Letters of Recommendation: Another Part of Your Law School Application That’s In Your Hands!

Putting the finishing touches on your law school application? Just starting to think about what you will need when you do apply? You’ll want to make sure you give some thought to those letters of recommendation that the admissions committee will look at. In our show, “Law School Personal Statements and Letters of Recommendation,” we hear from deans at top law schools about how admissions committees evaluate recommendation letters and we get some tips from experts who have successfully guided applicants through the admissions process about the best way to secure stellar letters from your recommenders. We hear that applicants who fail to take advantage of the opportunity to use the recommendation letter to their advantage are missing out.

In this segment, Law School Podcaster Host, Diana Jordan, speaks with UC Berkeley-Boalt Hall Dean of Admissions, Edward Tom and he tells us what the admissions committee wants to see in these letters. “I think all law schools have a 1st choice and that would be people who have taught you at the university level, whether it’s a TA (Teaching Assistant), a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) or a professor. Those are the very best letters, because we are looking for a 3d party’s candid assessment of your potential to study law. The 2d best sorts of letters will come from colleagues at work, internship supervisors or your supervisor in a job, especially if they can, in their letter, talk about any kind of legal-related, writing-related or research- related experience.”

Vanderbilt University Law School Dean of Admissions, Todd Morton, says there is one thing in particular to keep in mind. “The key to recommendations are not necessarily what’s in them, but that they are from people who know the candidate well, because letters from people who barely know the applicant are usually not very helpful in assessing the kind of attributes [the admissions committee is evaluating].”

Adam Hoff, Director of Admissions, Consulting and Research at Veritas Prep, says that “the biggest mistake people make is that they go for title over the relationship.”

Unsure how you should approach a recommender to make sure you get the letter you really want? Author and Senior Editor at Accepted.comPaul Bodinegives us a roadmap for the best way to ask a recommender to write a strong, detailed letter. Accepted.com Founder and President, Linda Abraham then details how applicant’s can prepare their recommender so they can write a strong and enthusiastic letter.

Emory University Pre-Law Advisor Rodia Vance helps applicants with the timeline and talks about when to give your recommenders the letters to write, so that they have the time they need.

Stay tuned for the full show!