Letters of Recommendation

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Law schools generally require two or three letters of recommendation. If you need three letters for a particular school, there is no problem with sending all three to a school that requires only two. You will be testing the patience of admissions officers if you send more than three.

Letters should come from people who know you well. Since you are applying to be a student, at least one letter should come from a professor. Though the academic or legal reputation of the letter writer can help, it is far more important that the writer know you well. The law school will be accepting you, not your letter writer, and your letters need to be about your particular strengths.

Professors are generally happy to write letters for students, but keep in mind that you are asking for their help. Be polite and respectful of their time. Request the letter well in advance of any deadline. Once your proposed letter-writers agree to write, enter their names and e-mail addresses to list them as recommenders in your LSAC account. That will generate an email to each writer with an online link. Your recommender composes their letter and then uploads it directly to tle LSAC, through the online link. You should be able to explain to your professors everything they have to do; they should not be left to figure it out for themselves.

Always waive your access to letters of recommendation. It does not matter that the writer might be happy to let you see it. What matters is the audience of law achool admissions officers, who expect confidentiality. Letters of recommendation for which the candidate has not waived access will not be received as credible.

Talk to your letter writers in person, and remind them of the classes you had with them. If you still have written work from those classes, bring it with you. Explain your reasons for wanting to go to law school, and any special areas of the law you hope to study or to pursue. All of this will help your professor write a detailed letter, and the detail is what makes a letter strong. The law school will already know from your transcript that you received a high grade from a particular professor in a particular class. What the school wants to know are the specific things that make you a strong student, and a good candidate for law school. 

If a letter is not submitted after a reasonable number of weeks, politely follow up with the writer to remind him or her of what you have asked. Once the letters are submitted, thank the writers for their time and effort on your behalf. Professors and other letter writers generally enjoy knowing that you have been accepted and where you will be going; it shows them that their work has helped you succeed. 

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