Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

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Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 24, 2013 5:49 pm

So one of my profs clerked for a (now retired) SC justice. He also did an Art III clerkship. He agreed to write a letter of rec for me, but here's the thing - I am pretty sure he doesn't like me. I did well in his class, and sent him my resume so I am sure he will produce a pretty generic letter at best. He kinda just made a general announcement to the class and I took him up on the offer. I attend a T2 have "good" grades and I am on law review. I wonder if his letter will carry any strength, based on his clerkship record, or would it be better for me to get a "stronger" letter of rec from a prof with less clout but knows me better?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 24, 2013 6:17 pm

First of all, I think students worry too much that profs who write letters for them don't "like" them. It's not about whether they like you, it's about whether you did good work. If the prof didn't think they could write a strong letter for you, they wouldn't agree to do so (or they shouldn't, anyway - can't say it never happens, but generally it doesn't).

Now, whether the letter is generic is totally different from whether the prof dislikes you. A generic letter isn't very helpful. If he's willing to call judges for you based on his connections from being a SCOTUS clerk, or if he can write you a letter that says, this student is easily equal to my colleagues at SCOTUS, that would be helpful. It doesn't sound like those are the case here, though. The general rule is a really good strong letter from someone who knows you really well is better than a generic letter from a big name. (Of course, unless you're swimming in LORs, you could always use both...)


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Re: Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

Postby lolwat » Sat May 25, 2013 1:07 am

I basically agree with everything already said.

That said, one of my more well-written recommendations is from a professor that I took a single class with and spoke to maybe twice outside of class (and once to ask if he would be willing to write me a rec). There's just no real way to know, although it's certainly safer to have someone that knows you really well write strong recs for you.


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Re: Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

Postby esqesq » Sat May 25, 2013 4:24 am

I can't imagine that he's going to mention the clerkship in his letter.


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Re: Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

Postby GertrudePerkins » Sat May 25, 2013 9:42 am

Even if the judges know that he clerked for SCOTUS -- is he going to say that in the letter? -- I'm pretty doubtful that'll have much of an impact on judges. Lots and lots of law professors (and thus clerkship recommenders) clerked for SCOTUS, and lots and lots of clerkship applicants are not meaningfully helped by that fact.


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Re: Letter of Rec from former Supreme Court Clerk

Postby RodneyRuxin » Sat May 25, 2013 10:19 am

If I were a judge, I would probably have not memorized every previous SCOTUS clerk's name. A. Nony Mouse's advice is on point.

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