Law school admissions officers frequently stress the importance of quality letters of recommendation in their decision whether to admit prospective students. For that reason, you must carefully select a professor or supervisor (if choosing an employer).* If a student chooses a recommender who does not know them well, the letter will fail to impress. In fact, such a “general” letter of recommendation can negatively influence an application. Prospective law students should begin acquainting themselves with their professors early to avoid this unenviable situation.
In order to achieve a personal connection with your professors, visit them during office hours. Professors hold office hours so they can get to know their students and help them better understand the subject matter of the course. Stop by early in the semester and explain to your professor that you would like to get to know them better. Bring questions about material that was covered in a recent class or try to focus the conversation on a professor’s area of expertise. Often times, professors focus their time on a specific area of interest within their field. Employ your research skills and try to determine the professor’s area of interest. Then, inquire about that topic.
Stay for ten or fifteen minutes and thank your professor for his or her time. Now, your professor will recognize you and will know you personally each time you contribute in class. Go back to office hours as needed. Provided you do well in the course, you have established the necessary groundwork for requesting a letter of recommendation at a later date.
*Typically, students should choose professors to write their letters of recommendation. For more information, see the University of Chicago’s thoughts on the topic.