Law School Discussion

Worth it to transfer?

Worth it to transfer?
« on: January 10, 2007, 08:43:47 PM »
I was hoping for some advice from the board....

To give you my situation, I did extremely well at a low t20 my first semester, I will probably be in the top 10 in the class (not percent, numerically) and I got the high score in my section in Contracts.  My question is whether or not it is worth it for me to transfer.  I would consider transferring to the following schools: Cal, Michigan, Penn, UChicago, Harvard (long shot).  Obviously Harvard would be worth it, but my question is whether or not it would be worth it for me to transfer from a school ranked in the low t20 to one of these schools, given I am near the top of the class.  Any opinion would be appreciated.

Re: Worth it to transfer?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2007, 08:08:25 AM »
I don't understand why you would want to transfer.  This question has popped up a few times since the end of the semester and I don't get it.  You already go to a really good school, and with your grades you will probably be on law review, and have a chance to be editor of the law review.  If you transfer you probably won't have that opportunity.  With your class rank you will have the same opportunities as a student at Harvard.  They might have better OCIs, but Notre Dame (a school in the low 20s) has had graduates clerk for SCOTUS.  If you like your school, then I would not transfer, not even to Harvard.

If I was an employer I would be extremely leary of a person who transfered from one highly ranked school to a slightly higher ranked school.  It makes you look like a status whore.  Are you going to leave your first job for a firm that is ranked slightly higher in the Vault 100 after you pass the bar? 

If you have strong personal reasons for wanting to transfer (really hate your school), or if the school you want to transfer to has a really good program in something you want to study (i.e international law) then maybe you should transfer.  But think about what you will be giving up: law review, scholarships, recommendations, etc.  Then ask yourself if it is worth it to jump up 10-20 spots in US News and World Reports.

Re: Worth it to transfer?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2007, 08:12:39 AM »
I agree.  I can attest to the difficulties of transfer.  I was on law review.  I was in the top 20%.  Now I'm only in the top 1/3 and am not on law review, but for me it was worth it because I went from a T4 to a T1.  I would strongly reccomend staying unless you just hate your current school, as the above poster said.


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Re: Worth it to transfer?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2007, 08:33:23 AM »
I know 2 people who did different things.  School in the mid/low 20s, both in the top 10 of the class.  Both offered LR, and would have had the pick of any firm they wanted at OCI.  One transferred to a T14.  He likes it, but failed to write on to LR, and is not nearly the same rank.  He did well in OCI, but would have probably done just as well if he stayed.  Other person got accepted to T14s as a transfer, but he decided to stay.  He's on LR, has contacts in the area, and pretty much had his pick of firms, getting callbacks almost everywhere he applied. (and took a job outside the local market - he wasn't limited to the local area)

So the way I see it, unless you have a specific reason to transfer (you know for sure you want to work in a specific location, or you get into Harvard and you really want to be an academic, etc.), you may be just as well off to stay where you are, especially if you make it onto law review.  You're high grades and ranking will give you pretty much all of the same job opportunities coming from a school ranked 10 spots higher, and you'll have LR on top of that.


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Re: Worth it to transfer?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2007, 08:35:52 AM »
I'd try to transfer, but limit it to the top of the top schools.  If you're ranked that high at a t20, you shouldn't have any trouble getting into a great school.  Give H and Y a shot, but I wouldn't bother transfering up less than 10 spots.

There is still some bias against schools outside of the very top of the USNWR rankings, so if you have a chance to move all the way up, I'd say give it a shot.  It's still probably better to just graduate from Harvard than to graduate in the top 5% and law review from somewhere like Vanderbilt (?)