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How to Write a Recommendation Letter for Bar Admittance

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Every law school graduate who wishes to practice law must apply for admission to the bar, requirements of which can vary from state to state. Typically, admission requirements include a character and fitness evaluation, gathered in large part through recommendation letters that an applicant is required to collect and submit with their application. You may find yourself asked to provide such a letter if you know a law student on a personal level. If you are unsure what information to include in your letter, there are a few basic guidelines that you can follow when recommending an applicant for bar admittance.

Request that the applicant provide you with the admission and discipline rules specific to the state bar to which she is applying. This information will prove helpful as you compose your recommendation letter, as it is these requirements that the applicant must fulfill for acceptance. Once you know what the particular state board is looking for, you can tailor your letter to address how the applicant qualifies for admittance based on these requirements.

Speak to the character and personal attributes of the applicant as it relates to his fitness to the job. A bar admission recommendation letter should provide an independent opinion of the applicant and show your familiarity with who he is as a person. Ultimately, you are addressing the reasons why you believe the applicant is capable of representing the laws of his state.

Be succinct and to the point. Your letter should stick to the topic at hand and provide only details that are relevant to the applicant's fitness as a lawyer. Keep your letter brief to enable the most important aspects to stand out.

Compose your letter using a formal business tone. While your letter should address the ways in which you are personally familiar with the applicant, you should not adopt a casual tone in doing so. It is important that you come across as professional in your letter, as who the applicant associates with is as much a reflection on her character as the assertions your letter will make.


Marie Sullivan has been a freelance writer since 2005. She has served as a research contributor for "Seventeen" magazine and regularly edits university publications. Sullivan holds a Master of Education in higher education administration from Boston University.

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