Law School Discussion

Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer

Greetings, about a year ago a group of transfer students and I went through the process many are discussing on this board now. We went through all the issues, problems, frustrations, and flat-out unknowns.

As a result of our search, we decided that our frustrations were not the way this process should be.  There’s plenty of help for students who want to enter law schools as 1Ls.  There’s not much except for this Board, and a few others for students who are thinking about transferring.

Over the past school year, my roommate and I have been diligently researching schools, interviewing Admissions Deans, and obtaining first-hand personal accounts of others who tackled the transfer process in our attempt to provide a guidebook on what we felt is the best way to attack the law school transfer process.  Without the knowledge and insight provided by this Board, we strongly believe that we would not have been as fortunate in our own transfer experience.  The posts on this very board helped to shape the way we chose to structure this guidebook. 

The Art of the Law School Transfer: A Guide to Transferring Law Schools is slated for official publication in August of this year. Check it out at  Even though the transfer season for this year is almost over, the book also offers insight on how to handle the transition to your new 2L school and how to deal with OCI as a transfer student.

Looking forward to your comments and feedback and hopefully our research and experiences can help you get into the school of your dreams.

Good Luck!!

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 10:58:32 AM »
For those of you going through the transfer transition now, I have provided an excerpt from the book that you may find useful.  It is from the chapter SUCCEEDING AT YOUR NEW SCHOOL AND BEYOND.  I hope it is useful and good luck at your new school.


Much of what follows is more of the I-wish-someone- had-told- us-this-
before variety. We learned the hard way.
Top grades at your Original 1L School and the leap to a higherranked
school really are an accomplishment. Truth be told, many if
not most students who transfer do so for better job opportunities.
More specifically, for the chance to be courted rather than having
to do the courting: OCI is exactly that, or at least it is as compared
to students not accepted to interview. The reason this is so vital is
that firms will generally only travel to a limited number of law
schools to interview. Nearly all firms will want a top student from
a top law school. So, the higher you go, in terms of law school
ranking, the more that is available in OCI. (And this is not a linear
progression. A top law school might get ten times the number of
firms interviewing than a school even a few dozen places lower in
the rankings, and the firms interviewing will be different as well.)
But you've made it into a higher-ranked law school, and so you
hope to benefit from the greater career opportunities.
Well, here is your chance. OCI! This can make or break your
summer job prospects if you want that "Big Law" summer job.
While some students find summer law jobs on their own, usually
with medium to smaller sized firms, the majority (as in 95+%) of
Big Law summer positions ("clerkships" ) go to law students
through the OCI process.
Here is the warning however: Do not let OCI take over your
first semester at your New 2L School. This is tricky, because OCI is
important. But in addition to your reading, outlining, stress, and
overall anxiety, you should also strive to fit into your new school.
So, our mantra for you: OCI is important, and you should participate
actively, but do not let it distract you from your first semester
at your New 2L School. We transfer students live in a different
world than the rest of 2L law students; we are the exceptions to the
rule. No, we are the exceptions proving the rule. The "rule" is the
2L who didn't have to transfer. For these students—the bulk of all
law students, your 2L grades do not matter as much as your 1L
grades. At times it seems that, for the "regular" 2L, grades are
almost an afterthought: it's the 1L grades that make or break them.
It was 1L grades that made you. As a transfer student, however,
employers want to see how you stack up against the student
body at your New 2L School. So they're a bit more hesitant, and
thus a bit more curious to make sure that we are as good in our
New 2L School as we were in our Old 1L one. For us transfers,
unlike for most 2Ls, our 2L grades are still important.
At one New 2L School, about one-quarter of the transfer students
received summer clerkship offers from OCI. Given that the
average 1L grades from successful transfer students is at or near
the very top of their 1L classes, this is a lower percentage than a
comparable group of 2L students from the 2L school. You should
thus have a mindset that, while you will certainly seize any OCI
opportunities, you might not receive a summer clerkship via OCI.
You'll thus have to work a bit harder—as with the transfer itself.
If you do wind up getting an OCI offer, great. But, if not, you'll
need to focus on grades and on finding your own post-2L job. This
is why it's important to stay on track with your reading and outlin-
and positioning yourself to receive the best 2L grades possible.
You need, in essence, to take exactly the same approach in 2L as you
did in 1L. Many 2Ls are not as serious in their second year, so this
is the chance for you to shine in your new school as well. This will
in turn maximize your chances of getting a summer position if you
have to find a job on your own once OCI passes; your 2L grades are
the first thing employers will look at. In sum, prepare yourself for
OCI, take advantage of OCI, be serious about OCI, but keep your eye
on the ball: your 2L grades.
With that by way of background, let's consider how some of the
details of the OCI process affect the transfer student:

Once admitted to your New 2L School, you should receive information
on how to access information on your new school's website or
intraweb. Usually, there's a special site, or a restricted area of the
main site, for students. Often it has a catchy name, so everyone at the school will know what such-and-so program means. At one school,
the site is called "Symplicity. " Whatever the name or variety of
access at your school, be sure that you've not been inadvertently forgotten: even if the staff is apologetic for any oversight, they likely won't be able to correct any harm if you miss deadlines or simply aren't aware of that school's programs. You should thus ask the
admissions office and career services office as soon as you are accepted: be sure that you know what's what.
Many law schools conduct the OCI process via their web-based
program. Often, the programs work in very much a technical way: a
student "bids" on an employer (either for an interview or for a
chance for an interview), and only a certain number of interviews
are actually granted.

Point #1: This is a competitive process. For most potential employers,
there are more students who want to be interviewed than there are
interview slots. Most firms conduct only a dozen or so interviews—
as compared to hundreds who would be happy for the chance to
work there. So, right from the start this is intensely competitive.
Thus, you should bid assertively, and for many firms. Don't bid on
firms you definitely wouldn't be interested in (which shouldn't be
many), and do consider even opportunities you might not otherwise
have thought of. At the very least, each interview is an opportunity
to practice your interviewing skills.

Point #2: Be sure to include your transfer school in your résumé
when applying for jobs for OCI. Yes, your profile will be a little odd
as compared to the "average" 2L student, so you need to be especially
careful to highlight your positive qualities while being clear about
your 1L and 2L schools. Once you receive grades from your New 2L
School you do not have to include your Original 1L School on your
résumé. For OCI, you do—and will want to. Spotlight your terrific

Point #3: Don't go into this process defensive about your 1L law
school. After all, you did very, very well there. Keep a positive
mindset, and chances are good that prospective employers will too.

Point #4: Pay attention. Each employer has its own expectations,
both substantive (as to grades, etc.) and stylistic (what they want to
see). You cannot treat each OCI employer as a "one size fits all"
possibility. That's easier, of course, but it's not smart. Assess what
each employer is asking for. Some employers ask for a résumé only,
some ask for a résumé and transcript, some ask for a résumé, cover
letter, and transcript. Some include information on who will be
interviewing. (Of course, if that information is given, it's far better to personalize what you're submitting. It takes just minutes, and it can make the difference, especially with a borderline bid.) Further, tailor each bid to at least some detail specific to that employer. If they have a big labor law practice and you worked in a union, that's worth mentioning. (They might represent management rather than labor, but it will give them something unique to go on; chances are very good they would at least be curious—i.e., more likely inclined to interview you.) If they're on Wall Street and you're worked in a brokerage firm, of course you want to mention that, probably in a cover letter as well as highlighted in your résumé. Don't stretch any fact too far, and be careful not to limit yourself: it's a fine balance, but you want to make yourself stand out (in a good way) to the hiring partners.

Point #5: Think about geography. Where do you want to practice? If
you already know (and are certain of that choice), bid only on the
firms from that locale. Don't take away someone else's interview if
you're flat-out going to waste the interviewer' s (and your own) time.
If you do not have a specific city or area set in stone, bid on all the firms you can. You should cast your net as wide as possible: many
employers prefer students who have grades from the school where
the OCI is being done. After all, that's why they're there. While you
have impressive grades, they are grades from your Original 1L
School. Employers have a tough time comparing you to other
students at your New 2L School because your grades came from a
different law school with a different student body and most likely, a
different grading curve. Being different—even if not perceived as
"bad"—is still a negative. With many students to choose from, they
might shy away from transfers. As mentioned, until you get your
new grades at your New 2L School and prove yourself (again), there
can be a stigma against transfers in the OCI process because of an
assumption of a low LSAT score. Yes, not everyone who attends a
Tier 4 law school has a below-par LSAT score; one may attend for a
part time program or for personal reasons. That's the assumption,
however, so it's best to understand and attempt to deal with it.

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 12:24:29 PM »
Once you receive grades from your New 2L School you do not have to include your Original 1L School on your

At many schools, including the one I transferred to, that is not true. You don't get to leave the 1L school off until after you graduate. At that point it's a personal decision whether or not to put the 1L school on there.

Also this advice is very generic w/r/t to bidding. It also doesn't discuss the lottery bidding process T14 schools have.

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2009, 01:08:17 PM »
so, like, don't focus on OCI too much or else you might lose track of fitting in/outling/making good grades and oh, yeah, writing a book on transferring?

"admissions consultants" and law students who write books as though they are experts on experiences they are still going through make me crazy

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 07:28:14 PM »
Thank you for raising such concerns.  The excerpt I posted was only meant to act as an aide to those successful transfer students going through the OCI process now.  Regarding whether to leave your 1L school on your resume or not after you receive grades is a personal choice.  I have had the opportunity to speak to numerous career counselors and both have mentioned either option.  It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.  Furthermore, the excerpt I provided does give general information regarding OCI; however, the chapter focusing on OCI goes into much more detail as the chapter goes on.

The reason my co-author and I decided to write this book is to help others that are attempting to do what we did, that is successfully transfer.  We do not believe that we are "experts" on the subject; however, we do feel we can offer advice on what to be on the lookout for.  Thank you for addressing your comments and concerns.


Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 08:21:14 AM »
Not bad but I think I prefer Arrow's Comprehensive and FREE guide that was posted on TLS.

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 12:05:37 PM »
Arrow's post is a very good one, but I believe the book gives the reader and beginning to end approach on the rigors of transferring law school.  From how to approach transferring to handling OCI and the transition to your new school.  Additionally, it provides many suppplemental materials (sample LOR's, Transfer Statements, Grade Appeals, Resumes, etc.) that could be invaluable to one getting into their dream school.  I commend Arrow's post and believe he brings a number of good points to the table.

Good luck this year 1L's!!

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2009, 07:22:58 PM »
I got a copy of this book from the authors when it came out, but didn't have a chance to do it justice until my first semester of law school was done. I just wanted to chime in and say I found it absolutely fantastic - it had great stats, a detailed overview of the transfer process, and really went into the nuances and details that I wouldn't have had any idea about otherwise. I'm not planning to transfer, but I still found it useful to learn bout the process - and I'm sure that for anybody who is considering transferring, this book would be indispensable.

Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 07:53:27 AM »
Thank you for the kind words!!


Re: Law School Transfer Book- The Art of the Law School Transfer
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2010, 04:26:06 PM »
I bought the book.  Its useful.  One main problem I'm having is finding reliable information.  Everyone has an agenda; the original school and the attempted transfer school.  The unbiased information in the book is a great resource.