Letter of Recommendation... Help

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

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Letter of Recommendation... Help

Postby Jimlaw123 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:04 pm

To whom it may concern,

I have 3 letters of Recommendation already, but I need a 4th, as I'm reapplying to a couple of schools. I was going to have my mentor write one for me. Is this an issue? (I have worked for him, but not for years on end, but he know's me very well, and is currently helping me through the field I'm in). My other 3 letters are from college professors I excelled at.

How should his letter go? Should I not include it? or what should he avoid, etc..?


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Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 12:29 pm

Re: Letter of Recommendation... Help

Postby cityb101 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:42 am

This really depends on what kind of mentor he is. Personal? Professional? Is he a lawyer? Has he mentored you through a career that is related to law (like he helped you get an internship at the ACLU and he inspired you to become a lawyer) or is he just a nice guy who take you under his wing as a fresh college grad?

Schools like academic letters because they speak to factors that correlate with 1L grades and, accordingly, law school success: ability to read and write, public speaking (to a much lesser extent), follow-through on assignments, exam performance, intellectual curiosity, etc. Can this mentor speak to your writing skills? Hopefully yes. If not, make sure he can hit at least a few of these others. Remember, this is not a character reference that says you're a nice person or an upstanding citizen.


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Re: Letter of Recommendation... Help

Postby Jjbb938483 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:26 pm

Are the other three letters from the first time you applied? I'm not sure why you feel you need a fourth if you already have three good LORs from professors. You could always ask the professors if its okay for you to reuse their letter or if they'd like to write an updated one.

Generally, a letter from a mentor is okay as long as the school doesn't ask for academic LORs. Make sure they focus on your skills that translate into academic success (writing, critical thinking, etc). A mentor writing about personal qualities and job performance may not be as helpful as a professor saying you're a great student.

If you do decide to have your mentor write one, I would make sure they avoid writing something like a character reference that is vague. He needs to explain why he thinks you will do well in law school. If he just writes something that amounts to, "this person is smart and a hard worker," it won't help you much. He needs to explicitly explain how whatever skill he is praising will benefit you as a law student. This is why letters from professors are generally more useful. They know what makes a good student, even if it isn't specific to law. There are many great workers who are smart and ambitious that may not be great students.

I'm certainly no expert and this is just my opinion, but I've read enough about what makes a good LOR to know vague ones aren't beneficial. Good luck!

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