Law School Discussion

MIA Recommender

MIA Recommender
« on: September 21, 2008, 01:10:07 PM »
So I have a really great relationship with my adviser in my major and I asked him for a recommendation almost a year ago when I went back to visit my alma mater. I have been in touch with him throughout the year and he told me to contact him at the beginning of this semester to remind him about the letters. I have been trying to reach him for almost a month now, and he hasn't been responding to email or to voicemail! I called the department and he is on leave for the academic year, and now I am worried that I won't hear back from him in time for my applications. There are other professors that I could ask, but his letter was going to be *pure gold*. Should I submit some sort of addendum noting this or just suck it up and hope that he'll re-surface/that the other professors will write strong recs?

Also, since I work in academia/research, I was wondering if a letter from my boss (who is both a professor and a principal investigator) could substitute for one of the academic recommendations?

Re: MIA Recommender
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 01:19:15 PM »
I would not write an addendum; it will likely just come across as excuse-making. This is frustrating though!--I assume you've tried all the ways you know to contact him; if he doesn't get back to you in time, you may just have to hope for the best with the others. If your current boss can attest to your abilities in research and analysis, that seems like a feasible option.

But as I think about it, I don't know--I mean about the addendum. If it were me, I would definitely want to explain the situation...but it still may not be the best idea. Does the school have a private number for him? Or an emergency number? I'd hate to think you'd have to lose out on a great reference because of something like this.

Re: MIA Recommender
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 01:22:32 PM »
That sucks  :-\

I don't think writing an addendum would help.  It just seems weird, and I don't think it would be that helpful.  "My adviser said he'd write a rec for me, but he took off on sabbatical and forgot about me."  I don't think the school would assume he would have written you a good recommendation regardless of how you word it.

But I do think that one from your boss would be a good one...recs should speak to your academic ability and since you work in academia/research I would imagine he would be a good judge of this. hth!


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Re: MIA Recommender
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 10:47:54 AM »
That's tough. I guess I'd say to others out there who are planning ahead--set up your LSAC account and get the LOR straightway, since LSAC'll save them for you.

The department must have a way to contact this professor. Like, a super-secret stealth way. Maybe if you are super nice to his assistant or something, she'll spill the beans on his bat-phone?

That's rough, man--I feel for ya--

Re: MIA Recommender
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 11:06:18 AM »
I had a similar situation in getting LOR's last year. I asked one of my teachers in May. She told me to remind her throughout the summer. I got in touch with her again in August. I ended up either emailing or calling her once a week because she kept "forgetting" to send it. She finally sent it towards the end of November. So I basically pestered her for 3 months (in a nice way of course). I had another professor who said she would write one for me after my last class with her (December). When I went to email her (her school email account) in September, a message was kicked back to me saying she no longer worked there and had gone back to Canada...and gave a new email address on how to reach her.

I would bet your school has a way of getting in contact with your professor. If you can't get it from the school itself, try one of the other professors in the department. If he was good friends with another professor I bet he gave them a way to stay in touch.

Re: MIA Recommender
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008, 05:51:11 PM »
Thanks everyone for the advice. I think that I've decided to keep bothering him about once a week or every other week and hope that he surfaces.. worst case scenario he can write a late letter that will be added to my record. Like I said, he and I are very good friends, so I have his cell phone number and I've left him 2 messages. I have a feeling that he is in India (his home country) and I don't know if he has his cell phone/is checking his email. I may ask another professor in the department to confirm for me and to see if he left any alternate means of communication.

I definitely agree with pre_JD_2be's advice re: setting up the LSAC account early. Since I'm applying to PhD programs too, I decided to wait and ask for all of the letters at once, rather than feeling like I was nickel-and-diming them every time I needed a letter.

In any case, I am going to have my boss write a letter and I'm going to scrounge up a letter from another prof, just in case. It won't be as strong, but I think that it is better than having only one academic letter.

Finally, how late is too late to send a letter?

Re: MIA Recommender
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 05:56:32 PM »
Ahh he's in India. DEFINITELY e-mail him. Unless he's in the middle of a black hole, I know for a fact he has access to at least a cheap internet cafe on every corner (personal experience).

Good luck, this is such a sad situation. I'm in a similar boat, have a prof who's already written a rec for me, so all he has to do is edit it for law school and send it off, but he's in some dark corner of Southeast Asia and may never return, so then what?

Definitely talk to your boss, if your prof DOES come through, then the boss rec can just be "inactive" on LSDAS.

Good luck!