How to Craft a Compelling Statement of Interest

About the Author:

C. Matt Alva is a Summer 2009 JIOP alum and clerked for Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois. He is currently an associate at Matushek, Nilles & Sinars in Chicago, Illinois.

Published: December 18, 2013

Your statement of interest is an important opportunity to impress in more ways than you might imagine. Notably, the statement of interest allows you to frame your application in a nonacademic manner. You should strive to present a holistic view of who you are, why you are interested in the program, and why you would be a successful judicial intern.

With that said, be sure to keep your statement of interest professional. While you want to let the reader see beyond your résumé, your writing should not make anyone uncomfortable or confused. Achieving this delicate balance is critical because your ability to effectively tell your story in an appropriate, thoughtful, and compelling manner will help you succeed in your career going forward.

On a practical level, the statement of interest also offers an effective way to evaluate your writing skills. Be sure that your statement of interest is well-organized, free of errors, and compelling. Many people have trouble with the “compelling” part of the equation. One tip to overcome this obstacle is to consider weaving in parts of your law school personal statements. Why reinvent the wheel? If you have crafted a personal statement before, check to see if it is relevant and consider incorporating aspects of the essay into your JIOP statement of interest. Another tip would be to ask practicing attorneys about the qualities they consider to be important in young lawyers. Once you get some feedback, focus on those attributes and see how you exemplify those traits. Most importantly, do not overlook the importance of your statement of interest. Embrace this opportunity to tell your story and why participating in the JIOP will help you grow as an attorney.

Copyright © 2013, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).