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Author Topic: Top of T4 or transfer T2  (Read 6459 times)

irishsport08

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Top of T4 or transfer T2
« on: May 29, 2005, 11:56:08 AM »
Some input would be nice:

Would you say its better to graduate at the top of you class at a Tier4 school, or transfer to a Tier2.

I ask, because it seems like it might be better to stay at the Tier4 at the top of your class and maybe try to get on your law school's journal, than to transfer to a Tier2, where you will have to adjust and might not do as well as other 2nd year law students, and probably won't be on the journal because everyone is already connected.

jdohno

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2005, 03:46:01 PM »
But the job opportunities coming out of the tier 4 are pretty non existent. To give you a great example, I know someone who finish in the top 4 students in her class at New York Law School which is tier 4. She could have stayed at New York Law School--she graded on law review and had friends, etc. But that's just looking at comfort level in school. The purpose of going to law school is to go to the best school that you can and to hopefully have a job when you graduate. And not just a job that you have to do because it's the only one offered to you.

Anyway, this woman thought about it and transferred to NYU. True she didn't get on law review there. But she is on a journal. And really with a NYU JD the law review is less important because employers are willing to hire deeper in the class. Some top schools are transfer friendly and let transfer students write on to the law review--Boalt, UCLA, Michigan, etc. This woman has much more oppportunities as a graduate of NYU then she will at New York Law School even if she graduates first in her class.

If someone at a 4th school finished at the top of his/her class then just setting their sights on just transferring to the 2nd tier is selling themselves short. Boston College has taken people who finished at the top of their class at Cooley, Virginia has taken some top students at 4th tier schools. As for adjusting to new people, etc--law school is professional school not social hour. If a person can't adjust to a new environment then how will they do in a law firm or in a new city when a great legal opportunity might open up? Most people would pick access to better job opportunities then a few friends made in the first year of law school. Besides email and cheap airline tickets make communication with these people still possible.

Sorry for sounding flippant--I am transferring from my current school. I was accepted to Georgetown Early Action and I'm sending out more applications right now. I don't like my school but I made a few friends. Another friend at the law school is also transferring. We communicate through email, etc but neither of us are looking back. We are so excited to have second chances at top schools and better opportunities. This summer we are packing to move to new cities but next summer, we might have great summer jobs.
When you transfer you do have to be careful and do well in your classes because your two years at the new law schools are the only grades on your transcript. But it wasn't too hard to talk to 2Ls and 3Ls at my current school about my professors so I don't see a problem going to a new school asking people the same questions. Also it helps to research the school you want to transfer to. Some schools have heavy seminar, policy type classes in 2nd and 3rd years. Whereas other schools have professors who do the same thing year after year.

Put out some applications and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised. Also check out the Sua Sponte blog. http://www.suasponte.org/ She was at Hastings and had plans to transfer to Boalt. She applied to Stanford, Boalt, and some other schools. She got rejected by almost every school she applied to and planned on staying at Hastings. Two weeks before school started for the second year, one of the schools she applied to for transfer, Chicago called her and gave her a verbal offer of admission and a few days to decide. She had Hastings on one hand where she made friends and was going to buy a house and Chicago on the other hand which is one of the top 5 schools in the country. She went with Chicago. Now she is graduating in a two weeks. And the experiences that she had in her two years at Chicago detailed on her Blog--- there is no way she would have had those opportunities at Hastings. Also she has a pretty good transfer section on there so you might want to check it out. Her Blog will be going black soon because the judge she is clerking with after Chicago doesn't want her to continue with the Blog. I also have an article from a successful transfer from Cooley to Boston College who graduated near the top of her class at BC. Also some people in her class at Cooley transferred to some good schools. I can email it to you if you contact me offline. It's very inspiring. Good luck. I hope I gave you some of the input you were looking for.

Some input would be nice:

Would you say its better to graduate at the top of you class at a Tier4 school, or transfer to a Tier2.

I ask, because it seems like it might be better to stay at the Tier4 at the top of your class and maybe try to get on your law school's journal, than to transfer to a Tier2, where you will have to adjust and might not do as well as other 2nd year law students, and probably won't be on the journal because everyone is already connected.

irishsport08

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2005, 07:22:03 PM »
jdohno,

Thanks for the reply. There were a few things I didn't consider that your response brought to light, one being that a 2nd Tier might be selling a person at the top of his/her class short. If you don't mind me asking, do you really think the job offers coming out of a Tier 2 and a Tier 1 are that different? That is, assuming it isn't one of the top 15 in the country and a person does well at the 2nd Tier school. Also, what if a person was deciding to transfer out of a Tier4 and looking at Temple or Penn State. I know that Penn State wasn't in the top 100 before the 2006 rankings and their standing might not last - but they seem to have a pretty solid tradition and a lot of connections. Would you agree with that? Or would you say it would be better go to somewhere like Temple?

I'll definitley have to look into it more and really appreciate your response. I have't researched many Tier1, because I never thought of any as a realistic goal, but maybe I will have to look into it. 

jdohno

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2005, 08:37:26 PM »
Yeah there is a big difference. When you get into the bottom tier one schools and the schools past number 50 which are second tier schools then you have to look at the region the school is in and if you are willing to live there for a couple of years. If you can't and don't make it into a top 15 school as a transfer student then I would also apply to schools in the top 25. There are schools in the top 25 where you still have opporunties with the degree. Those schools are Vanderbilt, USC, Minnesota, Boston U, GWU, Washington University, Emory University. Compared to the schools in the 2nd tier like Southern Methodist, Florida State, University of Pittsburgh, Unversity of Houston, etc. There is a big difference in opportunities between the tier 1 and tier 2 schools. With those schools I listed as 2nd tier, if for example, you go to Univ of Houston then you are looking at living in Houston or the school's immediate location. With the top 25 school, you can take the Vanderbilt degree to the Atlanta or Houston market. Washington University's JD travels well too.

If you did well at a 4th tier school, I would try for schools in the top 30 after that you get a lot of regional schools. In the new rankings, there is no 30 because of the three way tie at 32 but I wouldn't look past Emory in the new rankings for tier 1 schools to apply to. You should apply to both Temple and Penn State. Temple is ranked higher than Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh is ranked higher than both of them. Are you only limited to the state of Pennsylvania? I think Temple has better connections than Penn State. It has more clinics, it's in the city, etc. Also about 75 firms recruit at Temple compared to about 45 firms at Penn State. Whereas over 300 firms recruit at Georgetown.

If a person stayed at a tier 2 school and graduated at the top of the class, then he has a chance at getting a job at a firm in the region or city the school is located in. But if there are several top schools in the region then it might not matter that the person at the tier 2 school did well. Law firms are willing to go deeper into the class at top schools. So the #1 student at a tier 2 school would be working next to #40 at a top school and the kid from the top school might start at a higher salary. But finding work will be difficult for the tier 2 person unless the school is the top school in the city like the University of Houston. The top students at Univ of Houston find work at the top firms in Houston. But that's because UH is the best school in Houston among 2 other schools. Also with the tier 2 status, the degree won't travel well. The reason why I bring up the point about the degree traveling well is because no one can say for certain that they will be in a particular region or city for years. If you have or want to move to another city, then it helps if your school is known. Also, a top student at a tier 2 school can find work if the person also specialize in a law track that needs lawyers and sent out resumes to the law firms that could use his skill. But at the same time, those specializations are sometimes not helpful. For example, the University of Houston is #1 in Health Law. But if a law firm who specializes in health law has a choice between a Duke JD and a Houston JD, the firm is going with the Duke JD. Despite the fact that Houston is #1 in health law.

I don't know what your GPA/rank are at your school. But if it's over a 3.5 then buy the US News Ranking and look at the schools ranked in the top 30s that you are interested in. Take off Harvard, Yale, Stanford--they are very selective and they tend to favor applicants who were waitlisted in previous years. Transfer friendly schools include Boalt, UCLA, Michigan, and Georgetown. Look at some schools below the top 15 but not after Emory. Then look at the local 2nd tier schools in your area which I guess are Temple and Penn State. Make a list of the schools you are interested in, check out their transfer policies on their websites and then apply. You might end up being surprised. For example, you might get into Temple, George Washington and Boston College. You increase your odds of getting into good schools if you cast your net wide. Also check out this transfer group on Yahoo  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transferapps/
There's a guy in the database who went to Capital University which is a 4th tier school in Ohio and he transferred to Michigan and he also got into Vanderbilt. If you did very well at a tier 4 school, it's very possible to get into a top 15 or top 30 school. It's all about giving yourself better access to job opportunities and on campus interviews. Also you want to go to a school where the ranking won't slip by the time you graduated. That happened to people at Univ of Houston, Tulane, etc. People said that rankings don't matter but a lot of times that all the law firms can go on. Good luck.


jdohno,

Thanks for the reply. There were a few things I didn't consider that your response brought to light, one being that a 2nd Tier might be selling a person at the top of his/her class short. If you don't mind me asking, do you really think the job offers coming out of a Tier 2 and a Tier 1 are that different? That is, assuming it isn't one of the top 15 in the country and a person does well at the 2nd Tier school. Also, what if a person was deciding to transfer out of a Tier4 and looking at Temple or Penn State. I know that Penn State wasn't in the top 100 before the 2006 rankings and their standing might not last - but they seem to have a pretty solid tradition and a lot of connections. Would you agree with that? Or would you say it would be better go to somewhere like Temple?

I'll definitley have to look into it more and really appreciate your response. I have't researched many Tier1, because I never thought of any as a realistic goal, but maybe I will have to look into it. 

jdohno

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2005, 08:10:11 PM »
I don't know. There has been a few people on the Yahoo transfer board who said they had bad experiences talking to their career services people and law school advisors about transferring. The school wants to keep you at the school so they aren't going to advise you to leave. Your situation at Ohio State with two professors talking to you about transferring is great and not unusual. But if I were you I would talk to your professors who went to higher ranked schools then OKU and/or are graduates of UO. Also you have to look at whether you will have a job coming out of OKU compared to an UO graduate. Also I'm sure UO allows transfer to be on law review. It's no point being at the top of your class at a 4th tier if the school doesn't get you a job when you graduate. You have to make a pro and con list and sit down and go over everything. But get a move on it, most schools have a July 1st deadline for transfer applications. It's very important for the type of law that I am going into that I go to a top school. It might not be important to you. Also if you chose to stay at OKU and did well, then you might want to talk to them about giving you a scholarship if you don't have one already.

Just an idea, but why don't you ask the academic advisors at your current school?  My limited experience is that law school advisors and career services people are realistic, pragmatic people. 

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2005, 09:16:52 AM »
For the most part, your placement in your school is more important than the school istelf.  Keep in mind that most of the big firms are just skimming off the top of all the schools.  That's probably different for the Big Three, and the bottom schools' top students might have trouble.  But for everyone else, it's better to be at the top of your class wherever you are. 

4L

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2005, 12:55:41 AM »
My two cents: I think you should transfer. Yes, it looks better to say top 10% on your resume, but once they see your law school, game over. I went to a less well known top 20 law school and I had to send out a copy of the stupid US News report ranking to get big city firms to look at me. The problem is, the really huge firms already have such a huge applicant pool that taking a risk with a 4th tier student isn't an option...taking a risk with a 2nd tier student...more of an option.

also, you might want to go to nalpdirectory.com
look at some firms in the cities that you are interested in working in. nalp will tell you what schools they OCI at. if you see the second tier school you are looking at listed over and over, then I would transfer. I guarantee that I almost never see a 3rd or 4th tier law school listed...but in the end, what do I know?

jdohno

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2005, 11:19:09 AM »
Thank you for the confirmation. I finished in the top 5 people at my school this year and staying here never occurred to me. I got into GT and now I'm waiting to hear from other schools. I'm hoping to keep up the GPA at Georgetown or wherever I go but I know having the degree will open more doors than being one of the top students at ACME STATE SCHOOL or whatever. I'm sorry about your experience. But like my professor told me, the US News Rankings is all these law firms know. So for someone to say that they aren't important is ridiculous. I hope you were able to get a job.

My two cents: I think you should transfer. Yes, it looks better to say top 10% on your resume, but once they see your law school, game over. I went to a less well known top 20 law school and I had to send out a copy of the stupid US News report ranking to get big city firms to look at me. The problem is, the really huge firms already have such a huge applicant pool that taking a risk with a 4th tier student isn't an option...taking a risk with a 2nd tier student...more of an option.

also, you might want to go to nalpdirectory.com
look at some firms in the cities that you are interested in working in. nalp will tell you what schools they OCI at. if you see the second tier school you are looking at listed over and over, then I would transfer. I guarantee that I almost never see a 3rd or 4th tier law school listed...but in the end, what do I know?

duvimom

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2005, 01:21:24 PM »
I don't necessarily disagree with anything that's been said, but I'd like to point out that New York Law School is an upwardly mobile Tier 3 school. Keep track of it, it will be Tier 2 pretty soon.

jdohno

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Re: Top of T4 or transfer T2
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2005, 01:37:08 AM »
I disagree. The rankings are all some law firms know. There are some schools outside of the top 15 but are in the top 25 like Washington University that place well. There are also top 50/ tier 2 schools like SMU which is the only law school in Dallas and the top 25% of the class gets hired at Akin Gump's regional Dallas office. Unless you're at a school that's the only one in town then as you stated correctly you have a lot of competition from the higher ranked schools in the area. Many biglaw firms don't even look at resumes that aren't from certain schools. Of course a person can get a job if they try hard enough. My school has about 50 firms come to the campus. Whereas GT has about 500 firms and organizations come for OCI. If a person wants to have a career in Indiana or Kentucky then it's better for them to stay in the state and go to the best law school there if possible. You're right certain salaries will go far with the cost of living.

Those large and prosperous Midwest law firms(which are most times regional offices of biglaw firms with the exception of Chicago) are only going to take the top 5 to 10% at the tier four school. Also someone coming from Harvard will get a higher salary at the firm then the person coming from the tier 4 school. Also it's more likely that the Harvard person will be someone who graduated in the middle of the class whereas the tier 4 person will be someone who is at the top of their class unless the Midwest city is Chicago. So a law firm might hire people from a school that they had past experience with but that person will be one of the top students at that school. At some top schools, firms are willing to hire deeper in the class.

But if someone wants mobility, wants to work in big city or in biglaw, is interested in clerkship opportunities or academia then they are best served transferring to a top school. So you're right on one hand that it depends on your goals.

But I disagree that nitpicking about rankings is about ego more than career. Just going through this whole transfer process has been eye opening. It seems like schools outside the top 15 are concerned about either the rankings or trying to place less importance on them. A lot of people I have spoken to at top schools are either grateful that they are there or are not as concerned about their job prospects because they feel that they have access to great opportunities. This guy who transferred to Chicago from a tier 3 school told me he transferred for the access and his interest in becoming a law professor. It all comes down to what type of career you want and what your goals are.

I think, in many cases, ranking nit-picking has more to do with ego than actual career advantage though.