How to get in good with profs?

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gooneegoogoo
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:58 pm

How to get in good with profs?

Postby gooneegoogoo » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:53 pm

1L here. I hear all about getting in good with profs for letters of rec and stuff, and was wondering how the hell you do that. I went to office hours a few times, but only because I genuinely had a question about content. Didnt really talk to them to talk, which I think would be really awkward and obvious.

I see others kissing ass all the time (trying to talk to Profs after class/at school events) and they look ridiculous (to me), but do they have it right?

johndhi
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:25 am

Re: How to get in good with profs?

Postby johndhi » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:58 pm

hi,

IN MY OPINION

no, classmates who talk to professor after class about stuff other than class, in front of other students, talking about personal life, are not doing it right.

classmates who participate actively in class with insightful questions who aren't trying to impress anyone and who actively take note of whether they're raising their hand too much are doing it right. ask questions about stuff after class if he doesn't seem too busy too. not every class.

in office hours, mix between personal stuff and questions from class. this depends on the professor - I've had some who I can just lightly bring up career stuff and they launch into awesome stories about their career, thoughts, advice; and others who just kind of answer curtly and I need to have a class question ready to keep things not-awkward.

as for asking questions about your career or whatever, don't do it in a way that demands value from them, but in a way that shows you deeply respect them and are interested in hearing what they have to say. for example, how about questions - what are some general traits of a good exam; do you recommend clerking; can you tell me about your experience clerking on the supreme court/working for the solicitor general/working as a prosecutor/working at firm x; what do you think of the evolution to a big law firm model.

Questions that show you've prepared and have read things on the Internet and elsewhere that indicate your interest in this stuff extends beyond the office you're sitting in.

Not a huge fan of the title "get in good" because it suggests a game. to some extent there's a game, but to the same extent there's a game in getting to know anyone. once you've had a wide-ranging conversation or two you should feel more comfortable asking for a letter of rec. half of asking for a letter of rec is getting YOU to feel comfortable with asking for it, not just their feeling comfortable writing it.

DIG.

good luck.

wildhaggis
Posts: 196
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:47 pm

Re: How to get in good with profs?

Postby wildhaggis » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:03 pm

Get a good grade in the professor's class.

I repeat: get a good grade in the professor's class. This is the most important thing you can do with regard to getting a good recommendation letter from a professor; no amount of well-put questions or advice soliciting can make up for it.

HowdyYall
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Re: How to get in good with profs?

Postby HowdyYall » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:32 pm

what kinds of jobs do you need professor's recs for?

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Gamecubesupreme
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: How to get in good with profs?

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:51 am

HowdyYall wrote:what kinds of jobs do you need professor's recs for?


Federal clerkships.

zomginternets
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:59 pm

Re: How to get in good with profs?

Postby zomginternets » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:00 am

wildhaggis wrote:Get a good grade in the professor's class.

I repeat: get a good grade in the professor's class. This is the most important thing you can do with regard to getting a good recommendation letter from a professor; no amount of well-put questions or advice soliciting can make up for it.


Very much disagree. Class participation, well thought out questions, attending office hours are at least as important as getting a good grade in the class. The person who does this and gets a B+ will get a better rec. than the person who gets an A- (or even an A) and has never said a word to the professor.

The grade itself demonstrates that one knows the class material; letters of recommendation are designed to get a feel for intangibles that aren't reflected in a letter grade (although I admit getting a shitty grade will make it more difficult for a prof to write a stellar rec.).

wildhaggis
Posts: 196
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:47 pm

Re: How to get in good with profs?

Postby wildhaggis » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:18 pm

zomginternets wrote:
wildhaggis wrote:Get a good grade in the professor's class.

I repeat: get a good grade in the professor's class. This is the most important thing you can do with regard to getting a good recommendation letter from a professor; no amount of well-put questions or advice soliciting can make up for it.


Very much disagree. Class participation, well thought out questions, attending office hours are at least as important as getting a good grade in the class. The person who does this and gets a B+ will get a better rec. than the person who gets an A- (or even an A) and has never said a word to the professor.

The grade itself demonstrates that one knows the class material; letters of recommendation are designed to get a feel for intangibles that aren't reflected in a letter grade (although I admit getting a shitty grade will make it more difficult for a prof to write a stellar rec.).

I never said that those are worthless, and I don't think that they are. However, suggesting that asking questions in class and attending office hours is equal or greater to getting a good grade in that class is just ridiculous, and poor advice.

OP, the answer to this is simple: use your common sense. Don't be so invisible that the professor forgets you exist, but keep your priorities straight. Your number one priority should be getting a good grade.

Often, law students are too busy (or the student-to-professor ratio is too large) to build a good rapport or a personal relationship with a professor; they understand this. In fact, I've heard several professors say that they are most comfortable writing a positive recommendation for a student who has performed well in their class. Hence the general advice to ask for letters of recommendation from professors in whose classes you've recieved the best grades.

The "intangibles" that the previous poster mentions is not gleaned through the professor's analysis of your questions during class or office hours. Instead, they'll ask for your resume, a writing sample, and maybe a short one-on-one meeting.




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