Law School Admissions: Picking Letter Writers

Posted by Jimmy B. on 11/15/19 11:00 AM

applying to law schoolYour recommendations are crucial because they are the only component of your application that is contributed by a second-party. When choosing recommenders, consider the following:

Does this person really know my work?

It is important to have recommenders who can evaluate you as a student, who can speak to your academic prowess. Unless you have been out of school for many years, make sure you have at least one, and ideally two, professors. Law school is largely a prestige game – try and solicit letters from the highest impact people, who still know you. You can submit an optional third professional reference if you have one.

Can this recommender express him or herself effectively?

You want to be sure that the person writing your recommendation can advocate for you. A recommendation that is riddled with typos, or that lacks a cogent message won’t make a compelling case for you.

What context does this person know me in?

What we want to vary is content, not writing quality. Did you write a long seminar paper for one professor, and do research for another? Has someone known you for ten years and can really give testimony about your character, or what you’ve gone through? Did you get an A+ in a particular class? Try to round out the topics, and then remind your letter writer of the full context in which they know you.

Give your recommenders a firm deadline and share the date on which you would like to submit your application. Sometimes, they may even be willing to tailor the letter to each individual law school (this is especially true if you have law professors writing you letters, who often have faculty connections at various schools). Hold yourself to high standards of professionalism when requesting letters. This will make you look more serious and can lead to a better letter. It also will ensure your letter writer is happy to write new letters in the future. Do not request a letter of recommendation without attaching a personal statement draft and a resume. Don’t be afraid to check in and remind them. Furthermore, the thing you want to vary in letters of recommendation is subjects, not writing quality. Talk to your letter writers about speaking to different topics – for instance, personal character, writing skill, leadership capacity, etc.

 Read some ofJimmy's previous posts on law school admissions here and here!

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Read more  posts regarding law school admissions below!

Law School Admissions: Drafting the personal statement

Law School Admissions: Deciding whether to retake the LSAT

Law School Admissions: Deciding on the diversity statement

 

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