Recommendation letters are a key component to a complete and competitive law school application. To check this off the list of law school application to-do’s, students often request such letters from professors whose classes they took during their undergraduate careers. Unfortunately, many law school applicants do not give these letters the time and attention they deserve. More specifically, they don’t give their recommenders the time and attention they need to actually produce a meaningful and effective letter. I’m not talking about waiting until the last minute before the letters are due and leaving professors inadequate time to write the letter itself. What I mean is that students often fail to invest the requisite amount of time in the relationship with their professors in order to be truly known by their recommenders. Instead, students often solicit recommendations from professors in whose classes they received “good grades.”This tends to result in a lackluster recommendation that does little to bolster the application. The recommendation letter is an opportunity to highlight characteristics and qualities of a student that a transcript or LSAT score cannot address. It can put certain educational experiences within appropriate context evidence your passion for this chosen path through the testimony of another. Only professors who truly know you, more than a line item in a grade book, but as a uniquely driven individual, can offer that level of detail and personal positive assessment. So, get to know your professors now, and stay in touch throughout your undergraduate career. Take advantage of office hours and make sure they know your plans, hopes, and motivations for law school and law practice. Invest in them, so that, when asked, they can easily invest in your future with an impactful recommendation letter.
For a good summary of this and other essential facets of an effective law school recommendation letter, take a look at this article: