Too many recommendations? Forum

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Too many recommendations?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:59 am

Embarassment of riches, I know, but I have 5 recommenders who I think will write pretty high-quality recommendations. One of them would be a little/moderately weaker than than the other 5, I think, though I still think strong. Should I include all five? Or leave off the weaker one? I also was thinking about asking a sixth, that would be on that same level. Is that too many recommenders? Thanks so much!

nixy

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by nixy » Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:54 am

I don’t see any reason at all to include more recommendations than a judge asks for. Obviously if any of your recommenders has connections to any of the judges you apply to, you want to benefit, but I find it hard to believe that you have 5 (or 6) recommenders who all have connections to all the judges you’re applying to. So if a judge asks for three letters, and they’re all going to be excellent letters but not from someone personally known to the judge, there is no point in having 5 excellent letters over 3 excellent letters.

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:16 am

I had a successful application cycle submitting five letters. They were sufficiently differentiated (they weren't all letters from professors at my law school), and I had good reason to think they were all strong. But if you suspect one of your letters would be weaker than the others, I wouldn't submit it. One less glowing letter tends to stand out in an application packet.

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:40 am

I think more than 3 or maybe 4 would be weird tbh

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:15 am

I can't imagine 5 recommendations being substantially different enough to make a positive difference, and I can see people (both clerks and the judge) being annoyed at someone who submitted more documents than were requested. Honestly the most important thing is to have someone call and talk to the judge about you directly. If they don't have that level of relationship with the judge and need to write instead, then they should be one of your three. If none of your recommenders have a relationship with the judge, I don't see the benefit at all to extra recommendations. One or two truly excellent recommendations from well-respected (by the judge) people is substantially better than any number of additional recommendations. At the end of the day, all the reasonably competitive candidates have great recommendations and I have never seen it make a difference unless there was a personal call or the recommender was someone truly unusual (like if you worked pre-law school in a very high profile political office and then spent time there again during law school and the letter spoke both to your legal acumen and their depth of experience with you prior to law school).

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nixy

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by nixy » Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:59 am

I’m sure there are great candidates who submit more letters than requested and do get hired. It’s not so much that I think it’s going to tank an otherwise strong application as that I think it’s completely unnecessary and a waste of time, and will make you stand out in a negative way. (“Why does this person think they need to prove they have this many people willing to write letters?”) If you’re a remarkable enough candidate that you have 5 or 6 people begging to sing your praises, that’s going to be clear from all your other application materials.

I also absolutely agree that a call from a recommender is way more valuable than adding letters.

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:34 pm

I also wouldn’t recommend submitting more than three. You can submit your three best letters, and then ask one of your (non-writing) professors to call the judge on your behalf. That’s what I did! And while you do not have access to what is in your five letters, I’d recommend asking your clerkship office which of the 5 they’d submit (assuming they have access to them) if you really don’t know which is best/your recommenders have already written them.

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Re: Too many recommendations?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:34 pm
I also wouldn’t recommend submitting more than three. You can submit your three best letters, and then ask one of your (non-writing) professors to call the judge on your behalf. That’s what I did! And while you do not have access to what is in your five letters, I’d recommend asking your clerkship office which of the 5 they’d submit (assuming they have access to them) if you really don’t know which is best/your recommenders have already written them.
Bingo. Calls make the difference, anyway. Or at least they did for me.

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