-Law Association, the Latino Pre-Law Society, and the Haas Undergraduate Black Business Association. Working in this position was instrumental in solidifying my desire to attend law school. The lawyers who volunteered their time had a significant impact on me. I learned that they used their legal education to assist causes and organizations they felt passionate about. One of the lawyers told me that she volunteered her legal services to a Latino advocacy association. Another lawyer explained to me how he donated his legal expertise to advise minority youth on how to overcome legal difficulties. Collaborating with these lawyers gave me a better understanding of how my passion for law could interact with my interest in social justice issues. My experiences leading minority groups taught me that I need to stand out to lead others and myself to success. I need to be proud of my culture and myself. My experiences after September 11th have taught me to defeat the difficulties in life instead of allowing them to defeat me. Now, whether I am hit with a racial slur or I encounter any obstacles in life, I no longer retreat, but I confront it fearlessly and directly. I expect law school will help give me the tools to continue to unite and work with a diverse group of people. I hope to continue to empower and lead minority communities as we strive towards legal and social equality.

Eliza Riffe

Eliza Riffe, '13

EDUCATION: University of Chicago, AB in Anthropology, with honors (2006) WORK EXPERIENCE: Sarbanes-Oxley coordinator and financial analyst, ABM Industries Harper Library, situated at the center of the main quadrangle at the University of Chicago, resembles a converted abbey, with its vaulted ceilings and arched windows. The library was completed in 1912, before Enrico Fermi built the world’s first nuclear reactor, before Milton Friedman devised the permanent income hypothesis, and well before Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law. Generations of scholars have pored over Adam Smith and Karl Marx in the main reading room, penned world-class treatises at the long wooden tables, and worn their coats indoors against the drafts in the spacious Gothic hall. Abiding over all of these scholars, and over me when I was among them, is an inscription under the library’s west window that has served as my guiding intellectual principle: “Read not to believe or contradict, but to weigh and consider.” Per this inscription, which is an abridgement of a passage by Sir Francis Bacon, we readers ought to approach knowledge as a means of enhancing our judgment and not as fodder for proclamations or discord. The generations of scholars poring over Marx, for example, should seek to observe his theories of economic determinism in the world, not immediately begin to foment a riot in the drafty reading room at Harper. The reader may contend, though, that too much weighing and considering could lead to inertia, or worse, to a total lack of conviction. The Harper inscription, however, does not tell its readers to believe in nothing, nor does it instruct them never to contradict a false claim. Instead it prescribes a way to read. The inscription warns us to use knowledge not as a rhetorical weapon, but as a tool for making balanced and informed decisions. On the cruelest days in February during my undergraduate years, when I asked myself why I had not chosen to pursue my studies someplace warmer, I would head to Harper, find a seat from which I would have a clear view of the inscription, and say to myself: “That is why.” On such a day in February, seated at a long Harper table with my coat still buttoned all the way up, I discovered how much I appreciated Carl Schmitt’s clarity and argumentation. I marveled at the way his Concept of the Political progressed incrementally, beginning at the most fundamental, linguistic level. As an anthropology student, I wrongfully assumed that, because Schmitt was often positioned in a neo-conservative tradition, I could not acknowledge him. That day in February, I took the Bacon inscription to heart, modeled its discipline, and was able to transcend that academic tribalism. I added the kernel of The Concept of the Political , Schmitt’s “friend-enemy” dichotomy, to an ever-growing array of images and ideas that I had accumulated, among them Marx’s alienation, C. S. Peirce’s indexicality, and Pierre Bourdieu’s graphical depiction of social space. This patchwork of theories and descriptive models, when weighed and considered, informs my understanding of new ideas I encounter. The academic dons who decided to place the Bacon quote under the western window intended that the idea would transcend the scholastic realm of its readers. Indeed, in my work as a financial analyst for a publicly traded company, it is often a professional touchstone. Though each day in the world of corporate finance is punctuated with deadlines and requests for instantaneous information, I am at my best as an analyst when I consider all of the data thoroughly and weigh the competing agendas. Like emulsified oil and vinegar that separate over time when left undisturbed, the right answer will emerge from among all of the wrong answers when I take the time to consider all of the possibilities. An extra hour spent analyzing an income statement can reveal even more trends than could a cursory glance. Moreover, the more I weigh and consider when I have the opportunity, the more I enhance the judgment I will need to make quick decisions and pronouncements when I do not have time.With inner vision sharpened by years of consideration, I am able to “see into the life of things,” as Wordsworth described in writing of “Tintern Abbey.” Wordsworth’s memory of the abbey provided him much-needed transcendence in moments of loneliness or boredom. The memory of the inscription under the west window at Harper—“Read not to believe or contradict, but to weigh and consider”—has a similar function. For Wordsworth, Tintern alleviated emotional anguish; for me, the Bacon inscription reaffirms a sense of intellectual purpose. The words under the window, their meaning, and the very curvature of the letters in the stone are fixed in my mind and will continue to be as I enter the life of the law. What intrigues me most about legal education is the opportunity to engage simultaneously in the two complementary processes the Harper inscription inspires in me—building a foundation of theories and descriptive models while enhancing my judgment with practice and patience.

Evan Rose

Evan Rose, '13

EDUCATION: University of Otago (New Zealand), BA in Philosophy (1999) WORK EXPERIENCE: Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, Eurospecs Limited (NZ) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: LSA 1L Representative, BLSA, Student Admissions Committee As I tumble through the air, time seems to slow. I have fallen hard many times before, but even before I hit the ground I can tell this fall is different. I complete one and a half back flips and slam shoulders-first into the slope. As I lie on the hill, the snow jammed into the hood of my jacket begins to melt, and icy water runs down my back. I do not yet know that the impact has broken my neck. I grew up only a short drive from some of New Zealand’s best ski resorts, but my family could never afford ski vacations. My first opportunity to try snowboarding came on a trip with my university flatmate.With expectations shaped purely by the media, I left for the trip assuming snowboarding was a sport for adrenaline junkies, troublemakers, and delinquents. Much to my surprise, I instead found that it provided me with a sense of peace that defied these preconceptions. Anxiety had been a constant companion throughout much of my childhood. I had not always been this way, but years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of my stepfather had taken their toll. My once carefree demeanor had changed, leaving me fearful, panicky, and timid. On a snowboard these feelings faded into the background for the first time in years, and the difference was profound. I never truly realized the pain I had endured until riding gave me the opportunity to escape it. I sought out every possible opportunity to go riding, and through the sport I pushed the limits of both my physical and mental courage. Snowboarding became a vehicle for regaining the confidence and self-worth that had been taken from me through the injustice of abuse. Even as I began to ride competitively in boardercross racing and halfpipe, launching myself into the air over sixty-foot jumps, the sense of peace I gained during my first day on a snowboard stayed with me. It did, at least, until that April afternoon. As I lay in a hospital bed a few hours after my accident, an overwhelming sense of fear replaced any confidence that snowboarding had instilled in me. I faced the prospect of a lengthy and complicated surgery, with no certainty about the outcome. I knew my shattered vertebrae could easily leave me paralyzed. I was lucky to be alive, but any sense of luck eluded me as pain sent me in and out of consciousness. Two days later, surgeons worked for seven hours to rebuild my neck. I awoke to learn that I had escaped any serious nerve damage. However, I would need to be immobilized by a brace twenty-four hours a day, and for over three months, before I could even contemplate rehabilitation. Those months passed slowly. When I was finally able to start the process of rehabilitation, I made recovery my full-time job. I quickly learned that pain was to become the central reality of that year. The first day I could walk to my mailbox marked a significant achievement. Determined to return to full health, and even hoping to eventually return to riding, I gritted my teeth through the daily therapy sessions. At each subsequent visit, my doctor expressed his surprise at the progress of my recovery. Only twelve months after my injury, he cleared me to make a few careful runs on an easy, groomed slope. While I made it through those first few runs safely, they left me shaking with fear. Since then, I have again found joy in riding, but no amount of determination will allow me to ride the way I had before. I won’t be attempting double back flips again any time soon. Rather than focusing on my own riding, I now direct my energy into coaching. My experiences showed me the transformative power of courage and self-confidence, and taught me to build these qualities in others. At the Aspen Skiing Company, I develop and implement teaching curricula for more than two hundred snowboard instructors. My goal is for my fellow coaches to recognize that snowboarding can offer much more than just a diversion. It has the potential to have a profound and inspiring impact on their students’ lives. In the ample time my recovery allowed for reflection, I found solace in the fact that the abuse in my childhood fostered in me not bitterness, but an enduring dedication to fairness and justice. As a college student, this dedication led me to seek out classes in ethics and morality. As a manager and leader, I strive to display both courage and enduring fairness. My interest in the legal profession stems from my belief that laws represent the concrete expressions of justice and fairness in our society. After discovering the salvation it held for me, I believed that I was reliant on snowboarding. Yet, being forced to face the grueling process of rehabilitation without it allowed me to take the final step to recovery from the trauma of my childhood. I realized I am much stronger and more resilient than I had previously believed. I realized that courage is not something that snowboarding gave me but something that has always been within me. These realizations have prepared me to broaden the scope of my dedication to justice. Secure in the knowledge that the courage and determination I have shown will help shape my future success, I am now ready to take on this new challenge: the study and practice of law.  

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College of Law

Email: [email protected]

Web: College of Law

Physical Address: Menard 101 711 S. Rayburn Drive

Mailing Address: College of Law University of Idaho 875 Perimeter Drive MS 2321 Moscow, ID 83844-2321 Main Office: 208-885-2255 Admissions: 208-885-2300 Legal Clinic: 208-885-6541 Office of the Dean: 208-364-4620

Fax: 208-885-5709

Physical Address: 501 W Front St, Boise, ID 83702

Mailing Address: 501 W Front St, Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-4560

Fax: 208-334-2176

Public Interest Law

As a land grant institution, the University of Idaho College of Law is committed to serving the public and promoting access to justice – and helping our students do the same. The College of Law offers robust curricular offerings to students interested in pursuing diverse careers in public interest law, beyond our formal emphasis areas in Native American Law , Natural Resources & Environmental Law  and Business Law . Our Public Interest Law Program consists of five curricular tracks, which provide guidance to students about our doctrinal and experiential course offerings in their areas of interest and connect them with faculty members who can help them along the way:

Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Track

This track offers opportunities for students interested in antidiscrimination law, individual liberties, immigration law, election law, human rights, and more.

Faculty Mentors: Katie Ball, Benjamin Cover, Jason Dykstra, Geoff Heeren, Ryan Lincoln, Stephen Miller, John Rumel, Rich Seamon

Doctrinal Courses

Constitutional Law I Constitutional Law II First Amendment Evidence Civil Rights Litigation Administrative Law Education Law Election Law Federal Courts Workplace Law Critical Legal Studies Immigration Law & Policy International Human Rights Jurisprudence Remedies

Skills Courses

Lawyering Process: Civil Arbitration Skills: Labor Trial Skills Trial Advocacy

Live-Client Experiences

Immigration Litigation & Appellate Clinic Housing Clinic Semester in Practice Field Placement – Public Service Examples: ACLU of Idaho Jesse Tree Idaho Idaho Legal Aid Services

Pro Bono Opportunities Examples: Citizenship Days (various locations)

Criminal Justice Track

Future public defenders, prosecutors, and criminal justice reformers can take courses and build toward careers in criminal law.

Faculty Mentors : Katie Ball, Aliza Cover, Jessica Gunder, Geoff Heeren, Sam Newton

Criminal Law Criminal Procedure: Investigations Advanced Criminal Procedure: Adjudications Evidence Death Penalty Seminar Advanced Topics in Criminal Law Criminal Sentencing Juvenile Justice White Collar Crime Immigration Law & Policy Jurisprudence Public Defense College (summer)

Lawyering Process: Criminal Trial Skills Trial Advocacy Negotiation and ADR

Immigration Litigation & Appellate Clinic Community Law Clinic Semester in Practice Field Placement – Public Service Examples: Ada County Public Defender Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Boise City Attorney’s Office Canyon County Public Defender’s Office Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Federal Defenders of Idaho Moscow City Attorney’s Office United States Attorney’s Office (Boise, Coeur d’Alene, or Spokane) Gem County Prosecutor’s Office Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office Idaho Public Defense Commission

Economic Justice Track

Students can choose coursework and gain practical experiences related to economic justice, in areas such as community economic development, low-income taxpayer assistance, and access to housing.

Faculty Mentors: Mark Adams, Wendy Couture, Jason Dykstra, John Hinton, Linda Jellum, Jessica McKinlay, Tim Murphy, John Rumel, Nick Smith

Doctrinal  Courses

Contracts I & II Business Associations Property Security  Taxation Business Entities Taxation Bankruptcy Tribal Nation Economics & Law Workplace Law Securities Regulation  Introduction to Intellectual Property Jurisprudence Remedies

Contract Drafting Arbitration Skills: Labor Negotiation and ADR Civil Mediation

Entrepreneurship Law Clinic Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Housing Clinic Semester in Practice Field Placement – Public Service Examples: Jesse Tree Idaho Idaho Legal Aid Services (offices in several cities) Idaho Attorney General’s Office Tax Commission Pro Bono Opportunities Examples: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Family Advocacy Track

Students interested in family justice can learn about and advocate for the rights of children, parents, and survivors of domestic violence.

Faculty Mentors: Aliza Cover, Merritt Dublin, Jessica Long, Neoshia Roemer

Constitutional Law II Family Law Children and the Law Elder Law Domestic Violence and the Law Family Relations in Indian Country Wills, Estates, and Trusts Immigration Law & Policy

  Lawyering Process: Family Negotiation and ADR Family Mediation Trial Skills Trial Advocacy Estate Planning

Family Justice Clinic (Boise) Community Law Clinic (Moscow) Semester in Practice Field Placement – Public Service Examples:  Fourth District Court family law judges Idaho Legal Aid Services Pro Bono Opportunities Examples : Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA)

Government Service Track

This track guides students on courses and career paths related to legislative processes, democratic institutions, and the work of public agencies and national, state, local and tribal governments.

Faculty Mentors : Katie Ball, Benjamin Cover, Dylan Hedden-Nicely, Linda Jellum, Stephen Miller, David Pimentel, Rich Seamon, Karen Wellman, Rachelle West

Constitutional Law I Constitutional Law II First Amendment Introduction to Idaho Legislature Election Law Federal Courts Administrative Law State and Local Government Law Land Use Law & Planning Public International Law Native American Law Jurisprudence

Statutory Interpretation Lawyering Process: Civil Trial Skills Trial Advocacy Judicial Clerkships Seminar

Semester in Practice Field Placement – Public Service Examples: externing for the Governor of Idaho the Idaho Supreme Court The United States Bankruptcy Court District Court for the District of Idaho . Pro Bono Opportunities

Beyond these curricular tracks, our Public Interest Law Program is bolstered through:

  • Our extensive Pro Bono program
  • Our partnership with the John Paul Stevens Foundation to provide summer public interest fellowships to four students
  • The Idaho Heritage Project , which provides scholarship support for students serving summer internships, externships, or pro bono service in rural communities throughout Idaho
  • Networking, mentorship, and advising opportunities through our Career Development Office ,  and Public Service Externship Program
  • Programming and social events that build community at the law school

Current Students

If you are interested in being part of the public interest law community, let us know!

Public Interest Profile

Aaron Agramon participated in the inaugural year of our partnership with the JP Stevens Foundation, working with the Law Offices of the Public Defender in the County of Riverside, Calif.

JP Stevens Foundation

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London Business School Announces New 1-Year MBA

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IMAGES

  1. How To Write A Diversity Statement For Law School

    diversity essay law school

  2. Sample Diversity Statement Law School

    diversity essay law school

  3. 🏆 What is diversity essay. What Is Diversity In Diversity Essay. 2022-10-23

    diversity essay law school

  4. 4 Tips for Writing a Diversity College Essay

    diversity essay law school

  5. FREE 10+ Law School Diversity Statement Samples [ Personal, Mission

    diversity essay law school

  6. Impressive How Will You Contribute To Diversity Sample Essay ~ Thatsnotus

    diversity essay law school

VIDEO

  1. Speech on unity in diversity| essay on unity in diversity#english #shortvideo #speech

  2. Law School Exam Success

  3. UNC freshmen class talks importance of diversity as school year begins

  4. 2018 Dean's Diversity Forum

  5. Essay On Unity in Diversity With Easy Language In English

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Amazing Law School Diversity Statement (Example

    1. Reflect. Take some time to jot down a few transformative moments in your life. Broadly, the reviewers are looking for diversity of thought, geography, faith, experiences, backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, and interests. Examples include: Living in a state that is historically less represented Living with a chronic illness or disability

  2. See 2 Successful Law School Diversity Statements

    April 2, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. Rob Lewine | Getty Images A strong diversity statement conveys how an applicant's background would allow him or her to bring a unique perspective to a law school...

  3. Law School Diversity Statement Examples That Worked!

    Law School Law School Diversity Statement Examples That Worked! Updated: Jan 01, 2024 Law school diversity statements seem simple enough at first glance, but crafting a unique essay that doesn't simply regurgitate elements of your law school personal statement is harder than you may expect.

  4. How to Write a Diversity Statement for Law School + Example

    ‍ If you're wondering how to write a law school diversity statement, this article will provide insight into what you need to do to write a stellar law school diversity statement. ‍ Deciding to write a law school diversity statement is not always the easiest call to make.

  5. A Guide to the Law School Diversity Statement

    The law school diversity statement is an essay that asks you to elaborate on an aspect of your identity, background, or extracurriculars that will bring a unique perspective to your future classroom.

  6. Personal and Diversity Statements Differ for Law School

    Nov. 20, 2023, at 1:20 p.m. Getty Images Diversity statements have grown more diverse themselves, ranging widely from school to school. The diversity statement was already one of the most...

  7. The Law School Applicant's Guide to the Diversity Statement

    New York University Law School, for example, broadly describes diversity as "all aspects of human differences (including, but not limited to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, etc.) that give an application a unique perspective different from the general application pool."

  8. PDF Diversity Statements

    plication, and to remind students that these essays should be narrative in form and should tell a story connecting their personal and professional experi-ences. According to a resource produced by the Univer-sity of Minnesota Law School's Career Center, "[P]ersonal statements for diversity applications

  9. 3 Tips to Make Your Law School Diversity Essay Stand Out

    Grad school essay expert Robert Schwartz shares how to nail the law school diversity statement. It's an essay where applicants can show parts of themselves they struggle with, he says....

  10. What is a Law School Diversity Statement, and Who Should Write One?

    A diversity statement is a type of law school admissions essay that focuses on your unique background, experiences, and perspectives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  11. CC

    Writing a diversity essay is an excellent way to make sure admissions officers have a better understanding of what makes you a great candidate for their law school. Given the importance of writing a diversity essay, follow the tips below in order to make sure your essay provides the most benefit to your application: What "counts" as diversity?

  12. Six Tips for Writing a Successful Diversity Statement for Law School

    When applying to law school, the diversity statement is typically an optional essay that serves as a companion to your required personal statement essay. The diversity statement provides law schools details about you: your personal experiences, your unique voice, and how you will add a diverse perspective to their class.

  13. 6 Successful Law School Diversity Statement Examples

    1) This adversity-focused diversity statement contributed to the applicant's admission at a T20 school with a large scholarship, despite a sub-2.8 GPA. I grew up in Ohio with my parents and two younger brothers.

  14. Should You Write a Diversity Statement for Law School?

    Most law schools' application instructions state that the diversity statement should be submitted as an addendum and/or optional essay. If the school does not specifically ask for a diversity statement, contact the admissions office to see if they will accept one.

  15. Race and Ethnicity in Law School Admissions

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2023 that institutions of higher education can no longer consider an applicant's racial or ethnic status in admissions — even as they may consider an applicant's experiences, perspectives, and interests that may be expressly tied to their individual racial identity.

  16. What is a Diverse Perspective Essay?

    Law schools have done away with the traditional "diversity statement" essay prompts due to the US Supreme Court decision abolishing affirmative action practices in higher education.

  17. How to Write a Statement of Perspective/Diversity

    Writing a statement of perspective and diversity is a lot like writing a personal statement. The stages include 1) brainstorming, 2) outlining (loosely or in detail), 3) drafting, and 4) revising. Broadly speaking, your statement of perspective has two parts: your experience, and the insight you took from it. Below are some more specific tips. 1.

  18. Law School Personal Statement Dos and Don'ts

    You can do this in the personal statement itself or in a separate diversity statement. If you are writing a personal statement and a diversity statement, make sure the two essays address different topics. Consider your audience. Most admissions evaluators are professors, third-year law students, or admissions professionals not long out of law ...

  19. In Their Own Words: Admissions Essays That Worked

    Throughout this issue, countless examples show why we are so proud of the students at the law school. One might think that we get lucky that the students the admissions office chose for their academic accomplishments also turn out to be incredible members of our community, but it's really all by design. Our students show us a great deal more in their applications than just academics—and we ...

  20. Moscow

    College Town. Moscow, Idaho, has a population of approximately 24,000 and offers a safe, family-oriented environment. The University of Idaho campus lies among the scenic Palouse region, defined by its vista of blue skies and rolling hills. Many people who come to visit end up making Moscow their home.

  21. Public Interest Law Program

    Public Interest Law. As a land grant institution, the University of Idaho College of Law is committed to serving the public and promoting access to justice - and helping our students do the same. The College of Law offers robust curricular offerings to students interested in pursuing diverse careers in public interest law, beyond our formal ...

  22. Top 12 MBA Programs in Moscow 2024

    The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) Part-Time: Kingston MBA, Russian-French MBA, MBA (Euromanagement), MBA (Finance) more…. Executive MBA: Joint Executive MBA, Kingston Executive MBA, Executive MBA (Euromanagement) more…. Dual Degree: The School of Financial Director + Finance (PMBA) more….

  23. Moscow, Idaho

    First United Methodist Church (1904), S. Adams at E. 3rd St. Moscow (/ ˈ m ɒ s k oʊ / MOS-koh) is a city and the county seat of Latah County, Idaho.Located in the North Central region of the state along the border with Washington, it had a population of 25,435 at the 2020 census. Moscow is the home of the University of Idaho, the state's land-grant institution and primary research university.