The Pennsylvania State University mark

How many letters or recommendation do I need?

Schools vary on the number of letters of recommendation they require, so make sure to check each school’s requirements in LSAC.  Typically, two-four letters are required, meaning schools most commonly require two letters but will accept up to four.

Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

College professors and instructors are the best recommenders for law school. Law schools are most interested in academic letters of recommendation and some will specifically indicate that the letters of recommendation must be academic. Even if the schools don’t specify, academic letters are preferred. If you have been out of undergraduate work for under fewer than five years, law schools may still require academic letters. If you are certain you want to apply to law school after a gap year or two, you may want to request letters before you graduate from Penn State. Letters from employers or internship supervisors can include valuable information for law schools but they do not take the place of academic letters unless you have been out of school and in the workforce for a significant number of years. If you have two academic letters, consider an employer or internship supervisor for a third or fourth letter. 

DO NOT ask a relative, family member or politician for a letter of recommendation unless you have been employed or interned with the individual. Law schools place little to no value on these types of character references regardless of the notoriety of the recommender.

How do I ask for a letter of recommendation?

Set up an appointment to meet or talk with your recommender, if possible. Talk to the recommender about why you want to attend law school. Let the recommender know why you selected him/her to write a letter.  It is perfectly fine to say, “I thought you would be a good recommender because you know my writing skills best.” Provide the recommender with a copy of your resume, transcripts, draft personal statement, and any other information that may be helpful. You cannot control what recommenders write, but you can control how much information they have when they write your letter of recommendation. If you get the sense that the person is hesitant to write the letter, find someone else to write one for you.

How do recommenders submit their letters to my schools?

You need to go into your LSAC/CAS account and input your recommenders' contact information. LSAC/CAS will automatically generate a Letter of Recommendation form that you can print and provide to the recommender or email to them through LSAC. If you choose to email it, make sure that the recommender knows to expect it so it isn't mistaken for junk mail. The form provides the instructions for recommenders to submit the letters. They must either mail them directly to LSAC or upload them via the LSAC website; they cannot give them to you for submission.

LSAC recommendation info appears at Letters of Recommendation.

Katherine E. Garren, J.D.
Pre-Law Adviser
Division of Undergraduate Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
101 Grange Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email: keg146@psu.edu

Phone: 814-865-7576
Fax: 814-863-8913
Hours: 8am - 5pm (Mon-Fri, Eastern Time)

Make an Appointment

Join our Listserv