Application Process: Letters of Recommendation

Judges typically require two to three letters of recommendation. When choosing your recommenders, the most important consideration is to pick individuals who will write glowing recommendations that comment on your legal research and writing skills. Generally judges prefer recommendations from professors and other judges. If three recommendations are required, two professors and one legal employer is a good combination.

WCL has a system by which individualized letters of recommendation from faculty and adjuncts are produced and processed.

  • Full-Time Faculty: The professors' assistants handle the processing of the recommendation letters.

  • Legal Rhetoric Faculty/Adjuncts: The legal rhetoric department handles the recommendation letters for legal rhetoric professors.

  • Adjunct Faculty: For adjunct professors without assigned assistants, the Faculty and Administrative Support Services (FASS) office can help you. Please contact them, in suite Y347, for more information.

  • Former WCL Faculty/Adjuncts: For former professors, the FASS office can help you. Please contact them, in suite Y347, for more information.

Letters of Recommendation by WCL Faculty/Adjuncts:

  1. Ask the professor if he/she will write the letter for you. Be sure to give your recommender at least four weeks to write your recommendation.

  2. If you intend to apply to any federal judges participating in OSCAR, inform your professor that he/she will need to send the text of your completed recommendation to oscar@wcl.american.edu so that it can be uploaded onto OSCAR.

  3. For judges not participating in OSCAR, create an excel spreadsheet with the correct contact information for the judge address blocks and salutation lines.
    NOTE: Use the clerkships section of CareerLink to download addresses for all federal judges and some state judges. Then edit this document to conform to WCL's excel spreadsheet format, making sure to keep everything in Times New Roman 12-point font.

  4. List your recommenders in your OSCAR account under the "Recommendations" tab, start draft applications for all judges who have already listed positions by uploading a draft resume as a place holder, and select which recommendations you would like to use for each application. OCPD will then upload your letters of recommendation.

  5. For letters of recommendation you would like to send out in paper form, submit your excel spreadsheet to your professor's assistant (or to the adjunct support assistant in the Faculty Administrative Support Services (FASS) office for adjuncts) in a timely fashion based on the estimated length of time to process the request. You will be notified when your letters are ready to be picked up for inclusion in your application packets.

  6. Pick-up your paper recommendation letters from the professor's assistant.

  7. For judges not participating in OSCAR, when possible, submit all of your materials (including sealed letters of recommendation) in one mailing. If a letter is not finished but you are otherwise ready to apply, ask your recommender to send the letter under separate cover and mark the envelope with the notation - LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FOR [APPLICANT'S NAME].

Other Letters of Recommendation:

  1. If one of your recommenders is not from WCL, ask the recommender how he or she prefers to handle the paper recommendation process.

  2. Some individuals will have support staff that can create individualized letters from a mail merge file or will allow you to see the letter and perform the mail merge for them. Other individuals might only be willing to create a general letter (not addressed to any particular judge) that they can copy and sign multiple times.

  3. If possible, this recommendation should be sealed in a separate envelope that you can include in your application packet.

  4. If you intend to apply to any federal judges participating in OSCAR, inform your recommender that he/she will need to send the text of your completed recommendation to oscar@wcl.american.edu so that it can be uploaded onto OSCAR. OSCAR Website: https://oscar.symplicity.com/