Finished attaining your university or college degree in law and you’re looking forward to the next stage of your Academic Career, which is applying for law school. First of all I’d like to say congratulations Because it’s not really an easy ride but you made it through.
Law schools are very important for your career as an intending lawyer and a lot of them are very prestigious and require a lot to get in.
I think one of the most important requirements of a law school Application is the “Recommendation Letter” .
Your Recommendation Letter plays a huge role in whether or not you’d get into the law school or not, so it’s very important that you pay attention to every detail in this article if you really want to construct a unique law school recommendation letter.
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What Is A Law School Reference Letter
We keep hearing about “law school Reference Letter” all the time, but the easiest way to understand it is this way; imagine yourself being the owner of a very important firm and interns keeps applying, but over the years you’ve built your firm to become one of the most valuable and highly recommended, trust you wouldn’t want to allow anybody with an application letter to just come in, you’d need something more like an endorsement to make you feel sure about your decision.
So that’s how a law reference letter also works, it is an essential document, used to boost your application for law school.
This Reference Letter or recommendation Letter is a letter written by someone of high Academic rank or prestige for you in order to highlight all your Academic strengths and endorse you worthy enough to get admitted into the law school.
How Important Is Law School Reference
So apparently, letters of recommendation are required for almost every law school application and is known to be a very important part of the application process. While your GPA and LSAT grades are also premium factors that determine your admission, your letters of recommendation could be the deciding factor in the admission process, so it is very important.
Note: A letter of recommendation should first give confirmation of the student’s academic success and potential, and second provide testimony of any other skills, ambitions, values or achievements that are indicative of a successful law student and lawyer.
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Who To Ask To Write You A Reference Letter
Most law schools prefer references from people with high Academic potential and professionalism, so letters from faculty members, HOD’s, Professors are highly valued.
Most times I suggest that the people you allow to write a reference letter are those who know you well, your Academic performance and are willing to provide an unbiased evaluation of your ability to perform and succeed at law school. So it’s very beneficial to establish meaningful relationships with your professors, lecturers etc
Take every opportunity to get to know and talk with your professors: go to office hours, ask questions in class, seek advice about your career, do independent research or study with a professor whose recommendation you may want.
Note: the best letter writers are usually;
- Someone who knows you well
- Someone who has academically evaluated you in an upper-division class such as a professor or graduate instructor etc
- Someone who has supervised you in a meaningful job or internship
Note: letters from family friends, political figures, judges, are usually discouraged and may, in fact, be detrimental.
Provide Your Letter Writers With Information Like:
- A cover note that includes Information on how to get in touch with you in case they need to reach you
- What you would like to be highlighted more in the letter
- A list of schools to which you are applying, their due dates, with the earliest due date at the top.
- Any other information that you think is relevant and needed
- Recommendation forms – make it easy for letter writers to complete forms in a timely manner. Complete the following: Applicant information completed Recommender’s name, title, contact info (telephone, fax, address, etc.)
- Your unofficial transcript (note courses you took with them); or Academic history or summary.
- A draft of your personal statement
- A copy of your best work in the course lab evaluations, projects, publications, etc.
- Your resume
How Many Letters Are Required
Different institutions with different Application procedures, so the institution will let you know how many letters it requires, but most times Reference Letters do not exceed three.
If you have more letters than required, you can consider submitting an extra one if it is strong and provides new information about you not mentioned in other letters. On the other hand, you may want to save the letter in case you are waiting listed. The additional letter could lend further support to your candidacy.
How To Decline A Request To Write A Law School Reference Letter
It is very important that you have an honest conversation with the person who is asking for the recommendation and If you don’t feel positive toward the student, or you don’t really remember his/her work well enough to write a persuasive letter, please decline the request and as directly as possible.
This is admittedly a hard conversation to have, for you and for the student, but you are not doing the student any good by sparing his or her feelings. Be straightforward, come clean and state clearly the reasons why you feel you cannot offer an enthusiastic recommendation.
Oftentimes,students tend to choose a potential recommender based more on title, Academic professionalism and perceived prestige rather than on how well the recommender knows them.
This is a very bad idea, and one that the Pre-Law Advising Office strongly counsels against. If you are one of those prestigious title-holders, you should feel free to assure the student that your recommendation is going to be far less persuasive than one from a professor or instructor who knows the student and his/her work more closely.
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