Did you do really well during your first semester as a 1L? Do you suspect you’re in the Top 20%, or even Top 5% of your class? If so, you are probably considering whether to transfer to a higher ranked law school. (Other 1Ls may want to transfer simply because they are miserable where they are, usually because they chose to attend a law school far from home, and should be looking at more lateral transfer options.)
5 Tips/Tricks for Law School Transfer:
1. As a transfer applicant, your LSAT score and GPA are no longer the main ingredients considered by schools because the very best indicator of how you will perform in law school is your actual performance in law school. This is why your law school grades are the most important part of your transfer applications. Because every school operates on a slightly different curve with students at somewhat different levels of ability, your ranking within your class matters.
2. Your current law school also matters. The #1 person at a Top 100 law school still cannot compete with the #5 person at a Top 30 school when both are applying for entrance to a Top 14.
3. You will need to have at least one law school professor willing to vouch for your abilities. And some law school professors will, as a matter of policy, refuse to help anyone who is trying to leave the law school because they want to keep their superstars.
4. It’s probably a great time to be a transfer applicant. Since law school applications are down 38% over the previous two years, law schools will probably be forced to accept smaller entering classes. They have to make up those tuition dollars somewhere. That’s where you come in!
5. It’s important to write a personal statement that addresses your reasons for wanting to transfer without bashing your current law school. Focus on ties to the area, certain programs or opportunities available at the new law school that you would not have access to where you are, and career aspirations that you may not have realized when deciding where to attend as a 1L.
P.S. In 2010, I wrote a very popular blog post about transferring law schools. Please keep in mind that I can’t answer questions about your chances of acceptance to certain schools within the blog format. If I did, I would never get any work done! Thanks for understanding!