How to Ask For Law School Letters of Recommendation

You’ve decided to apply to law school, so you’ll need at least one letter of recommendation. Virtually all ABA-accredited law schools require you to apply through LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS), but ​the use of CAS's Letter of Recommendation Service (LOR) is optional unless a specific law school requires it. Start by reviewing CAS/LOR procedures and the requirements of schools you’re applying to.

01
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Decide Whom You Will Ask.

Multi generation meeting at the coffee bar
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Your recommender should be someone who knows you well in an academic or professional context. This could be a professor, a supervisor at an internship, or an employer. He or she should be able to address traits relevant to success in law school, such as problem-solving ability, initiative, and work ethic, as well as good character.

02
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Make an Appointment.

It is always best to ask your potential recommender for letters of recommendation in person, although if it's physically impossible, a polite phone call or email will work too.

Get in touch with your recommenders well before the deadline for submitting letters of recommendation, preferably at least a month ahead of time.

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Prepare What You'll Say.

Some recommenders know you so well they won't have any questions, but others may be curious as to why you're considering law school, what qualities and experiences you have that would make you a good attorney, and, in some cases, what you've been doing since your recommender last saw you. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your future plans.

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Prepare What You'll Take.

In addition to coming prepared to answer questions, you should also bring a packet of information that will make your recommender's job easier. Your packet of information should contain the following:

  • Resume
  • Transcripts
  • Papers or exams graded or commented on by that professor (if asking a professor)
  • Any work evaluations (if asking an employer)
  • Personal statement
  • Additional sheet of information on why you want to go to law school if not covered in your personal statement
  • Any additional forms required by the law school to which you're applying
  • Stamped, addressed envelope (in case a law school does not require the use of LOR and recommender would prefer to mail the letter rather than uploading it).
05
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Make Sure a Positive Recommendation Is Coming.

You do not want to have any weak letters of recommendation. You have probably chosen potential recommenders who you are certain will give you a glowing boost, but if you have any doubt whatsoever as to the potential quality of the recommendation, ask.

If your potential recommender hedges or hesitates, move on to someone else. You simply cannot take the risk of submitting an unenthusiastic recommendation.

06
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Go Over the Recommendation Process.

Be absolutely clear about the deadline for submitting letters of recommendation as well as the process for doing so, particularly if you are going through LOR. If you’re using this service, it’s especially important to tell your recommender that he or she will receive an email from LOR with instructions for uploading the letter.

If you’re using LOR, you will be able to check whether the letter has been uploaded. If not, ask to be notified when the letter is submitted so you can move on to the final step in the recommendation process: the thank you note.

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Follow up With a Thank You Note.

Remember that your professor or employer is taking time out of a busy schedule to help you reach your goal of law school. Be sure to show your appreciation by promptly sending a short, preferably handwritten note of thanks.