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Author Topic: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation  (Read 1452 times)

LawMan21

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Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« on: March 15, 2009, 12:44:36 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I am currently at a school ranked in the low 50's and am number 1 in my class. This school is in a major city, but not the size of a Chicago, NY, or LA. I currently am on 50% scholarship and have a job at a NLJ firm (though not Vault 100) for my 1L summer in the city that my school is located. I do not have larger aspirations regarding private practice than what is already available to me and I do not care about degree portability. However, I would love to be able to keep academia open for the distant future, as well as judgeships and other prestigious public positions later in life. Assuming that I stay in the top 5% and want to stay in the city of my current school after graduation (for all academia, private firm, and judgeship ambitions), how much would transferring to a T-14 help me.

Also, if the decision to transfer makes sense, what would be the difference in the decision from attending a lower t-14 such as Georgetown v. a high ranked t-14 such as Columbia.

Matthies

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 12:58:30 PM »
#1 in your class, plus local contacts plus wanting to stay in your current city is a good place to be in. Assuming you take advantage of that, networking in addition to being number 1 in your class, I think the fact that you’re already in the city you want to work in his a huge benefit. But, that may take academia off the table, so you have to think about that as well. Also its only been one semester, can you keep that number 1 status over 3 years? If there is a chance you might drop down to say top 30%, being top 50% at a T14 might open more doors for you. But still, being number 1 in the city you want to work in is not going to really hold you back in that city, especially if you combine it with contacts.  If you wanted to be someplace else, this would be a diffrent story, but your already where you want to be now an number 1.
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jeff112

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 01:24:13 PM »
Our situations are kind of similar.  I ended up transferring to a T10, but only because I realized I wasn't one-hundred percent sure about markets and knew I wanted to have a shot at academia someday. 

If you didn't have the academic aspirations, I would say, without hesitation, stay.  If you plan on doing some adjunct teaching in ten years in your practice area, you probably won't need (although it would help) to have the higher ranked school.  I don't think Georgetown is worth it in your case.  If you end up rocking your second semester, I'd just shoot applications at the schools that you would be willing to think twice about only.  Then make a decision when you have those acceptances (or not) in hand.

I went in thinking I wouldn't transfer, even after I had all of my grades back, but still applied at the behest of a few professors.  When I saw the schools I got into and thought about my goals, I knew I had to go.  You might have a similar feeling, either way, if you just apply.

In sum, though, I'm leaning towards "stay" in your case.

archival

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 01:38:41 PM »
I'm with jeff112.

I currently am on 50% scholarship 
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I do not have larger aspirations regarding private practice than what is already available to me and I do not care about degree portability.
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Assuming that I . . . want to stay in the city of my current school after graduation (for all academia, private firm, and judgeship ambitions)

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how much would transferring to a T-14 help me.

Probably not a whole lot, based on the factors I quoted.  You should ask somebody in career services about it.  Also maybe ask a faculty member who is new to teaching about academic hiring.  If you're open to state judgeships, it's probably a lot more about networking than it is at the federal level.  If you are hoping for federal work, the story is a bit different.

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Also, if the decision to transfer makes sense, what would be the difference in the decision from attending a lower t-14 such as Georgetown v. a high ranked t-14 such as Columbia.

In general, higher is better for the things you've mentioned (academia, etc.)  You will almost certainly do well no matter where you end up -- transfer students tend to do as well or better at their new schools as they did at their old ones. Were I in your position, I would not give up a top spot at a good school in my preferred city to go to any school outside the tippy top few without a better reason than rank (e.g. a desire to work under a certain professor or in a particular program, or a love for a particular city.)  I transferred.  It is difficult.

So. What are your skills, and how do they fit with your ambitions?  Do you think it's likely you'd be able to write on to law review at a new school because you are an above-average legal writer?  Are you really quite good at networking, so that you'd be comfortable moving to a new school and starting over again?  Do you like the idea of living in a big city for a couple of years (since you probably have a good shot at Columbia, and Chicago and Penn are also possibilities.)?  How do you feel about ending up with double the debt you had planned on?  Do you have teaching experience, and if so was it an experience you enjoyed?

Have you checked the transferapps yahoo group?  If you haven't, you should.
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RonSantoRules

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 02:54:42 PM »
I transferred.  It is difficult.

Any chance you can expand on this a bit? It is tough to get good transfer information and about how people do and feel after the move.

archival

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009, 08:14:28 PM »
I transferred.  It is difficult.

Any chance you can expand on this a bit? It is tough to get good transfer information and about how people do and feel after the move.

I'm not referring to academics.  I'm also not referring to bias from students or employers.  Jackasses will find a way to be snotty no matter what -- whether it's because you went to the wrong undergrad, because your pants are too short, or because you don't "deserve" to be at a really good law school.

However, you do give up:
  • Your social network.  It can be difficult to break into the 1L cliques.  It's also nice to be able to talk to folks about all their 1L summer experiences before 2L OCI.
  • Having a reputation among faculty as a good student, and all the opportunities that can entail (research, mentoring, etc.)  You also give up knowing your way around the administration
  • Knowing your way around town and being comfortable in your living situation.
  • In some cases, guaranteed positions on journals, moot court, etc.
  • Scholarship money.

All of that just adds to the stress of 2L and 3L, when you're also looking for jobs, dealing with journal, doing clinic and/or research, and generally hustling to navigate the opportunities you have.  ETA: It might seem kind of trivial when you compare that to, say, the opportunities that you'd get at HLS.  I'm just saying that these things do matter, and that exactly how much they matter is a personal thing.

Most transfers at my school were coming home, so they already had a social network.  I've talked to a few who weren't, though, and they've called the experience "lonely," "alienating," and "miserable."  All that being said, if you are even moderately socially competent, you'll definitely make your way.  Eventually.
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RonSantoRules

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2009, 10:24:18 PM »

I'm not referring to academics.  I'm also not referring to bias from students or employers.  Jackasses will find a way to be snotty no matter what -- whether it's because you went to the wrong undergrad, because your pants are too short, or because you don't "deserve" to be at a really good law school.

However, you do give up:
  • Your social network.  It can be difficult to break into the 1L cliques.  It's also nice to be able to talk to folks about all their 1L summer experiences before 2L OCI.
  • Having a reputation among faculty as a good student, and all the opportunities that can entail (research, mentoring, etc.)  You also give up knowing your way around the administration
  • Knowing your way around town and being comfortable in your living situation.
  • In some cases, guaranteed positions on journals, moot court, etc.
  • Scholarship money.

All of that just adds to the stress of 2L and 3L, when you're also looking for jobs, dealing with journal, doing clinic and/or research, and generally hustling to navigate the opportunities you have.  ETA: It might seem kind of trivial when you compare that to, say, the opportunities that you'd get at HLS.  I'm just saying that these things do matter, and that exactly how much they matter is a personal thing.

Most transfers at my school were coming home, so they already had a social network.  I've talked to a few who weren't, though, and they've called the experience "lonely," "alienating," and "miserable."  All that being said, if you are even moderately socially competent, you'll definitely make your way.  Eventually.

Archival, thanks for your input on transferring. I applied to GULC EA and am pondering a potential transfer from a school ranked in the 30's. I'd be giving up a pretty hefty scholarship, and a lot of the items you outlined are reasons I might be hesitant to pull the trigger if I am lucky enough to be accepted. I also will have my significant other in the area, but I also feel like I am finally getting settled in where I am currently attending. I might not even have a decision to make, but I appreciate your insight.   

jeff112

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2009, 11:47:48 PM »
Most transfers at my school were coming home, so they already had a social network.  I've talked to a few who weren't, though, and they've called the experience "lonely," "alienating," and "miserable."  All that being said, if you are even moderately socially competent, you'll definitely make your way.  Eventually.

This is credited.  I'm not the most social guy on the planet, but I'm not antisocial either.  I had a number of friends at my old school.  Things are finally starting to get a bit better, but unless you are the classic "let's go out to the bars" type, it'll take some time to find people you click with at the new school.  And the sheer amount of things that all 2L's have to deal with on top of trying to find your way makes the process take that much longer.

In the end, transferring, for me, was worth it (at least thus far).  It's definitely not an easy thing, though.  Weigh your options carefully.

mnewboldc

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Re: Transfer Advice- Difficult Situation
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 08:56:31 PM »
I went to a panel on careers in academia recently and was told that the academic job market has definitely tightened its belt. So if HYS grads had a sizable advantage in the past, their dominance in the academic market is likely to increase. But law review and a post-grad judicial clerkship are definitely the rule rather than the exception. And it looks as if you'll have no problem securing those, especially on your home turf.

Moreover, maintaining your spot at the top of the class would be easier than it would at a T14, because many of the students who rank near you, will attempt to transfer somewhere else - provided they do not share your ambitions to stay in the same city.

In terms of a firm career, the only thing you'd need to think about is whether your current job market is small and volatile enough to trigger any serious impact in firm hiring policies (witness San Francisco). Though if you've landed a firm job after 1L and can keep your grades up, you're probably in a pretty good spot to weather any shifts in the market, especially if your school is the biggest fish in a little pond. Though one of the advantages of a degree from a T14 is that it's far easier to take that degree to parts unknown when one's local market of choice dries up.
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