Thinking about Transferring Law Schools?

This post is geared toward current 1Ls thinking about applying to other schools for their 2L year, but it is also a good thing for 0Ls to keep in mind as they choose where to attend this year.

Here is a very detailed analysis by one person who transferred from Loyola-LA to Boalt – it has a lot of details but I haven’t checked these facts so read it with a grain of salt.

Previous Posts About Transferring:

Here are previous posts of mine on the subject of transferring law schools; I’ve personally responded to hundreds of comments on these posts, so be sure to read through them to see if your question is answered!

Thinking About Transferring as a 2L?:
The Empirical Legal Studies blog offers some great insights into what law schools are thinking when it comes to transfers.

A great option: Applying as a Transfer Student:
I go through some of my best success stories about transferring. Be sure to check out the 177 comments!

More on Transferring Law Schools: The Bluebook Legal blog breaks down the transfer student information. (Beware law school policies discouraging transfers!)

If you’re planning to apply to transfer after your 1L year and you’re looking for help, please contact me. I offer a special Transfer Student version of my “Works” package.

690 thoughts on “Thinking about Transferring Law Schools?

  1. Renee R. on said:

    Hi Anne,

    I was addmitted to Charlotte School of Law AAMPLE program. I had a lower undergraduate GPA. I hear tons of bad reviews about Charlotte School of Law. However, they gave me a chance to obtain my law school degree. Is it easy to transfer out of this law school? Would obtaining high scholastics at Charlotte School of Law be enough?

  2. Michelle on said:

    Hi Anne,
    I am a 1L at a middle Tier 1 school (50th-60th range) and received a 3.4GPA my first semester. I got a 162 on my LSAT. I went to undergrad in Washington DC and worked there for two years after. I would love to end up back in DC, but I have been denied from GULC and GW twice already in separate admissions cycles and I’m not sure the jump or risk is worth it particularly since I have a full tuition scholarship right now and would be incurring a large debt at either school. What do you think my chances are like for GW and GULC and do you think the jump would be worth it in terms of higher prestige of school vs. over $100k in debt? Thanks.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Michelle,
      This is a tough question. You have a full scholarship so it would be hard to justify the debt. It’s hard to believe that, if you hustled, you couldn’t find opportunities for yourself with NO debt from a perfectly respectably school.

  3. Selina on said:

    Hi,
    I need some help with my transfer application.
    I attended T4 last year, finished 1L with top 31% and took a year off for personal reasons, and now I’d like to go back to school but to NY or CA (would like to focus more in IP and entertainment media law).

    I was told that top 31% would not be in a good position to transfer, but i’d like to give it a shot. I don’t even know which school is likely to accept me, and I am not sure how to start my application.

    Please any suggests are welcome.

    Thank you!

  4. Hi Ann,

    I just finished my first year at California Western and I finished in the Top 8% of my class. Obviously, Cal Western is a T4. I am considering trying to transfer. What are your thoughts on possible transfer options in Southern California?

    Thanks,
    Josh

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Josh, I think there is room to transfer up. I don’t create schools lists for people on the blog format because I just don’t have enough information about you, but I think it’s worth trying the Loyola, USD, UCI, Hastings, Davis, range of schools.

  5. Concerned on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I just finished my 1L year at Cal Western and am interested in transferring to USD. However, I am so terrified about submitting a transcript request to my school and dealing with the the potentially upsetting reaction they will have that I don’t know if I can pull the trigger. I am so worried about it, in fact, that I don’t feel comfortable leaving my first name on this thread since I’m the only one with my name in my class and could be identified.

    I have made a couple really fantastic relationships with professors who will probably be my mentors for life IF I stay at Cal Western. I am worried that would all change if I transfer and do not know if a transfer would be worth it because of these people. The administration also knows me very well and has been quite giving with time and resources, and it would be a challenge starting over in that regard at a new school. Still, there is much at Cal Western that is not a fit for me, and I am concerned about my long term career graduating an unranked school. There is the possibility that I will eventually want to practice outside CA.

    Thanks for any input or insights you might have!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Concerned,
      You happen to be talking about one of my favorite law schools (I used to be director of admissions there more than 10 years ago, and my husband is a graduate). I know what you mean about the faculty – there are some fabulous, caring individuals there. You probably won’t find that anywhere else. But if you really feel it’s best for you to transfer, I would have an honest talk with a professor whom you trust. They are used to this problem, and maybe they will react positively by helping you find scholarship funding or otherwise enticing you to stay. Or, they might say to you, “You’re right, if you have the opportunity, you should pursue it” and then you wouldn’t feel nearly so guilty : )

      • Concerned on said:

        Thanks very much, Ann! I saw that you worked at CWSL so I knew you would be particularly helpful! I really appreciate your input. My reasons for thinking it would be “best” for me to transfer are that I’m terribly concerned about coming from an unranked school, especially when I know my top-20 undergrad helped me get into this law school with a generous scholarship and secured my summer placement. I would like to have an honest talk with one of the professors, as you suggest. My biggest worry about that is I will insult him or the school if I don’t choose my words just right. I would be beside myself if I lost this mentor so it’s really tricky. Do you think if I say I want to be candid and this is a hard topic to discuss but I’d really like an honest opinion, he would be open? I hinted at the issue earlier this week, and he said I’d be just fine in Southern California and could certainly find a job to suit the lifestyle I wanted. Right now I have a partial scholarship, am ranked in the top 25% of my class, and have various other things that make me stand out at CWSL. Do you have any insight on what’s more valuable–being a shining star at an unranked school or being middle of the pack at tier 2? Thanks in advance for entertaining these follow-ups if you can and being so kind! Glad to hear you and your husband both had a great CWSL experience!

  6. Hello,

    It’s really great of you to help people out like this. Coming from BU, any idea what sort of 1L GPA is necessary to be considered as a transfer at Harvard?

  7. Terrified on said:

    Hello,

    I just finished my first year of law school at Touro Law Center, in NY. My first semester I finished in the top 43% with a 3.1. However, I did get one C grade that semester. This semesters grades, I am still waiting on one more class to be released, but I just received another C in a different course. I am interested in transferring out of Touro to another NY Law School. I fear that my 2 c’s and my gpa, which is currently at a 3.1 still, will not get me admission anywhere else and I would be stuck at my current school that I don’t feel comfortable in. Any advice that I could get would be greatly appreciated.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Terrified, I am so sorry I wasn’t able to respond sooner. Please forgive me. Did you end up applying to transfer to other NY schools? If so, how did things turn out?

  8. Smotts on said:

    Hello,

    I have just finished my 1L year at SUNY Buffalo with a 3.3 gpa. What would my chances of getting into a better school, something tier 1, be? My undergrad gpa was a 2.5 and my LSAT was 157.

    Also, if I wanted to transfer to a worse school, Syracuse, for personal reasons, would it be doable?

    Thanks!

  9. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for creating this page! I’ve used a lot of the advice you’ve given other people on this site for my transfer applications. I currently have a 3.88 at USD Law, and I am ranked 4/206 (top 1.94%). Do you think I am a competitive applicant for Berkeley? Most people are telling me I don’t have a shot, but I would still like to hear your input. I submitted an application despite what others have been telling me.

    Thanks!

  10. Elizabeth on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I recently applied to Fordham as a transfer student, and I’m curious about my chances. It has been hard to find much information. I’m currently attending a low-TTT school in the NYC area and I am ranked in the top 10 in my class (top 5%) with around a 3.6 GPA. I booked a class, have a handful of A and A-‘s, and a LOR from a teacher.

    What do you think? I wish my was higher (it took a hit Spring semester), but I’m still ranked pretty high, so hoping it won’t hurt me too much.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Elizabeth, please forgive me for not seeing this comment earlier. Can you catch me up on whether you got in? I’ve had clients from Touro transfer to GW and other very good schools.

  11. Andrea on said:

    Hi Ann,
    I am trying to decide whether to transfer or stay at my current school. I just finished my first year at Creighton and was top 35%. I am also doing a negotiation and dispute resolution masters. I have been accepted to Houston’s Law Center where my significant other lives. I would still have the opportunity to do fall oci and the journal write-on competition. I also can continue with the masters at Creighton at the same time. However I would be giving up a scholarship to pay full price, which would be approximately $20k more a year. Is transferring the best option or should I stay put? Thanks for your advice.

  12. Hello,

    I recently decided to put out a last minute transfer application from Pace Law School to Hofstra and St. Johns. I finished my 1L with a 2.76 and want to know if you think it is too late to apply, what my chances are if Hofstra accepts a “C” from a transfer, and if I do apply but decide I want to stay at Pace, Pace can not reconsider my attendance, correct?

  13. Hello! I do not know if this thread is open.

    I would like to ask your opinion on two NY law schools. I go to touro law and got into st.johns and brooklyn. Which do you think is a better option? I have a 3.6 gpa after my 1L year. Thanks!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Ryan, I really can’t answer this question for you because it’s a personal decision, not a clear cut question.

  14. Hi Ann,

    I’m attending John Marshall (Chicago) in a few weeks and was wondering if you’ve ever worked with people that have transferred out of this school?

    Would you happen to know if transferring to a T2 from this law school is doable?

    Thanks!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Penny, it’s possible, but I always say you should never PLAN to transfer. If you wouldn’t be happy graduating from John Marshall, you shouldn’t start law school there. Especially if you didn’t give your law school application process the attention it deserved the first time around (but I don’t know if this is the case with you, of course).

  15. Hello Ann:

    So I just transferred to my second choice law school, after being waitlisted and then rejected by my first choice. While I’m definitely at a very good school, I am really bummed out about getting so close to being accepted to my first choice.

    I was just wondering…is this it? My top choice offers spring transfers and since I just switched to part-time, I’d still be eligible for a transfer (I wouldn’t be past their credit threshold come Jan 2015). Is this a possible way in? Or could I take a break spring semester and re-apply for a fall 2015 transfer with my 1L + 2L fall grades? Are these at all options or is going to my first choice law school not a possibility anymore?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Kay, you should ask your first choice law school but it seems you could ask them whether you would still be considered… I doubt it though…

  16. Maserati1897 on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I currently attend a 100+ law school in Texas and I am trying to transfer to University of Texas School of Law. I got top 10%, but very close to the top 5% marker, with a 3.667 my first semester but my undergrad GPA was around 3.1 and my LSAT was a 159. Do I have any chance of getting into UT Law or should I be shooting for something lower in the rankings?

    Thank you very much!

  17. Hello Ann,

    I am at the top 10% of my 1L class this semester at GGU Law in California and I am thinking of transferring law schools next fall. I am interested in IP law in particular. I have contacted schools like Santa Clara and Georgetown and they both told me that successful applicants are between 15% (Georgetown) to 25% (Santa Clara) of their class at the end of the 1L year. Assuming at stay at being in the top 10% do you think I might have a change at a Top 20 school?

  18. Matthew on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’ma Florida native, currently in my second semester at Florida Coastal I had a tough first semester here with many family problems throughout. I have a 1.8 GPA(3 C’s 1B and having failed Torts I). Are my chances at transferring completely gone? If I can transfer anywhere, where? I’m very interested in sports and entertainment law, if that helps at all.

    Thank you for your time.

  19. Andrew Colman on said:

    Hey Ann,

    I’m a first year student at New York Law School. I finished my first semester with a 3.51. Assuming I were to get the same GPA my second semester, which places me in the top 20%, do you think it would be possible to transfer into Columbia, NYU (i know both of those are long shots) but more importantly Fordham or any of top 25 schools regardless of location. Would really love some guidance on this.
    Thanks!!

    • Hi Andrew,
      It’s worth trying but the top 5 schools are unlikely – Fordham and t-25 are more worth the effort to see what happens. If you’re not on a scholarship at NYLS, it might be worth it to transfer to a Cardozo or Brooklyn.

  20. Hi Ann,

    I finished my first year at Touro in Long Island. Right now I have a 2.84, still waiting for two more grades to come in 70 miles away from Touro and looking to transfer to somewhere closer like NYLS. I’ve already submitted applications to NYLS, Rutgers Newark, Seton Hall, and Cardozo (I know the last three schools are all long shots…). In my personal statement, I made a note of my daily commute and how it has really strained my grades, and my family. I’m just looking for a school that is closer to my home and my family… Do you think I have a chance of getting into any of these schools? Especially NYLS?

    Thank you so much.

  21. Hi Ann,

    I just finished my 1L in John Marshall Law School in Chicago (Tier 4) and got accepted into Cardozo, Santa Clara, American Uni, Uni. of Houston (all are Tier 4 schools) as a transfer student. I am deciding among Cardozo, Santa Clara and staying with JMLS with more scholarship. I am interested in trademark and copyright law and realized that NY and CA have bigger market on soft IP, and as a Chinese student, I enjoy living in a diverse city. However, if I transfer, I might lost my chance to do law review and have to much more money to the new school. I am a very adaptable person. I would highly appreciate if you could shed any lights on the transfer issues. Thank you!

    Alida

  22. Hello Ann,

    I am currently a 1L at North Carolina Central University School of Law (T4) located in Durham, NC. I am interested in transferring to Wake Forest University School of Law (T1) in Winston Salem, NC. With grades after the first year in the top 20% percent, what are my chances?

      • Hi Ann, I finished in the top 35%. It is my understanding that individual letter grades and GPA matters much less than ones final class rank at the end of the year. If I can finish strong this semester and crack the top 30% to top 25% range by the end of 1L year, do you think Wake Forest would take me? So enjoy reading your advice!

        -Tyler

      • Hi Ann,

        My first semester grades put me in the top 35% range. I understand that class rank, rather than GPA, is primarily what schools look for in transfer students. If I can finish strong this semester and crack the top 30%–top 25%, do you think WF would take me?

  23. Elizabeth on said:

    Hi Ann,
    I didn’t get accepted to my #1 UMD, however, I did get into Baltimore. In your opinion is it feasible to go to Baltimore and transfer to UMD after 1L if I do well…since its T3 to T1 does that lessen my chances?

  24. Hello Ann,

    Thank you for setting up such a great blog. There has been barely such feedback on the transferring stats and process.

    I just finished my first semester at NYLS with a 3.16GPA. My undergrad gap was a 3.7 so I was disappointed with my first semester grades. However, I learned a lot from the semester and hope to get my GPA up. As per this semesters’ grades, I think I may be ranked around top 30%-35%. I was waitlisted at both Cardozo and St.Johns and were wondering if I should try to transfer? I spoke to admissions at St.Johns and they said there could also be a possibility of a some scholarship if I get my GPA higher this semester.

    Have you had any clients with such transfers to those schools from NYLS?

    Once again, thanks!

  25. Hello Ann,

    I am currently looking at starting a law program at Atlanta John Marshall. I would really like to transfer to the University of San Diego after my first year. Is this transfer realistic?

    Thanks!

  26. Meredith on said:

    Hello Ann,

    I am a 1L at USF wanting to transfer to UT. I am from Texas and have been wanting to go back as soon as possible and am working in Austin this summer. I have a 4.0 (first semester) and am in the top 5%. If I keep my grades up, should I expect to get in?

    Thank you!

  27. Pingback: Byu Scholarship Gpa Cut Off | College Scholarships

  28. Shana on said:

    Hello Ann,
    I am currently a first year student at an entirely unranked school. I did well my first semester and just learned I did even better my second semester. I visited UCLA and told the DOA I was top 15% of my class and I have a long list of involvement and leadership within the law school. She said to apply but recommended I also apply to T2 schools since typically they seek #1 of the class from unranked schools and not just a top percentage. So I applied accordingly and decided to hold off on applying to UCLA pending my grades this semester and applied to a few lower ranked schools and a #20 just to try my luck. Well this week I was accepted to the #20. I was astounded and they went off of my first semester grades only. But I am still really interested in schools with a better locale for international law like UCLA, Georgetown or Columbia. Now I am even thinking of applying Ivy League for transfer. I do not want to deny the acceptance and I only have about a week and a half to decide. I applied to Georgetown around the same time as the #20 and have not heard back. Is it bad practice to contact Georgetown and/or UCLA and say “hey I have this offer and I need to decide ASAP” to kind of put the fire under their butts? I do not want to lose my chances of getting into a school as great as the one I was accepted to, but the location of DC or NY would be better for what I want to do. What are your thoughts?

  29. Dear Ann,

    I’m an older student starting at Seton Hall weekend law this next year. I chose SHU over a higher-ranked full-time school that offered a slightly better scholarship, because it fit my life situation better this year. I am considering whether to stay with them, though or forfeit my deposit and try again for a higher-ranked school next year. I have an Ivy League Ph.D., but my undergrad GPA was low (like 3.o). It annoys me that something so long ago counts more than much more recent GPAs of 3.7 to 4.0. My LSAT was in the low 160s, but I took it without really prepping and could probably do better next year. The other options are to stay all the way through with SHU or to try and transfer to a T14 next year, The transfer option is not a possibility for all schools due to my part-time status, though it would be for GULC and UVA.

    Any advice you can give you be greatly appreciated.

  30. Dear Ann,

    I’m an older student starting at Seton Hall weekend law this next year. I chose SHU over a higher-ranked full-time school that offered a slightly better scholarship, because it fit my life situation better this year. I am considering whether to stay with them, though or forfeit my deposit and try again for a higher-ranked school next year. I have an Ivy League Ph.D., but my undergrad GPA was low (like 3.0). It annoys me that something so long ago counts more than much more recent GPAs of 3.7 to 4.0. My LSAT was in the low 160s, but I took it without really prepping and could probably do better next year. The other options are to stay all the way through with SHU or to try and transfer to a T14 next year, The transfer option is not a possibility for all schools due to my part-time status, though it would be for GULC and UVA.

    Thanks and take care,
    Tom

    • Hi Tom, if you think you can do better on the LSAT and you want T-14, then don’t start law school at Seton Hall. Wait and give this another try. Let me know if I can be of help.

  31. Stacey T3 on said:

    Hi Ann,
    I want to start off by saying you’re amazing! Second: I attend a Tier 3 school in NYC, part-time. I had disastrous first sememster (2.6) and my second semester I earned a (3.1), overall GPA was 2.8 last semester. This Summer will be the official end of my first year in law school. I just finished Summer courses with 3.7, bringing me to a 3.1 overall. I’m in the Top 50% but no other accolades as I work full-time for a Top 20 firm (they do not hire from my school and told me they would not even consider it, sorry!). I received various advice ranging from, “Quit! Leave law school now, you’ll never get a job!” to “Work hard to bring your grades up and network, network, network!” to “Transfer as high as you can go. Take out the loans, it’s better than being unemployed!”. I’m a non-traditional, URM student in my 40s. My goal in obtaining my JD is to become a healthcare attorney involved in policy, compliance. 1)Do you think I it’s best to leave law school at this point? 2) Apply to transfer to another part-time program (looking at DC, NYC, Boston) ? Right now I’m paying out of pocket. or 3) Stay in my current program, bring my grades up and attempt to network for a job?

    • Hi Stacey.
      Thanks for reaching out. I don’t want to tell you to leave law school if you want to be an attorney. Only you can speak to your financial situation and priorities. Look into transferring to a part time program in DC if you’re eligible after another semester of law school.
      I wish you all the best moving forward.

  32. Ann,

    Thank you for all of the time and input you’ve provided over the years! I’m at an unranked school and made a 4.0 first semester. I chose the unranked school so that I could continue working on my startup while also spending time with a family member who was terminally ill. We were acquired for $75MM and now I’m looking to transfer (in hindsight I should have waited to begin law school). I am confident I will maintain the 4.0, I have two professors who are HLS graduates who have agreed to write me a LOR, and have some unique extracurriculars from undergrad & post-grad. Do you think I’ve got any shot at Harvard? Would an HBS admission improve my chances? I’ll likely apply to all T-14, but Harvard has always been my dream school. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

  33. Shah Hussain on said:

    Hi Ann I am a 2 year AJD student at University of Arizona. I got pretty poor grades in my first semester. I got 2.1 GPA. I want to transfer to any other tier 2 law school, would it be possible for me to get transferred with this low gpa.

  34. Hi Ann,

    I’m a 0L student headed to USF this Fall. My undergrad GPA from Berkeley was 3.74 but my LSAT was a 152. The test was really hard for me despite months of studying and pts – so I don’t think I can do better on the test.

    My dream school was UCLA but I was rejected and am hoping to transfer for 2L. I was wondering if you could shed some light on how schools view USF as a law school. The UCLA ABA report didn’t have it listed as a transfer institution last year and I’m worried about my chances of even having the option of transferring.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Ann!

    • Hana,
      It’s going to all come down to your grades. You’d have to be very high in your class at USF. I think you’d find most people from USF transfer to Hastings, Davis, Loyola, etc. (Although you can check the ABA 509 reports on this).

  35. Veronica on said:

    Good Evening,
    I am currently a 1L at a tier 4 school. I am trying to transfer to a New York school, like Hofstra, or New York Law School. My GPA for my first semester was a 2.7. I am working hard for finals now. I am worried that it will not increase.. Do I still have a chance of getting in.. I am originally from New York and would love to go back for many reasons..
    Thank You

  36. Brittany Blank on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’m a 0L student headed to Berkeley Law this Fall. My undergrad GPA from USC was 3.92 but my LSAT was a 163. I took the test mulitple times and retaking it is out of the question for me.

    My dream school is Harvard which I did not expect to get into based on my LSAT score (although I was surprisngly waitlisted to 5 of the top ten schools).

    I was wondering if you ever had people transfering from Berkeley to Harvard, if they found it worth it, and if the no-grade system at Berkeley Law makes it more difficult to transfer. I currently am paying full, however in-state tution, at Berkeley Law.

  37. Brittany Blank on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’m a 0L student headed to Berkeley Law this Fall. My undergrad GPA from USC was 3.92 but my LSAT was a 163. I took the test mulitple times and retaking it is out of the question for me.

    My dream school is Harvard which I did not expect to get into based on my LSAT score (although I was surprisngly waitlisted to 5 of the top ten schools).

    I was wondering if you ever had people transfering from Berkeley to Harvard, if they found it worth it, and if the no-grade system at Berkeley Law makes it more difficult to transfer. I currently am paying full, however in-state tution, at Berkeley Law.

    Thank you!

  38. Brittany Blank on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’m a 0L student headed to Berkeley Law this Fall. My undergrad GPA from USC was 3.92 but my LSAT was a 163. I took the test mulitple times and retaking it is out of the question for me.

    My dream school is Harvard which I did not expect to get into based on my LSAT score (although I was surprisngly waitlisted to 5 of the top ten schools).

    I was wondering if you ever had people transfering from Berkeley to Harvard, if they found it worth it, and if the no-grade system at Berkeley Law makes it more difficult to transfer. I currently am paying full, however in-state tution, at Berkeley Law.

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