The LSAC is now offering a new evaluation service to supplement the traditional letter of recommendation process. This service aims to standardize and streamline the evaluation process. In 2011, the service was mandatory for only one law school. If one of your application schools “recommends” an evaluation (about 25% in 2011), consider it to be required. It is expected that more schools will make this service mandatory as time goes on.
The recommender gets an email from LSAC that takes them to an online form to fill out. The survey includes both background and evaluation questions. Each category of questions has a comment field that allows writers up to 750 characters. At the end of the evaluation there is an additional comment box for up to 3,000 characters.
The evaluation section gives the recommender the same answer choices for each topic evaluated:
• Below Average (bottom 50%)
• Average (top 50%)
• Good (top 25%)
• Very Good (top 10%)
• Excellent (top 5%)
• Truly Exceptional (top 1-2%)
• Inadequate Opportunity to Judge
The evaluation asks the recommender to evaluate the candidate on the following skills:
• Is a critical thinker and problem solver
• Is an analytical thinker
• Can synthesize information
• Is intellectually curious
• Constructs logical, cogent arguments
• Is highly motivated
• Shows empathy/compassion
• Has surmounted difficulties and obstacles
• Possesses practical judgment
• Shows initiative
• Demonstrates professionalism
Integrity and Honesty:
• Behaves in accord with high ethical standards
• Is reliable
• Is trustworthy
• Is honest
• Communicates effectively in writing
• Writes persuasively
• Communicates well orally
• Is a thoughtful attentive listener
• Asks appropriate questions for information gathering
• Prioritizes well
• Has realistic objectives
• Fulfills commitments
• Manages work and time efficiently
Working with Others:
• Respects others points of view
• Works well with people from different backgrounds
• Motivates others toward a common goal
• Is able to lead groups of people from different backgrounds
• Organizes and manages others well
• Demonstrates good judgment in leadership decisions
You should request an evaluation by following the same procedure as you would for a letter of recommendation, with the following exceptions:
• Ask the recommender to review the list above and ask them if they can provide you with a strong recommendation.
• Be sure to ask if they have enough information/experience to provide a ranking for each question.
• Tell the recommender that you are going to provide them with a packet of information (same as a LOR), and request that the recommender contact you for more information if they don’t have what they need to rate you “very good” or above.
• Explain that the comment section is important, and any concrete examples of you demonstrating the evaluated skills will help your chances of admission.