Admissions Question: December 29
December 29, 2013
Q: Who should I get my letters of recommendation from?
A: The best letters of recommendation come from people who know you best and are in a position to evaluate your skills and abilities which will be put to use in law school. These skills include writing, critical thinking, analytical skills, problem solving, the ability to conduct thorough research, etc.
Admissions committees, often made up of professors, are admitting students and thus, letters from other professors attesting to what a great student you are will be the ideal people to write your recommendations. This is especially true if you are currently a student or a recent graduate. You should also consider how strong of a letter someone would write for you. If you received a low grade in a class, or clashed with the professor, that person may not be the best one to write a letter on your behalf. Other academic sources that are acceptable can come from graduate teaching assistants, academic advisors, and student activity advisors with whom you have developed a good relationship and who can speak of your strengths.
If you have been out of school for a while and have a job that has been challenging and afforded you a good level of responsibility, then employers are also a good source for a letter. Again, you will want to make sure that they will write a positive, if not glowing, letter about you. Additional options for sources include internship supervisors and volunteer coordinators – again with the caveat that they know you well and can evaluate your abilities that would be applicable to law school.
Letters from politicians, well-known people in the community, lawyers, or law school alumni are not the best sources if you are asking them to write the letter just because you believe their title or connection to the law school will be impressive. If these people have taught you or supervised you, know you well, and have been in a position to evaluate your skills & abilities, then they can be good people to ask. Otherwise, please do not submit these letters with your application.
When asking someone to write a letter on your behalf, make sure to approach them by asking if they can write a great letter about you. Allow them to say no if they do not feel they are the best source for you, or if they don’t have the time to write the letter. You do not want to pressure them if they really aren’t going to be able to be an excellent advocate for you.