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Author Topic: how important are they really?  (Read 2300 times)

zxcvbnm

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how important are they really?
« on: July 07, 2004, 11:09:01 PM »
I just graduated from Harvard with a decent enough GPA, and I should do very well on the LSAT. Law school is starting to sound like a pretty good idea, but anytime I so much as entertain the thought, I remember that I made no real effort to get to know any of my college professors -- wasn't a research assistant, didn't spend time at office hours, never had a thesis advisor -- and will have one hell of a time getting even a single good letter of recommendation, let alone three of them. It's discouraging even thinking about it.

Now I know wasted a lot of opportunities, but for students in even larger schools, how do they manage to finagle three good letters? It's not enough just to get good grades and good scores, but you have to go shoot the breeze with your professors in your spare time too, make friends with them? I don't get it. Or are a lot of people's letters just generic testaments to the student's ability to get an A- in a professor's class? More to the point, how important are letters? I know for undergrad admissions they were pretty crucial, but my impression is that law school is much more of a numbers game. If I'm wrong, please tell me what I can do so that if I decide to apply to law school a few years down the road, it won't seem completely suspect that I can't provide glowing letters from college profs hailing me as the most talented student they've come across in decades, or some other such nonsense. Thanks.

r2d2

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2004, 12:04:18 AM »
I feel the same way  ;)

Casper

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2004, 12:07:26 AM »
LOR does not have to be from professors alone.  You can have 2 or even 3 written by someone who knows you really well, and would be considered objective in their evaluation of you.  I am choosing one from a professor, and one from mentor, just to balance it out.  I could very well have all of them written by mentors. 
Drawing dead, serving 25 to life.

casino

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2004, 12:09:50 AM »
i think that it is nice to have nice recs and un-nice to have un-nice recs.

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Casper

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2004, 12:15:30 AM »
1/3 Lsat
1/3 GPA
1/3 PS

I think that's the distribution that I read in some book regarding ls, while trying to figure out what to include in my PS.  Not sure where LOR would fit into the equation, but it's important. 

Since you're not immediately applying to ls, good time to think about who you would consider important enough to write the LOR about you for ls. 
Drawing dead, serving 25 to life.

swifty

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2004, 12:36:48 AM »
1/3 Lsat
1/3 GPA
1/3 PS

I think that's the distribution that I read in some book regarding ls, while trying to figure out what to include in my PS.  Not sure where LOR would fit into the equation, but it's important. 

Since you're not immediately applying to ls, good time to think about who you would consider important enough to write the LOR about you for ls. 

You need to burn whatever book you read.  Bump the LSAT up to 60% conservatively. 
And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

Dewitt

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2004, 12:57:02 AM »
1/3 Lsat
1/3 GPA
1/3 PS

I think that's the distribution that I read in some book regarding ls, while trying to figure out what to include in my PS. Not sure where LOR would fit into the equation, but it's important.

Since you're not immediately applying to ls, good time to think about who you would consider important enough to write the LOR about you for ls.

You need to burn whatever book you read. Bump the LSAT up to 60% conservatively.

yes. and lower that PS to about 5%

jacy85

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2004, 09:48:25 AM »
A Harvard grad sending in an app without academic LORs is going to look fishy.

And as much as we all say LORs aren't important, I'm damn sure that if you get a bad one, it ends up being a big black mark on your app.  I mean, you either then have no judgment of people or else you truly did the bare minimum.  And while your numbers could be good, those reach schools could very well pass you over for a similarily qualified candidate.

The big rant is a little late now.  I'd get over it and start looking for recs.

casino

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2004, 12:41:37 PM »
yes, they are important.  i don't think that you can quantify how much a letter of recommendation is worth -- like the lsat, for example -- but they can offer a great (in most cases) objective viewpoint of the applicant.  as jacy stated, how would it look if one didn't have a rec?  as far as i know, every law school out there has more applicants than acceptances.  most peoples goals are to get into one of their top choices, which is normally a slight reach, or more.  give yourself every chance to be an acceptance.
 
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thinknpositive

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Re: how important are they really?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2004, 01:30:42 PM »
LOR's are essentially deal breakers, nothing more

they might put you over the hump or they might not

they're more of a formality than anything else