LOR packet question

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malleus discentium
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:30 am

LOR packet question

Postby malleus discentium » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:37 pm

When I meet with my professors to talk about the LORs I'm planning to give them a packet of information comprising:

1/ The LOR form. I'll also tell them I can have the form emailed to them if they'd rather have it that way and that they can also upload the form online instead of mailing it.

2/ A copy of all work I did in the classes with them.

3/ A copy of my PS, transcript and resume.

4/ A list of attributes I think I demonstrated in their class (and thus that they can personally vouch for) that would be good elements to include in a LOR.

5/ Copies of information on how to write a good LOR for law school.

Here are my questions:
1/ Am I forgetting anything that I need to include for them?
2/ Is each of these an appropriate thing to include? Particularly #4: is this a common thing to bring up and if so what is a good way to go about phrasing it?
3/ What are some web pages with very good advice for them on how to write a strong law school LOR?
4/ Finally, the waiver. I checked yes to the LSDAS waiver, obviously. But as I understand it, that does not mean that I am legally or ethically forbidden from seeing and commenting the letter in any stage of its being written, it just means that once sent I do not have the right to demand to see it from the school. If this is correct, what are the general practices about seeing a letter before it's submitted? Is it unethical to see any of the drafts and comment on it? http://www.top-law-schools.com/letters- ... ation.html This suggests that it is perfectly okay; is it correct? I want to make sure that I understand correctly so that I can assure the professors that the waiver does not prohibit my seeing the LOR.
5/ I'm asking all my professors to have them submitted to the LSAC by Oct. 5, when I take the LSAT. Is this early enough, if I plan to send out applications pretty much as soon as I get my score in late October?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: LOR packet question

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:52 pm

I would not include #4. If they ask you about what you think should be in the letter, you can bring it up, but I wouldn't volunteer this. You coud maybe volunteer something about what your goals were for the semester ("I took the class to improve my writing/strengthen my knowledge of X/hone my analytical skills, so that was what I focused on in my work"), but I wouldn't go beyond that.

Nor would I give them information/advice on how to write a good LOR for law school. This is part of a professor's job and they should know what they're doing. I think offering this comes across as presumptuous. Again, if the prof asks you what you think law schools are looking for, you could recommend this stuff, but don't volunteer it. (Also, I don't think such web pages really exist.)

Finally, I don't think there's anything unethical about seeing your recommender's letter. However, I don't think you can ask for this. Some professors will say, "Sure, I'm happy to recommend you, but I don't have a lot of time - draft a letter for me that I can work with." If that happens, you obviously have huge input (however, the prof may or may not show you the final version of what they send after you give them the draft). Some profs will give you a copy of their own volition. But some professors feel strongly about confidentiality of letters and would find it inappropriate to show it to you. Again, here you need to follow the professor's lead. (And do NOT ask to comment on drafts.)

Keep in mind that while it is part of a prof's job to write LORs, you're making a request of them and at some level they're doing you a favor by agreeing to write for you. I really don't think you can micromanage the process quite as much as you want to do here - the rest of the information you want to provide will be extremely helpful and I think is as far as you can go.

(Full disclosure: I used to write LORs for students and I would have been fairly put-out by getting suggestions on how to write the letter or requests to see it, especially to comment on drafts, and in fact, I never did get any of those things.)

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