Help with Recommendation Letter

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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arkgawilson
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Help with Recommendation Letter

Postby arkgawilson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:05 pm

Hi All!

I have a recommender who has requested that I write my own letter and he will modify it as needed and sign off. This is a JD/PhD Recommender, so I really want this to be strong. Does anyone have any good examples of a rec letter they've received in the past that I could draw ideas and concepts from? Please PM me!

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North
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Re: Help with Recommendation Letter

Postby North » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:25 pm

That's generally an indication that the recommender you've chosen isn't a good one. Is this one of the only professors you can ask/have a relationship with? Go with someone else if you can, write your own letter for a prof only as a last resort.

fluffybunny
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Re: Help with Recommendation Letter

Postby fluffybunny » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:40 pm

North wrote:That's generally an indication that the recommender you've chosen isn't a good one.

That might be true, but it might just mean that this person doesn't know how to write a law school recommendation letter. This is especially likely to be true since you're a prospective joint degree student. When I was applying for joint degree programs, my science-y recommenders seemed totally confused by what they were supposed to say. They'd written a lot of med school letters, but none for law school.

So if this person knows you, likes you and is willing to say nice stuff for you, it might not be a bad choice. Generally speaking, you want them to say that you are smart, hard-working and pleasant and to provide concrete examples of times that you've demonstrated those qualities during your relationship with them.

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arkgawilson
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Re: Help with Recommendation Letter

Postby arkgawilson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:13 pm

fluffybunny wrote:
North wrote:That's generally an indication that the recommender you've chosen isn't a good one.

That might be true, but it might just mean that this person doesn't know how to write a law school recommendation letter. This is especially likely to be true since you're a prospective joint degree student. When I was applying for joint degree programs, my science-y recommenders seemed totally confused by what they were supposed to say. They'd written a lot of med school letters, but none for law school.

So if this person knows you, likes you and is willing to say nice stuff for you, it might not be a bad choice. Generally speaking, you want them to say that you are smart, hard-working and pleasant and to provide concrete examples of times that you've demonstrated those qualities during your relationship with them.



He's a psychologist and an attorney-- I am switching from a doc program in clinical psych to law, so I think his letter is going to be a strong one. My others are exceptionally strong. I was just wondering if anyone had a letter that I could generate ideas from..it's easier when I have something to look at. This community is great...especially for someone who just took the LSAT today!

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North
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Re: Help with Recommendation Letter

Postby North » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:38 pm

arkgawilson wrote:He's a psychologist and an attorney-- I am switching from a doc program in clinical psych to law, so I think his letter is going to be a strong one. My others are exceptionally strong. I was just wondering if anyone had a letter that I could generate ideas from..it's easier when I have something to look at. This community is great...especially for someone who just took the LSAT today!

TLS is awesome. Best thing that ever happened to my career goals. I hope this last attempt to dissuade you doesn't make you think less of us:

That sounds like a great recommendation. Really. But my point is that, if you're going to write most of it yourself, you're forfeiting the strong LOR you thought you were getting from this guy. A strong LOR is one wherein the recommender evaluates the reccomendee within the context of his years of professional and pedagogical experience. If you write the letter, you won't get that evaluation because you don't yet have any of that. Also, adcomms can usually tell when you write your own letter (source: Anna Ivey's book). I recommend that you suggest a compromise to your professor: you provide him all the information he could ever need to write a great law school LOR, and he actually takes the time to write it.

Here's what I'd include in what you give him (I actually did this with my profs):

    • Letter of Introduction explaining what's in the packet of information and thanking him for doing it.
    • Explanation of the degree you're applying for and the career goals informing your pursuit of it (why law).
    • A brief description of your personal back-story
    • Your resume.
    • A detailed description of that law schools look for in an LOR (Here's the source I used.).
    • Writing samples, preferably from his class.




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