Page 1 of 1

question regarding recommendation letter

Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:40 am
by gabriella97
Hi TLS fellows, I'm wondering whether it is gonna help my application a lot if I get a recommendation letter from a Harvard law professor. I took two courses at HLS last semester and got honors for both of them. I'm considering asking one of them to write a recommendation letter for me. I'm just not sure whether it's a wise move conducive to my application prospect. Any insight will be deeply appreciated.

Re: question regarding recommendation letter

Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 8:00 am
by loomstate
maybe if you're targeting hls, but otherwise stick to whichever LORs will be the best. perhaps you can submit this letter specifically to hls and use a different general letter for the other schools?

Re: question regarding recommendation letter

Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 2:13 pm
by 2014
If you have a real bond with them the letters would probably be better as they can speak to your abilities in relation to other law students, but a good letter from anyone else would trump a form letter from a HLS professor.

Re: question regarding recommendation letter

Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:03 pm
by AntipodeanPhil
gabriella97 wrote:Hi TLS fellows, I'm wondering whether it is gonna help my application a lot if I get a recommendation letter from a Harvard law professor. I took two courses at HLS last semester and got honors for both of them. I'm considering asking one of them to write a recommendation letter for me. I'm just not sure whether it's a wise move conducive to my application prospect. Any insight will be deeply appreciated.
This is a twist on a question that's commonly asked here.

For LORs, the status of letter writer isn't what important - admissions staff frequently and consistently say that. What matters is how well the person is able to assess your academic ability, along with what he or she says about you (of course).

So, getting a letter from someone at Harvard isn't going to help you.

That said, I suspect the fact that he or she is a law professor might help you to some degree, since admissions staff want to know that you're going to be successful at law school. Also, you don't hear this much regarding law school admissions, but for admissions to other grad programs it can be very, very helpful if a someone at the grad program personally knows one of your letter writers. When I applied to humanities grad programs a few years back, I was only accepted at schools where someone personally knew one of my letter writers. Similar things happened to a couple of my friends in the sciences. Unfortunately, law school admissions decisions are primarily made by professional admissions staff, not professors, but at least a few of the top schools send some files to professors for review (and Yale has professors make the final decision).

Still, since you've only taken one class with each professor, it would be best to get two letters from professors who have known you better, and then perhaps use this as a third letter.

Re: question regarding recommendation letter

Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:27 pm
by Nova
gabriella97 wrote:Hi TLS fellows, I'm wondering whether it is gonna help my application a lot if I get a recommendation letter from a Harvard law professor.
No.