LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (LORs AND EVALUATIONS)
What’s the difference between a LOR and an Evaluation?
• A LOR is a traditional letter of recommendation, in which the recommender writes in narrative form about his or her knowledge of your work habits, academic performance, character, etc. An Evaluation is a standardized form that asks the evaluator to rank the applicant in certain categories. Click here to see a sample Evaluation form.
Which one should I submit (or should I submit both)?
• Most law schools continue to require the traditional LOR as part of their application process. Very few schools require Evaluations, although some schools will accept them. Your best bet is to submit at least two traditional LORs for inclusion in your LSAC file and to not worry about submitting Evaluations unless a particular school to which you’re applying requires them. The LSAC.org site has a convenient listing of the schools that require LORs and/or evaluations (virtually every ABA-accredited U.S. law school). Click here to see the list.
Whom should I ask to write LORs for me?
• At least one of your recommenders should be a professor who knows you well and can speak not only to your academic achievements but also to your personal qualities. You want the professor to be able to say more than “Ms. Jones is a good student who earned a high grade in my class.” It is perfectly fine for both of your recommendations to come from professors; in fact, that’s often the case for students going straight to law school from undergrad. Some schools accept up to three LORs, and if you have someone who can give you a professional reference (a former employer, perhaps), that can be a nice addition to your academic references.
How many LORs should I submit?
• Two LORs is the norm, and at some schools, both must be academic references. However, law schools vary as to how many LORs they require (and some schools may limit the number of LORs they will accept), so you should check the individual website of each school to which you’re applying to make sure you are complying with its LOR policy.
When should I contact potential recommenders?
• By August of your senior year (assuming you are applying for law school admission the following fall), you should speak with the persons you would like to recommend you (preferably in person) to make sure they are willing and able to do so. This timeframe allows the recommenders plenty of time to complete the LORs before the October law school application period gets underway. It is helpful to give your recommenders a current resume and a draft of your personal statement (if you have one ready) to assist them in writing the LOR. (Be sure to send each of your recommenders a personal note of thanks after he or she has completed the recommendation.)
How do I submit the LORs?
• You will submit your LORs through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Once you are registered for the CAS, you will list the names and e-mail addresses of each of your recommenders. LSAC will then send each recommender a form to complete, and then the recommender will upload the completed form and the recommendation directly to the CAS. LSAC makes a notation in your file when each recommendation is received. (You can also download the form yourself and give it to your recommender.) LSAC then sends the LORs as part of your file to each law school you apply to.
How do I contact LSAC if there is a problem with my LORs?
• You can contact a Candidate Service Representative at 215-968-1001 (press 0 to speak to a representative) Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 7:00 pm (ET) between September and February; and Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:45 pm (ET) between March and August. According to LSAC, the busiest call day is Monday; the site suggests that you avoid delays by calling later in the week. Be sure you have your LSAC account number available when you call.