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asking a former employee for a letter of recommendation

mngldoohairtaimngldoohairtai Core Member
edited October 2021 in Law School Admissions 103 karma

I wanted to pick everyone's brain about whether or not this would be a good idea.

I am considering asking a former employee of mine that I hired, trained, and supervised for over 2 years for a letter of recommendation. Assume that this individual has the potential to write a solid letter, free of errors in syntax, grammar and spelling. I no longer work with them, and am not connected to them in any way shape or form other than my previous experience as their boss.

I have of course seen countless mentions of getting LORs from former professors, and employers. I have never heard anyone mention getting an LOR from a former employee. I am in a situation where asking for a letter from a former professor is pretty much out of the question. I graduated 6 years ago, and never had the same professor for more than one class. I worked in the day, and went to school at night, had mostly adjunct professors, and really didn't get to know any of them (law school was not in my plans back then). I am sure I'll be able to get a letter or two from former supervisors without any problems. I can also get a letter from a coworker who is a practicing attorney.

The way I see it, a former employee (who has no reason to make me look good) would be able to provide insight into certain aspects of my abilities that my former bosses would not have seen. They could presumably talk about (among other things) my leadership skills, my understanding of complex policy, and my ability to relate said policy to them in a way that was easily digestible.

So what does everyone think? Is it a good idea to ask a former employee for an LOR? Why or why not?

Asking for an LOR from a former employee
  1. Good idea?7 votes
    1. yes
    2. No


  • emmorensemmorens Core Member
    edited October 2021 1470 karma

    IMO - I don't think it matters (too much!) who the person is, so long as they can write a genuine and compelling LOR for you that is relevant to the qualities which would make you a successful law student. I also submitted out of the ordinary LOR's, one was a client of mine (I am a freelance creative, so didn't really have a boss to write me one!)

    I think an employee could speak to a lot of your qualities in an honest way, that a boss couldn't.

  • sarakimmelsarakimmel Member
    1488 karma

    The power dynamic goes the wrong way here. A former employee might rely on you for a recommendation for future employment, making any recommendation they write you potentially suspect. A coworker, client or employer/supervisor will read much better. The fact that you have an attorney coworker, who uniquely understands the qualities necessary to succeed in law school, will fare much better.

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