Law & Legal Studies

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation for Law School (Part 2)

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation for Law School (Part 2)
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Alison Monahan August 1, 2012

What are you looking for in a recommender for your law school application? They need to know and like you. If you've cultivated relationships with your professors, there are a few who know you well and would be obvious candidates to help with your letters.

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In part one, we talked about how to select your recommenders for law school applications. Now let’s delve into what you need to do to get the best recommendations you can.

Spell Out Exactly What They Need to Do

Once you’ve nailed down your recommenders, it’s your responsibility to ensure they know exactly what they need to do, and in what timeframe.

You have to register for the LSAC reporting service before any letters can be submitted on your behalf, so do this as early as possible to avoid inconveniencing your recommenders.

If possible, get the contact information for each recommender’s assistant, so you can follow up and make sure everything is submitted in a timely manner.

Provide a Copy of Your Application

Your letters of recommendation will be most convincing if they echo the themes of your application.

How can you accomplish this? The easiest thing to do is to give each recommender a copy of your application essay, so it’s clear why you’re applying to law school.

It’s also helpful to have a conversation about your goals and plans, of course, but leave something in writing that your recommender can consult after you’re gone.

Start Early and Expect Delays

It’s inevitable that many of your recommenders will procrastinate. Be prepared for this eventuality by asking well in advance and setting your personal deadlines well before the application deadlines.

Keep in mind that it will take at least two weeks to process your letters after they’re submitted to LSAC, so you don’t want to leave this task until the last minute! Ask early, be clear about deadlines, and follow up routinely to make sure everything is on course.

Find the right law school for you with Noodle’s recommendation engine! Have more application questions? Check out Applying to Law School 101.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle. He has been managing editor of the website for over four years.

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