LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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KremeCheez
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LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby KremeCheez » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:12 am

A brief background:
My college roommate's dad is a partner at O'Melveny in LA. He is frequently "news-worthy" and his name would be instantaneously recognized by any AdComm.
During UG I had fairly regular contact with him, whether going out to group dinners, playing golf, or watching his son's competitions. He seemed to like me well enough, although his stoic demeanor made it tough to tell.
I graduated UG over 7 years ago, and have only seen/spoken to him once since.
Furthermore, I have only (1) UG professor that I would expect to remember me and my academic aptitude after 7 years and thus write me a legit LoR.
I do not have any LoR candidates from my professional life that I feel would be a positive in my application package.

My questions:
1) Would a LoR from someone like this be a significant "plus" relative to generic LoRs from UG professors who "might" remember me and/or from my current boss(es) who, while would certainly wholeheartedly "recommend" me, aren't anything special.
2) Would you anticipate someone like this would be willing to write a LoR for me, despite the fact that we don't have ongoing communication and he is only familiar with me personally (not scholastically)?
3) If nothing else - he'd probably have his secretary put together something generic for me...would this end up being counter-productive?

HITeacher2
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby HITeacher2 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:14 am

Do you even know what a LoR is? What possible basis would have have to recommend you?

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KremeCheez
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby KremeCheez » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:23 am

HITeacher2 wrote:Do you even know what a LoR is? What possible basis would have have to recommend you?


He, at a minimum, knows I was academically successful and we certainly had enough conversation to make a judgment on my general demeanor and ability to speak in a reasonably articulate manner. He appreciated my support of his son in his endeavors...

I guess it would really come down to a personal favor and a question of "why not"?

psm11
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby psm11 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:29 am

KremeCheez wrote:A brief background:
My college roommate's dad is a partner at O'Melveny in LA. He is frequently "news-worthy" and his name would be instantaneously recognized by any AdComm.
During UG I had fairly regular contact with him, whether going out to group dinners, playing golf, or watching his son's competitions. He seemed to like me well enough, although his stoic demeanor made it tough to tell.
I graduated UG over 7 years ago, and have only seen/spoken to him once since.
Furthermore, I have only (1) UG professor that I would expect to remember me and my academic aptitude after 7 years and thus write me a legit LoR.
I do not have any LoR candidates from my professional life that I feel would be a positive in my application package.

My questions:
1) Would a LoR from someone like this be a significant "plus" relative to generic LoRs from UG professors who "might" remember me and/or from my current boss(es) who, while would certainly wholeheartedly "recommend" me, aren't anything special.
2) Would you anticipate someone like this would be willing to write a LoR for me, despite the fact that we don't have ongoing communication and he is only familiar with me personally (not scholastically)?
3) If nothing else - he'd probably have his secretary put together something generic for me...would this end up being counter-productive?



I think he would. All of my LORs came from attorneys and judges that I was acquaintances with but didn't interact with on a regular basis. Most of them just had me make an outline of my strengths, academic record, extracurricular, and etc. The would use that as a template and then fill in the rest with, to be quite honest, made up stories to sound like they had a lot of interaction with me. Most of them are very busy and, like you said, probably had their secretary do it.

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acrossthelake
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:46 am

http://www.law.nyu.edu/admissions/jdadm ... /index.htm

What do you look for in recommendation letters? Does it help to have a recommendation from a famous or important person?

NYU: As far as letters from VIPs – usually I appreciate these because I am able to add the signatures to my autograph collection that I will sell some day on ebay when I am ready to retire. Seriously, letters from VIPs have a positive impact only if the writer shows that the candidate supervised the candidate’s work in some professional setting.

Columbia: I completely agree with Dean Kleinrock, especially regarding the autographs. Recommendation letters present a unique opportunity for a candidate to provide independent verification of his/her intellectual and other abilities by a third party and, as such, are most useful when written by people who have been in a position to evaluate the candidate’s work, whether academic or professional.

Michigan: Somewhere along the line, someone told me it was wrong to sell the autographs, and I now realize I have I have wasted a golden opportunity. When we get a recommendation letter from someone who is famous, we will often communicate nicely with the letter writer in a way that goes above and beyond how we communicate with the rest of our recommendation letter writers—but getting a letter from someone famous does not result in a different outcome for the person being recommended.

Chicago:So I have to agree with my colleagues that a letter from the famous person is just helpful if they know your capabilities and work performance or if one collects autographs!

Yale: As for important people, we can tell when the VIP writing on your behalf is doing it as a courtesy, and when they really know you personally – usually the former letter is short and perfunctory, and the latter is longer and more details (and signed in actual ink as opposed to a stamp). But even when the letter is personal, I would say the only time such a letter has carried any weight is when the person is an alum of our law school and has compared the applicant specifically to the type of people we normally admit. In other words, a detailed letter from former President Bill Clinton which says, “Jane is one of the most impressive people I have ever met and is easily the equal of any of the classmates I had when I was a student at Yale Law School,” will likely carry some weight. (NOTE: I’ve never gotten such a letter from President Clinton.) So unless the VIP went to Yale, s/he knows you extremely well (preferably in an academic or professional capacity, rather than as a family friend), and was impressed enough by you to write an over-the-top letter, don’t bother.

Stanford: Letters from famous people? The only thing that matters to me is how well someone knows the applicant and whether they can add something substantive to the review process. We’ve all got some mighty fine autograph collections, but many of those letters have value only in the signature and not in what was actually written.






sarahh
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby sarahh » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:27 am

The name of the LOR writer matters much less than what they say about you. It should be from someone who knows you in an academic or professional capacity. Since you have been working for seven years, schools may wonder why you don't have a letter from someone you worked with. I think no professional letter is worse than an average professional letter. If you can't get a supervisor to write it, is there anyone else you work with/have worked with you can get one from?

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KremeCheez
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby KremeCheez » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:41 am

Thanks for the input. While I'm sure I can get LoRs from my boss(es) - I worry that their poor writing skills would reflect poorly on me. Would it be acceptable to ask someone in middle management (a virtual hierarchical pier) to write a recommendation rather than one of my true bosses?
Am I over thinking this?

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TTH
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby TTH » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:57 am

KremeCheez wrote:Thanks for the input. While I'm sure I can get LoRs from my boss(es) - I worry that their poor writing skills would reflect poorly on me. Would it be acceptable to ask someone in middle management (a virtual hierarchical pier) to write a recommendation rather than one of my true bosses?
Am I over thinking this?


You want people who have been in the position to evaluate your work product. A peer recommendation is a little dicey, and if there are any professors with whom you worked closely, try to find one to write a letter.

but the short answer is yes, you're overthinking it. LoRs, like everything else that isn't LSAT/GPA, is a small piece of the pie.

sarahh
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby sarahh » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:56 pm

KremeCheez wrote:Thanks for the input. While I'm sure I can get LoRs from my boss(es) - I worry that their poor writing skills would reflect poorly on me. Would it be acceptable to ask someone in middle management (a virtual hierarchical pier) to write a recommendation rather than one of my true bosses?
Am I over thinking this?

I think a LOR from a supervisor is better if you can get it. I don't see why their poor writing skills is a reflection on you. But if you feel like the LOR will be riddled with errors, and they know they have poor writing, you can offer to edit it.

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Samara
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Re: LoR from BigLaw Superstar?

Postby Samara » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:12 pm

KremeCheez wrote:Thanks for the input. While I'm sure I can get LoRs from my boss(es) - I worry that their poor writing skills would reflect poorly on me. Would it be acceptable to ask someone in middle management (a virtual hierarchical pier) to write a recommendation rather than one of my true bosses?
Am I over thinking this?

Do you work at a shipyard? :wink:

Yes, you're overthinking it. Get the letter from the person that knows your work the best and can speak to it most favorably. Surely their writing skills aren't so poor that they can't communicate how pleased they are with your work.




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