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LSAC Recommendation Service

The LSAC Recommendation Service (known as the LSDAS LOR) can vastly simplify the job of getting recs to law schools.You get the recs to LSAC and give LSAC instructions to get them to law schools.

There are four steps to the LSAC Recommendation process:

  1. Choose your recommenders;
  2. Print the necessary paperwork to get the recs to LSAC;
  3. Make sure your recommenders submit the recs;
  4. Assign the recs to the schools.

Choosing Your Recommenders

Because recommendations are the most important thing in your file after GPA and LSAT, you must evaluate the courses on your transcript to see which courses required substantial writing and the level of your contact you had with the instructor during classes. For further advice on choosing and approaching recommenders, see "Choosing Who Writes.".   

A word of advice to those of you thinking about taking time off before attending law school:  get your recommendations now, while the professor still remembers who you are.  Your career planning office may keep them on file for you, or you can register with Law Services now and have the recs sent to them; they will store them for at least five years.   

Getting the Recs to LSAC

For each recommender you are using, you must register that person in the Letter of Recommendation (LOR) section. There are (at least) two different ways to get to the registration page. 

  • Log in to your account at LSAC.ORG; you'll see a light blue or gray sidebar and a white main area; this main area has three columns.
    • In the lower left-hand portion of the white main section, you'll see a link for Letters of Recommendation.

How to access the LSAC recommendation service

OR

  • Log in to your account at LSAC.ORG; you'll see a menu bar at the top of the page.  Click on the "apply" column. 
    • You'll see a sidebar and a white main area; in the center column of the white main section, you'll see a link for Letters of Recommendation.

refcommendations

Either of these methods will take you to the same page.

NOTE that you'll need the complete name, address, phone, snail mail, and email for each recommender, so gather your data before beginning!

Adding the name and contact info for each recommender

Along with the identifying and contact info for each person, you can specify the number of letters that person will write. 

  • You can ask the recommender to write just one letter, or you might want a special letter if the writer is attached to a particular school. For each letter which the person is submitting, you need a separate registration form. You assign a description to each letter, whether you have one for the person or several. 

Law Services says,

"NOTE: Choose your description carefully. It will be printed on the LOR form. Therefore, it will be seen by the recommender, the law schools that receive it, and LSAC.  In other words, don't go naming a rec "the History Dweeb."

Once you've completed a form for a recommender, that form is assigned a code: L1, L2, L3, etc.  You click on that code, and a pop-up box appears. the pop-up box allows you to print a bar-coded form that you MUST give to each recommender. 

Barcoded form that you must give to each recommender

  • You print out a bar-coded form for each person, sign it, and deliver it to the recommender with a stamped envelope addressed to Law Services.

Assigning the recs to the schools

Unlike the pre-2009 system, you need not add your list of law schools; when you choose a school, it is automatically added to the LOR page.  However, you must tell the system what letters you want submitted to each school.  

Assigning a rec to a law school

If nothing has changed since this writing (April 11, 2010), here's what you'll find:

  • EVERY ABA-approved law school except Thomas Cooley accepts letters through LSDAS.  (Cooley doesn't accept recs at all.)
  • Only a few ABA-approved law schools will accept a maximum of 2 letters.  Most schools accept either 3 or 4 letters.
  • NO ONE, EVER, accepts five recs.  
  • There may be additional evaluation forms in the application itself, or schools may request or require an evaluation from the new LSAC Eval service.

Virtually every school that wants a quantitative evaluation now uses the LSAC evaluation service. A tiny handful, however, have their own evaluation form.

An Evaluation is NOT a recommendation. If a school has its own form, you'll find it in the "Supplemental" forms, which you must snail-mail.

supplemental forms

Note the "Supplemental Form" button at the bottom of the middle column.
(If the button is grayed out, there are no Supplemental Forms.)

Supplemental Forms can include binding decision contracts, scholarship applications, and certifications from your school that you never got in trouble for fighting in the dorms, etc. If the school has its own evaluation form, it will be included here. In 2010, Cornell's looked like this: 

supplemental

If a school has its own evaluation form, USE IT! If a school feels dissed, it might not admit you. If it doesn't, it may still recommend or require that you use the LSAC Evaluation Service. Be sure to check on the Recommendation page.

Working around the system's limitations:

  • You're adding a recommender.  You click on "submit," and it keeps bouncing you back to the same page.  
    • You put a period after the "Ms." or the middle initial.  Delete the punctuation mark and try again.  
  • You print the rec waiver form.  You ask the person to write the rec.  The person says no.
    • You can't make it inactive.  You can't remove it. But it's not the end of the world; you can just ignore it.   
  • DON'T PRINT UNTIL YOU'RE SURE the spelling, address, etc., are correct.  These can never be changed.  

CAVEAT:  I figured this out all by myself, without any input from Law Services except what's on their web page.  Follow this advice at your own risk.  But it is most decidedly what I will tell my clients to do.

 

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