Law School Discussion

Letters of Reccomendation?

Letters of Reccomendation?
« on: August 23, 2009, 11:44:34 AM »
When law schools say they are looking for letters of recommendation, who does it serve you best to recommend you?  I have enough people that are willing to, or have offered, that I am not sure who it would best me to use.

I received an associate's degree from a 2 year collge (Brown Mackie College)- my director there for my degree is willing to (he used to be a lawyer), one of the philosophy teachers (who used to teach at berkley) is willing to, and the head of the english department there is willing to.

I also have people who are willing to write me letters of recommendation from my current school (Bethel College)- my current director (who was an attorney and currently sits on the city counsel where we live), and one of my philosophy teachers (who has had a few books published).  My Literature teacher has also said she would be happy to write me one.

Outside of those I have a few more people- my current boss (I work at the local Center for the Homeless.  By boss I mean the executive director of our organization) and one of our volunteers who is one of the teachers at Notre Dame and has published books that Harvard and Cambridge currently use.

While I can not turn in that many letters of recommendation, I am not sure which to use.  They would all show various aspects of my work and school career.  What would you use?  I intend to apply to a few of the T14 schools, and don't want to get dismissed simply because my LOR was not from an impacting source. 

Thanks!! :D

Re: Letters of Reccomendation?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2009, 05:00:08 PM »
Here are some general rules:

1.  Pick academic LORs.
2.  When picking amongst academic sources, you would prefer to have the "higher" academic (you'd prefer a professor over a Graduate Student Instructor for instance).
3.  Another rule that might trump #2 is you want to pick someone who knows you and your work best.

At the end of the day, I say this repeatedly, your LORs aren't going to "make" you.  For the most part, they can only "break" you.  If you fail to follow instructions or if, on the rare occasion, your recommender actually says something bad about you, they'll be a detriment.  But just because a recommender says great things about you, it won't help your application.  You'll just be like every other student.  (Of course, if you somehow get President Obama to write you a recommendation, then that might have a strong impact on your app.)

Re: Letters of Reccomendation?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2009, 02:45:57 PM »
Great response Changed Name.

LORs will play a small role, if that.  That said, I woudl try to divide up the two/three letters between academic and professional, therefore showing multiple attributes.

In particular, if the academic recommender can attest to your writing ability and the professional recommender can attest to a specific goal you have for law school i.e. criminal justice, environmental law, etc., etc., this can only help.



Re: Letters of Reccomendation?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2009, 03:51:38 PM »
It is definitely most important that you choose people who know you well and can give an in depth and personal account of your character and abilities. If two people of similar "status" are willing to write for you, choose the one who you have worked with more closely and can give a more comprehensive (and favorable) recommendation. If this person happens to be a widely respected and published author, for example, that's great, but don't choose someone based on their credentials that you know only vaguely or impersonally.

As far which types of people should write your letters, I would say stay mainly academic-professors that you've developed a relationship with, etc. Some schools allow you to submit more than two letters-in that case, a recommendation from someone you've known in a purely professional capacity might be great.