Are you looking for a law school letter of recommendation sample? If so, look no further! Our samples will provide you with inspiration and clarification on what law schools are expecting to see in these important application requirements. Keep reading for an overview of what letter of recommendation is, why it is important, who should write it, and what should be included in each individual letter of recommendation. In addition to reading this article, make sure to understand other requirements for law school applications, such as the law school personal statement, law school diversity statement,  law school letter of intent, and so on.


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What is a Law School Letter of Recommendation?

A letter of recommendation (LOR) is an imperative portion of your law school application, as it may determine the outcome of your application and provides an opportunity for you to stand out as a quality application. LORs are valuable, as they are written externally and act as an objective evaluation of your suitability for law school.

Your law school letter of recommendation should be brief, but detailed, document that is sent alongside other application documents and transcripts when you apply to your chosen program(s). Even if a LOR is listed as an optional portion of your application, it is highly recommended you include the requested number of LOR’s.

Typically, most law schools in Canada and the United States require two LORs, but this can vary by school. It is crucial that you follow exact instructions and submit the required number of letters—no more, and no less—in order to show that you are able to follow instructions.

It is important to attach well-written, concise LORs with your applications, and equally important that you ask the right people to prepare these letters.

Want to learn more about law school optional essays?

What is the Purpose of a Letter of Recommendation?

As a part of most standard applications, a letter of recommendation is required to attest to the candidate's intent and character, as well as their ability to perform in the field.

This is crucial, even if you have an outstanding GPA, as many schools want to consider an applicant’s passions and personal qualities prior to considering them for their program. 

Although more personal in nature, these letters should be objective, and professional. For law schools, these letters provide an objective and professional view on your suitability to pursue and practice law. Your LORs should outline your education, work experience, volunteer experience, and any other extracurriculars that have prepared you for law school. They should only provide insight that the admissions committee cannot glean from the application itself, such as qualities you’ve developed and skills you’ve acquired as the result of your experiences.

Who Should Write Your Law School Letter of Recommendation?

There are a few key factors to keep in mind when preparing to request a Letter of Recommendation:

Select the right writer

First, it is important to select individuals who can speak to your strengths as an individual and as a student and as a future law professional. 

These can include your professors, your academic supervisor, your teacher’s assistants, or even a workplace manager. You should select individuals who know you well enough to speak to your skills and traits as a professional and make an honest recommendation for you to attend your chosen institution.

You should always avoid asking family members, friends, or an instructor who does not know you well. Essentially, you should not approach an individual in your school, personal or workplace community with no personal connection–or too personal of a connection– to you for a LOR. Submitting a letter of recommendation from such a person could be perceived as biased, or disingenuous altogether.

It is important to keep in mind that many law schools may have specific requirements or expectations as to who can write LORs for their applicants. For example, if you’ve just graduated, academic references may be preferred. If you are a mature student with substantial workplace experience, you may be encouraged to have your employer write your LOR. It is always best to research what your chosen program(s) require and recommend before asking somebody to write your LOR.

Provide your writer with thorough information

Second, you should provide your writer with as much information as possible, even if they know you, and your abilities, very well. 

For many professionals (especially professors and supervisors), writing a LOR is a familiar task. However, it can be a daunting task to write a LOR. Your chosen writer may feel pressured—or unsure—of what information would help you stand out amongst other applicants, especially if they are busy with their own tasks, or any other LORs. 

This is why it’s best to provide your writer with your law school resume, law school personal statement, and any other supporting materials such as an outline of your time and experience in their program/class and anything else you feel can help them write a glowing reference. This will help jog their memory and give them the information they need to write the strongest letter possible.

Give your writer enough time

Finally, be sure to give your chosen writer(s) and recommenders plenty of time to write the letter; rushing them will only result in a subpar letter.

Along with this, you may also want to provide a brief summary of what your ideal LOR looks like, so, keep reading to learn more about formats and samples.

Although it is up to the individual, it is always recommended to ask several weeks in advance and provide them with the necessary materials once they say ‘yes’ to your request. Try to give your writers at least 8 weeks to draft and finalize your LOR. Consider their personal and professional schedules, and ensure you’re being fair and giving them an ample amount of time. Before leaving them to their writing, it wouldn’t hurt to mutually agree on a due date for your letter–always set your due date to be a few days before your application deadline–in case any issues arise.

Provide instructions for how and when to submit the LOR

Some schools have very specific instructions on how to submit the LOR. As the applicant, it is your responsibility to understand how—and when—each LOR should be submitted. You should provide your writer with all required instructions to do so, including the URL to the submission portal, and the deadline.

It is recommended that you follow up with your writer 1-2 weeks prior to the deadline to ensure that they are still up for the task and understand the submission instructions.

What Information Should be Included in a Letter of Recommendation?

As detailed above, a law school letter of recommendation should only be written by someone who knows the applicant well, such as a professor, employer, or another professional mentor. 

Many law schools use application portals, such as OLSAS in Ontario, Canada. This means that your LORs may be viewed by several admissions committees, depending how many programs you apply for. This is why it is crucial that your writers should speak to your suitability for law school and practicing law in general.

For example, your writer can be encouraged to highlight your skills or accomplishments that are related to the study of law, such as communication skills or problem-solving abilities. 

Where applicable, your letter could include a brief example of when one of your highlighted traits or skills were demonstrated. For example, if your writer says that you possess excellent conflict resolution skills, they should provide a brief example of when you exemplified this ability, such as a seminar argument or a class debate.

A few things to consider having your writers include in your LOR:

While there is certainly room for flexibility and personalization in LORs, there is also ample room for error and irrelevant information. However, it’s easy to avoid that. In general, your writer should refrain from heavily detailing your academic accomplishments, such as your grades or GPA, as this will be available on your application and transcript.

They should also keep each section brief, and the body concise, including only relevant examples and details.

Looking for law school personal statement examples? Check this out:

How Should a Letter of Recommendation be Structured?

Not only will you want to ensure your chosen writers understand what a letter should include, but you will also want to understand how it should be structured, and what length each letter should be.

Although it may vary by school, in general, law school LORs are about one page in length.

The following are key elements that should be included in any Letter of Recommendation:

Letter of Recommendation Samples

Here are a few examples of strong Letters of Recommendation:

Law School Letter of Recommendation Sample #1:

Dr. John Smith

XYZ University School of Law

ABC street, NY, 10005

123-456-7890

[email protected]

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am writing to recommend Jane Doe for admission to your law program. I have known Jane for three years, during which time she has been a student in many of my classes, including Introduction to Legal Research and Writing, and more recently, Social Justice and Human Rights. It has been an absolute pleasure instructing Jane, as she is a profoundly assertive, good-natured, and inquisitive young woman.

Last semester, Jane’s test scores were astounding. She always thrived academically, and as I witnessed her confidence and intelligence prosper throughout her academic career, her grades and contribution in class only continued to become more remarkable, as well as her comprehension of social justice issues. Months ago, Jane gave an exceptional presentation that highlighted recent social justice movements and their complex racial implications, and it exceeded my expectations. I have instructed graduate-level courses and found that Jane’s performance far surpassed the expectations I set for those students, let alone an undergrad. In addition to her excellent academic performance, Jane has demonstrated exceptional research and writing skills. Each of her papers, including one about International Human Rights standards, demonstrated her ability to think critically, research thoroughly, and organize her thoughts in a concise manner.

She is an analytical thinker and is able to synthesize complex information quickly; given the unnerving nature of some of our topics of discussion, I continually find myself impressed by Jane’s ability to comprehend information about past and present issues, and view them from the lens of a (future) legal profession. Jane is constantly fine-tuning her skills and enjoys learning; she makes time to listen to classmates and collaborates well. Every group presentation Jane has been a part of was well planned out, and Jane appeared to mediate discussions amongst group members with ease.

For these reasons, I feel Jane would be a valuable addition to your law school community and highly recommend her for admission to your program. She is an outstanding young leader, and an impressive student whom I am elated to have crossed paths with. It is students like Jane who bring promise to tomorrow’s youth and our future generations. She is intelligent, insightful, and fair; that is why I am confident that she will be an incredible law student and lawyer.

Sincerely,

John Smith

Professor of Law

XYZ University School of Law

Law School Letter of Recommendation Sample #2:

Jane Smith

Attorney at Law

XYZ Law Firm, XYZ street, AZ, 85005

345-125-4567

[email protected]

To Whom it may concern,

I am writing to recommend John Doe for admission to your law program. I am a partner at XYZ Law Firm and have had the pleasure of supervising John during his one-year internship at my office. I have been an Attorney at Law for sixteen years, and of all the interns I have had the pleasure of working with, John stands out as being exemplary and I am confident that he will one day be an outstanding lawyer.

John is an intelligent and hardworking individual with a strong interest in the law. He has excellent research and writing skills, and was able to handle complex legal research projects with ease. Early on in his internship, I was blown away by John’s eagerness to learn and assist with projects at the firm. Wherever possible, I had John conduct research and write for me. John is insightful and isn’t afraid to ask all the right questions. He is also disciplined and able to work independently and produce impressive materials. John heavily researched imperative information for a successful defence case of mine, and I feel he has been the most valuable, sharp, and reliable intern I’ve ever worked with. Any mediation statements written by John were error-free and adequate—if not exceptional—which is impressive for an undergrad.

Even when faced with a personal tragedy (resulting in a brief gap in his employment history with us) John preserved and returned eager to learn and work with extreme diligence. John routinely exhibited the ability to deeply focus when deconstructing case studies and offered unique perspectives whenever he felt inclined. I always appreciated his input, and was often floored by his insight. When brought to hearings or client meetings, John listened intently; I know this because he would be able to recite even the smallest details back to me days later, and would always ask deeply profound and useful questions. Sometimes, he thought of things I only wish I had!

Overall, John exceeds the expectations of all members of my firm. He is wildly intelligent, and is innately curious, organized and approachable. He is friendly and understands what to say—and when to say it—in every conversation, and can also work efficiently when left to conduct his own research. I firmly believe that he would be a valuable asset to your law school community and that he will one day be an exceptional Lawyer.

Sincerely,

Jane Smith

Attorney at Law

XYZ Law Firm



Final Thoughts

If you’re applying to law school, it is imperative that you plan to ask at least two people to write you strong and concise letters of recommendation, unless your program specifies another number.

The people you select as your letter-writers should be professional, but personal, contacts in your life that can speak to your academic and professional success and provide an honest recommendation. You should never ask family members or friends, nor should you ask a professor whom you’ve never had any connection with. Instead, look to all of your professors, mentors, instructors, and supervisors and assess who you have built a strong connection with. As long as they are familiar with you, your abilities, and your work ethic, they should be able to write a great letter of recommendation. 

Your LOR should be brief, but detailed enough to provide admissions committees with a bit of insight; they often use LORs as an opportunity to get a better idea of your personal qualities and/or skills that might not be evident simply by reviewing a GPA or LSAT test score. 

You may wish to begin thinking of who your LOR writers could be, and notify these writers well ahead of time. Even if your law school application is not due for several months, it isn’t a bad idea to plan ahead and start considering who you’d like to ask to write your LOR’s. This way, when the day comes to submit your application, you’ll be organized, and your writers won’t have to rush their contribution either. 

Upon reading your LORs, ideally, the admissions committee will feel they know more about you as an applicant, and should feel confident in making their decision!

FAQs

1. Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

You should ask a trusted professor, supervisor, instructor, employer, or teaching assistant for a Letter of Recommendation when you are applying to Law school. Additionally, if you feel Law school is in your near future, you may wish to begin thinking of potential LOR writers well ahead of time so you aren’t overwhelmed when the time comes to think of whom to ask.

2. How many letters of recommendation should I submit?

Most law schools will require two or three letters of recommendation. However, it is always best to check with the specific school you are applying to for their requirements. In some cases, a LOR may not be listed as a requirement, but it is still recommended that you have prepared to ask for at least two LORs; many opt to attach them to applications, even if ‘optional’.

3. When should I ask for letters of recommendation?

It is best to give your recommenders at least eight weeks to write your letter. This is ideal because providing them with adequate notice will ensure they aren’t rushed, and that the quality of your letter will be acceptable…if not exceptional!

Keep in mind that your recommenders are likely very busy, so it is important to give them plenty of time to write a strong letter on your behalf. Oftentimes, if a student plans on applying to law school, even if they are in their Junior year, they will begin compiling a list of potential writers to approach, and may even opt to let them know well in advance.

4. Can I submit more than the required number of letters of recommendation?

It is not recommended to submit more than the required number. However, some schools may give you the option to submit more. Make sure to read the LOR requirements for your chosen schools carefully before you submit.

5. What if I don't have time to ask for letters of recommendation?

In general, it is advised that you submit your application in its entirety in order to be perceived as a strong candidate by the admissions committee. Some programs may completely dismiss your application if any required materials are missing.

However, if you find yourself in a last-minute situation where you don't have enough time to ask for letters, it is better to submit fewer high-quality letters than to rush your chosen writers…or ask the wrong people to write for you.

If your application deadline is approaching and you’re finding you’re rushed or missing components of your application, it is recommended that you consider hiring professional help, or, wait another year to apply when you have all of your required materials prepared.

6. What if I don't have anyone who can write me a strong letter of recommendation?

If you are planning to attend law school or any graduate or professional program, make time to build relationships and make acquaintances with several professors, instructors, teaching assistants, and supervisors throughout your time in post-secondary. 

However, if you feel that you don't have any individuals in your life who can write you a strong letter, you may have to organize a list and select your most recent professors or employers and approach them with the intent of detailing your situation, and asking them politely if they would write your letter. You may also wish to speak to other students (in law or another graduate program) who may have been in a similar situation and discover who they asked.

Keep in mind that it you do not want to submit weak or lukewarm letters, so make sure to only ask those who will give strong recommendations.

7. What if I have a low GPA?

It is possible to get into law school with lower grades, so make sure you learn how to get into law school with a low GPA. However, this is something you want to avoid. Regarding LORs, ff you have a low GPA, it is important to choose writers who can speak to your academic potential and highlight your strengths as a student. A LOR is a great addition to your application because it provides detail on your personal and professional potential, as well as your strengths and traits; whereas your transcript and application will show your GPA and grades, which could overshadow your other qualities if they are low.

Your letters should provide specific examples of times when you have demonstrated excellence in your coursework or research, and may even be enough to show the admissions team your value, despite having a lower GPA!

8. What if I have a gap in my employment or academic history?

If you have a gap in your employment and/or academic history, it is important to choose reliable individuals to be your recommendation writers who can speak to your professional skills and highlight your strengths as an employee and/or student.

It is equally important to remember that you are human, and many admissions committees know this (they are human, too!). Even the best applicants face obstacles and may not have a completely consistent employment or academic history. Whether you took a year off for personal reasons or had another situation occur that prevented you from working or attending class, know that your achievements and strengths may still matter more to admissions than a gap in your timeline, especially if they are detailed in your LOR.

Your letters should provide specific examples of times when you have demonstrated qualities such as responsibility, reliability, and commitment, and do not necessarily have to mention your gap–unless you feel it is necessary to do so. You can also utilize other portions of your application, such as the optional law school addendum, to accurately explain questionable portions of your history, such as gaps or a low GPA.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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