Getting LOR from Professors

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Getting LOR from Professors

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:54 pm

In general, what does it take to get a LOR from a professor? Is getting an A enough? Or do you have to have to be visiting them in their office hours fairly often? I'm not the best at coming up with what to talk about in these visits so any advice in that regard would be helpful as well.

c3pO4
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Re: Getting LOR from Professors

Postby c3pO4 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:In general, what does it take to get a LOR from a professor? Is getting an A enough? Or do you have to have to be visiting them in their office hours fairly often? I'm not the best at coming up with what to talk about in these visits so any advice in that regard would be helpful as well.


Professors expect to be asked for recs. Most profs already have templates and don't mind writing them. In my experience, it depends on the prof. You can get a B- and if you participate in class and the prof likes you, can still get a good rec. IMO getting a rec from a class where you got a B is actually better. After all, if you got an A, they already know you did well in that class. Some profs might prefer to write you a rec if you visit office hours a lot, but I've never encountered that.

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kalvano
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Re: Getting LOR from Professors

Postby kalvano » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:06 am

I just went through this. I picked two professors whose class I did well in (A and A-), and I am taking another class with one of them again this semester. I would say the grade is important, but so is your level of participation in class. One of the classes was Crim Pro for me, and it was a smaller class and everyone talked and debated a lot. So I think the professor got a better sense of people in the class from that. Also, office visits are important. I visited at least a couple times with each professor over the course of the semester. It allows the professor to be a little more personal.

As to what to talk about, whatever you want. Questions about the class, about the professor's path from law school to being a professor, their thoughts on what's available to you. Most of my professors have been genuinely nice people with a desire to help out students, so if you just want to ask their advice on career choices, you can probably pull an hour-long office visit out of that.

Some other stuff to remember:

1) Make sure it's an actual professor and not an adjunct. I have no factual basis for this, but I can't imagine an adjunct rec looks as good as a fully-tenured professor.

2) I would say make sure it's a professor whose class you were actually interested in...they can sort of sense that. Doing well in the class is all well and good, but if you had one class in which you never spoke, never visited the professor, but made an A in it versus a class where you were very active and talked a lot and interested in the material, but got a B+ or A- in, go with the second latter class.

3) Part of a professor's job is LOR's. They won't mind writing them for you if they feel you deserve one, so don't be nervous about asking. I just sent an email asking for an office visit, and told them I was interested in a possible post-graduate clerkship, and wanted to discuss a possible LOR and what their policies were. Worked out fine.

c3pO4
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Re: Getting LOR from Professors

Postby c3pO4 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:08 am

kalvano wrote:I just went through this. I picked two professors whose class I did well in (A and A-), and I am taking another class with one of them again this semester. I would say the grade is important, but so is your level of participation in class. One of the classes was Crim Pro for me, and it was a smaller class and everyone talked and debated a lot. So I think the professor got a better sense of people in the class from that. Also, office visits are important. I visited at least a couple times with each professor over the course of the semester. It allows the professor to be a little more personal.

As to what to talk about, whatever you want. Questions about the class, about the professor's path from law school to being a professor, their thoughts on what's available to you. Most of my professors have been genuinely nice people with a desire to help out students, so if you just want to ask their advice on career choices, you can probably pull an hour-long office visit out of that.

Some other stuff to remember:

1) Make sure it's an actual professor and not an adjunct. I have no factual basis for this, but I can't imagine an adjunct rec looks as good as a fully-tenured professor.

2) I would say make sure it's a professor whose class you were actually interested in...they can sort of sense that. Doing well in the class is all well and good, but if you had one class in which you never spoke, never visited the professor, but made an A in it versus a class where you were very active and talked a lot and interested in the material, but got a B+ or A- in, go with the second latter class.

3) Part of a professor's job is LOR's. They won't mind writing them for you if they feel you deserve one, so don't be nervous about asking. I just sent an email asking for an office visit, and told them I was interested in a possible post-graduate clerkship, and wanted to discuss a possible LOR and what their policies were. Worked out fine.


What's the knock on adjuncts? Just curious. Some adjuncts have been teaching 1 class per year or semester for decades. If the adjunct is famous in their field and a partner at a biglaw firm, that would look pretty solid, I'd think.

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kalvano
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Re: Getting LOR from Professors

Postby kalvano » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:12 am

c3pO4 wrote:What's the knock on adjuncts? Just curious. Some adjuncts have been teaching 1 class per year or semester for decades. If the adjunct is famous in their field and a partner at a biglaw firm, that would look pretty solid, I'd think.



I would think so as well, and that may be a different story, but one of the professors I asked wanted to see my transcripts, and asked about a couple of other classes and such. When I told him why I hadn't asked one professor for an LOR (big 1L class in which I said literally nothing all year), he also mentioned the professor is an adjunct as if it were something negative.

So, as I said, no factual basis, just a perception I got that perhaps adjuncts were not as good an LOR as a full professor. If G.T.L. Rev. or someone else has more specific, contradictory information, then by all means disregard my thoughts on the matter.




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