As this academic year limps across the finish line I am reflecting on what I’ve learned, what things I must change, what things that should be apparent but must be made explicit. Today these reflections resulted in articulation of a new principle: The Implied Covenant of Continued Performance. It’s simple. If I write a recommendation for you–for law school, for an academic award, for employment–then you promise to continue to perform at nothing less than the same level as your pre-recommendation performance. To put it another way, you promise not to do anything after I write the recommendation that makes me want to rescind it. You promise to continue to prepare for class, engage with the course material, contribute materially to discussions, research and write to the best of your ability, and act like the type of student you hope I described in the recommendation.
Or, to put it yet another way, you conduct yourself as if you want me to recommend you again.