Do I need a work LOR?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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TUP
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Do I need a work LOR?

Postby TUP » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:20 am

I've been out of school for four years. I worked one corporate job for ~2 years and have worked another the remaining ~2 years. I will have two LORs from professors, but I'm pretty sure neither remembered me. One I sent resume/transcript/etc. and also a writing sample from one their classes, and the other I went in and met with. I never went to office hours and, considering I've been out of school four years, this is probably as good as could be expected.

For my work experience, I don't have any great options from the first job for a LOR. In my current job, I'm pretty sure I could get a solid LOR from my current boss, but I have no idea how my intent to apply to law school would be viewed. If I had an LSAT score this would be easier, but I'm taking in October.

Given my work experience, would applying with only 2 academic LORs look strange to adcomms? Is there an expectation of a work-related LOR for someone that has been out of school as long as I have? Is anyone else out of school for a few years and facing a similar decision? I can definitely ask my current boss later in the cycle if I'm on any wait lists, but I really don't want to ask now if I don't have to.

whymeohgodno
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby whymeohgodno » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:32 am

It's probably better if you have at least 1 from work. 4 years is a pretty long time.

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TUP
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby TUP » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:06 pm

Any other viewpoints on this?

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Knock
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby Knock » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:14 pm

TUP wrote:Any other viewpoints on this?


I agree with whymeohgodno.

acrossthelake
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:34 pm

whymeohgodno wrote:It's probably better if you have at least 1 from work. 4 years is a pretty long time.


+1 esp. since your academic ones are probably going to be mediocre at best

ETA: Depends on the school, though.
Last edited by acrossthelake on Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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St.Remy
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby St.Remy » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:43 pm

TUP wrote:I will have two LORs from professors, but I'm pretty sure neither remembered me.


If you had two academic LORs that you though would be excellent I would say that there was no reason to get a work LOR. Because it sounds like your academic LORs will be nothing special it behooves you to get a work LOR, since it should be more positive and it will help you to establish a narrative of what you have been doing since undergrad.

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forward
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby forward » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:46 pm

I've been out for 3 years. I'm going with two academic and one professional.

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TUP
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby TUP » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:07 pm

I really wish I had an LSAT score. This LOR could hold up my app for a month after score release, because I really don't feel comfortable asking until I have at least taken the LSAT.

As far as the academic LORs, it's not that I know they won't be great. And even if I had gotten to know the professors well I don't know how I could be confident they'd write in the kind of hyperbole exhibited by some of sample "good" LORs I've seen. This is the worst part of the process for me. I didn't realize something so subjective held so much weight. I guess I'll have to ask and hope it doesn't cause any issues.

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St.Remy
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby St.Remy » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:11 pm

TUP wrote:I really wish I had an LSAT score. This LOR could hold up my app for a month after score release, because I really don't feel comfortable asking until I have at least taken the LSAT.


You really shouldn't wait for your LSAT score to ask for recs. The sooner you get your apps in the better, which means that ideally as soon as you get your LSAT score you would be good to go. It's not like you would want recommenders to write you a different letter depending on what score you got, you'll always want them to write the best recommendation possible. Even if you aren't totally sure that you want to go to law school what's the harm in asking them to write you a recommendation? Worse comes to worse they'll write one and you won't use it and they will have no idea.

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TUP
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby TUP » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:51 am

St.Remy wrote:
TUP wrote:I really wish I had an LSAT score. This LOR could hold up my app for a month after score release, because I really don't feel comfortable asking until I have at least taken the LSAT.


You really shouldn't wait for your LSAT score to ask for recs. The sooner you get your apps in the better, which means that ideally as soon as you get your LSAT score you would be good to go. It's not like you would want recommenders to write you a different letter depending on what score you got, you'll always want them to write the best recommendation possible. Even if you aren't totally sure that you want to go to law school what's the harm in asking them to write you a recommendation? Worse comes to worse they'll write one and you won't use it and they will have no idea.


It's not about the score impacting the letter, as I doubt it would make a difference to the recommender. My concern is that there's only a limited number of schools I'd attend since it means leaving a good finance job. That's why I was questioning whether adcomms even expect a work LOR from someone in "career-track" job considering most people plan on spending at least another 6 months at work before starting law school.

acrossthelake
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:21 am

Yale's response:

" Academic references are going to carry the most weight. Period. Particularly if you have a weaker part of your application, you really need to have phenomenal academic references who are willing to vouch for your performance as a student. If you’ve been out of school for a few years, I would suggest going back to your college professors and seeing if anyone would be willing to write one for you. If you think you’re going to be out of school for a while before you apply to law school, then plan ahead and get some professors to write you letters of recommendations now and place them on file with your undergraduate institution or set up an LSDAS account and let LSAC store them for you for up to five years.

I think only as a last resort -- you’ve been out of school for 10 years, none of your college professors remember you, etc. -- only then should you seek out employer recommendations that will speak to the kinds of things that an academic reference will. So, you’d want your employer to address writing and analytical skill, your intellectual curiosity, etc. Obviously, the closer they can be to the legal field, the better it will be for you. So if you’ve been a paralegal in a law office or worked for a judge, then that might be helpful, again, as a last resort."
--http://www.admissionsdean.com/researching_law_schools/interview/asha-rangappa

sarahh
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby sarahh » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:59 pm

I think Yale is a little unique. Most schools say something along the lines of: We prefer two academic LOR, but you can substitute an employer one if you have been out of school for serveral years. I don't think the two academic letters in an of themselves are the problems - it is that it seems they will not be strong. I was nervous about asking my boss for a letter of reccomendation, but she was very understanding and supportive. (Then again, I work for a non-profit where it is common for people to move on after a few years.) If your gut is telling you that your boss would hold in against you, and you are not certain you will apply, it may be best to go with just the academic LOR. Otherwise, I would ask.

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TUP
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Re: Do I need a work LOR?

Postby TUP » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:38 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice.

I think I might ask the week after the LSAT. If it can be sent out mid-October it should be there by the end of the month for when I get my score back. This way I'll at least know how the LSAT went. Staying at this job any longer would be worst case scenario anyway, but I'm not about to attend a school without decent career prospects either.




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