Tips for Recommenders

To the Recommender:*

Letters of recommendation can contain some very important information for admissions committees and can greatly affect an applicant's chances for acceptance. The law school admissions process is very competitive. Please write as specific a letter as possible, bearing in mind that the law school admissions committee primarily wants to know how well the student reads, writes, and thinks; if the student is capable of adapting to the discipline of law school; and if the student will reflect credit on their law school.

Be specific about the student's course work. Was the course a demanding one: how well did the student perform both oral and written assignments? Did the student do anything in particular to stand out in your mind; e.g., did the student write a term paper or essay which you considered superior? If so, indicate the topic and why it was superior work. Note the student's potential for intellectual development.

Indicate how long and in what capacity you have known the student. If you are familiar with the student's non-academic achievements (e.g., extracurricular activities), please note these. Also note other background characteristics which may be useful in separating the student from other applicants (e.g., work experience). Is the student bilingual? Is the student the first in their family to graduate from college?

*Polinard, Jerry (2001). Pre-Law Letter of Recommendation Guidelines. From a workshop chaired by Gerald L. Wilson at the NAPLA/SAPLA Joint Conference, June 13-16, Williamsburg, VA.