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Out of school for 13 years, help with LOR stuff....

Casey BeeCasey Bee Alum Member
edited September 2016 in General 49 karma
Hi everyone. I'm sure something like this gets posted from time to time, but I want to get the current group's opinion.

I've been out of academia for 13 years, running my own business. My Academic life is long behind me, and the three people I could think of that might write me letters would not remember me in a clear, detailed way.

I have the potential to ask a high-profile politician (who was once mayor of the city that one of the schools I'm applying to is in, and is now in upper level government) who was a regular customer at my restaurant, but he neither knows me academically, or more than a 15 minute chat once a week. I should also point out that he could be viewed as controversial. I don't know if he would say yes or not, but my suspicion is that he would.

I also have a professor in the law department at UofT who was a joint law and philosophy prof, and he taught me in two courses. When he came into my restaurant, he greeted me by name, and introduced me to his guests as one of his former students, but I suspect he saw my name when googling the restaurant.

Two grad students that I did well in both went on to teach, one an associate professor at a community college in Texas, and one at the University of California, San Diego. Again, it's been so long.

Another regular customer is a law professor at Western.

I don't know what would be stronger: old academic references that might be vague and weak (but might not) or non-academic references from strong people that do know me well, but not in 'that' way.

I should mention that I need 3 letters for one of my school choices....

Any advice?


  • desire2learndesire2learn Member
    edited September 2016 1171 karma
    I think the best thing to do would be to ask your academic references if they would be comfortable writing the type of LOR that you are looking for. From the advice I have seen from several reputable sources (including 7sage admissions starter) it is good to ask a potential reference and give them an example (verbal or written) of the type LOR needed for law school and if they do not feel comfortable then thank them and find someone else. I don't know what to tell you though if none of your academic options feel comfortable. Then you would more or less be back to where you are now but at least you would have explored your "preferred" options.
    BTW I am applying and have been out for more than a decade as well but am fortunate to have two professors who remember me well. I wish you the best in finding people who will write amazingly on your behalf!
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