Law School Discussion

What to do if I have no good recommenders?

Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2006, 10:54:10 PM »
I was one of the two to three people who actually participated in class, I got A's on all of his assignments and I ran into him on the subway several times after class, so I'm guessing I stood out a little bit in his mind. Just a little while before the final assignment was due, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I was in a mad rush to put some money together for her mastectomy. I explained that I was stressed out and that I couldn't wrap my head around schoolwork, and he reassured me that I could take the time I need to finish the assignment.

When I contacted him approximately 10 months later about handing in the assignment, I asked  him if I should bring in some of my old work as well to help him calculate my grade, but he said he remembered that I was a "fine student" and didn't need any other work. When I met up with him, I apologized profusely and he seemed very forgiving and reassuring. He said he totally understood and he was glad things were better in terms of my mother's health. I even told him that I felt like a jerk for asking for a recommendation when I had abused his extension, but he shrugged it off and said he would be happy to.

I agree that he's an "iffy" recommendation, but I think it's leaning more towards the good "if" than the bad "if." In any case, he seems like a really nice guy, so I don't think he'd write something negative; he may just limit his praise.


Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2006, 11:28:58 PM »
You don't want someone "nice" to write it.  You want someone who is blown away by how amazing you are and wants to share it with the law school admissions committee.

I can't imagine any personal situation that could possibly make you a year late for picking a few American poems, coming up with a theme and writing an introduction for it.   That sounds like a pretty easy final "project".  But from your blog it seems your problem is that you're a wee bit irresponsible and a procrastinator. That's OK (although you'll have to get your mess together before law school), but you need to MINIMIZE how much this comes through on your application.

So you'll want to pick a recommender who has no idea that you're irresponsible and a procrastinator.  You really need to pick a professor for a class you got an A in and a class you turned your work in on time for.

You really have no clue what this person would say, even if they're trying to be nice.
Just one nice sentence like: "Although she turned the project in several months late, the quality of work was excellent" tells the committee all they need to know.

Think about this:
1. Did you show your "best" side in this class? No.
2. Did you demonstrate to this professor that you can handle stress, highly prioritize your education, have excellent academic and time management skills, and are a great applicant for law school? No.
3. Are you one of this professor's top students? Heck no. 
4. Did you do well in the class?  Maybe.  But the "Incomplete - F" ain't a great sign.
5. Did you treat this professor fairly? You "abused" the professor's leniency. (Your word.)  The professor may not want to fail you and may want to help you out, but there are certainly MAJOR limits to the good things they can say and they may feel obligated to  describe the reality of the situation before saying excellent things about you.

Even if you *think* the professor will kindly neglect to mention this, the fact that there IS something negative to mention is enough to disqualify them as a recommender in my book.  There are some parts of the law school recommendation process that you have no control over.  What a recommender writes can be one of them.  But who you pick to write it is something you can control.

Minimize the risks by picking somebody who has nothing bad to say about you.


  • ****
  • 1103
  • Freedom don't come free
    • View Profile
    • Check us out...
Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2006, 12:00:30 AM »
Get at least one recommendation from a supervisor at work.


Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2006, 06:36:03 AM »
Agree with above. 

I know you said you were on the outs with supervisor.  But because you've been working for so long, they'll be pretty suspicious if you have no work-related LOR. 

Got a coworker buddy?  They understand that not all employers will be thrilled with you going off to law school, so a trusted coworker could substitute just fine.


Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2006, 07:04:09 AM »
By the way, LawSchoolDunce is quickly on his/her way to being my favorite poster.  (You're gonna have to duel it out with Felon FratBoy -- "My felony makes me diverse! Law schools are lucky to have me!" -- from Cali)

Awesome blog -- Legitimately wanting to go to law school while knowingly sabotaging yourself every step along the way... not exactly the law school admissions strategy I'd go with, but makes for good reading. 

Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2006, 01:46:37 PM »
One place where my procrastination never shows up is in school work. Except for the one poetry project, I've never been late or asked for an extension. In fact, except for a few Latin classes, I've gotten A's in every class I've taken at Hunter College. My procrastination almost always involves applications, deadlines (non-assignment related), beauracratic stuff, etc.

10 months is a long time to complete an assignment, but I really did have a lot going on: I took on the household duties for my mother while she was going through chemotherapy, on top of my full-time job and full-time student stuff. I was too exhausted and didn't have the time for the project. Once things cleared up for me, I took my time doing the assignment. That part is certainly my fault.

As for my former work situation, I have a unique problem; both my co-worker (the other computer tech at the office) and our manager speak English as a second language. In fact, I was the one responsible for company memos, projects, etc, because of my English skills. My co-worker and I had a very bad relationship with the manager for almost the entire three years I was with the company (he was a major jerk). Eventually, my coworker was arbitrarily fired and I was openly making plans to leave the company because of the incident. My plans suddenly changed when my mother became ill, so I took a leave of absense instead, promising to come back in a couple of months, but just never bothered calling them or returning to work because of how much I hated that manager.

Because my co-worker and I were very friendly with each other, I'm sure I could write my own recommendation and have him sign off on it. I would have to because his English is not good enough to write one for me. As for my old manager, I doubt he would agree to write me one considering how I left him hanging (though I assure you, he deserved it).

Re: What to do if I have no good recommenders?
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2006, 05:21:17 PM »
It doesn't matter ... LOR's are very insignificant in the whole admissions scheme of things.  Just ask professors who taught clases you did well in and provide them with copies of your best work from the class (papers, etc.) and give them your resume and maybe even have a private "interview" (really, just talking about yourself and your goals) with them.