Is the rule of law a good book to mention in a Law personal statement?

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mma_jd
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The rule of law by Tom Bingham. Planning on including how I read this book and my thoughts about it in my personal statement, but would it help towards making my statement more competitive?
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Mikos
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Yeah definitely! It’s a good introductory legal read. Admissions tutors will much prefer to see relevant reading (including that book) than random extracurriculars unrelated to your subject.
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mma_jd
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(Original post by Mikos)
Yeah definitely! It’s a good introductory legal read. Admissions tutors will much prefer to see relevant reading (including that book) than random extracurriculars unrelated to your subject.
Great, thanks for the answer. As much as I’m interested in Law, this is the only book about Law I have read so I didn’t have anything to compare it to so wasn’t sure, but I’m glad admissions tutors will appreciate it
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Trinculo
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(Original post by mma_jd)
The rule of law by Tom Bingham. Planning on including how I read this book and my thoughts about it in my personal statement, but would it help towards making my statement more competitive?
I personally wouldn't because you can bet that there will be 100 other candidates who have also done it. If you want to try and impress someone with your law reading, I think you have to be a bit more directed and have a cool rationale for why you're reading these books.

To me, nothing is more boring than "From an early age, I have been fascinated by the law......and I read Tom Bingham's Rule of Law, and it confirmed that I wanted to be a lawyer". It might be true, but it's jejune and trite. Have a theme, not a crush. Say you've read Atiyah's Accidents because you are really into the concept of blame and what a great and human concept blame is. Say you read both Holy Blood,Holy Grail and The DaVinci Code - not because you like crap adventure fiction - but because you think that intellectual property is the most exciting and interesting area of law. Say you've started to listen to apparently plagiarised songs in a different way and la-de-dah.

But no, I wouldn't just say "I've read Rule of Law and the Justice Game" because everyone has read the Rule of Law and The Justice Game and you'll look grey and undistinguished - and that's not the point of a PS.
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mma_jd
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(Original post by Trinculo)
I personally wouldn't because you can bet that there will be 100 other candidates who have also done it. If you want to try and impress someone with your law reading, I think you have to be a bit more directed and have a cool rationale for why you're reading these books.

To me, nothing is more boring than "From an early age, I have been fascinated by the law......and I read Tom Bingham's Rule of Law, and it confirmed that I wanted to be a lawyer". It might be true, but it's jejune and trite. Have a theme, not a crush. Say you've read Atiyah's Accidents because you are really into the concept of blame and what a great and human concept blame is. Say you read both Holy Blood,Holy Grail and The DaVinci Code - not because you like crap adventure fiction - but because you think that intellectual property is the most exciting and interesting area of law. Say you've started to listen to apparently plagiarised songs in a different way and la-de-dah.

But no, I wouldn't just say "I've read Rule of Law and the Justice Game" because everyone has read the Rule of Law and The Justice Game and you'll look grey and undistinguished - and that's not the point of a PS.
Hmm that’s a valid point, thanks for bringing it up. Unfortunately it’s a bit late now I think for me to start reading those books as I want to complete my personal statement within a couple weeks. How about it I talk about how the rule of law introduced me to a more in depth understanding of legal concepts, which prompted me to research into various aspects of law I was particularly fascinated by such as the concept of intellectual property, something like that?
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Trinculo
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(Original post by mma_jd)
Hmm that’s a valid point, thanks for bringing it up. Unfortunately it’s a bit late now I think for me to start reading those books as I want to complete my personal statement within a couple weeks. How about it I talk about how the rule of law introduced me to a more in depth understanding of legal concepts, which prompted me to research into various aspects of law I was particularly fascinated by such as the concept of intellectual property, something like that?
It depends. Is there actually a particular field of law that interests you?
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mma_jd
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(Original post by Trinculo)
It depends. Is there actually a particular field of law that interests you?
Yes several, I’d probably say that criminal law interests me the most
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Trinculo
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(Original post by mma_jd)
Yes several, I’d probably say that criminal law interests me the most
Ok, well I think it's important not to try and represent that you know more than you do, not to come across as a d1ckhead - and your goal here with the PS is to demonstrate that you are a really good student at the subjects you are currently doing - and that you will be a good law student - and oh by the way look at me I stand out a little bit but in a good way.

I would pick a theme that you particularly enjoy within Criminal Law. This could be any of a ton of things. Maybe it's dishonesty. Maybe consent. Maybe harm. Then mention that you have done the recommended reading without name dropping it, and what particularly interested you and you are really looking forward to exploring academically is the concept of (for example) dishonesty. Then do a quick line or so about why that concept is interesting to you and that is why you really wanna read Law at university.

Just the way I would do it. You don't have to. If you read it back and you think it sucks - go with your own idea, because at least you're succeeding or failing on your own terms.
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shoreuss
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(Original post by Trinculo)
Ok, well I think it's important not to try and represent that you know more than you do, not to come across as a d1ckhead - and your goal here with the PS is to demonstrate that you are a really good student at the subjects you are currently doing - and that you will be a good law student - and oh by the way look at me I stand out a little bit but in a good way.

I would pick a theme that you particularly enjoy within Criminal Law. This could be any of a ton of things. Maybe it's dishonesty. Maybe consent. Maybe harm. Then mention that you have done the recommended reading without name dropping it, and what particularly interested you and you are really looking forward to exploring academically is the concept of (for example) dishonesty. Then do a quick line or so about why that concept is interesting to you and that is why you really wanna read Law at university.

Just the way I would do it. You don't have to. If you read it back and you think it sucks - go with your own idea, because at least you're succeeding or failing on your own terms.
I'd like to second this advice and just add a little bit of my own experiences.

"Actions speak louder than words." - There's a reason this saying exists and I feel it very much extends to personal statements. Every law applicant will have read books, reading doesn't make you special. Anyone can read a book, just as anyone can regurgitate knowledge or memorized facts onto a piece of paper. Every tutor I've spoken to has said they are more impressed by what the student has done rather than what they have read. Tutors are also interested in how you think rather than what you know.

To give some context to my ramblings; I've already graduated university (BA English Language & Linguistics) and I am now applying to uni for a 2nd time (BA Jurisprudence). So, this is the second time that I've written a personal statement. I didn't mention reading a book in either of them. Instead, I focused on my experiences: things I have done that were relevant to the subject. Then I talked about how the skills I learnt during those experiences would benefit me not only on the course but also in my future career. You'll also find that in many interviews at universities, they'll be looking for you to demonstrate your ability to think and solve problems rather than show off your knowledge - especially for law.

If you do want to talk about things you've read then I recommend talking about a specific case instead. Demonstrate your ability to read and understand cases in an area of law that is interesting to you. I guarantee that a tutor reading your statement would be far more interested in hearing your thoughts about a judgement on a case as opposed to reading a basic introductory law book. In my latest statement I talked about how specific language and police practices were instrumental in charging Derek Bentley (see R v Craig and Bentley 1952) as an accessory in joint enterprise. I then went on to say how this case influenced later Acts and helped introduce the concept of diminished responsibility in the Homicide Act of 1957.

Some may disagree with this approach but all I can say is that it's worked for me (I currently have 4 uni offers and an interview offer at Oxford). My reasoning is that by referring to specific cases and parliamentary acts, you're demonstrating a deeper understanding of law and showing the reader that not only do you understand the concepts, but you know how to put them into practice. Naturally you'll be limited in your PS by the character count but you could then talk about whatever case you choose in more depth at your interview.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. At the end of the day, it's a personal statement and only you can decide what best represents you. Wish you all the best of luck!

Update: Had my interview with Oxford the other day and they specifically pointed out the case I mentioned and asked me about it. If that's not proof that this works then I don't know what is
Last edited by shoreuss; 1 month ago
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RV3112
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(Original post by mma_jd)
The rule of law by Tom Bingham. Planning on including how I read this book and my thoughts about it in my personal statement, but would it help towards making my statement more competitive?
Not really.

It won't impress anyone that you read the book. It's best to avoid providing a bibliography in a personal statement, unless you have something particularly insightful to say that is relevant to your decision to study law.
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fdrukm2
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(Original post by Trinculo)
It depends. Is there actually a particular field of law that interests you?
dude i just wanna say ur giving amazing advice
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