Letters of recommendation are an important part of the law school application.
Having a letter of recommendation can allow admissions officers learn more about you from another perspective.
“The people writing your letters of recommendation are the only people who get to speak in your application other than you,” Ann Levine, founder and chief law school admission consultant at Law School Expert, writes for National Jurist. “This is the chance for someone to discuss your dedication, seriousness, intellectual curiosity, research and writing skills, communication skills, teamwork and presentation skills, and leadership in a way that you cannot without sounding arrogant.”
At Harvard Law, applicants need to submit two letters of recommendation. In its admission blog, Real Talk, HLS admissions officers discussed strategic ways for applicants to approach the letters.
INCLUDE AN ACADEMIC PERSPECTIVE
HLS suggests that applicants to include an academic perspective among their letters.
“As we read your application, we’re looking for evidence of your ability to succeed in the learning environment here at HLS,” according to the HLS admissions team. “Hearing directly from an instructor who can provide insight into your performance in the classroom helps the Admissions Committee better discern this. While all sitting members of the Committee value this perspective, the HLS faculty members that review your file especially appreciate hearing from their peers in academia.”
SUBSTANCE OVER SIGNATURE
While having someone with a fancy title may be impressive, HLS says substance should prioritized over signature when it comes to letter of recommendations.
“Those who know you best can write most precisely on your behalf,” according to the HLS admissions team. “Including a letter from someone with an impressive title isn’t always as useful as one may think – especially if that individual can’t speak as specifically to your work and accomplishments as a direct supervisor or instructor might.”
START A DIALOGUE
It can be helpful to start a dialogue with your letter writer and discuss why you think they would be an ideal recommender.
“An important, but basic, question that should be asked in some form is: ‘Would you be able to write a supportive letter for my application to law school?’ From there, it can be helpful to provide guidance on why you asked them in particular to write on your behalf, and what experiences, projects, or accomplishments you believe they can speak to,” according to the HLS admissions team.