how to ask a recommender to make a call? Forum

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how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 11, 2024 9:01 pm

How should we go about asking a recommender to make a call? I'm a little nervous because I already feel like they're doing so much for me, I don't want to seem extra needy. But on the other hand, I know how important a call can be.

Also, I have a list of over 100 judges I'm hoping to apply to; if a recommender agrees to place one or more calls, should I direct them to the judges I'd most like them to call?

Last question--if one of my recommenders isn't a professor (clinical supervisor at the law school), is it still okay for them to call?

Sorry for the noob questions. Thanks for any help you can give!

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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 12:56 pm

My general attitude toward this is to only ask a recommender to make a call after you've already gotten an interview. This will narrow down the pool of judges for the recommender to call and will maximize the effect of the call. You already got the interview on your own, so the call just reinforces the positive evaluation that Chambers already made in selecting your application out of the pile.

The call should then happen shortly before or shortly after the interview. In terms of asking, phrase it like: "Hi Professor. Just wanted to thank you again for writing my a clerkship recommendation. I actually have an interview with Judge [Fill in the Blank] this upcoming Thursday. If it's not too much trouble, it might give me a boost if you called that Judge around that time to reiterate the points you made in your letter. If that's not possible, then absolutely no worries. Thanks again!"

I wouldn't bother with clinical professor calls, unless the clinical professor has a special connection to a specific judge you're targeting. Stick with tenured doctrinal professors. Fairly on unfairly, Judges tend to respect those more.

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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 12:56 pm
My general attitude toward this is to only ask a recommender to make a call after you've already gotten an interview. This will narrow down the pool of judges for the recommender to call and will maximize the effect of the call. You already got the interview on your own, so the call just reinforces the positive evaluation that Chambers already made in selecting your application out of the pile.

The call should then happen shortly before or shortly after the interview. In terms of asking, phrase it like: "Hi Professor. Just wanted to thank you again for writing my a clerkship recommendation. I actually have an interview with Judge [Fill in the Blank] this upcoming Thursday. If it's not too much trouble, it might give me a boost if you called that Judge around that time to reiterate the points you made in your letter. If that's not possible, then absolutely no worries. Thanks again!"

I wouldn't bother with clinical professor calls, unless the clinical professor has a special connection to a specific judge you're targeting. Stick with tenured doctrinal professors. Fairly on unfairly, Judges tend to respect those more.
Interesting. Not OP, but my understanding was that the point of the recommender call was to get your application pulled from the hundreds of other apps the judge might receive. Getting selected for the interview is statistically the hardest part.

Curious what other folks here think.

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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 1:35 pm

Not OP, but a few other related questions to this topic. Thank you OP for starting the thread!

1) Is there a meaningful difference between an email to a judge vs a call to judge?
2) If my professor offers to email, should I ask them to call instead? I suspect my professor offered email instead of call because they don't actually know the judge personally, but still want to help me.
3) Related to question 2, is it weird for a professor to call a judge they don't personally know?

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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 4:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 1:29 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 12:56 pm
My general attitude toward this is to only ask a recommender to make a call after you've already gotten an interview. This will narrow down the pool of judges for the recommender to call and will maximize the effect of the call. You already got the interview on your own, so the call just reinforces the positive evaluation that Chambers already made in selecting your application out of the pile.

The call should then happen shortly before or shortly after the interview. In terms of asking, phrase it like: "Hi Professor. Just wanted to thank you again for writing my a clerkship recommendation. I actually have an interview with Judge [Fill in the Blank] this upcoming Thursday. If it's not too much trouble, it might give me a boost if you called that Judge around that time to reiterate the points you made in your letter. If that's not possible, then absolutely no worries. Thanks again!"

I wouldn't bother with clinical professor calls, unless the clinical professor has a special connection to a specific judge you're targeting. Stick with tenured doctrinal professors. Fairly on unfairly, Judges tend to respect those more.
Interesting. Not OP, but my understanding was that the point of the recommender call was to get your application pulled from the hundreds of other apps the judge might receive. Getting selected for the interview is statistically the hardest part.

Curious what other folks here think.
I agree that the purpose of a recommender call is to get you pulled. My recommender called/emailed (not sure if there's a meaningful difference) in both instances. One such call totally got me an interview I would have otherwise not gotten. I'm not sure how impactful the pre- or post-interview contact was since my performance in the interviews was determinative other whether I was offered.

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Anonymous User
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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 1:35 pm
Not OP, but a few other related questions to this topic. Thank you OP for starting the thread!

1) Is there a meaningful difference between an email to a judge vs a call to judge?
2) If my professor offers to email, should I ask them to call instead? I suspect my professor offered email instead of call because they don't actually know the judge personally, but still want to help me.
3) Related to question 2, is it weird for a professor to call a judge they don't personally know?
1) I don't think so
2) Probably not unless the prof knows the judge
3) Not weird but that is, as you suspected, my guess as to why your prof wanted to email

Anonymous User
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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 5:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 1:29 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 13, 2024 12:56 pm
My general attitude toward this is to only ask a recommender to make a call after you've already gotten an interview. This will narrow down the pool of judges for the recommender to call and will maximize the effect of the call. You already got the interview on your own, so the call just reinforces the positive evaluation that Chambers already made in selecting your application out of the pile.

The call should then happen shortly before or shortly after the interview. In terms of asking, phrase it like: "Hi Professor. Just wanted to thank you again for writing my a clerkship recommendation. I actually have an interview with Judge [Fill in the Blank] this upcoming Thursday. If it's not too much trouble, it might give me a boost if you called that Judge around that time to reiterate the points you made in your letter. If that's not possible, then absolutely no worries. Thanks again!"

I wouldn't bother with clinical professor calls, unless the clinical professor has a special connection to a specific judge you're targeting. Stick with tenured doctrinal professors. Fairly on unfairly, Judges tend to respect those more.
Interesting. Not OP, but my understanding was that the point of the recommender call was to get your application pulled from the hundreds of other apps the judge might receive. Getting selected for the interview is statistically the hardest part.

Curious what other folks here think.
This is my understanding as well. If the judge pulls you from the pile on their own, they’ll already have the letter of rec and if they have any questions they can reach out to the prof themselves. I also don’t think a prof’s input is going to affect how the judge feels after an interview, because that’s going to be based on the applicant’s performance.

That said, no, you can’t really ask a prof to call 100 judges. The thing with a prof making calls is that originally the idea was that you have a recommender prof who is connected and knows judges, and that prof will call up the judges *they know* to recommend you. That’s not likely to be 100 judges, but it’s also likely to carry some weight because the judge knows the prof.

That’s morphed into having profs call up judges they don’t know out of the blue. And if your prof is willing to do that and the judge is willing to take the call, that’s great, take them up on it, but that kind of call carries much less weight when there’s no relationship between the prof and the judge (although if the prof is so famous the judge has heard of/respects them even though they’ve never met that’s probably helpful too).

I mean, if you get an interview without a call and your prof is willing to call and promote you I’m not saying don’t do that, just that I don’t think it’s what people are generally talking about.

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Re: how to ask a recommender to make a call?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2024 5:08 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the thoughtful answers. So in general, I should just be saying something like, "Hi recommender X, here are the 5-10 (?) judges I'm most interested in. If you could give a call, that would be great blah blah..."? Obviously it would be ludicrous to ask them to call 100 judges.

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