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What Should I Do about Reference Letters?

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

You will be asked to submit two or three reference letters with your law school application (you can submit more, if you want). Start thinking about who you will ask early on. You will want to give these references at least one month and ideally at least 6 weeks to complete your letter. They will send the letter straight to LSAC; you will never get to read it.

Make sure that you ask someone who will write you a strong letter. It will be helpful to have professors as references, but be sure to only have letters written by those who know you well. You should not seek letters from professors who do not know you well, even if you received an A in the class.

You may also ask someone who is not a professor but this person should know you well, such as an employer. They should also, of course, have reason to be impressed by you and your performance.

You should start to decide who you would like to have write you a letter and get to know the person better by showing up to office hours, participating in class, etc.

Also, talk to your pre-law adviser about references.

A strong reference letter will probably not matter enough to be the deciding factor of whether or not you get into law school. However, a bad letter might put you in the Decline pile. A strong letter is preferred but the most important thing is that you ask someone who is not going to write something like "he has a history of being late to class." This is from a real letter that an admissions dean received (and told me about).

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