Pre-Law Advising

Letters of Recommendation

Most law schools require two letters of recommendation and many accept more. Each law school has its own requirements, so it is important that you take the time to learn about the guidelines for the schools to which you will apply.

Who to Ask

Most schools require letters from two faculty members and accept recommendations from work supervisors. It is important to plan ahead and develop relationships with one or two faculty members who may write letters for you. Try to get to know them – and let them get to know you – beyond your basic academic performance so that their letters can complement the picture of yourself that you create in your application.

When to Ask

Ask for letters when you are fresh in the recommender’s mind. If you are asking for letters during the year in which you plan to apply, you should reach out to your recommenders well in advance of your application. If you are planning to work or pursue further studies after you graduate from Brown, discuss the recommendation with the faculty member before you leave Brown. You can send them a link from LSAC and have them submit the letter shortly after graduation. If you wish to ask for letters of recommendation in advance of applying, they can be uploaded to LSAC and stored there. Alternatively, try to stay in touch with them periodically and fill them in on your plans. Continuing to develop the relationship can strengthen your recommenders’ knowledge of your work and the qualities you would bring to the process. 

More details about letters of recommendation are posted on the LSAC website.

What Should Be in the Letter

Letters of recommendation provide admission committees with important qualitative information not available in other parts of your application.The first and foremost focus should be on your academic performance and abilities. Letters of recommendation can also provide insight beyond the strictly academic. An instructor may be able to comment on other important qualities like initiative, tenacity, creativity, empathy, or leadership. These can create a more complete personal portrait of you for the law school admissions teams. Moreover, they may dovetail with your application essays and provide valuable thematic consistency.  

Recommenders may want guidance on what qualities you’d like them to emphasize in their letters.Think about what qualities you demonstrated to them, things you may have discussed, or skills you learned. Consider what you will be emphasizing about yourself in your application essays. This will help the recommendation contribute to the image of yourself that you advance in your application. 


Try before giving up. Reach out to the faculty members who knew you best. If there is no one at Brown who will write a letter recommending you based on your academic record in their class, you have no choice but to look elsewhere. If you have attended graduate school, a letter from an instructor will be useful in place of someone from Brown. If you have been working, professional contacts – especially supervisors – are good references. 

The strongest letters will always be written by the individual with whom you have the strongest relationship and knows the most about your skills and preparation for law school. This knowledge is much more important than the title of the letter writer.