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LoR Question

josephkimjosephkim Alum Member

Hello all. I am intending to apply this upcoming cycle, and I was conflicted on who to ask for my LoR.

For context, I decided to apply to law school after graduating college, and I am now 2 years out of college. I did not intend to pursue further education, so I do not have too many professors I had close relationships with. Furthermore, I studied biostatistics and computer science, which are both very unrelated to law, and I currently work as a software developer. Being a STEM major, I often found myself in huge lectures with little face time with professors.

My question is who would be the best people to ask for LoRs? The relationships I have with my professors translate very little to a good law school candidate. I completed an undergraduate thesis, so I had an advisor I collaborated with, but our work was strictly technical. I have a couple of superiors at work I could ask, but again, the work was mostly technical.

Comments

  • Matt SorrMatt Sorr Monthly Member
    edited July 2022 1804 karma

    I'd ask whichever professor/teacher/instructor that you were the closest to for a letter. Even if you don't end up using it, it can't hurt to have one or two letters on hand from former teachers. From my understanding, law schools typically prefer at least one letter from a former instructor. And remember, the person writing your letter by no means has to be a professor. It could be a former grad student, PhD student, or lab instructor. The title of the person matters far less than the content of the letter.

    Additionally, I'd at least ask whichever supervisor/superior you were closest to for a letter. If you've been working for two years, I'd imagine most schools would like to see at least one letter from that period. If you really feel that you don't have someone from your professional or academic life to ask, you could possibly get a letter from an advisor/leader you've had in a club or extracurricular activity to write you a letter. I'm sure it would be a bit less orthodox, but it's better than not having a letter or having a letter from someone who doesn't know you at all.

    Two last things to keep in mind that should cheer you up a bit: first, in my experience, people are typically willing to write letters for you as long as you know them a little. If someone truly doesn't know you (like a professor that you never met who's class you took with two hundred people), it's quite possible they will turn you down. If they even know you a bit, however, they'll likely be willing to work with you. People understand that asking for a letter can be a bit awkward and the vast majority of people you'd ask for a letter have had to ask for numerous letters in their life. Second, if somebody agrees to write you a letter, you can always meet with them to go over your resume, go over any projects/assignments you worked on with them, refresh their mind about assignments you aced in their class, refresh their mind about times you spoke with them in office hours, etc. Letter writers love to have fodder to work with, so they typically love to meet with you before writing the letter.

    I'm sure everything will work out for you. Good luck with the journey!

  • josephkimjosephkim Alum Member
    edited July 2022 33 karma

    Thanks so much @"Matt Sorr"

  • Matt SorrMatt Sorr Monthly Member
    1804 karma

    @josephkim Yes of course! I'm not an admissions advisor, however, so if you could get the opinion of one of them it would surely hold more weight than mine.

  • Selene SteelmanSelene Steelman Member Admissions Consultant
    1992 karma

    Hi @josephkim . Former admissions officer here. Even if your work with an advisor or professor or supervisor is on a "technical" level in an area seemingly unconnected to law, they could still write compellingly about attractive qualities and skills they observed in their interactions with you and in your work product. What qualities are admissions committees looking for? They might want to know:

    -does he work well with others, can he cooperate and compromise?
    -does he work well under pressure?
    -is he ambitious and purpose driven?
    -is he capable of thorough and deep analysis?
    -does he take pride in his work product?
    -how does he compare to other employees/students the recommender has worked with/taught?

    Your recommenders might find it very helpful if you wrote descriptions of your major accomplishments during the class. The most effective LORs from an admissions perspective are strong, positive, and specific so you should do what is necessary to get the required information to your recommenders. Good luck!

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