Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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jdhopeful11
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Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby jdhopeful11 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:26 pm

Hello everybody,

I am in a situation that can be interpreted as either good or bad. The person whom I've had to report to at my internship with a prosecutor's office has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. This is of now surprise considering he and I have developed a great personal relationship the past few months at this internship. He asked if I could write my own letter of recommendation, and he would sign it; instead of him writing it on his own which could take weeks for a good one. I would love to send this letter of rec to my pending Fall 2010 applications if I could get it out in time. The only problem is that I am aware that law schools can tell if a LOR was written by the writer or the applicant, so does anybody have any advice that would help me write this letter?

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romothesavior
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby romothesavior » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:27 pm

andyman wrote:Hello everybody,

I am in a situation that can be interpreted as either good or bad. The person whom I've had to report to at my internship with a prosecutor's office has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. This is of now surprise considering he and I have developed a great personal relationship the past few months at this internship. He asked if I could write my own letter of recommendation, and he would sign it; instead of him writing it on his own which could take weeks for a good one. I would love to send this letter of rec to my pending Fall 2010 applications if I could get it out in time. The only problem is that I am aware that law schools can tell if a LOR was written by the writer or the applicant, so does anybody have any advice that would help me write this letter?


Everything I have read on here (from poster comments to dean interviews) says this is a bad idea.

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meddlingkid
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby meddlingkid » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:29 pm

I would recommend NOT doing this. Admissions committees have at least two writing samples from you already (your PS and your LSAT essay) and will likely notice the similarity between writing styles.

If you can't get the letter writer to write it for you, then find someone else to recommend you.

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Bert
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby Bert » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:30 pm

Yes. Bad idea to write your own LOR.

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onthecusp
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby onthecusp » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:31 pm

andyman wrote:Hello everybody,

I am in a situation that can be interpreted as either good or bad. The person whom I've had to report to at my internship with a prosecutor's office has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. This is of now surprise considering he and I have developed a great personal relationship the past few months at this internship. He asked if I could write my own letter of recommendation, and he would sign it; instead of him writing it on his own which could take weeks for a good one. I would love to send this letter of rec to my pending Fall 2010 applications if I could get it out in time. The only problem is that I am aware that law schools can tell if a LOR was written by the writer or the applicant, so does anybody have any advice that would help me write this letter?


Don't do it.

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jks289
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby jks289 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:33 pm

andyman wrote:Hello everybody,

I am in a situation that can be interpreted as either good or bad. The person whom I've had to report to at my internship with a prosecutor's office has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. This is of now surprise considering he and I have developed a great personal relationship the past few months at this internship. He asked if I could write my own letter of recommendation, and he would sign it; instead of him writing it on his own which could take weeks for a good one. I would love to send this letter of rec to my pending Fall 2010 applications if I could get it out in time. The only problem is that I am aware that law schools can tell if a LOR was written by the writer or the applicant, so does anybody have any advice that would help me write this letter?


I actually think this isn't SUCH a huge deal, since it is very common in academia. But I would offer to give him an outline of the points you'd like him to make. I even gave my person a specific story about his class (that actually happened) to remind him, and a few brief points. It only takes an hour or so to write that into a letter and add a few personal thoughts.

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jdhopeful11
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby jdhopeful11 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:34 pm

Thanks guys, I will def give it second thought. Can anybody show me what a sample letter of rec for law school even looks like? I cant find law school ones anywhere online.

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jdhopeful11
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby jdhopeful11 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:12 pm

was it even a big deal that my recommender asked me to write my own LOR and sign off on it??

CMDantes
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby CMDantes » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:17 am

My opinion: Give it to one of your friends who writes well. Just tell him what to write and ask him to put it in his own words/style.

That way it doesn't sound similar and you still get a bad ass rec

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MURPH
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby MURPH » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:49 am

CMDantes wrote:My opinion: Give it to one of your friends who writes well. Just tell him what to write and ask him to put it in his own words/style.

That way it doesn't sound similar and you still get a bad ass rec
If you are forced to either write your own LOR or not get one then I would have someone else do it. Look at Richard Montouk's or Anne Ivey's books to get a broad outline and fine points on a good LOR. Then find a friend who either writes for a living or is a lit. major to write it. ask someone who is serious, not some brother from a fraternity or whatever. Don't do it yourself.
BTW, I think this is fairly common in law. I know lawyers hire nurses to write medical reports for injured clients. The lawyers then send these to MDs, who photocopy the reports onto the MD's letterhead and sign it without changing a word. They charge the lawyers $300 too. When I first graduated nursing school I wrote some of these reports.

CMDantes
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby CMDantes » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:54 am

MURPH wrote:
CMDantes wrote:My opinion: Give it to one of your friends who writes well. Just tell him what to write and ask him to put it in his own words/style.

That way it doesn't sound similar and you still get a bad ass rec
If you are forced to either write your own LOR or not get one then I would have someone else do it. Look at Richard Montouk's or Anne Ivey's books to get a broad outline and fine points on a good LOR. Then find a friend who either writes for a living or is a lit. major to write it. ask someone who is serious, not some brother from a fraternity or whatever. Don't do it yourself.
BTW, I think this is fairly common in law. I know lawyers hire nurses to write medical reports for injured clients. The lawyers then send these to MDs, who photocopy the reports onto the MD's letterhead and sign it without changing a word. They charge the lawyers $300 too. When I first graduated nursing school I wrote some of these reports.


+1

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0 and 16
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby 0 and 16 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:54 pm

This is pretty common when you ask a busy professional to write you a recommendation letter. I imagine most of the people giving you advice have not worked in professional/business setting. In my case I worked as a legal assistant in a V10 firm and I asked the managing partner who I worked with directly to write me a letter of recommendation. He essentially told me to write it and he would sign it. In my experience, this is common practice. Maybe you should ask his secretary to add some of her own language, but I think you should go for it.

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Bert
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby Bert » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:16 pm

0 and 16 wrote:This is pretty common when you ask a busy professional to write you a recommendation letter. I imagine most of the people giving you advice have not worked in professional/business setting. In my case I worked as a legal assistant in a V10 firm and I asked the managing partner who I worked with directly to write me a letter of recommendation. He essentially told me to write it and he would sign it. In my experience, this is common practice. Maybe you should ask his secretary to add some of her own language, but I think you should go for it.


I'm gonna disagree with the "pretty common" and "common practice." I work at a top firm in NYC and not a single person I asked for an LOR asked me to write it myself, and I asked a couple partners (with whom I work directly) in the practice group in which I work to write me LORs. I just think writing your own LOR defeats the purpose of schools asking for one. If an LOR writer isn't exactly willing to write it himself, I would prefer to get one from somebody who is so willing, as the resulting LOR would be much better than one I would write.

Lucidity
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby Lucidity » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:42 pm

Wow, i'm surprised people are freaking out about this so much. lets be honest here. There is a very very short list of things that actually matter when it comes to your law school application.

1) Lsat Score
2) Gpa
3) Urm status.

Everything else is so minor that it's barely worth mentioning. Only if you are on the extreme edge do minor factors such as lors even mater. It's all about your lsat and gpa. Period. The rest is just part of the procedural rigamarole.

I was in this situation. The person I requested for my LOR told me to write it myself and he would sign it. This was actually very convenient, as i actually had control of the timing of the letter. All i had to do was write it, let him read it over, then he signed it and sent it off himself. I personally prefered this and as far as i could tell, it did not hurt me since i got into all the main schools i wanted that was within my gpa/lsat range.

You're an aspiring lawyer, you should be smart enough to write both your personal statement and this Lor without making them sound too similar. Unless you are extremely careless, at the most the adcom might have a slight suspicion, but there would be no way for them to prove that you wrote it yourself. If your numbers are good enough, they can't and i highly doubt they will reject you based on a suspicion that you wrote a lor yourself.

Richard Rorty
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby Richard Rorty » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:55 am

Lucidity wrote:Wow, i'm surprised people are freaking out about this so much. lets be honest here. There is a very very short list of things that actually matter when it comes to your law school application.

1) Lsat Score
2) Gpa
3) Urm status.

Everything else is so minor that it's barely worth mentioning. Only if you are on the extreme edge do minor factors such as lors even mater. It's all about your lsat and gpa. Period. The rest is just part of the procedural rigamarole.


My cycle this year sings a different story. Before I applied, I held your opinion, though.

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baboon309
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby baboon309 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:52 am

romothesavior wrote:
andyman wrote:Hello everybody,

I am in a situation that can be interpreted as either good or bad. The person whom I've had to report to at my internship with a prosecutor's office has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. This is of now surprise considering he and I have developed a great personal relationship the past few months at this internship. He asked if I could write my own letter of recommendation, and he would sign it; instead of him writing it on his own which could take weeks for a good one. I would love to send this letter of rec to my pending Fall 2010 applications if I could get it out in time. The only problem is that I am aware that law schools can tell if a LOR was written by the writer or the applicant, so does anybody have any advice that would help me write this letter?


Everything I have read on here (from poster comments to dean interviews) says this is a bad idea.


It`s a common practice among international student. And, No, I don't think it`s a big deal. A friend of mine wrote his own LOR and got into Berkely last year. His stats wasn't that good. (163/3.95 foreign gpa)

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Lermontov
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Re: Drafting your own letter of rec advice?

Postby Lermontov » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:48 am

Pretty common request outside professordom. Make sure it's awesome, and if you don't feel like you can be stylistically different enough (hint, most people can't) have a friend who writes well do it for you, with collaboration from you.




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