Letters of Recommendation
Your LSAT score isn’t the only thing that can help you get into law school. Outstanding letters of recommendation can be a huge role in the admissions process. Please visit the LSAC section for evaluations/recommendations for additional information.
Asking for recommendation letters can often be an intimidating process. You must choose who to ask, gather information such as your resume and academic transcripts to assist that person in writing a good evaluation or letter of recommendation, and actually ask him or her to write exactly that, a good recommendation letter.
You are applying to law school, so you must take an active role in this process. Be responsible, apply yourself, and take advantage of this opportunity to really get to know faculty in your department and network.
Keep these suggestions in mind when looking for excellent recommendations:
- Pick the Right People
You would probably be surprised by the number of applicants who choose their references by title or prestige. Think about this; having a mildly encouraging letter from someone who barely knows you (or who only knows you based on the information you provide) can actually harm you in the admissions process. Instead, ask someone who you have worked with regularly. Professors (or supervising employers if you’ve been out of school for a while) will generally write the most authentic letters. A good idea is to enroll in a couple of courses taught by the same professor and/or visit with that professor during office hours. The professor can get to know you beyond you being a number in his/her class.
- Ask for a Great Recommendation
Think about this; if you ask for a recommendation, you are going to get a recommendation. You need to ask for a great recommendation. The faculty member who writes about you will be more likely to put some thought into the task and contribute relevant information about you in the letter.
- Give Your Writers Plenty of Time
If you ask for a letter of recommendation close to a deadline, you not only risk missing that deadline, but you could also compromise the quality of your letter because your recommender will be pressed for time. You should give your writers at least four weeks notice and inform them of upcoming deadlines.
- Provide Information that Will Help Them Write About You
A faculty member who has your resume will be able to write a more persuasive letter for you. When someone accepts your request to write a recommendation, think about having some or all of the following information available:
- A cover letter that lists deadlines, requirements, and relevant instructions
- Forms that must accompany the recommendation
- A copy of your résumé and/or a description of your experience with the faculty member/employer to refresh his or her memory
- Copies of your transcripts
- A statement addressing why you want to pursue a legal education and outlining your career goals
- You can include pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for each letter, including an extra for yourself (if the person is willing to let you review the letter sent). However, some recommenders will want to send your letter on their own letter head and college addressed envelope, so be sure to check with that person first to see what they would prefer.
- Your contact information should your recommender have questions
Don’t forget that as the applying law student, there is information the LSAC will need from you to complete your recommendation file. Visit the Law School Admissions Council’s Website if you have any questions.
An evaluation rates both cognitive and noncognitive attributes and skills that have been identified as important to successful lawyering, using a scale that represents degrees of a particular characteristic. An evaluation provides law school admission professionals information about your abilities above and beyond what is currently provided via test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. The evaluation uses a rating scale that represents degrees of a particular characteristic. Evaluators can also include free-form text comments after each category as well as in the final comments section of the evaluation.
Evaluations are completely electronic.