Securing Law School Letters of Recommendation

An important element of the law school application is the letter of recommendation. This is the only chance for someone else to speak on your behalf within the application, and law schools place weight on what your professors and employers say about you. Because all letters of recommendation are relatively good, it's important to have letters that are outstanding.

You should develop relationships with your faculty so that you will get a good letter of recommendation. Cultivate this relationship by participating in class discussions, going to office hours, participating in individual study, etc… Develop a professional relationship with your professors. Make sure they know you want to go to law school.

You will be confronted with an option of whether or not you will waive your right to see your letters of recommendation. Always waive this right. Schools often discount non-confidential letters of recommendation. You don’t want the admissions committee to question why you were not confident enough in your recommender to allow them to write a confidential letter. It isn’t unusual for you to end up seeing a copy of the letter even if you waive your right. Often professors want you to see the end product.

The 6 Purposes of a Letter of Recommendation

It is helpful, when considering letters of recommendation, to understand why law schools want these letters:

1. The letters provide law schools with an objective analysis of student’s academic abilities such as writing, analysis, research, and class participation.

2. The letters give some insight into what type of student the applicant will be, and an opinion on the student’s work product.

3. Letters often give clues about the validity of a student’s claims of excellence, success and character.

4. The letters demonstrate whether the student can accurately evaluate others and their perceptions of him.

5. The letters give the school an indication of how the student compares to other students that the recommendation author has taught.

6. The letters supplement or highlight unique skills or characteristics that the student can bring to the school.

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