I just finished my first semester of law school and my grades are less than stellar and I am afriad to move forward with my second semester in the event I may be dismissed. I was wondering if its possible to quit now and re apply/ start over at another school next semester. When I applied to schools the first time around I was accepted to multiple schools with ease and squeezed into my current school by the skin of my teeth. This turned out to be a bad decision because my grades arent up to par with my competition. So once again, can I quit now and apply for next Fall at another school to start over from scratch? Just dont want to continue this semester and be dismissed and have that tagged on me when I attempted to reapply in the future.
There are a few answers:
First, grades are NOT a factor of raw intelligence, or, in the strictest sense, of competition. Most students study hard, and nearly all are very, very intelligent. Everyone in the class was at or near the top of their class. The problem is that what is tested in a law exam is not what is seen in the law school classroom. The classroom is a mix of terror, boredom, and sideshow. The law exam is a microcosm of what a real lawyer has to do in filtering facts, in light of the law, in a lawyerlike process. The disconnect between the two, plus the grade curve, are why there is such dispair in law school, especially now. The entire semester, and year, are thus mostly wasted as law students currently "study."
*If* you can correct the bad habits developed over 16+ years, and re-apply them in a lawyerlike way, you do have a shot at stardom. But it requires not just hard work; it requires a reassessment of everything you've been told, and the common "wisdom" of nearly every law student.
Second, if your thought is to reapply to another, better (or equal) law school, that is unlikely to happen. A book, Art of the Law School Transfer, will explain why. (And for others, to make a critically important leap.)
Third, if your thought is to reapply to a "lesser" law school, presumably more in line with your inate talents, that would likely be unwise, for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that, in this market, you're likely better off with middling grades at a better-ranked law school than even solid grades at a much less well-ranked law school. I know, I know. I'm not supporting this; just stating the (to employers) obvious.
I've been working on an ebook with the author of Later-in-Life Lawyers. We have both come to a stark conclusion, which is this: if your grades are poor and your law school is not at the very tippy-top of the heap, you should seriously consider whether or not you should continue, at all. As the time for cost-free withdrawal is past, I suggest re-engaging yourself with your every fiber. Get Wentworth Milller's LEEWS program, rededicate yourself to practice exams. (Take at least a dozen for EACH subject, under real-world conditions.) And you might just surprise yourself and find yourself placing very well. This happens with some frequency, as those who did well first-semester get cocky, while a few who did not do well get serious.
Best of luck,