“It’s in the mail.”
As undergrads, you know what that means: You blew your cash on alcohol and need an extra week or so to scrape funds together to cover your rent.
It’s the same when a professor tells you this for your law school letter of recommendation (they do, after all, drink very expensive Scotch).
While the LSAT is painful, the law school personal statement is time-consuming, and getting your transcripts in can be a hassle, there’s no part of the process that’s more frustrating than your letters of recommendation. Professors will promise the world before disappearing on an indefinite sabbatical. They’ll ask you to write the letter for them and then put off signing and sending it. Some will even insist that they sent them in months ago despite all proof against that proposition.
And, to make matters worse, it can take weeks for LSAC to process the law school letters of recommendation into your account.
So some of you out there are all ready to submit your law school applications, but you don’t have all of your requested letters of recommendation in. What should you do?
If you’re short a law school letter of recommendation, it’s time to put some pressure on the first professor while finding a backup writer. Don’t be rude – that will result in a poor letter. However, definitely get in touch with the professor to see if they need any more information before writing the letter. Then, meet with another professor to start the process. You need to get this done.
If you end up with an extra letter of recommendation, either because you sent in the required amount before a final one showed up or you asked an additional professor to write one and the original was actually in the mail, that’s not a problem at all. You can either update your application (which I wouldn’t recommend) or hold on to the extra letter to submit in case of a waitlist (which I would recommend).
Now, if you already have the required number of letters of recommendation, submit your law school applications. While certainly important to the process, they pale in comparison to getting your applications in early. You ideally want to have everything submitted before Thanksgiving. And that last letter of recommendation isn’t going to make or break you.