« on: March 19, 2004, 01:44:06 AM »
This is what should be done...
1) Find professors who meet the following criteria: (a) knows something (anything) about law school, lawyers, politics, argumentation, philosophy, sociology, etc.; (b) teaches a course you actually liked and did well in.
2) Approach the professor by scheduling a meeting to "talk about law school." Don't just pop the question...this is sort of like a proposal so take it seriously.
3) At the meeting, ask them for an honest appraisal of your fitness for law school. If they say you suck or show any reluctance, go elsewhere. This question is to make sure that they are actually going to recommend that various schools admit you.
4) Pop the question; many posters above have given excellent advice on wording.
5) don't hand over the forms just yet. Get back to them in a few days with a dossier. This should include all the school-specific forms and envelopes, the LSDAS forms (so you can apply to all the places you won't mention to the prof because no one would think you're "Harvard material"), draft(s) of your personal statement(s), a resume, copies of significant work you've done in the prof's class (I included two papers, one from each class I took with a recommender - so each prof got to see the work I'd done in the other's class), a brief letter (to the prof) with info about your favorite schools and chances of getting in, the Academic Summary from LSAC, the LSAT score conversion chart for your test, the pages from the LSAT/GPA calculator with schools to which you are applying highlighted and notes on chances of admission...all this stuff allows the prof. to literally write you into the school of your choice if you have borderline numbers and they think you should still get in. It also shows that you've done your homework and that you are serious about law school. Remember, a personalized dossier increases the chance of a personalized rec.
That's the deal.
Also, look for diversity in recs. Don't just go to your adviser and your favorite teacher by default. I didn't ask my adviser to recommend me because I haven't seen him in over a year. Go outside your department to get recs from the perspective of different academic disciplines...the admission folks don't want one-hit wonders (unless you're from MIT and can write a program to predict the outcome of any case...in which case flee, because some judge will lock you up and lose the paperwork).