Recommendations FAQ

There are many different kinds of recommendations, ranging from listing me as a phone reference for employers to a letter of reference to a judge for a clerkship. The phone listing is usually pretty easy to get; the letter to the judge a bit harder.


I decide whether to give a recommendation based on what I know about you. Usually, this is based on your participation in class, your performance on the exam, and any interactions during office hours. Obviously, if you have worked for me or have written a paper for me, I have better information to recommend you. If the only thing I know about you is that you wrote a good exam, it will be hard to say much more than that in any recommendation.


First send me an email requesting a recommendation and provide as much detail as possible. I will reply, and if you need a letter, I will probably ask you to meet with me to discuss the recommendation. If so, please provide me via email the following:

  • resume
  • transcript (unofficial ok)
  • a note reminding me of the ways in which I have reviewed your abilities (in class, as a RA, etc.)
  • photo (optional) (to make sure I know who you are, and for me to remember years later)


Policy re Transfer Recommendations

I’ve always been hesitant to write  transfer letters although I’ve written some in the past.  As of 2010-11, I’ve established a policy against them unless there’s serious personal hardship, such as tending to a sick family member.   Please explain the situation to the Dean of Students, who can than consult with me.

The basic reason is that you decided to take a slot at the UCLA School of Law, which means that someone else wasn’t given a chance to join.    I realize that those others could also try to transfer into UCLA just as you are trying to transfer out, but that encourages a student body churn that I’m not enthusiastic about.  It might be different if you had more than 2 years to go in your legal education.  It might also be different if this weren’t UCLA, a top-tier school.   But given that this is UCLA, that you’re flourishing here, and that it’s just 2 more years, I think my policy is a reasonable one.  I hope you understand.