Law School Letters of Recommendation

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I tell my clients that the first thing they should be thinking about right now is letters of recommendation. It takes time to consider the right person, ask them, supply them with the appropriate information and materials, and then you have to wait until that (very busy) person gets around to writing your law school LOR, and then you have to wait even longer for LSDAS to process it.

So, in the spirit of helping with this process, here are 3 of my previous posts that will help you through choosing someone to write your letter of recommendation:
1. A common problem for non-traditional law school applicants is finding the right person to write a letter of rec when you’ve been out of school for more than a few years and you also don’t want your current boss to know you’re thinking about leaving for law school. Here’s a post with LOR tips for non-traditional law school applicants.
2. A lot of undergrads (especially those at large public universities) really don’t have close relationships with their professors. Here’s some advice about what to do when you get a lukewarm reception from a professor whom you’ve asked to write you an LOR.
3. This week alone I’ve had 3 clients tell me they were considering asking family friends to write LORs. I don’t care if the person is your dad’s best friend and the mayor, or if the person was a dean at a nearby college, the answer remains the same. It’s just not what law schools are looking for in evaluating your potential as a law student and a lawyer. Here is a post about the Family Friend Letter of Rec.

I hope this is helpful. Have a fantastic weekend!

10 thoughts on “Law School Letters of Recommendation

  1. Catherine on said:

    I have been out of school for 6 years. I am really struggling with who to have do my second letter of recommendation. The first one is being written by a former supervisor of mine who is now still a colleague. For my second one I have tried to get in touch with professors, but most of them that knew me well have left the school to retire or don’t teach there anymore. I have tried to think of who else to write me one. Someone I know that applied to law school a couple years ago said they had a friend write them one. I do have a friend that knows me in a professional manner also, but I would consider our relationship to be friendship first. I know that this person could write a letter that spoke of my skills as a writer, presenter, and thinker. Is it ok that on the relationship line of the LSDAS form the relationship will be friend or is that looked down upon? Another candidate that I was considering is an attorney that I have known through a mutual friend for 4 years. He hasn’t ever worked with me, but he knows my career progression throughout that time and we have talked extensively about my interest in law. He has offered to write a letter if I need one. I’m just curious to learn your perspective on either of these recommenders I am considering.

  2. Ann K. Levine, Esq. on said:

    Hi Catherine,
    Neither option is great, and I spend a lot of time with my clients who are nontraditional students to figure out where a good letter could come from. Just today I helped someone come up with an idea for a letter they’d never even considered! But with the two choices you’re giving me, I pick the friend who also knows you in a work context. After all, the other one would only say “I’m an attorney and I know her.” Big deal, you know?
    Good luck!
    Ann

  3. Ann, I know this an older post but I have a question. Before I read your book I had made a list of important people who know me (but not well) who would look impressive. I have since realized (thanks to you) that Senator or Esquire doesn’t really mean much if they don’t know my habits. I DO have several attorney clients who have offered to write LOR for me and I will use them as targeted letters. My question centers on the academic one. One of previous professors retired several years ago and I immediately made him an offer to work for me, which he accepted with pleasure. He had to officially retire two years ago for health reasons but lists my company on facebook as his best job ever. He has written other LORs for me before for study abroad opportunities. Would he be a good academic one?

  4. Hi Ann,

    I am seriously stressed about my LORs.

    I’m applying to top 10 law schools and have my fingers crossed for top 5. I’m a competitive candidate, but not out of this world; (GPA 3.7 from excellent school, LSAT 171, and a personal statement/unique background that I’m hoping will sway selection committees), but I can’t afford to make any errors.

    I’ve only kept in touch with one professor (I’ve been out of university for 5 years). I know she’ll write a sterling LOR, and so will three supervisors from different areas of my professional experience, but I’m worried if I shouldn’t have more academic LORs. My question is this: is it better to have a great LOR from a supervisor who knows you well or a from a professor who doesn’t?

    Thanks for your advice!

    Emily

  5. Courtney on said:

    Hi Ann – I tried to post this on a different but related blog post but I don’t think it worked. If it did, apologies for the repetition…

    Thanks a bunch for your blog and books! A quick question on the resume: I have a strong academic record but I’ve been out of school for 8 years. During the first half of that time, I worked a bunch of random jobs, several in food service, one in inventory, and two in housekeeping – nothing that built a career. For the past 4 years, I’ve managed my own businesses, an eco-friendly cleaning business and a fledgling massage therapy business.

    Clearly, I’ll discuss these two businesses in detail. But is it necessary to list each of the service-oriented, menial jobs? Can I instead consolidate them into a couple of categories – food service and odd jobs (or some other heading)? Is this going to look like I’m trying to avoid discussing them or like a practical, space-saving, anti-redundancy technique? Also, any tips on what I should say about them?

    Thanks a bunch!

  6. Courtney on said:

    Hi Ann – I tried to post this on a different but related blog post and I don’t think it worked. If it did, apologies for the repetition…

    Thanks a bunch for your blog and books! A quick question on the resume: I have a strong academic record but I’ve been out of school for 8 years. During the first half of that time, I worked a bunch of random jobs, several in food service, one in inventory, and two in housekeeping – nothing that built a career. For the past 4 years, I’ve managed my own businesses, an eco-friendly cleaning business and a fledgling massage therapy business.

    Clearly, I’ll discuss these two businesses in detail. But is it necessary to list each of the service-oriented, menial jobs? Can I instead consolidate them into a couple of categories – food service and odd jobs (or some other heading)? Is this going to look like I’m trying to avoid discussing them or like a practical, space-saving, anti-redundancy technique? Also, any tips on what I should say about them?

    Thanks a bunch!

  7. Hi there,

    I’ve been a political activist for a number of years and beat a Federal Indictment dealing with the 1st Amendment (not something that occurs everyday). The case was dismissed.
    I was wondering if getting my lawyer to write a letter of recommendation for me would be a good idea? I’ve known her for roughly 5 years and she knows me very well. My personal statement will be that I’m motivated to practice law in order to defend the individuals’ Constitutional rights.

  8. Ann,
    I will be finishing my bachelors degree in spring 2015 so I plan on applying to law school this fall. My problem is I am in my 40’s so I have many years of work experience in the computer industry and have been a real estate broker for about 7, with my own small firm. Do you think it would be a good idea to get a letter of rec from a professor and someone I’ve worked for/with? Or should I just get it from 2 professors? I already have a glowing incredible rec from someone I worked for and then was his broker and from a professor. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
    Emma

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