Thanks for following up. Somashekar mentioned a website which was not new to my friend. The guidance that your school provided was vague as they already state it, its the applicants chance to tell more about themselves to the admissions committee.
To be honest my friend was struggling as there is no one way defined in the books. But if there are more folks out there who can help and advise we can certainly use some help.
Here's the deal:
Nothing has changed in 45 years. Back then, the admissions committee wanted to know why I
wanted to study law. Was there a defining moment in my life? Did I have a role model? Was I greedy for the big bucks of corporate law? Was I some head-in-the-clouds idealist out to save the world?
My own answer was that I was obsessed with getting things right without having to go back and redo them. I was an advocate of FMEA
(Failure Modes & Effects Analysis) long before I ever heard the term. I was a scientist, working on my PhD, and I thought a good legal education from one of the most prestigious universities was a good adjunct to being a successful scientist doing important research. Even then, I had no intention of practicing law, just being very knowledgeable about it.
I told the truth and it struck a responsive chord in the committee.
the rest of the story:
I left "pure science" for the business world and, strangely enough, the "scientific method" and legal research were key to my subsequent success in the investment banking business. I learned a lot about reading people and their motives and desires by doing the same kind of intensive research I had learned gaining science and law degrees. I'm not a "shoot-from-the-hip" kind of guy. I have a detailed explanation for my decisions and actions. If it seems like I make a decision without due consideration, it is usually because it closely parallels a past event and the progression seems clear and inevitable, so I skip to the end. It's kind of like the game of chess - good players can see several moves ahead and make rational decisions based on the character of an opponent's play up to that point. Occasionally, a chess master gets surprised, but not very often. Even then, he has back-up strategies to assure a win.