LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
vegasbb
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:17 pm

LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby vegasbb » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:26 pm

I graduated from college nearly 10 years ago. At the time I had no interest in law school and got an engineering degree. I did pretty awful in undergrad (GPA 3.3), and most of my classes were huge engineering classes. I was never close to the top of my class and couldn't name even one of my professors from 10 years ago if I tried. I'm 99% sure none of my professors would remember me either ! Any ideas on what to do for a LOR? My work experience has been non-legal over the past 10 years, but my current employer has already agreed to write me a LOR. Who else should I consider for my 2nd letter?

User avatar
ahduth
Posts: 2468
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:55 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby ahduth » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:31 pm

vegasbb wrote:I graduated from college nearly 10 years ago. At the time I had no interest in law school and got an engineering degree. I did pretty awful in undergrad (GPA 3.3), and most of my classes were huge engineering classes. I was never close to the top of my class and couldn't name even one of my professors from 10 years ago if I tried. I'm 99% sure none of my professors would remember me either ! Any ideas on what to do for a LOR? My work experience has been non-legal over the past 10 years, but my current employer has already agreed to write me a LOR. Who else should I consider for my 2nd letter?


You really need to get an academic reference. Do you have any copies of papers or exams you wrote? Or something else you can use to refresh people's memories? No matter what, I'd try and track down a professor from one of the classes in which you did better than average, and see if you can talk it over with them. Hopefully they understand the LOR game, and you can work something out.

albanach
Posts: 1011
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby albanach » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:33 pm

vegasbb wrote:Who else should I consider for my 2nd letter?


Given we don't know you, that's a tough question to answer. Surely you have done something else in life outside of one job for ten years?

Have you worked for anyone else? Have them write a letter.

Have you volunteered? Have a manager there write a letter.

Are you actively involved in a church? Have your pastor/etc write a letter.

Anyone else will be fine given the time since you were at school. Your GPA will also likely be fine if you can score a suitably high LSAT. You might not get in everywhere, but it's not going to lock you out of the T14 if you score in the 170s.

squirrelgirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:40 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby squirrelgirl » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:38 pm

I've been out of school for several years also. I had two letters from supervisors at my current job, and that worked out fine for me.

User avatar
fundamentallybroken
Posts: 663
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby fundamentallybroken » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:42 pm

ahduth wrote:You really need to get an academic reference.


No, you don't. I was out of school for a long time as well, and didn't have any academic LORs. Even schools that specifically required at least one academic LOR didn't blink when I turned in my applications (and still accepted me with $$). Schools understand that an academic LOR from someone out of school for a long time is pretty much worthless, since the professors you had don't know what you've done for the past ten years.

Get one from your employer, then try to find someone else you know who can speak to your abilities to work hard and absorb difficult information. If you know an attorney, see if they'll write you a letter discussing your attributes that will translate to success in law school.

albanach
Posts: 1011
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby albanach » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:50 pm

ahduth wrote:You really need to get an academic reference. Do you have any copies of papers or exams you wrote? Or something else you can use to refresh people's memories? No matter what, I'd try and track down a professor from one of the classes in which you did better than average, and see if you can talk it over with them. Hopefully they understand the LOR game, and you can work something out.


I disagree entirely. Many non traditional applicants have applied and been successful without academic LORs.

Here's what Anna Ivey says in her book. "To be clear, though: if you have to choose, admissions officers would rather see a meaningful professional recommendation than a non-meaningful academic one."

acrossthelake
Posts: 4431
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 5:27 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:51 pm

As stated by several deans in interviews...the main exception and acceptable excuse for not having academic references is being 5-10+yrs out from undergrad. It's recent grads who have to worry.

User avatar
ahduth
Posts: 2468
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:55 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby ahduth » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:55 pm

squirrelgirl wrote:I've been out of school for several years also. I had two letters from supervisors at my current job, and that worked out fine for me.


Hmm, okay, maybe the received wisdom is wrong. I've continued to keep in touch with my UG advisor over the past decade, so he jumped at the chance and wrote me a spectacular academic reference. Without him I still would have dug up another professor, but I would have had to rely on them remember me and their re-reading of the comments they made on my papers and such. I doubt it would have been as good.

Two professional references seemed like it wouldn't have been helpful to them, but in retrospect, schools don't much care about anything beyond your index number anyhow.

vegasbb
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:17 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby vegasbb » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:00 pm

Thank you for all the help! It seems I might be able to slide by without any academic LORs. My current boss is an attorney (although I work in a non-legal capacity, this should help maybe?).

I'm also very active in a nationally known service organization (many leadership positions), and I think the president of the organization's local chapter could write a great letter. I'm not sure if community service organizations seem too trivial for this? What are your thoughts on this. I definitely plan on including my work in the organization on my resume for applications, but I realize this is a completely weak soft at best.

Other than using someone from my community service organization, I could use another supervisor at work. I'm not sure that this would help (my boss would be a much better reference), but I'm grasping at straws here!

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:16 pm

fundamentallybroken wrote:
ahduth wrote:You really need to get an academic reference.


No, you don't. I was out of school for a long time as well, and didn't have any academic LORs.

Get one from your employer, then try to find someone else you know who can speak to your abilities to work hard and absorb difficult information. If you know an attorney, see if they'll write you a letter discussing your attributes that will translate to success in law school.


Great advice. A decade out of school is a long time, and it lessens the requirement for an academic LOR. If you can get one ten years out, that's great - it suggests that you might have been a strong enough student to stick in a prof's mind for a decade. If not, there are other people who are more aware of your current abilities than someone who probably had to be reminded that you even exist.

albanach
Posts: 1011
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby albanach » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:01 pm

vegasbb wrote:Thank you for all the help! It seems I might be able to slide by without any academic LORs. My current boss is an attorney (although I work in a non-legal capacity, this should help maybe?).

I'm also very active in a nationally known service organization (many leadership positions), and I think the president of the organization's local chapter could write a great letter. I'm not sure if community service organizations seem too trivial for this? What are your thoughts on this. I definitely plan on including my work in the organization on my resume for applications, but I realize this is a completely weak soft at best.

Other than using someone from my community service organization, I could use another supervisor at work. I'm not sure that this would help (my boss would be a much better reference), but I'm grasping at straws here!


I think the CSO it will be fine and better than another from your current employer. You want both recommenders them to focus upon and emphasize the things you have done that will be relevant to law school. That is analytical work, research, organizational skills etc.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13918
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:28 pm

fundamentallybroken wrote:
ahduth wrote:You really need to get an academic reference.


No, you don't. I was out of school for a long time as well, and didn't have any academic LORs. Even schools that specifically required at least one academic LOR didn't blink when I turned in my applications (and still accepted me with $$). Schools understand that an academic LOR from someone out of school for a long time is pretty much worthless, since the professors you had don't know what you've done for the past ten years.

Get one from your employer, then try to find someone else you know who can speak to your abilities to work hard and absorb difficult information. If you know an attorney, see if they'll write you a letter discussing your attributes that will translate to success in law school.


Totally agree. I applied with only work-related LORs (out of school for 8 years), and I don't think it hurt me. Unless you've maintained a relationship with a professor and they can actually not only remember your name but write about you with authority, don't even worry about it.

scammedhard
Posts: 642
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby scammedhard » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:54 pm

As others have said, it is not a problem if none of your letters are from academia. Your problem, however, is that with a 3.3 GPA you need a stellar LSAT to be able to get into a decent school to make law school a worthwhile investment. Have you taken the LSAT?

User avatar
fundamentallybroken
Posts: 663
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby fundamentallybroken » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:08 pm

scammedhard wrote:As others have said, it is not a problem if none of your letters are from academia. Your problem, however, is that with a 3.3 GPA you need a stellar LSAT to be able to get into a decent school to make law school a worthwhile investment. Have you taken the LSAT?


The conventional wisdom around here is that only "decent" (i.e. T50, if not T25) schools are worthwhile investments for anyone and everyone. However, this advice is somewhat wrong when you start getting into non-traditional students that have been out of UG for a significant amount of time - it totally ignores the fact that someone away from school for 10+ years and is now considering law school probably has a pretty good reason to go to law school, and also very likely has contacts for jobs after school. In other words, many non-trads aren't in the same position as younger folks who think it's all "biglaw or bust." Some of us, in fact, have excellent prospects waiting for us before, during, and after law school, which makes it irrelevant whether we go to a T25 or a T100.

(Of course, I will nearly always urge away from TTT or TTTT - that's just crazy.)

scammedhard
Posts: 642
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby scammedhard » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:15 pm

fundamentallybroken wrote:
scammedhard wrote:As others have said, it is not a problem if none of your letters are from academia. Your problem, however, is that with a 3.3 GPA you need a stellar LSAT to be able to get into a decent school to make law school a worthwhile investment. Have you taken the LSAT?


The conventional wisdom around here is that only "decent" (i.e. T50, if not T25) schools are worthwhile investments for anyone and everyone. However, this advice is somewhat wrong when you start getting into non-traditional students that have been out of UG for a significant amount of time - it totally ignores the fact that someone away from school for 10+ years and is now considering law school probably has a pretty good reason to go to law school, and also very likely has contacts for jobs after school. In other words, many non-trads aren't in the same position as younger folks who think it's all "biglaw or bust." Some of us, in fact, have excellent prospects waiting for us before, during, and after law school, which makes it irrelevant whether we go to a T25 or a T100.

(Of course, I will nearly always urge away from TTT or TTTT - that's just crazy.)

Excellent points. But also consider the opportunity cost (OC). An engineer with 10 years of WE has a much higher OC than a recent liberal arts grad because of the salary difference.

vegasbb
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:17 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby vegasbb » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:21 pm

Thank you so much for all the great advice! I took the June LSAT, but at this point I'm not sure how I did (I took 55 strictly timed PT's and studied for 3 months with all the bibles, average was 176 - probably didn't touch that the day of but I can dream!). At this point I'm considering keeping my job (as they pay law school tuition) and going part time to a T100 (or is TT? the proper term). I've learned enough from lurking to realize going anywhere below the TT is a stupid waste of time and money and taking any debt whatsoever to go anywhere below a T14 is incredibly risky !

I appreciate the feedback about the non-academic LORs. This was giving me a lot of anxiety!

scammedhard
Posts: 642
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby scammedhard » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:28 pm

vegasbb wrote:Thank you so much for all the great advice! I took the June LSAT, but at this point I'm not sure how I did (I took 55 strictly timed PT's and studied for 3 months with all the bibles, average was 176 - probably didn't touch that the day of but I can dream!). At this point I'm considering keeping my job (as they pay law school tuition) and going part time to a T100 (or is TT? the proper term). I've learned enough from lurking to realize going anywhere below the TT is a stupid waste of time and money and taking any debt whatsoever to go anywhere below a T14 is incredibly risky !

I appreciate the feedback about the non-academic LORs. This was giving me a lot of anxiety!

Great. You sound like a wise person. Good luck!

nphominoid
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:07 pm

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby nphominoid » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:30 pm

For what it's worth, I've been out of school for 10 years and applied with 2 LORs from my current place of work (one current boss, one recently departed boss). Didn't seem to be too much of a hindrance as far as I can tell.

User avatar
fundamentallybroken
Posts: 663
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby fundamentallybroken » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:17 pm

scammedhard wrote:
fundamentallybroken wrote:
scammedhard wrote:As others have said, it is not a problem if none of your letters are from academia. Your problem, however, is that with a 3.3 GPA you need a stellar LSAT to be able to get into a decent school to make law school a worthwhile investment. Have you taken the LSAT?


The conventional wisdom around here is that only "decent" (i.e. T50, if not T25) schools are worthwhile investments for anyone and everyone. However, this advice is somewhat wrong when you start getting into non-traditional students that have been out of UG for a significant amount of time - it totally ignores the fact that someone away from school for 10+ years and is now considering law school probably has a pretty good reason to go to law school, and also very likely has contacts for jobs after school. In other words, many non-trads aren't in the same position as younger folks who think it's all "biglaw or bust." Some of us, in fact, have excellent prospects waiting for us before, during, and after law school, which makes it irrelevant whether we go to a T25 or a T100.

(Of course, I will nearly always urge away from TTT or TTTT - that's just crazy.)

Excellent points. But also consider the opportunity cost (OC). An engineer with 10 years of WE has a much higher OC than a recent liberal arts grad because of the salary difference.

Very true, opportunity cost does have to play into decision making for an older student. Of course, ITE, your 75K job very well may still be 75K in 3 years, so there's not too much OC for some people!

User avatar
DocHawkeye
Posts: 640
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:22 am

Re: LOR for someone that has been out of school 10 years

Postby DocHawkeye » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:48 am

If you are worried about if your potential references will be appropriate, I would advise you to call the admissions offices at law schools you are considering, tell them your situation and ask about the letters. They will tell you what they would prefer. Law school admissions offices are very helpful making sure your application is correct and complete.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Christinabruin, HuntedUnicorn, m052310, Monday, smile0751 and 6 guests