Frequently Asked Questions for Recommenders

How do I get an account?

Recommenders do not register for their own accounts in OSCAR. To get a recommender account, applicants or law schools must generate an electronic request for a recommendation letter. When the applicant or law school creates an application in OSCAR, they include the recommender’s name and email address, and OSCAR sends the recommender an automated email message containing a secure link that can be used to fill the recommendation.

If you did not receive the initial email with your username and password or you have misplaced your login information, check your spam folder, or contact the OSCAR Program Office.

Will OSCAR send me an email each time a recommendation request is made?

No. OSCAR sends you one email the first time any applicant requests a letter of recommendation from you through OSCAR. If you want OSCAR to send you an email notification for new recommendation requests and/or pending requests, you can change your account preferences under Profile > My Account.

Can I receive a notification for new requests for letters of recommendation and/or pending requests?

Yes. Under Profile > My Account, OSCAR provides email notification settings that enable you to receive an email notification:

  • Email Frequence of New Recommendation Requests: Select Daily, Weekly, or Never
  • Receive Weekly Reminder of Pending Requests: Select Yes or No

Click the Update Email Notifications button to save your notification selections.

Who can upload letters of recommendation to OSCAR?

Only recommenders, faculty assistants, and OSCAR law school administrators can upload letters of recommendation into OSCAR.

To allow law school administrators to upload letters of recommendation on your behalf:

  • Go to Profile > My Account.
  • Scroll down to Recommendation Settings.
  • Under Allow Law Schools to Fill Recommendation Requests, select Yes or No.

The OSCAR program does not support the uploading of recommendation letters by applicants. The OSCAR Working Group, a group of federal judges and law school representatives, explicitly designed the system so that recommendation letters remain confidential and are not visible to applicants.

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) does not support applicants circumventing this process by uploading their own letters of recommendation into OSCAR and does not upload letters on behalf of recommenders.

What file types can be uploaded into OSCAR?

OSCAR allows PDF and Word documents to be uploaded into the system. Recommenders can also create letters within OSCAR using the built-in online editor. Recommenders can paste text from a word processing document into the online editor using the Paste as Plain Text feature, which eliminates most hidden codes found within word processing documents.

Can I check that my letters using merge codes are correctly formatted before submitting them?

Yes, OSCAR allows you to preview your letters of recommendation as finished PDF files before you click the Submit Recommendation button. Above the Submit Recommendation button, there is a section titled Attach to Applications with a numeric list of all the judges or staff attorney offices who will receive this letter. Between the number and the judge's or staff attorney office's name, there is a small PDF icon. Click on this PDF icon to launch Adobe Reader in a new window. You will now see your letter as the judge or staff attorney office will see it; OSCAR will replace the merge codes with the requested data (e.g., the name of the judge).

  • If the merge codes did not display correctly, close the Adobe Reader window and click the Edit Recommendation button in OSCAR to return to the previous screen.
  • If you are satisfied, close the Adobe Reader window and click the Submit Recommendation button.

Note: You must select the Submit Recommendation button to fill the recommendation request.

Why aren't the merge codes working for me?

Merge codes are computer commands, and users must enter them precisely as they are written. The easiest way to fix this issue is to copy the desired merge codes from the Merge Fields listed to the right and paste them into the online editor.

Note: Merge codes only work for those letters entered in the online editor. Merge codes do not work for uploaded PDF or Word files.

My name/email address is misspelled. How can this be fixed?

You can edit your name and contact information by going to the Profile > My Account after you log into OSCAR.

To edit your email address, please contact the OSCAR Program Office at

I accidentally uploaded the wrong letter. What can I do?

If the position is still open (accepting applications), you can delete the letter and upload again:

  • Click Recommendations > Completed Requests in the left navigation.
  • OSCAR will display a list showing all the letters of recommendation that have been filled, first by applicants name and then by judge. Locate the application(s).
  • Select application(s) by checking the box(es) in the left-hand column.
  • At the top of the list, click Batch Options > Delete Recommendations.
  • OSCAR will delete the letters and return the requests to the Pending Requests tab where you can upload new letters.

Where can I find help and information on using OSCAR?

The OSCAR Training page provides you access to Quick Reference Guides, help articles, and video tutorials on how to perform certain tasks in OSCAR. You can also access help articles from the Help button located in the left navigation when logged into your account.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

Call the OSCAR Program Office at 866-666-2120 (toll free), Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. You can also send questions via email at