recommendation are an important part of the application process. They allow admissions
officers to gain a different perspective on the applicant’s academic strength
and personal qualities. Your recommenders should know you well enough to
present a truly informed assessment of your abilities and be enthusiastically
supportive of your application. Professors are often the best choices for
these letters because they are familiar with your academic performance,
leadership, communication skills and character. Employers and
other supervisors may be good recommenders too.
Most law schools typically require two recommendations and/or evaluations, however they will specify how many recommendations or evaluations they require. You can further research
the requirements of individual schools on the LSAC website.
Be sure to
request letters from your desired recommenders early enough to allow them to
write a good evaluation. The sooner you ask them, the
better. Direct office visits, emails or a phone call are all appropriate ways to
approach your professors. Applicants
should communicate all deadlines to recommenders and provide them with any
supporting materials they need to complete recommendations. Help your
recommenders write effective letters by providing them with supporting
information, such as your proposal or a cover letter explaining your reason for
attending law graduate/professional school, outside work and activities (your
resume), transcript, and possible career plans.
According to the
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, you will have to make a choice
as to whether or not to waive your right of access to recommendations written
for you. While you are not required to, it is advised that you waive your
right of access to your letters of recommendation and evaluation, as law
schools are likely to give more credibility to confidential letters.
As of August 15, 2010, LSAC has
instituted a new Evaluation Service for law school applicants. This is a new
way for law schools to learn about the skills and attributes applicants possess.
Evaluators are invited by applicants via email to electronically provide
ratings and comments on six non-cognitive skill and attribute categories; law
schools specify how many evaluations and/or letters of recommendation will be
required or accepted. Once you actually apply to a school that requires or
accepts evaluations, an email will be automatically generated to your
evaluator, which will include the electronic evaluation form. Be sure to
read the LSAC instructions carefully.