How should I submit my letters of recommendation?
You should use the LSAC’s Letter of Recommendation (LOR) service, which is included in Credential Assembly Service (CAS) registration. The LOR service lets your recommender write only one letter that you can send to as many schools as you want. It also lets you know when the LSAC has received the recommendation, eliminating a major source of potential anxiety.
When you request a letter through the LOR service, you can describe it—e.g., “For all law schools,” “For Harvard Law School,” “For part-time law programs.” Law schools will be able to read this description, so make sure that (1) the description is clear to you (you don’t want to send a targeted Harvard letter to Yale) and (2) the description contains no typos.
Once the LSAC has received your letters, you will be able to see them on your CAS page, but law schools won’t. You must then assign each letter to the appropriate law school.
Do I need targeted recommendations for each school?
Absolutely not. Admissions committees won’t think less of a recommendation that’s intended for all law schools. Targeted letters are actually fairly uncommon, and you should only request one if you have a very good reason to do so. For example, your recommender might be willing to target her letter to Georgetown if she is an alumnus.
If you do receive a targeted letter, you should also ask the recommender for a general version that you can send to other law schools. You’ll have to request the general version separately.
How can my recommenders submit their letters to the LOR service?
If your recommender prefers to upload her letter, you can use the LOR service to send her a request via email.
If your recommender prefers to use snail mail, you can print out an LSAC-provided form and send it to her, along with a stamped and addressed envelope. The recommender will have to send her letter and the filled-out form to the LSAC:
Law School Admission Council
PO Box 8508
If you request two letters from the same recommender, she will have to fill out two forms—one for each letter.
How do I send letters of recommendation to law schools?
LSAC warehouses your letters of recommendation, but it does not automatically send all of your letters to every school. When you apply to a school, you get to choose which letters to send. Thus you can ask for more letters of recommendation than you may need and choose which ones to send later, when you actually apply.
How many recommendations do I need?
As always, follow each school’s instructions. Just as you shouldn’t send non-required essays unless you have a good reason to do so, you shouldn’t send more than the required number of recommendations unless you have a good reason to do so. More does not always equal better. Two stellar letters plus one mediocre letter is less effective than two stellar letters on their own.
That said, you generally won't go wrong with two academic letters. If you've been in the workforce for a few years, you generally won't go wrong with a professional letter as well.
How long does it take for the recommendation letters to become available?
The LSAC says it may take two weeks to process a snail-mail letter; if your recommender uploads her letter, it should be available almost immediately. Your application to a given law school won’t be complete until it receives your recommendations.
Should I waive my right to access the recommendation?
In a word, yes. Some admissions officers and recommenders don’t care whether or not you waive this right. Then again, some do.
But what exactly are you waiving? Under federal law, you have the right to read anything in your applicant file at the law school you end up attending. Really, though, are you going to walk into the admissions office and demand to see your file? Probably not.
Even if you waive your right to access the file, your recommender is allowed to show you her letter.
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