There's probably one group of people that hates dealing
with letters of recommendation even more than applicants, and that is the
professors who are asked to write them. As an applicant, you only have to worry about rounding up
one set of letters for yourself. College professors however are forced to deal with
dozens, if not scores of letter recommendation requests at any one time.
And whereas you stand to gain a huge leg up from a
strategically crafted letter to a targeted law school the only reward your helpful
professor is likely to receive are additional letters of reference requests. Here are some steps you can take to make the process easier
on yourself and your selfless advocate, and increase your chances of receiving
strong recommendations that are submitted on time.
Give your recommender plenty of advance time to write your
letter. Try not to ask for a letter of reference any later than six
weeks prior to your application deadline. This of course requires that you also
have your applications near its final state as you will want your letter of
reference to tie together the elements you've included.
Tell your recommender, in writing, what schools and
programs you're applying to, and why. No matter how many times you may talk about specific
elements you wish have included in your letter, verbal requests can still be
forgotten. If you want your letter to address some specific point about your
academic performance, make a note of it in writing.
Remind your recommender what classes you took with them and
when. Give them a copy of important work you’ve completed and remind them of your performance in their class. You must
remember that while you have just one professor to remember from the class, your
professor has to remember anywhere from a dozen to several hundred students.
Even if your professor says he or she remembers you, it doesn't hurt to help
them by providing specifics of your background, interests and class
Ask your recommender if they want a copy of your resume or
transcripts as well. If so, provide them. Try to ask for letters to all the programs you are applying
to at the same time and provide your professor with a written list that includes
the contact information and deadline for each program, formatting it in an
easy-to-scan 'checklist' format.
Fill out as much of the letter of recommendation cover
sheets as you can before giving them to your recommender. Don't make more work for something doing you a favor. Type
in your name and other identifying information on your own. If your professors
are required to mail letters directly to the schools, provide them with
pre-addressed, stamped envelopes and make sure you list the professor's return
address and not your own. Finally, follow up with sincere thank-you note
Do you have questions about your letters
of reference? Call us at 1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885
outside the US and Canada) and we'll be glad to help you
however we can!