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Should firms ask students for reference letters? (Spliced)

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11 hours ago, adVenture said:

The practice of law is a business and not just academic; there are important soft skills that contribute to someone's success, the big one being your interpersonal and networking skills. Reference letters and references are one way for a firm to get more than a snap shot of your personality and whether you are extroverted or confident enough to be a lawyer who can generate business and be pleasant to work with generally. Form letters from professors are good enough to check application boxes, but I've personally gotten positions upon the strength of references who were willing to aggressively advocate on my behalf. 

A ten minute phone call will do a lot better than a reference letter ever will if this is the concern.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, georgecostanzajr said:

A ten minute phone call will do a lot better than a reference letter ever will if this is the concern.

I'm a junior lawyer. I'm not concerned about checking someone's references. But you're taking an unreasonable position and missing the point. Anyone can put on an act for an interview. A reference, especially one you well know, can speak to how to actually are as a person in a little more detail. Whether that is through a letter or a phone call. Frankly I find it rich that there is such opposition over reference letters when it is not unusual for junior lawyers to have  a starting salary of 100,000+ professional positions where a 6 figure starting salary. This is not some mcjob where you have no responsibility, ethical or otherwise. More information is always better. 

Edited by adVenture
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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, adVenture said:

I'm a junior lawyer. I'm not concerned about checking someone's references. But you're taking an unreasonable position and missing the point. Anyone can put on an act for an interview. A reference, especially one you well know, can speak to how to actually are as a person in a little more detail. Whether that is through a letter or a phone call. Frankly I find it rich that there is such opposition over reference letters when it is not unusual for junior lawyers to have  a starting salary of 100,000+ professional positions where a 6 figure starting salary. This is not some mcjob where you have no responsibility, ethical or otherwise. More information is always better. 

Yeah, because when I submit reference letters I submit the ones that say I spend too much time arguing with strangers who are wrong on the internet :rolleyes:

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, adVenture said:

I'm a junior lawyer. I'm not concerned about checking someone's references. But you're taking an unreasonable position and missing the point. Anyone can put on an act for an interview. A reference, especially one you well know, can speak to how to actually are as a person in a little more detail. Whether that is through a letter or a phone call. Frankly I find it rich that there is such opposition over reference letters when it is not unusual for junior lawyers to have  a starting salary of 100,000+ professional positions where a 6 figure starting salary. This is not some mcjob where you have no responsibility, ethical or otherwise. More information is always better. 

More seriously, I think this is an issue where reasonable people can disagree. I really do. But I don't think you're one of the reasonable people here.

First off, you're arguing in favour of a practice that has been pretty widely shown to be worthless. As far as I can tell, there's absolutely no evidence to suggest that reference letters lead to better hiring outcomes than a simple transcript plus resume in the professional context. If you're going to find things "rich" and say people are being "unreasonable" and "missing the point", perhaps you should consider taking the position that's supported by the science, rather than the one you just so happen to like? 

Second, the idea that more information is always better is patently incorrect. That can be true both generally – in bail hearings, for instance, more information in the form of seeing the accused leads to worse results than a simple review of the documentary evidence – and in the specific example of hiring – studies have shown that removing university names from resumes, for instance, leads to better hires. 

Again, I think reasonable people can disagree here. But if you're going to come into what has thus far actually been an interesting and respectful debate and start acting like your opinion is the only one that makes any sense, you should at least try not to make a fool of yourself in your posts. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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I received a reference letter for a legal assistant position. It was glowing and pretty wordy, especially given that I knew the lawyer that wrote it. I asked him about it - the assistant penned it and he signed it. 

I've also seen references that are glowing and speak to the applicant's vast legal experience in X area of law yet the person couldn't answer how to initiate a family law claim. 

I vastly prefer speaking to the referee than receiving a letter. Contact info plz and thx.

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9 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

More seriously, I think this is an issue where reasonable people can disagree. I really do. But I don't think you're one of the reasonable people here.

First off, you're arguing in favour of a practice that has been pretty widely shown to be worthless. As far as I can tell, there's absolutely no evidence to suggest that reference letters lead to better hiring outcomes than a simple transcript plus resume in the professional context. If you're going to find things "rich" and say people are being "unreasonable" and "missing the point", perhaps you should consider taking the position that's supported by the science, rather than the one you just so happen to like? 

Second, the idea that more information is always better is patently incorrect. That can be true both generally – in bail hearings, for instance, more information in the form of seeing the accused leads to worse results than a simple review of the documentary evidence – and in the specific example of hiring – studies have shown that removing university names from resumes, for instance, leads to better hires. 

Again, I think reasonable people can disagree here. But if you're going to come into what has thus far actually been an interesting and respectful debate and start acting like your opinion is the only one that makes any sense, you should at least try not to make a fool of yourself in your posts. 

I wasn't aware that I could make a fool of myself arguing in favour of a minor administrative requirement like a reference letter or reference which has wide industry acceptance notwithstanding the grumblings of academics with their own agendas. Anyways I've stated my position and you are free to disagree. I would just question the utility and practicality of your position, given that you are essentially self-selecting yourself out of a substantial plurality of potential positions based on an idealogical position, whether right or wrong. 

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3 minutes ago, adVenture said:

I wasn't aware that I could make a fool of myself arguing in favour of a minor administrative requirement like a reference letter or reference which has wide industry acceptance notwithstanding the grumblings of academics with their own agendas. Anyways I've stated my position and you are free to disagree. I would just question the utility and practicality of your position, given that you are essentially self-selecting yourself out of a substantial plurality of potential positions based on an idealogical position, whether right or wrong. 

Oh don’t worry about me. For some reason the people that say they want reference letters keep offering me interviews and positions, notwithstanding me not sending them reference letters

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