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General letters are those intended for any and all law schools to which you apply, while targeted letters are written specifically for certain law schools or a particular program common to several law schools i. LSDAS allows you to submit up to four general letters of recommendation and an unlimited number of targeted letters.
You can also direct general and targeted letters of recommendation to specific schools so that each school will receive only the letters you want them to read. The LSAC web site has more information on directing your letters of recommendation.
LSDAS has a standard form that you must submit to ensure proper processing of your recommendation letters.
You fill out the form online, print it out, sign it and give it to your recommender. If you choose to use the Letter of Recommendation Service, this form must be submitted with your letter of recommendation in order for LSDAS to process the recommendation.
Once your letter of recommendation has been sent to LSAC with the letter of recommendation form, it typically takes anywhere from a couple of days to a week for your letter of recommendation to appear in your LSDAS account. You will receive an email confirmation when LSAC has successfully processed and uploaded your recommendation to your account.
Many law schools require two recommendations but accept up to four. Law schools strongly prefer letters of recommendation from faculty members at your undergraduate institution because these are usually the people best able to comment on your intellectual and academic qualifications.
If you are currently an undergraduate or are a recent graduate, your first two letters of recommendation should be from instructors. A recommendation from an employer or internship supervisor can be a valuable third or fourth recommendation. For applicants who have been out of school for several years, an academic recommendation may be hard to obtain, but it is best to have at least one.
In this instance, a letter from an employer would be a satisfactory second recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be written on letterhead and signed by your recommender. If they are returned to you before being submitted to the law school or LSAC, the recommender should return the letter to you in an envelope and sign across the seal.
A letter from the professor who taught your elective photography class is less valuable than a letter from your upper-level class in your major. Recommendations from professors who taught you in seminars or small lecture classes are good because those professors were able to observe you in a smaller academic environment.
Ideally, your letters of recommendation should come from professors who taught classes in which you excelled, who know you personally, and who have had ample opportunity to evaluate you.
If you are currently in college, work to cultivate that type of relationship: If you do not plan on applying to law schools right after college, be sure to keep in touch with your professors. Send them updates on what you have been doing since graduation and be sure to drop by and say hello if you ever go back to campus.
The key is to stand out and be memorable in a good way! If you attend a large university and were not able to cultivate a relationship with any of your professors, consider asking a T. Likewise, if you have been out of school for several years, ask an employer who knows you and your work well.
Overall, you want professionals who can write strong, detailed and enthusiastic letters in support of your application to be your recommenders.
The rank or fame of your recommender matters less, and in some cases, can leave a bad impression. Do not submit a cursory letter from a famous judge or senator instead of a substantial letter from a professor.
The best letters of recommendation come from those who know you well, not those who are known well. We will be more impressed by a letter from someone who knows you really well than a letter from a famous person who does not really know you at all. For example, if you worked for the Governor, but he does not know you, a letter from him will not take you very far.
If meeting in person is geographically impossible, an email or phone call will suffice. Be prepared to tell your recommender why you are applying to law school, why you would make a good law student, and why you want them to write the recommendation.
Do not be afraid to ask whether they think they will be able to provide you with a strong recommendation. If your recommender expresses hesitation, move on.Landing a great internship as a college student is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the challenges of life after the university.
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