Letters of recommendation turn on relationships. To receive a strong letter of recommendation, you need to have devoted time to developing a strong relationship with the recommender. Be respectful of that relationship when you request letters of recommendation, and consider the following advice:
1. Request your letters of recommendation in person if at all possible (face-to-face or by telephone). Don’t use e-mail unless your purpose is to set up a meeting or telephone conversation. A personal conversation gives you an additional opportunity to impress the recommender and helps ensure that the recommender has sufficient information about you to include in the letter.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute to request your letters. Give your recommenders sufficient time to prepare their letters (ideally 6–8 weeks), and set deadlines at least 2–4 weeks before any application deadline. Recommenders may not write as strong of a letter or may miss their deadline if not given sufficient time to prepare the letter.
3. Provide your recommenders with a packet of information on which they can rely when drafting the letter. Include a résumé and work product from the course or a summary of work from the job/internship. If the recommender has not written a letter of recommendation for law school before, include a copy of the handout Writing a Letter of Recommendation.