Law School Discussion

Top 25 to top 14

Top 25 to top 14
« on: October 02, 2008, 12:38:38 PM »
Just to satisfy my curiosity, I was wondering if anyone knew or had an idea if a person who finished in the top 25% (barely) at a top 25 school after their first year would have any chance of being able to transfer into a top 14 school, such as Duke, Virgina, Michigan, Georgetown, Cornell, etc.??

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 02:07:18 PM »
A buddy of mine did top 20-25% at a top 20 (with LR) and transferred to Columbia. 

I would imagine that G-town would be fairly easy to transfer to and they appear very transfer friendly.

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2008, 02:07:58 PM »
Oh, and another friend went from #1 in the class to a top 10 school.  If you can get yourself up to number 1, you should be fine :)


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Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2008, 05:41:43 PM »
First, evaluate WHY you want to transfer. If it's for prestige, maybe it's not worth it. If it's for personal reasons, that may be something that's more worthwhile for you although I can't presume to know how important these considerations are or are not for you.

Second, don't really worry all too much about this until after first semester. Though I don't think grades are a "mixed bag" like some say around here--that is, I think they're not arbitrary at all, but are rather exactly what you deserve based on effort--I do think it's premature to be contemplating a switch. Particularly since you haven't really given your current school too much of a chance just yet.

Third, once you DO have grades, this is what I have to say. If you're top of you're class, you can write your own ticket more or less. If you're not, you still have tons of options. I started out at a T20 and transferred to a T10 school. At my T10 school, there are other transfers from my old school who had grades placing them between the top 15-25%. One of them got into schools in the HYS range, actually, and chose to come the school I did because it seemed like a better fit based on location, etc. But the bottom line is, you can have really good options even if you're not quite #1. Although, as noted, it doesn't hurt to be #1 ;).

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2008, 06:41:02 PM »
I transferred from GW to Gtown. Was about top 20-25% at GW.  Don't regret it for one minute.  PM me if you have specific questions.

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2008, 08:44:08 AM »
Thanks for the responses. I appreciate the insights.

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2008, 09:32:37 PM »
I transferred to a T14, so I qualify, I think, to give my two cents.

First, a higher ranked school doesn't mean a better education - and while it is true, to an extent, that "education is what you make of it", EVERY school has professors who suck, so DON'T transfer just for the "all-star" faculties.

Second, if you want to work in the region you are currently going to school in, DON'T transfer, this will just create alot of work for you, and you'll have to explain why you traded schools since you were doing so well, and effectively inside the region you were interested in working (however, if the T14 you want to go to is in the region you want to work in, that's a good reason).

Third, if you want biglaw, go T14... you will crap your pants at how much more opportunity there is JUST DURING OCI. This doesn't include resume drops and personal mailings. It's obscene.

Fourth, and this is a negative, people are still people. Don't transfer b/c you think your colleagues will be of a "higher sense of self". There are bozos in every school, and yes, bozos sometimes prepare for the LSAT just like ridiculously smart people wing the LSAT and end up at a lower ranked school, then wax everyones rears, leaving admissions staff scratching their heads.

Fifth, and this one is big, make sure you can get involved QUICK at the school you transfer to, or else you are in for a crappy time. Friends of mine who've similarly transferred worked their tale off their first year and now have nothing to show for it at their new schools. w/o involvement, how will you meet your new peers and build a network.

If I were in your shoes, I'd do it just b/c I'm motivated by new challenges, fresh blood, and surroundings that force me to grow as an individual.

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 08:53:22 PM »
Third, if you want biglaw, go T14... you will crap your pants at how much more opportunity there is JUST DURING OCI. This doesn't include resume drops and personal mailings. It's obscene.

OldCraig has some wonderful advice, but I just want to elaborate a little bit on his 3d comment.

I was seriously considering transferring from a top 25 to a top 10 school with similar grades. I decided not to do it. There were three reasons why I did not. First, I'm in a few competitive programs at my current school that were not options at the transfer school. Two, I would be leaving a good deal of scholarship money on the table. Third, and finally, I didn't think my job opportunities would be vastly different. That last point is important.

If you able to transfer, you probably have stellar grades/extras. I have plenty of biglaw options, many of the same that people I know who did in fact transfer from my school to top 10 schools. (Of course, this depends on your definition, but for now lets say its a big firm that pays top of the market salaries). Will you get an interview with Watchtell? Maybe not. Will you get an interview at Cravath, Sullivan, Weil, et al.? It is very possible (at least that is my experience). Again, depends on your "biglaw" definition, but if you use mine, then you can get a job.

So, if it is ONLY to improve your job prospects, I'm not sure if it is the best move. You ought to have good options. It might be easier, but it may not be worth it if you are giving up some other things.

Plus, if you are a 1L, wait until your grades come out before worrying about this. There will be many 1Ls come Jan who end up lower than they thought they were going to be.

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2008, 05:53:06 AM »
Something to also consider is the fact that certain employers will not even interview at certain school.  For example, W&C wont touch people outside the top 10 (with the exception of a few all stars).  Wacthell has even higher standards regarding what school you went to.  Clerkships are also sometimes confined to the top schools regardless of your grades at your top 25 school.

I considered transferring and could have transferred to a top 5 school with my grades (I have friends that did so with similar grades my year).  Anyway, I chose not too thinking I would make law review at my school and have all of the same options.  Anyway, law review fell through and so did a lot of my employment options.  I still got an AmLaw firm, but not nearly the type of firm I could have pulled at a top 5 school. 

Re: Top 25 to top 14
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2008, 10:15:09 PM »
people like justukshn (or whatever) fall into that narrow swath of T25ers where transferring is a no-brainer..that is, not good enough grades for LR at their original school but good enough grades to transfer up. really, it wouldn't make much sense to stay if you are in that particular situation (although moving sucks, and i guess you leave behind friends and contacts, but you can always make new friends and the "you make all your connections during 1L" thing is totally inapplicable when we are talking about biglaw - in biglaw and even midlaw you don't need's not like people in your 1L study group are referring Barclays to you when you're an associate). if you make LR it's a whole different story and probably not wise to leave unless you can crack HSYCCN.

i don't buy the clerkship argument for transferring to some mid t14 - you will not get a federal clerkship without LR coming from a uva or a cornell, but your chances are decent coming from a T25 with an editorial board position.