Law School Discussion

Help! My Supervising Attorney Wants Me to Write My Own Letter of Recommendation!

I'm a 3L and the deadline for judicial clerkships in my Commonwealth is fast approaching.  I've asked the supervising attorney at my externship to write me a letter of recommendation and she asked me to write my own (which she will of course review and edit). 

Ack!  What should I do? 

I'm sort of frozen on this.  I'm generally okay with listing competencies, but I'm a bit shy about praise.  For example, I'd like to say that my presence at the office has elevated the practice of the attorneys and the office as a whole, something my supervisor has said to me on more than one occasion, but writing that out seems really prideful. 

Any advice would be helpful and appreciated.

My advice is to be specific as possible. That is why your supervisor wants you to write the letter. You say you elevated the practice of the attorneys. How? You can use typical STAR descriptions to show exemplary work as well.

In addition to the major accomplishments, think of the things you want to highlight that are relevant to whatever type of courts to which you are applying. If there's any overlap at all, highlight that in the letter.

When you have an idea about what things you want to discuss, you can search the internet for sample legal letters of recommendation.

Part of being in the real world is learning to sell yourself.

Write a letter that identifies your strengths etc, when you go on interviews etc you will need to be comfortable telling people why they should hire you over the other applicants. Of if you open your firm you will need to sell yourself to potential clients.

It is not something law school teaches you, but learning how to sell yourself is very important, and writing a LOR for yourself is good training for that.

As Groundhog said use specifics what did you do that exceeded expectations. Specify how you elevated performance etc, I know it is difficult to do this the first time around, but learning how to do it is an important skill.

Good luck.


Huh?  They just opened the candy jar and you don't want any?  Write a glowing review. As for the lazy supervising attorney shame on them.  I can only imagine their briefs are all copy and paste jobs.

By the way, the supervising attorney seems both ethically and legally challenged if they can't crap out a couple paragraphs in your favor on their own.  Guess the loser can;t even dictate into their IPad

I can only imagine their briefs are all copy and paste jobs.

Hey, some of us in a production environment make our living that way...no point in reinventing the wheel if I or another attorney has already written part of a brief addressing that exact issue with citations.

Sure, some of my best briefs have been inspired by others but I draw the line at asking the recipient to draft their own letter of recommendation.

barprephero

Sure, some of my best briefs have been inspired by others but I draw the line at asking the recipient to draft their own letter of recommendation.
I agree its odd, but I have had people ask me "what do you want me to put in it" and that was almost the same thing

Tbh I don't think it's odd. Most of my LS application recommenders asked me for significant input and some asked me to write them myself. I don't think law professors or practicing attorneys are any different.

When I get asked by a former student, I ask them for their CV and try to write them a helpful letter referencing accomplishments and skills.  Takes about ten minutes tops.  Asking the recipient to draft their own letter displays a certain lack of collegiality as well as defeating the entire purpose of the letter.  Heck it is just plain slack IMO.