Recommendations

Similar to the personal statement, a letter of recommendation is one of the best ways that a law school can gain an understanding of who you are as an individual. Recommendations are also helpful in providing law schools with an understanding of what kind of student you are in the classroom. Most law schools require 2-3 letters of recommendation and/or evaluation forms and CAS will process up to three.

As you start to think about who might write your letters of recommendation or complete the evaluation form, it is important to ask yourself the following questions: 

How well does my recommender know me?

Your recommender should be someone with whom you’ve had contact inside and outside of the classroom. In most cases, your recommenders should be professors, but for those who are taking gap year(s), you could include a recommendation from an employer or supervisor if needed.

The best way to form relationships with your professors is to:

  • Participate in class.
  • Produce quality work.
  • Take an active interest in the subject that the professor teaches.
  • Take time to ask questions after class.
  • Visit the professor during office hours.
  • Participate in extra-curricular programs that the professor is involved in (if possible).

Of course, you want to be sincere in your efforts and genuinely interested in the course and subject. It's best to take initiative early and start building relationships with professors during your freshman year. Remember: professors have chosen their profession because they want to have meaningful contact with students and help them achieve their goals, so they will appreciate you pro-actively taking the first step to establish a relationship. A professor will not be able to write a good recommendation if they don't know you.

What can my recommender say about my abilities and characteristics, which are important for success in law school and the profession?

As mentioned above, it's best to have your professors write your letters of recommendation, since law schools are most interested in what kind of student you will be. Professors are the most qualified to talk directly about your writing skills, ability to analyze an issue, and the quality of your work. When considering who to ask, focus on professors with whom you've taken more than one class and who can comment on your reading and writing abilities, analysis and research skills, and critical thinking skills. These are the characteristics most valued in law school. If you've had a meaningful work experience or internship, you can also ask a supervisor to write a recommendation, but make sure you educate them as to what law schools look for in a recommendation.

What information do I need to give to my recommender?

  • An unofficial transcript
  • Papers or exams that you did in the professor's class
  • A copy of your resume
  • A draft of your personal statement
  • Reference Letter Request form

 

 

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