Too many recs?

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ClerkingTom
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Too many recs?

Postby ClerkingTom » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:55 pm

Anyone have insight on how many recs is too many?

I am applying from a T14 school with grades between 10th and 20th percentile for COA clerkships coming out of my school. I have work experience and publications, but am still absolutely counting on recommendations to make me competitive. The problem is, I have five strong, personal recommendations and they're all great. Some shore up different weaknesses in my application, others have amazing credential value, but they're all great.

How big a risk is it to include more recs than a judge asks for or to include them if the judge only asks for references? Any thoughts?

Anonymous User
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:20 am

I would give the judge the requested number and type of recs/references but also ask another recommender who didn't send a letter to make a call for you.

lolwat
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:57 am

What Anon said is good.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:27 am

lolwat wrote:What Anon said is good.

I agree. I just think it looks kind of...over the top? a bit much? to include more LORs than are requested (or include them at all when not requested). I don't know that it would really hurt you, but I would notice it as diverging from the directions. (I don't think listing more than 3 references in a reference list is really a problem, though.)

Oh, and also, I know you say they're all great letters, but I would avoid weighting "amazing credential value" that highly (depending on what you mean by that). Famous recommenders don't have any value in and of themselves, just to the extent that they can speak very specifically and strongly about you in a convincing fashion. The letter from someone unimportant who knows you better is almost always going to trump the less concrete letter from someone important (if the credential is connections to the judge or getting your application noticed because the person was something like the judge's partner in past practice, have that person call on your behalf like Anon suggested).

lolwat
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:29 am

Oh, and also, I know you say they're all great letters, but I would avoid weighting "amazing credential value" that highly (depending on what you mean by that). Famous recommenders don't have any value in and of themselves, just to the extent that they can speak very specifically and strongly about you in a convincing fashion. The letter from someone unimportant who knows you better is almost always going to trump the less concrete letter from someone important (if the credential is connections to the judge or getting your application noticed because the person was something like the judge's partner in past practice, have that person call on your behalf like Anon suggested).


This is true in my experience, but it's also strange in the sense that my CSO and professors I've talked to (so even assuming CSOs are useless, professors that have clerked should know what they're talking about, at least) have almost universally told me to use more "famous" (to the extent any prof from my school is famous, at least) recommenders over, say, non-tenured professors, fellows/visiting professors, and the like. I guess it's really more along the lines of: Famous+Strong Rec > Unimportant+Strong Rec > Famous+Generic Rec > Unimportant+Generic Rec. All else equal.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:15 pm

lolwat wrote:This is true in my experience, but it's also strange in the sense that my CSO and professors I've talked to (so even assuming CSOs are useless, professors that have clerked should know what they're talking about, at least) have almost universally told me to use more "famous" (to the extent any prof from my school is famous, at least) recommenders over, say, non-tenured professors, fellows/visiting professors, and the like. I guess it's really more along the lines of: Famous+Strong Rec > Unimportant+Strong Rec > Famous+Generic Rec > Unimportant+Generic Rec. All else equal.

Yeah, that's true too (I was advised not to use a legal writing prof, since they're not tenured at my school). I suppose it's a balancing thing, weighing all the different factors. (I just wasn't sure what OP meant by "amazing credential value.")

Gofigure
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby Gofigure » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:43 pm

I would guess it would be fine to add one more recommendation than is required before it looks over the top. I don't think of exceeding a requirement as not following directions. But my opinion is baseless and I'm just posting it to bump this thread before I spam judges with my LORs.

Anonymous User
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Re: Too many recs?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:20 am

Personally, I think it matters less if they're "famous" or not than whether they already have a relationship with a given judge. Clinical professors who have consistently recommended candidates a judge has hired and loved will carry more weight than a big name research professor with absolutely no relationship to the judge. Yeah, a rec from Jeremy Waldron is awesome, but my guess is a district court judge in So Cal isn't going to care as much as they'll care about a former clerk who's a clinical professor and who has sent them 3 clerks in the past 5 years.




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