The information that helped me the most writing my personal statement is that it’s a 2-way street. You need to talk about yourself and maybe a specific event that made you develop an interest in law. However, schools want to attain a good “yield” which is the amount of offers accepted vs the amount of offers given. As part of the process, the admissions committee will read the statement and ask themselves, “how likely are they to accept an offer from us?”. This is not necessarily advice so you know what to write about, but it helped me because it made me stress less about writing a perfectly crafted letter that I hope they will like and made me focus on how I can fit in and bring value.
Schools do tend to have those kinds of reputations, though their reputation isn't necessarily what they're looking to see reflected in application materials. For instance, U of T has a reputation for being "corporate" but the school itself likes the idea that it is a pathway for people who want to further access to justice and lots of people emphasize their interest in the schools' legal clinic opportunities and reputable International Human Rights Program in their personal statements.
It really depends on the story you're trying to tell about yourself. In my view, "tailoring" your personal statement just means connecting your past experiences together in a narrative, expressing your plan for the future, and making the school look like the next logical step in your path. There are probably a lot of other ways to think about the personal statement, but this was how I thought about mine when I wrote it (admittedly over three years ago).
If you're looking to target your personal statements to the law schools you're applying to, I would suggest thinking about concrete and practical things that each school has to offer, and how those things relate to your reasons for wanting to be a lawyer. For instance, if you know that one school has a legal clinic which does bird law and you're interested in bird law, then you'd want to point out that clinic as part of why you're applying to the school/ why the school fits into the overall narrative you're trying to put forward in your personal statement. You can do the same sort of thing with profs (i.e., if school A has Canada's top 3 scholars in bird law, you can emphasize your interest in bird law and whatever bird law-specific courses School A offers in that area).
You can get information about this from schools' websites and by asking current students about what they think of their schools' programs in your areas of interest.
Hope this helps! To clarify, all the above are considerations on top of whatever requirement the school sets out for the personal statements' contents and structure. Also, if you're from out of province or from the other side of the province, you should give some location-related indication of why you want to go to a particular school. If you have one.
They just mean that they’ve tailored their statements to the specific strengths, concentrations, and/or missions of the school. Some people will also discuss how they’d want to practice in the market where the school is located. Schools like uOttawa also have particular components that they look for when reading personal statements. This info is available on their Common Law website. Here’s the link:
Best of luck to you!