When asking a professor for a letter of recommendation, current students MUST provide each faculty recommender with the following information by June 30 at the latest:
- Current resume (including class rank)
- Copy of current transcript (including spring semester grades)
- Writing sample (not necessarily the one you will use for your applications)
- Complete list of judges to whom applications will be sent (in Excel)
- List of top 20 judges in rank order
- Copy of "Read This First" for faculty writing recommendation letters (available in Career Services)
- Written note informing recommenders that letters of recommendation must be turned in to Theresa Evans in the Dean's Office no later than August 1
Students may provide this information to faculty recommenders after June 30 ONLY with the express permission of the recommender.
In addition, some professors also find it useful if you supply them with a brief written explanation of why you want to clerk and at what type of court, a summary of your qualifications, and your future plans.
If you fear the professor does not know you well enough, offer to provide him/her with additional information about your background and any special circumstances that could be referenced in the letter. If a professor appears willing to write a letter of recommendation, but is less than enthusiastic, you may wish to reconsider. You do not want the professor to damn you with faint praise!
Non-faculty recommenders may not have had the opportunity to write many clerkship recommendation letters. Therefore, when asking a non-faculty member for a letter, you also might want to explain what clerks do and suggest that they emphasize qualities relevant to clerking in their letters, such as your ability to:
- think, analyze, and reason;
- deal well with complex facts and legal doctrines;
- express yourself well, both orally and in writing;
- articulate and defend your positions;
- take both initiative and direction, asking questions when appropriate;
- work well under pressure and complete assignments on time;
- juggle a variety of projects simultaneously;
- be a team player and get along well with others; and
- keep confidences.
If possible, the recommender should try to give specific examples of these qualities.