GatorStudent wrote:I have a very stupid question that I didn't see asked anywhere else: Are recommendations once you get into law school handled differently then undergraduate? I ask because the Navy JAG Student Program application wants us to upload the letters of rec. I know it was usually standard procedure to waive your rights to see letters of rec in undergrad and have the writer send them directly to the interested party. Is it different in law school?
Only one of my undergrad professors insisted that her recommendation for Law School go forward in a sealed envelope. Her point was that the law school admissions board would take it more seriously if they knew that you had never seen it; the undergrad professor could thereby be candid in his/her remarks. At any rate, I know what you are talking about.
Meanwhile, the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy all have application procedures that do not seem to allow for the unseen letter of recommendation. The Army and the Navy require you to scan and upload the letters. The Air Force requires you to hand-off your completed application with letters of recommendation to the SJA you interview with. I suppose in the last instance you could hand the SJA a sealed envelope, which he/she would later open. But that would likely be a bad idea because (1) you don't know what the recommender wrote--why chance it in this job market? and (2) the fact that a letter was "unseen" would probably not matter anyway. Instead, you should just get the letters from your recommender without the sealed envelope. I have never had a professor or anyone else insist on the unseen letter since being in law school.
But I think there is also a take-away from the way that the services handle recommendations. I think they figure that most applicants can find three random people to recommend them. But I think that the letters that would be most persuasive are those from experienced and qualified people who could describe things you actually did and comment on your performance doing those things. Along these lines, more experienced people and more distinguished or lawyerly things described about you will probably lead to a better letter of recommendation. All of this, however, is the opinion of a 3L JAG Applicant with no job.
As long as we are talking about letters of recommendation, I was told two interesting things by Army and Air Force JAGs (about which I will offer no opinion apart from saying they are interesting):
1. Army JAG: "A letter of recommendation from a JAG, no matter what rank, would be good to show you would fit in."
2. AF JAG: Referring to line officers, "If a letter of recommendation is from a Captain (O-3) or below, I wouldn't even bother."