Who You Gonna Call? Letters of Recommendation

We’re (just about) halfway through the Fall 2019 application cycle, and this week we’re talking about letters of recommendation!

After personal statements, this is the part of the application we get the most questions about. The reality is, it’s also the hardest part to advise on. You know the people who know you best, and those should be the people you ask for a recommendations. Professors, supervisors, mentors, academic advisors, the list goes on! But for the sake of consistency, here are answers to a few questions we get for navigating the process.

  1. How many letters of recommendation should I have? That all depends on the school you’re applying to, but most will ask for 2 at the least. Make sure you do your due diligence and research each school’s requirements! Some don’t require any, and some have very. specific. requirements. Don’t be that person who doesn’t do their research because you might miss out on an admission letter!
  2. Who should I ask? Someone who knows your academic background is a must. Law school is, after all, an academic environment; we want to know what you’re like in the classroom. Individuals who know you on a personal level are helpful to hear from as well. We also like to know that you’re not a serial killer. Both sides of the same coin (you’re the coin here…).
  3. When should I ask my recommendors for the letter? As soon as possible! Professors have a lot going on and likely many people asking for letters. The more time you can give them the better. If you can, provide them with a copy of your resume, maybe even your personal statement. This will help them to get caught up on what you’ve been doing and highlight your biggest achievements. The same goes for supervisors. And don’t be afraid to remind them of upcoming deadlines!

Most importantly, you need to really think about who to ask. Just because you did well in a class doesn’t mean that professor knows you well enough to give you a favorable recommendation. Depending on the size of the class, how long ago you took it, and your relationship with them, they may not even remember you. Goodness knows we’ve read some letters that were not favorable, and some that downright declined to recommend them for law school. So do your due diligence and really consider your options.