William Henderson reports:
"Before lawyers can start practicing law, they must pass a bar exam and be admitted to the bar in the state where they wish to practice. Part of the admission process includes submitting letters of recommendation, references and other personal information. The bar uses these letters of recommendation to evaluate the applicant’s character and overall fitness and ability to practice law...After you’re asked to write a letter of recommendation supporting an applicant’s admission to the state bar, make sure you have as much information about the applicant as possible...When writing your recommendation letter, make sure you supplement the information the applicant will provide with information not otherwise available, such as your opinion about the applicant’s likely success as a lawyer...Tailor a letter of recommendation to the applicant, but make sure you include the information the state bar wants...You should also address the applicant’s fitness to practice law or personal knowledge you have about law he has practiced, such as in law clinics at law school or while performing pro bono work under the supervision of a licensed lawyer...You should include specific facts that will help the bar examiners decide the applicant’s general fitness to practice law. Don’t focus solely on the applicant’s strengths in your letter. Including some mild criticism...can help give bar examiners a fuller picture of the applicant. You may also want to address how the applicant worked to correct or overcome the weakness...Letters of recommendation to support an applicant’s admission to a state bar should include the author’s complete mailing address and contact information. Some state bars require these letters be dated within a specific period of time...Authors should also sign their letters of recommendation, asserting their ability to adequately present information about the applicant. Some bar examiners also specify the type of paper you should use, such as plain white letterhead, and require you to use a specific font, such as no less than 12 point...Requirements for letters of recommendation in support of an applicant’s admission to a state bar vary by state...While someone who knows the applicant well should write these recommendation letters, family members or relatives are discouraged, and in some states barred, from doing so. Some states let the attorney who signs an applicant’s petition for admission to the bar also write a letter of recommendation."
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