What I am saying is that the famous issue does not play at all. Legacy does, sometimes. I also listened to our pre-law advisor have a converstation with Stanford about a legacy student. He was URM native american, enrolled member of tribe, appointed leader in tribe, and on and on. Pretty impressive. When she asked if it mattered whether or not the kid's dad had gone to stanford they said (very smugly) "Well...did he go to stanford law?" "Yes, of course" "(pause) (sigh) What is his father's name?" So basically T3 schools could care less about any of that. They only want the brightest and best who can demonstrate this on paper without anyone special chiming in.
We have to remember that we are talking about (even though maybe they deserve to be) some of the most self-impressed people in the world. Yale, Harvard, and especially Stanford feel like even a 4.0, 180, school president, URM, ambassador to haiti, published ten times at the age of 20 candidate should thank them on bended knee for even reading their file. I am sure especially these three would take exception with anyone thinking they could be wowed by a letter from a famous person. If that famous person knows the individual very well then it will be the second factor, not the first, that looks good to them.
Again, the dean of admissions from GW said right in front of me that they get over 1,000 LORs annually from senators/congessman and always a dozen or so from the exact same senator (apparently orrin hatch is infamous for this), and there are always some that look identical. They want to hear from someone who knows you. And is qualified to evaluate your capacities as a law student.
davipatr wrote:Deans of admissions do not like these letters. They find them personally insulting, and I have heard several say as much. What you have to consider is that the famous person you can get a letter from is probably hit up for a letter multiple times per years, and at this point has a form letter routinely given out to anyone who wants a recomendation.
I have heard several deans (GW, Georgetown, American, Stanford) say that every year at least a few people send in the exact same letter only with the name changed because their local senator recommended them both. Needless to say this did not help them. Without exception all I have heard from deans and admissions people is that what they really want is someone who can speak to your specific qualifications and characteristics. They trust any professor as much if not much more than any famous person.
ps. (our university has a dean's night each fall and spring where they hold a mock admissions panel to educate people on the process) they also frown on famous people putting in a call unless they already have a personal relationship with the school. Basically they think they are awesome (after all, you applied for consideration at their school) and they don't enjoy having someone else's awesomeness thrown in their face.
GW's dad had already been to Yale.
Are you saying this is true in all cases, or just when the recommender doesn't know the applicant very well? I understand why a generic letter from someone famous would be frowned upon, but I would find it weird if it was still looked down on if the applicant actually has a really good relationship with a recommender who just happened to be famous.