Is it ever appropriate to send more than 3 LoRs?

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Which LoRs?

Replace 1L/RA
1
9%
Replace 2L elective/TA
1
9%
Replace 3L seminar
2
18%
Send 4 LoRs
7
64%
 
Total votes: 11

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Is it ever appropriate to send more than 3 LoRs?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 20, 2019 3:09 pm

Alumni clerkship applicant. I currently have letters of recommendation from three professors (1L professor I also RAed for as a 2L; 2L elective professor I TAed for; 3L seminar professor I received highest grade in class).

Because I have work experience, some judges ask that I also provide a letter from someone at my firm. I can get this letter, but I'm not sure which of my previous letters it should replace, or if I should send my applications with four letters. I assume all four letters are equally strong (although based on slightly different contexts).

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Re: Is it ever appropriate to send more than 3 LoRs?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 20, 2019 3:17 pm

I sent four letters. Received many interviews. Seemed to have no effect on my prospects.

Reviewed many clerkship applications in multiple chambers. Seemed to have no effect on the applicants’ prospects.

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HillandHollow

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Re: Is it ever appropriate to send more than 3 LoRs?

Postby HillandHollow » Mon May 20, 2019 5:37 pm

Send four, unless you have reason to believe that a given judge has a strict three-letters-only policy. In that case, cut the 3L letter, and then if it is not reflected on your transcript (CALI award or whatever), maybe just note the high grade in your cover letter.

Barrred

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Re: Is it ever appropriate to send more than 3 LoRs?

Postby Barrred » Mon May 20, 2019 6:35 pm

HillandHollow wrote:Send four, unless you have reason to believe that a given judge has a strict three-letters-only policy. In that case, cut the 3L letter, and then if it is not reflected on your transcript (CALI award or whatever), maybe just note the high grade in your cover letter.

I agree with this, except I wouldn't cut the 3L letter, because its more recent and reliably strong. Its very unlikely that a prof writes a lukewarm rec letter for the student that got the top grade in their class, but I have seen numerous luke-warm (or even bad) letters from RA/TA professors (e.g., "So-and-so was a diligent RA and a great guy, but he was underwhelming when I taught him in class"). If I really had to, i'd lose the 1L or 2L prof who gave me the worst grade. If you got A's in both, i'd probably lose the 1L prof.

Edited to add: If you do need to cut one, you might also factor in whether any of the three profs are "high profile" (former SCOTUS clerks, big names in their area of law, name recognition in your market) or have connections to the judges/courts to which you are applying.

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HillandHollow

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Re: Is it ever appropriate to send more than 3 LoRs?

Postby HillandHollow » Tue May 21, 2019 9:14 am

In reality, it is hard--without reading the actual letters--to know which one to cut. If ALL you have with that 3L professor letter is the high grade, then that is all the letter is going to say. We would get letters like that often, where it's basically one short paragraph that talks about how well you did in one single class, but that also shows the professor doesn't know anything else about you. Those letters were useless for our purposes, because they did not tell us anything we didn't know already by looking at your transcript.

If, however, you do have a good connection with that 3L professor, and you think they will be able to write about something more than *just* the grade, it may be worth keeping, as suggested by the person above me.


ETA: it may also matter what topic each of these classes was on. If they are relevant topics, and you did well/TAed them, then that has some weight to it. But if it's some cheeseball elective like "Law and the music of Drake" or wtfever, drop it.



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