Re: LOR. How important is it...

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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facile princeps
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:51 pm

Re: LOR. How important is it...

Postby facile princeps » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:58 pm

for your recommender(s) to 'know' you?

I transferred from one undergrad institution (after more than 2 years break) to the next (current). As a result, i currently don't have any professors/instructors that i did more than one semester with.

I participate a lot in classroom discussions, but it so happens that the courses that usually spark these types of discussions are taught by adjunct instructors and not the seasoned professors. They end up being the instructors that i interact with the most. When i ask them for LORs, they're more than willing, but they suggest i should get them from more 'respectable' professors because it will 'carry more weight' in the law school app process. The courses taught by these very accomplished professors (the ones they recommend) tend to be the courses conducted in lecture halls with 100+ class sizes.

It's hard to be remembered in huge classes and all i have are my grades (all good FWIW). I've emailed a couple of these professors, but i didn't ask for LORs. I've already scheduled to meet with them to discuss my plans for law school, and i plan on asking them for a LOR near the end of our little discussion.

Is it very important that your recommenders know you? Do law schools actually expect your professors to? It's bothering me that i don't think i'll be able to get one of those 'strong' LORs that i see people often bragging about during their app cycles.

Concerned :(

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soj
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Re: LOR. How important is it...

Postby soj » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:00 pm

It's better to get your letters written by adjuncts who know you than by tenured profs who don't.

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facile princeps
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Re: LOR. How important is it...

Postby facile princeps » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:07 pm

soj wrote:It's better to get your letters written by adjuncts who know you than by tenured profs who don't.

I was thinking the same thing. I have two different philosophy adjuncts and we've had some awesome classroom discussions. I believe i impressed (my academic qualities) upon them far more than i have on tenured profs. I've even discussed law school prep with one (he has an LLM from CLS). I don't even think any of the tenured profs know my name, tbh.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: LOR. How important is it...

Postby JDizzle2015 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:36 pm

You should use the profs with whom you engaged throughout the semester. Just make sure that when they asked you to consider using more "respectable" profs, it wasn't a soft "no" to your LoR request.

FWIW, I had a visiting faculty member write one of my LoRs (he has since returned to his primary university) and I'm fairly certain it didn't hurt me. I think it's just important to find professors you have built rapport with to write your letters. Their standing/title at your university is a trivial consideration at best.

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facile princeps
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Re: LOR. How important is it...

Postby facile princeps » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:47 pm

JDizzle2015 wrote:You should use the profs with whom you engaged throughout the semester. Just make sure that when they asked you to consider using more "respectable" profs, it wasn't a soft "no" to your LoR request.

FWIW, I had a visiting faculty member write one of my LoRs (he has since returned to his primary university) and I'm fairly certain it didn't hurt me. I think it's just important to find professors you have built rapport with to write your letters. Their standing/title at your university is a trivial consideration at best.

I'm sure they're willing to write me LORs; they told me they'd still write it if i needed them to. In fact, one had already written me a LOR for a scholarship app a year ago, and we've discussed extensively the app process and prospects of law school (he has an LLM from CLS). Another has worked with me a great deal on finalizing my PS. She spent at least a week going back and forth with daily emails offering carefully thought out suggestions, and an offer to discuss my plans in person whenever i'm ready.

I'll take your (and soj's) advice. These adjuncts are the only faculty members i think are capable of writing honest LORs for me. The tenured profs would more than likely give me generic LORs.

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Yardbird
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Re: LOR. How important is it...

Postby Yardbird » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:35 pm

My recommendations were both from non-tenured professors, one who just recently left my university for a tenure-track professorship at another. It was more important for me to get recommendations from individuals who knew me well. The one who is still at my undergrad I took two law classes with (through the business school: intro to business law & law and ethics) and the other one class (a history of ethics class) with multiple meetings for coffee/lunch for 2.5 years before he wrote my letter.

I could have gotten a recommendation from a world-famous philosopher who teaches at my undergrad or one from a professor in the school of law at my university whom I took a class with. Neither knew me as well nor did they want to take the effort to get to know me as well as the two I kept in contact with

[Edit] Just a note, I am applying this cycle - I don't know what effects my decision will have, but I'm assuming positive since I know the recommendations they wrote are both stellar.




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