Friday, July 18, 2008

Law School Letters of Recommendation

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!


  1. 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. 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!