The LLM Application Process
Letters of Recommendation
LSAC's Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Service is offered as a convenience to LLM CAS registrants, recommendation-letter writers, and law schools. The letter of recommendation process is paper-based. A letter dicusses the qualities and characteristics of the applicant's ability, academic and otherwise, to study law. Use of LSAC's LOR service is optional unless a law school to which you are applying requires its use. This service allows you to use your LSAC.org account to have your LORs sent to law schools based on each school's requirements or preferences.
You will be asked to provide the names and contact information of your recommenders and to select the number of letters that each recommender will submit. (The number will be "one" if the letter will be sent to all of the schools to which you will apply.) Identifying your recommenders ensures that your letters can be quickly matched and routed when received by LSAC.
Follow the instructions provided in your LSAC.org account to
- provide the names and contact information of all your recommenders;
- indicate the number of letters that each recommender will submit, and describe them;
- select your law schools and—using the ID numbers—specify the letters that should be sent to each one. You must assign letters or they will not be sent;
- print the required recommender forms to give to your recommender to ensure quick matching and routing at LSAC. Letters received without an accompanying form or without the recommender's signature will be returned to the recommender. Allow two weeks from the time of receipt for LSAC to process your letters;
- review your LOR specifications early in the application process so that you can redirect letters if necessary before LSAC sends them to a particular school; and
- look at the school-specific information boxes and be sure to follow each school's requirements.
Assigning Letters to Law Schools
You must assign each letter to each LLM program to which you want it sent. LSAC will send your letters to programs as assigned by you.
- When assigning specific letters to specific programs, you must use the LOR screens to provide a brief and unique description of the intended use or content of each letter and to specify the program to which the letter should be sent. (If you neglect to specify a program for a letter, the letter will not be sent to any program.) The description will appear on the prefilled LOR form that you must print out and give to each recommender.
- Your recommenders should check the description on the form to make sure they attach the letter that matches that description.
All letters received without an accompanying form or without the recommender's signature will be returned to the recommender. The form is an essential part of processing, as it ensures an accurate match of your letter to your account.
NOTE: Letters are matched to your file by the "L" number on the form, not by the description. If your recommenders are sending more than one letter for you, please be sure to emphasize the importance of attaching the correct form to the corresponding letter. For example, a form that names a specific law school must be attached to the letter addressed to that school; a form for a letter described as "general" must be attached to a letter that does not refer to any specific law school. Law schools receive both the LOR form and the letter, so write your descriptions carefully.
- When you select "Assign Letter" next to the program's name, a box showing that program's preferences for LORs will appear. It is important to make sure you know each program's preferences so that you can direct your letters appropriately for each program. Depending upon how far along your letters are in processing, you may have the option of changing your mind and reassigning your letters, providing the change doesn't exceed the maximum number of letters that will be accepted by each program.
Examples of Letter Descriptions
- An applicant who interned for an environmental agency might ask a professor to write a specific letter about that experience, targeted to a specific law school (Smith) that offers an environmental law LLM program. The description would read: Smith Environmental Law Program. The letter would be assigned only to Smith School of Law Environmental Law Program.
- An applicant who worked in the tax department of a law firm might ask an employer to write a specific letter about that experience, targeted to a specific law school (Smith) that offers an LLM in Taxation. The description would read: Smith Taxation Program. The letter would be assigned only to Smith School of Law Taxation Program.
- A professor might be a law school graduate and want to recommend the applicant to her alma mater. The description would read: For Smith School of Law.
- The letter is not targeted for a specific law school's program. The description could read: General Use. The letter would be assigned to multiple law schools.
Copies of letters of recommendation processed by LSAC will be sent according to each program's specified schedule; e.g., some programs want LORs when the initial law school report is sent, some will take them when a certain number of letters have been received, and so on. These schedules allow law schools to most efficiently use LORs in their admission process. Law schools may change their schedule for receiving law school reports and LORs at any time.
You and your recommender will be notified by e-mail when LSAC has received each letter, so encourage your recommenders to provide their e-mail addresses. You can monitor the progress of your letters in your LSAC.org account.
When you print out your Letter of Recommendation Forms from your LSAC.org account, each form will be bar-coded and prefilled with your information and the recommender's information. Mail or give this form to your recommender. The form will ensure accurate matching of the LOR to your account.
LSAC will accept copies of letters from undergraduate institution credential services or career planning offices. The LSAC Letter of Recommendation Form must accompany each letter. When the form is completed by the institution's service, the lower portion can either be filled in with the recommender's name and address, or—if the recommender's address is not available—with the recommender's name and the address of the institution's service.
Letters sent to LSAC remain the property of LSAC and will remain active for the life of your file (five years from the time you register). Letters will be neither returned to nor copied for the candidate.
You may access your LSAC.org file to determine the status of your letters. Check Letters of Recommendation on your homepage.