Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

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Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 6:26 pm

So here's the situation: I'm starting at a T30 school in the fall. I'd really like to summer in a biglaw firm after 1L (yes, I realize that calling the 1L summer biglaw competition "fierce" might be critically understating things - let's try to ignore that for now). Naturally, I'm looking for an edge. Here's what I've got:

A personal letter of reference from my ex-mother-in-law. Why? She works in billing at a V25 firm and knows the person that does the summer hiring there. So I'm thinking about seeking out this letter and submitting it along with everything else to that firm only.

Terrible idea, right? Or is it? Something tells me not to do it, but really... Isn't getting a LOR from the one person on the face of the planet who has the most grounds to hate you saying something? I'm sure she'd write it - she doesn't necessarily like me, but she does respect me. And it's not like I'm paying my ex alimony, so she's got no vested interest in my income. But I'm worried it might backfire and come off as tacky.

Thoughts?

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Cupidity
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Cupidity » Sat May 14, 2011 6:29 pm

If you aren't black you aren't getting an SA position out of a T30 unless you finish top 3 in your section.

Good luck, but be realistic.

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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 6:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(yes, I realize that calling the 1L summer biglaw competition "fierce" might be critically understating things - let's try to ignore that for now)

Way to not answer the question at all.

dakatz
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby dakatz » Sat May 14, 2011 6:33 pm

This will not matter in the slightest. Unless you are absolute tops in your class or damn close to it, you aren't getting a 1L SA at a T30 school. And if you are tops of your class, you won't need the letter anyway since your grades alone would do the talking. So either way, its pointless.

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Dany
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Dany » Sat May 14, 2011 6:34 pm

This sounds like a terrible idea.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat May 14, 2011 6:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So here's the situation: I'm starting at a T30 school in the fall. I'd really like to summer in a biglaw firm after 1L (yes, I realize that calling the 1L summer biglaw competition "fierce" might be critically understating things - let's try to ignore that for now). Naturally, I'm looking for an edge. Here's what I've got:

A personal letter of reference from my ex-mother-in-law. Why? She works in billing at a V25 firm and knows the person that does the summer hiring there. So I'm thinking about seeking out this letter and submitting it along with everything else to that firm only.

Terrible idea, right? Or is it? Something tells me not to do it, but really... Isn't getting a LOR from the one person on the face of the planet who has the most grounds to hate you saying something? I'm sure she'd write it - she doesn't necessarily like me, but she does respect me. And it's not like I'm paying my ex alimony, so she's got no vested interest in my income. But I'm worried it might backfire and come off as tacky.

Thoughts?


There is no need to do this at all. If your relationship with her is at least cordial, you should reach out to her, tell her you are going to law school, and ask if she has any advice. Keep the conversation going sporadically as good questions occur to you. When late November rolls around, tell her how 1L has gone, and ask her if she has any advice on searching for a 1L summer job. Forward her your resume, and ask her if she could look over it and suggest any changes. At this point, if she likes you, she'll offer to forward your info to the head of recruiting there.

With this approach, whether or not you get a job at her firm, you should get some solid insight and advice to help you along in school and in your career.
Last edited by Aqualibrium on Sat May 14, 2011 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

071816
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby 071816 » Sat May 14, 2011 6:49 pm

Dany wrote:This sounds like a terrible idea.

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Moxie
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Moxie » Sat May 14, 2011 6:59 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:There is no need to do this at all. If your relationship with her is at least cordial, you should reach out to her, tell her you are going to law school, and ask if she has any advice. Keep the conversation going sporadically as good questions occur to you. When late November rolls around, tell her how 1L has gone, and ask her if she has any advice on searching for a 1L summer job. Forward her your resume, and ask her if she could look over it and suggest any changes. At this point, if she likes you, she'll offer to forward your info to the head of recruiting there.

With this approach, whether or not you get a job at her firm, you should get some solid insight and advice to help you along in school and in your career.


Yea, I gotta support this over the original idea. If your mother-in-law offers to help by putting you in contact with the V25 partner, then take it, but otherwise it would seem like a bad idea.

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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 7:38 pm

Yeah.. this isnt how it works at all.

I work in a high-level group (corporate strategy) at a fairly large company. Working in this group is a great resume line so we get dozens of people trying to use "personal ties" to get jobs whenever there is an opening.

Basically, the only way it helps is if A) You are recommended by the director of talent acquisition B) You are recommended by a higher up (basically either VP of strategy or the Senior VP of the whole team) or C) You are recommended by the person you are replacing [provided they are leaving on good terms].

For all others, either the recommendation is politely ignored or, if the hiring manager is in a really giving mood, you get a courtesy first round "informational" interview that is really going to get you nowhere.

Basically, unless your resume is already stellar the recommendation will not help at all.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Should I Use A Reference Letter From...?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat May 14, 2011 7:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yeah.. this isnt how it works at all.

I work in a high-level group (corporate strategy) at a fairly large company. Working in this group is a great resume line so we get dozens of people trying to use "personal ties" to get jobs whenever there is an opening.

Basically, the only way it helps is if A) You are recommended by the director of talent acquisition B) You are recommended by a higher up (basically either VP of strategy or the Senior VP of the whole team) or C) You are recommended by the person you are replacing [provided they are leaving on good terms].

For all others, either the recommendation is politely ignored or, if the hiring manager is in a really giving mood, you get a courtesy first round "informational" interview that is really going to get you nowhere.

Basically, unless your resume is already stellar the recommendation will not help at all.


Legal hiring is a bit different. It is hit or miss, but it is definitely worth it to try to push your info through, generally regardless of who in the organizational structure is doing the pushing (though a recommendation letter is not the way to go about doing it). Getting your resume forwarded to recruiting by a member of the firm 1) Gets you past the mass of emailed and CSO submitted resumes that a firm reviews 2) Gives you some assurance that your application will actually be read by recruiting 3) Gets you at least an initial interview. Even if the interview doesn't pan out, the experience is worth it. Interviews can be hard to come by for anyone but the top candidates ITE, so every opportunity to get some practice/get a stab at a job is worth it. Even for top candidates, that small bump that comes with having someone vouch for you could put you over the edge when it comes to evaluating your interview performance.

The long running conversation I suggested in my above email is the "networking" that is so often referenced as a way to get jobs in the legal industry. For many people, it is THE way to get jobs in the legal industry. It may not turn into a job, you may not get your info sent to recruiting, but I promise the conversation you have will give you some good insights on what firms are looking for and how to present that to them.

I'd say that OP is at least thinking along the right lines... (although again, I wouldn't do a letter of rec...no one is gonna read that shit, and it'll just be really random of you to pop up and ask your ex-M-I-L to write you a letter of rec)




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