How To Write a Law School Letter Of Recommendation: Your Ultimate Guide


Applying to law school is a multifaceted task. You have to deal with the LSAC application, collect various documents, and showcase your abilities and character effectively. The law school letter of recommendation is one piece of this puzzle that can cause much stress. This is one part of the application where you don’t have full control, and that uncertainty can make many applicants uneasy.

This article will cover all the details about letters of recommendation for law school, including their significance in your application process and the right people to ask for a law school recommendation letter.

What Is a Law School Letter of Recommendation?

A law school letter of recommendation is a document that speaks to a student’s readiness for law school. Typically written by professors, these letters are around one page long. The intention of the letter of recommendation for law school is to present additional details regarding the applicant’s capabilities and qualities that extend beyond academic performance and test results.

Should I go to law school? If you’re still wondering, talking to someone who can write you a letter of recommendation for law school is a useful first step. Their perspectives can often offer a well-rounded view of your preparedness for the rigors of law education.

A woman writing a letter of recommendation for a law school applicant

How Important Are Letters of Recommendation for Law School?

A Law school letter of recommendation is one of the law school requirements that carries significant weight in the admissions process. Through these letters, law schools aim to understand better your potential for success in the rigorous academic environment of law school. Admissions committees place high value on honesty and detail from the letter writers.

Such letters are most impactful when they offer a comprehensive view of your skills and character. One or two paragraphs filled with general praises are less effective than detailed evaluations. Some law schools have even shifted towards calling this document a “Letter of Evaluation” to emphasize the analytical nature they hope to see in the content.

Aside from a law school personal statement, a recommendation letter for law school also provides a more holistic view of you as a candidate beyond test scores. Choosing recommenders who can provide a comprehensive and authentic account of your capabilities and character is crucial. By doing so, you can significantly strengthen your law school application.

What Makes a Strong Letter of Recommendation for Law School?

According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the most useful reference letters for law school are those that “compare you to your academic peers.” Such letters provide a real gauge of your abilities, unlike general letters filled with unreserved praise, which lack detail and depth.

A good law school letter of recommendation should adhere to the following principles:

  • The law school letter of recommendation should highlight skills crucial for succeeding in law school, such as analytical abilities, research, and writing skills.
  • Recommenders should write about areas in which they have direct experience with you.
  • Specific instances and examples make a letter much more compelling than general statements.
  • It adds value when recommenders compare you to other students they have taught, as long as these comparisons are truthful and genuine.
  • There’s no need for a detailed account of the courses you took; a brief mention is sufficient.
  • Avoid extensive discussion of activities or experiences listed on your resume, especially if the recommender has no firsthand knowledge of them.
  • If you’ve received a notable award, especially one linked to the recommender or their department, it’s useful for them to provide context for this achievement.
  • If you’ve tackled particularly tough courses or programs, it’s more credible for your recommender to note this than for you to mention it separately.

A Law School Resume is another tool to present your best self to admissions committees. Check out our comprehensive guide to find out how to craft a compelling resume that stands out.

How Many Letters of Recommendation Do You Need for Law School?

The number of letters of recommendation required for law school can vary depending on the institution. While some schools request only one letter, others mandate two or three. It’s also possible for schools to allow optional additional letters. Always consult the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) guidelines and the specific websites of the schools you’re applying to for exact requirements. Generally, aim to request between three to six letters of recommendation. It’s a good idea to ask a mix of professors, work supervisors, and mentors. 

If you’re looking for ways to finance your legal education, check out our Law School Scholarships guide. It provides valuable insights on different scholarship types and tips on how to secure them.

Who Should Write Law School Letters of Recommendation?

As a law school newbie, selecting the right individuals to write your recommendation letters for law school is crucial. The effectiveness of these letters depends on the depth and quality of your relationship with the recommender.

Who To Choose?

  • Academic professors, especially those who have taught you in doctrinal or rigorous courses, and even better if they’ve instructed you in multiple courses.
  • Someone who has directly supervised your research or worked with you one-on-one on a significant paper or project can also provide a compelling recommendation.
  • A recommender who knows you well and can speak in detail about your abilities is better than a well-known individual who cannot.
  • Even if you’ve been out of school for some time, reconnect with professors who can still speak to your academic abilities.
  • If you choose professional recommenders, ensure they focus on your academic capabilities, as demonstrated in your work.

Who To Avoid?

  • Family Members, Friends, and Peers
  • Avoid big-name recommenders unless they can provide detailed insight into your abilities. Their name alone won’t carry much weight.
  • Someone appears hesitant to write you a letter of recommendation, even though they are significant.

How to Ask for a Law School Recommendation Letter

Ready to apply to law school but unsure how to secure those all-important recommendation letters? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to ask for a law school letter of recommendation from your potential recommenders. 

1. Choose Your Writers 

First, think about who could write a strong recommendation for you. These people should know you well and be able to speak about your skills and qualities. You might even choose some writers to focus their letters on specific schools.

2. Ask at the Right Time

Make sure to give your chosen writers plenty of time to craft their letters. A good rule of thumb is to ask them at least two months before your deadlines. Fall of your senior year is often a good time.

3. Meet in Person When Possible

Email is okay, but a face-to-face meeting can be more impactful. Use this time to gauge their enthusiasm for writing your letter. If they don’t seem keen, it might be better to ask someone else.

4. Provide Supporting Information

Even people who know you well might not remember every detail about your achievements. Help them out by giving them all the info they’ll need to write a detailed letter. This can include a list of schools you’re applying to, your transcript, and your law school resume.

You can assemble a set of documents for each person who will be evaluating you. This should include:

  • Your contact details
  • A list of the target schools you’re applying to
  • Forms for recommendations
  • An unofficial copy of your academic records
  • A draft version of your personal statement for law school, if available
  • An overview of significant projects or publications you’ve been involved in
  • Your CV or resume

5. Express your Gratitude

When requesting a letter of recommendation, it’s essential to thank your recommender both in writing and in person if possible. Your recommenders are not obligated to provide an evaluation, so demonstrating your genuine appreciation can go a long way in fostering positive relationships.

6. Submit Formal Requests on LSAC

If you’re using the LSAC’s Letter of Recommendation Service, you’ll need to enter your writers’ contact details. They’ll then get an email with all the necessary information to submit their letters.

Each school might have different requirements for recommendation letters, so always check their guidelines. Also, if you want to know how to boost your law school application even more, check out our guide on Law School GPA.

Law School Recommendation Letter Example

To provide a clear idea of what a strong law school letter of recommendation should entail, here’s a sample letter of recommendation for law school from a professor:

Dr. Kath Smith
XYZ University
123 Main Street, Building 4
New York, NY, 10001
[email protected]

Dear Harvard Law School Admissions Committee,

I am writing to recommend [Student’s Name] for admission into your esteemed law school program. I have had the pleasure of being [Student’s Name]’s professor for two rigorous courses during their undergraduate studies at XYZ University.

In the classroom, [Student’s Name] consistently displayed a high level of intellectual curiosity and analytical skills. He frequently participated in class discussions, providing thoughtful insights that enhanced the learning experience for others. His written assignments, particularly a noteworthy research paper on constitutional law that I graded 90%, demonstrated a strong ability to research and argue complex legal issues with clarity.

Outside the classroom, [Student’s Name] was an active member of the Legal Society, where they contributed to organizing several workshops and panels that brought legal experts to our campus. This showcased his organizational skills and commitment to fostering a learning community focused on legal studies. 

[Student’s Name] also showed a deep sense of ethics and responsibility. He volunteered at the Local Legal Aid Clinic, dedicating his time to helping those who cannot afford legal services. This experience shows his commitment to social justice, an attribute that I believe would make them a valuable addition to your program.

Based on my academic and personal interactions with [Student’s Name], I am confident that he possesses the intellectual capabilities and passion that would make him an excellent law student and a valuable member of your academic community.


Kath Smith
Professor of Political Science, XYZ University

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A compelling law school letter of recommendation can significantly impact your application by providing admissions committees with a deeper understanding of your character and abilities. If you’re also looking to strengthen other aspects of your application, such as your LSAT score, our LSAT Free Consultation can offer tailored guidance. Both strong recommendation letters and a solid LSAT score are crucial elements in making your law school application stand out.

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