my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
ppl123
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:02 pm

my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby ppl123 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:24 pm

my employer who is a lawyer asked me to write an initial draft of my letter.... does anyone have any advice about this? it's pretty awkward to have to "write myself up"....

User avatar
NoodleyOne
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby NoodleyOne » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:31 pm

Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby dingbat » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:35 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

How is it illegal?

User avatar
NoodleyOne
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby NoodleyOne » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:42 pm

dingbat wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

How is it illegal?


Talking out of my ass. It's at least unethical.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby dingbat » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:43 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:
dingbat wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

How is it illegal?


Talking out of my ass. It's at least unethical.

Lawyers often ask their employees to write a first draft for them. How is it unethical here?
Presumably, the lawyer will not sign unless he agrees with it.

ppl123
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:02 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby ppl123 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:45 pm

i don't think it is unethical or illegal lol. it's for her to get extra info and for me to give her a basic outline of what i want covered. she is going to completely rewrite it.

anyways, does anyone have any advice about this? i know it is common for profs/employers to ask for this.

User avatar
NoodleyOne
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby NoodleyOne » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:48 pm

I believe most instructions for law schools mention that the applicant should not write their own letters pretty explicitly. Seems like a dumb risk to take. I know my recommenders each asked to see my PS, but as far as writing an actual letter, that seems like a bit much. Anyway, whatever.

ppl123
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:02 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby ppl123 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:54 pm

i appreciate your advice, but i wouldnt agree unless i knew it would be completely re-written... if it makes you feel any better, it's just a point form summary of what i want included.... so unless they want to submit that, it is going to be re-written lol

NoodleyOne wrote:I believe most instructions for law schools mention that the applicant should not write their own letters pretty explicitly. Seems like a dumb risk to take. I know my recommenders each asked to see my PS, but as far as writing an actual letter, that seems like a bit much. Anyway, whatever.

User avatar
minnbills
Posts: 3153
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby minnbills » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:05 pm

I'd try and find a different person to recommend you. If they need you to write first, that's a sign they're either a) lazy or b) don't have much to say about you.

You want someone who can genuinely speak about you. Keep this person in your back pocket but I would find someone else.

I also agree that it is unethical to write your own letter of rec.

User avatar
justonemoregame
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby justonemoregame » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:14 pm

Pretend you are them and write something you would like them to say. It's pretty simple.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby dingbat » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:16 pm

minnbills wrote:I'd try and find a different person to recommend you. If they need you to write first, that's a sign they're either a) lazy or b) don't have much to say about you.

You want someone who can genuinely speak about you. Keep this person in your back pocket but I would find someone else.

I also agree that it is unethical to write your own letter of rec.

or C they're too busy and want you to do some of the leg work

ns2675
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby ns2675 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:29 pm

Actually I think this is a fairly common and accepted practice (i.e., not wrong or unethical), in the working world at least. For instance, I just googled "asking for a letter of recommendation." The second result was How to Ask for a Reference Letter, an article on the Harvard Business Review blog. The author specifically says to provide a template (even if the potential recommender doesn't ask for one):

Provide a Template

It's almost impossible to get a good reference letter from someone if you don't provide the tools necessary for them to actually write a good letter. It's also terribly inconsiderate not to give ample guidance. The last thing anyone wants to do is spend hours or days thinking about and drafting a letter which you yourself could have composed far better and more readily in about half the time.

Providing a template, therefore — an outline, bullet points, or even a fully-baked draft — of what you'd like the reference letter to say is the most effective (not to mention generous and thoughtful) approach to asking for a letter of reference. The goal isn't to put words into your former colleague's mouth or to co-opt her into vouching for you in an untrue or disingenuous manner; it's simply to do some of the work for her and provide all of the pertinent data points that you'd like included in the letter. Moreover, as boastful, bragging or full of yourself you may feel writing your own referral, often people will be even more generous than you will when talking about your skills and contribution to an organization. So go ahead and toot your own horn.


It sounds like this is where your employer is coming from. If I were you, I would write a note highlighting some of the aspects of my employment that I'd like my recommender to touch on in her/his letter.

User avatar
Br3v
Posts: 4174
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby Br3v » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:30 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

User avatar
justonemoregame
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby justonemoregame » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:34 pm

dingbat wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

How is it illegal?

User avatar
JCFindley
Posts: 1283
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:19 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby JCFindley » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:44 pm

dingbat wrote:
minnbills wrote:I'd try and find a different person to recommend you. If they need you to write first, that's a sign they're either a) lazy or b) don't have much to say about you.

You want someone who can genuinely speak about you. Keep this person in your back pocket but I would find someone else.

I also agree that it is unethical to write your own letter of rec.

or C they're too busy and want you to do some of the leg work


justonemoregame wrote:
dingbat wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Don't do it. It's illegal for one, but you're also going to be submitting a lot of writing to law schools, so you run the risk of it being obvious. Just don't.

How is it illegal?


Virtually every performance report or promotion recommendation form I saw written in the Air Force was written by the by the person being evaluated then rewritten by the evaluator..... Same goes for letters of rec.

I would not say publicly to do it or not, but it happens...

Some say it is illegal. Pretty strong term, "illegal." Just curious, is it a felony or misdemeanor?

vzapana
Posts: 530
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:54 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby vzapana » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:02 pm

I'd say it's extremely difficult to write in someone else's voice. Also, if I were an adcomm and realized the letter was co-written by the applicant, I'd certainly take the letter with a grain of salt. Depending on how strong the rest of the application is, that could be problematic.
Last edited by vzapana on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
justonemoregame
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby justonemoregame » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:07 pm

OP, you could outsource this project to a TLS-er. Have someone here write you a sub-initial draft, which you could then approve and submit as an initial draft to your employer.

User avatar
wert3813
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:29 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby wert3813 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:33 pm

.
Last edited by wert3813 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ppl123
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:02 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby ppl123 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:20 pm

thank you, everyone, for your advice... i will make sure to get it in done in a way that no one would find "unethical". that would be the last thing i would want when applying to law school.. lol

User avatar
SaintsTheMetal
Posts: 429
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:08 am

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:22 pm

Best way to do this is to buy an intelligent friend a case of beer in exchange for him to write it for you. Then you can give it an edit, then send it to your recommender and he'll do his edit.

edit: definitely not unethical, lol at some of the sheltered kids on here

mmbt123
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:47 am

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby mmbt123 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:46 pm

I don't think it's illegal. I read Susan Estrich's book, How to Get into Law School (she's a USC law prof) and she had specific advice for this scenario...namely, to think of it as a godsend and get in a draft in a timely manner. I cannot imagine that this scenario is uncommon, esp. for people getting recs from their bosses.

mr.hands
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby mr.hands » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:11 pm

dingbat wrote:
minnbills wrote:I'd try and find a different person to recommend you. If they need you to write first, that's a sign they're either a) lazy or b) don't have much to say about you.

You want someone who can genuinely speak about you. Keep this person in your back pocket but I would find someone else.

I also agree that it is unethical to write your own letter of rec.

or C they're too busy and want you to do some of the leg work


Uh no. Think of it this way, what would a law school say if you emailed them asking this question?

It's not illegal but it is unethical. Don't do it

lawprospie
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:50 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby lawprospie » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:31 pm

Writing drafts of a recommendation in either bulleted or prose form is the standard in management consulting. It's not about laziness. Usually the recommender wants to see your points and view. After reading the draft, the recommender usually writes a recommendation from start. This is also common practice at my undergrad.
Last edited by lawprospie on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby twenty » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:52 pm

I would absolutely write an initial outline, but probably not a draft. Highlight the things you need the recommender to write about. Did you do well? Did you exhibit solid writing/speaking skills? Did you stay after class to help clean up?

As someone who reads comperable-to-LORs (I read performance reviews), it's very, very obvious to me when someone writes their own. If I had 2-3 LORs and a PS/DS, I could be hung over and still figure it out.

criminaltheory
Posts: 147
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:48 pm

Re: my recommender asked me to write initial draft of my letter.

Postby criminaltheory » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:25 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:definitely not unethical, lol at some of the sheltered kids on here




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BobBoblaw, chargers21, l3g@l33s3, muggleclutch, poptart123, Purple Post It Note, shineoncrazydiamond, Yahoo [Bot] and 17 guests