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ProfReader last won the day on September 22 2016

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  1. Competitive moot - not selected: forget about litigation?

    This is largely based on cost. The report from my school's moot committee showed that it is very expensive to send students to moots, as they generally involve travel. A lot of money gets spent on very few students and I'm not sure that I am in favour of that. I once voted for our school not to increase the number of moots that we participate in for that reason. I would, however, perhaps be in favour of the organization of more local moots rather than national ones, if there was sufficient cost savings. Similarly, you can't have trial advocacy courses get too large and offering a whole other section of such courses is expensive and there may not be enough demand for another section.
  2. Competitive moot - not selected: forget about litigation?

    Fair enough. I don't doubt that there are issues at times. My comments were more general and were meant to discourage a few anecdotes from becoming widespread beliefs that politics play a large role in moot selection at most schools.
  3. Competitive moot - not selected: forget about litigation?

    Without speaking to any specific school, I can speak about what goes on in my experience. Of our moot committee, only about half of the members even teach first year students, so I'm not sure how the committee would be all that swayed by the reputations of students that they don't know. They would really only have what is before them to go on. And even in terms of the people who are on the committee that do know first year students, all I could really see them doing is maybe pointing out that a student they knew underperformed during the moot selection process. What more could they really say? I'm not saying that there has never been an issue at any school ever, but I really don't think this is a prevalent issue.
  4. Looking for advice on LORs

    I don't disbelieve that you found someone who would want to meet in person. My comment that "who likes meetings" was a bit off-the-cuff and wasn't meant to suggest that every single person wouldn't want to meet in person, but that the vast majority would not want to meet in person. That's why I think the best course of action is to ask them by email and then offer to meet in person. This allows the referee to pick whether they want to meet or not. I'm not sure how you would have a basis to judge if letters are better after an in-person meeting. Sure, they might've mentioned something you said during the meeting, but that doesn't necessarily result in a stronger letter. I've seen letters as an admissions committee member, some of which specifically mention having met in person and others where it was unlikely (because the professor is on sabbatical or because the student is no longer in the same city as the professor), and I don't think it seems to make much of a difference. The difference comes down to the relationship that the two had before the letter was requested and to the letter writing style of the professor. I completely agree with Trew that students overthink this...who to ask, how to ask them, what supplementary material to provide, etc., given how little letters generally matter.
  5. Looking for advice on LORs

    I doubt that it varies between people. Who likes meetings? Unless it is one of my absolute favourite students, I don't really want to take time out to meet with someone for something that can be easily done over email, especially since the meeting always ends with a request to send the details for the letter by email. And lots of people travel to lots of conferences and work from home lots during the summer, making a meeting request around this time sometimes inconvenient. You can convey that same sense of respect by making the request by email and offering meet in person if the referee would like more details or would like to discuss things further.
  6. Looking for advice on LORs

    Just ask by email. It is annoying to meet someone in person when all they want is a reference letter.
  7. Looking for advice on LORs

    Even if you think of her as an academic mentor, that isn't how I would view her letter if I were sitting on admissions. Others people may have different opinions--I think my impression is coloured in part by the relationships that people I know have with their nannies. References play such a small role for the most part that I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about this.
  8. Looking for advice on LORs

    You need to follow the instructions for the schools that you are applying to. Some will require 2 academic references (you definitely shouldn't use grad students for this) and some will strongly prefer it, in which case you should still do the 2 academic references in my opinion. Personally, I would never use someone I was a nanny for as a reference. Unlike a traditional employer, where your relationship is entirely professional and appropriately distant, to me, I would see a nanny's relationship with an employer as too personal.
  9. Yeah, this doesn't make sense to me either and I've done lots of undergrad teaching. For an upper year undergrad class that is graded on the basis of papers and longer essay questions on exams, you don't really have to adjust the grades because you can assign grades in a way that adheres to something resembling a curve (i.e. the middle of the pack ones get a B and go from there). However, in a class that relies on multiple choice questions, the class average might end up a bit high or a bit low and require adjusting.
  10. Although I am thankfully no longer doing admissions, I have in the past. First, your references aren't likely as "outstanding" as you think. Everyone things their letters are fantastic, but it often isn't the case. I don't think I've ever read a letter that I would describe as "outstanding" for anything other than a graduate program. However, that is neither here nor there and is just a stupid pet peeve of mine on this site where everyone talks about how great their letters are with no real way of knowing (even if they've actually read the letter, they wouldn't know it is great without reading a bunch of letters written for other students). The real piece of advice that I wanted to give you is that if I saw a very long list of unrelated ECs like you have, I would be inclined to think (rightly or wrongly) that you were doing them to get into school and not because you are especially committed or passionate about any of them. So if there is something on that list that you have a more extended involvement with or are passionate about, I would pursue that one (as opposed to being casually involved with many). Also, on my personal statement, I definitely wouldn't emphasize the quantity of ECs that you have been involved with like you did in your post (i.e. "a variety", "including but not limited to").
  11. I don't think that schools are transparent enough about their curves for this to be credible. Also, there is likely variation across the curves used by different faculties at some schools. I also have no idea where you got your rankings from. Even though I would definitely be against ranking by difficulty in the way that you have, I would certainly not have ranked them as you did. And I've actually taught at least 1 course at 3 of the schools on your list.
  12. But some of the schools that may seem "harder" because they are letting in stronger applicants have sometimes also been those with the worst reputations for grade inflation, so in some cases, it may all balance out.
  13. To 1Ls asking for feedback on their grades

    I have seen the transcripts of many students at the schools that I've worked at including those applying for RA positions (a bit of a mixed bag in terms of grades), those applying for appellate (including SCC) clerkships (which are among the top grades), and those that I saw while a member of the awards committee at one school (which are generally among the top grades, with the exception of certain awards that are geared more towards community service or having come from a particular background). I've never seen all As. I've seen mostly As, but never all As. In the interest of providing concrete information but making this totally anonymous, I pulled up the transcript of a student who received a desirable appellate clerkship and was among the top 3 in his/her class a few years ago and the breakdown of grades from 1L and 2L included about 80% As and 20% Bs.
  14. I see that the above poster deleted his/her tweet. It said that I must work at Ottawa or really care about this topic. It also said that I claimed that the "only" consideration that went into allocating credits was course content, which I didn't say, but also isn't far from the truth. It also reiterated a belief that somehow Mallet's teaching abilities are linked to the number of credits. In any event, here was my original response to the deleted tweet: I don't care that much about this particular topic or uOttawa, I care about misinformation. I didn't say "only". Also, it's my understanding that the small groups don't just do exams, but also do assignments, which would explain the difference in credits. If that is indeed true, it would support my point that credits are based on the content covered. I don't see how any of that relates to your argument that Mallet's course is worth less because she is a bad professor.
  15. Even if courses are weighted by importance (which isn't true, the amount of credit is based more on the amount of content covered), I'm not sure how importance and Melanie not being a good professor are connected. I'm sure that you are correct that the faculty is aware if students have complained directly to them, but I am fairly certain that members of the administration don't peruse Rate My Prof reviews. They may not even read student reviews (that varies by school). Her research isn't bringing in much money (also, it's not like the school directly takes a cut of research funds or anything...any benefit is more in the way of reputation and the like). She may be the only one who actually wants to teach that class. Apart from research and teaching (in that order generally), the other thing that law schools care about is contribution to the faculty (referred to as "service"). She may be contributing to the faculty by sitting on committees, chairing committees, etc.