Letters of Recommendation
The most effective letters of recommendation are written by professors or work supervisors who know you well enough to describe your academic, personal, or professional achievements and potential with candor, detail, and objectivity. Letters that compare you to your academic peers are often the most useful.
Most schools do not consider general, unreservedly praiseworthy letters helpful.
In addition to or instead of letters of recommendation, many law schools accept evaluations, where your references rate your attributes in six categories that are essential to successful lawyering:
- intellectual skill
- personal qualities
- integrity and honesty
- task management
- working with others
LSAC LOR and Evaluation Services
Access to LSAC’s Letter of Recommendation (LOR) and Evaluation services is included in Credential Assembly Service (CAS) registration. These services allow you to manage your letters of recommendation and evaluations through your LSAC.org account.
If you use LSAC’s LOR and Evaluation services, your references will only need to submit their letters of recommendation and evaluations once to LSAC—even if you intend to include these letters/evaluations in every one of your law school applications. LSAC will make copies of each reference’s original letter to include in your law school reports.
You get to assign which letters/evaluations you want each law school to receive. If you change your mind early enough in the application process, you can reassign your letters/evaluations through your LSAC.org account.
- In your LSAC.org account, provide the name and contact information for each of your recommenders/evaluators.
- Indicate the number of letters and evaluations that each recommender/evaluator will submit, and describe each letter/evaluation's use (e.g., For All Law Schools).
- You must assign the appropriate letters/evaluations to each law school to which you’re applying (or they will not be sent). You can find information about each school’s requirements by clicking the “LOR/Evaluation Requirements” link beneath the school names on the Letters of Recommendation and Evaluations page of your LSAC.org account.
- Submit your requests for letters by clicking the “Submit Request” buttons in your account. Your recommender will receive an email requesting that he or she complete and upload a letter for you. However, if your recommender prefers, LSAC also accepts paper letters of recommendation.
If your recommender is submitting your letter of recommendation on paper, you must print the required LOR Form from your LSAC.org account and deliver it to your recommender. This form must accompany your letter of recommendation. Paper letters received without an accompanying LOR Form or without the recommender's signature will be returned to the recommender.
If your recommender is sending more than one letter for you, be sure to emphasize the importance of attaching the correct form to the corresponding letter.
Please allow LSAC two weeks from the time of receipt to process your paper letters.
- Submit your requests for evaluations by clicking the “Submit Request” buttons in your account. Your evaluator will receive an email requesting that he or she complete your evaluation online. (Evaluations are completely electronic.)
The status of each of your letters and evaluations will be listed on the homepage of your LSAC.org account.
Yes, LSAC accepts copies of letters from undergraduate school credential services or career planning offices. However, the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Form must still accompany each letter, even if the school’s service uses its own preprinted forms in the collection process.
There must be one LSAC LOR Form for each letter your campus service will be sending to LSAC. This is true even if the credential service issues a “packet” that includes several recommendations. Be certain that your school’s service understands that each LOR Form you give them must be submitted with the packet to LSAC.
When identifying your recommenders in your LSAC.org account, enter the name and contact information for each, individual recommender, NOT the name and contact information of your campus credential service. LSAC will use this contact information to send your recommender a confirmation of receipt.
In the event that a recommender on file in the credential service office is no longer associated with the institution, or has passed away, you should still enter the recommender's name on your LOR Form. However, enter the contact information associated with your credential service office. LSAC will send a confirmation of receipt to the campus credential service.
Describing Your Letters or Evaluations
Descriptions will help you assign the correct letters/evaluations to each school to which you’re applying. If you aren’t sure how to describe your letters/evaluations, these examples might help:
- Program/Specialty-Specific References: If you interned for the EPA, you could ask either a professor or your supervisor to write a letter about that experience. Describe this letter as “Environmental Law Programs” if you only plan to assign it to law schools that offer environmental law specialties.
- School-Specific References: If one of your professors is a law school graduate, you could ask this professor to recommend you to his or her alma mater. The description for this letter could read: “Smith School of Law.” You would assign this letter to Smith School of Law only.
- General References: For letters that aren’t targeted to specific specialties or law schools, the description could read: “General Use.” You could assign this letter to any law school.
Law schools receive both the LOR form and the letter, so write your descriptions carefully.
Letters and evaluations sent to LSAC remain the property of LSAC and will remain active for the life of your file. Letters and evaluations will be neither returned to nor copied for you, the candidate.