Law School Letter of Recommendation Part 2:
Choosing Who To Ask For Your Letter of Recommendation For Law School
As we covered in the previous article “Law School Letter of Recommendation Part 1: What Your Letter of Recommendation Should Demonstrate to Law School Admissions”, the general purpose of your letter of recommendation is to provide law school admissions with information about yourself that comes from a reliable source and can verify information about you that is included in your law school application.
Now it’s time for the important decision, “Who will write your letter of recommendation?”
Ideally, this person will have been a professor of yours and can accredit you as a prime candidate for your law school of choice.
Hopefully, you’re in a position where you a have a certain amount of selection for who will write your letter of recommendation. (Most of us here started building relationships for our letter of recommendation our freshmen year of undergrad.)
For those currently in high school, undergrad, or otherwise have an extended period of time to begin building relationships for a letter of recommendation, now’s the time to start. Don’t wait. Choose a professor who is known for being more open with students and writes great letters of recommendations (yes, some professors are more suited than others for writing your letter of recommendation). For example, a professor who is very open with students is more likely to write a well thought out letter of recommendation.
Take several courses with this professor, and create an intellectual relationship (just make sure not to be over bearing). If this professor offers any form of internship or special courses outside of the general classroom, take them. A good example is a professor who offers a select summer course traveling in another country.
For those who have already done this, or are now choosing who to ask to write your letter of recommendation, here is how you choose who to ask for your letter of recommendation:
How to Choose Who To Ask for Your Letter of Recommendation For Law School
Choose someone who knows you
It may sound great having a Pulitzer Prize winner write your essay, but if all they write about you is that you performed well academically and were in class on time, it doesn’t give you much credit. All that says is you were a student who had a Pulitzer Prize winning professor.
Choose people who actually know you and can illustrate a fuller picture of who you are as both a student and a person. Law school admissions are much more impressed by what YOU have done, rather than the person who writes your recommendation has done. Also keep in mind, as noted by one professor from Brandeis University, it is not always about having the best grades as it is about participating and being involved.
What’s most important is the person writing your letter of recommendation writes about your personal abilities and can articulate why you’ll make such a great addition to the school and as alumni. Characteristics such as self-discipline, great energy, leadership skills, concern for others, and integrity are just a few examples.
Choose someone who has strong writing and communication skills
It’s no secret some people are better at writing letter of recommendations than others. While a professor may be brilliant and great as a professor, it does not mean they can necessarily write an effective letter of recommendation. While they may know their subject well, it does not mean they are skilled in fully expressing themselves.
Keep an open ear in class and it can be fairly easy to find out which professors write a great letter of recommendation. Also pay attention to things like emails they send, and written comments they make. Are they well thought out and articulate? Or more like chicken scratch?
When choosing two or more people, make sure they are not too similar
Many law schools accept more than 1 letter of recommendation, and usually request 2. Generally speaking, the top ranked law schools all request 2 letters of recommendation. It’s best to have professors from different backgrounds to write each recommendation.
If you choose two professors who taught legal studies, the recommendations may sound very similar. It also doesn’t help showing you have a certain amount of depth. Choose two professors from different fields that can show law school admissions you are a multidimensional person.
Letter of Recommendation Part 2:
Choosing Who to Ask for Your Letter of Recommendation For Law School Conclusion
The most important thing when choosing who to ask for your letter of recommendation is to choose someone who KNOWS you and will make you sound great to law school admissions. Choose wisely.
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