(I'm passing this question along for a friend)
A friend of mine is a 1L at Cooley and has okay, but not great, stats all around (Decent LSAT and UGPA, lured to Cooley by a scholarship, top 22%). With her numbers right now she's got a presumptive invite to Cooley's law review prereq (they make students take an additional writing class before they get on LR) and an invite to the moot court class. She was also admitted as a transfer to Michigan State University (T3).
MSU apparently isn't super nice to transfers. To do law review you need to participate in the write-on competition in the spring, and you can't even participate in that unless you have their two writing classes or get a waiver (which, if I understood her right, isn't available until after you're accepted). She's missed this year's competition, and apparently she can't do next year's because she'll only have a year left. She says that moot court is basically closed off as well.
She doesn't care where she gets a job, as long as she gets one. Cooley with law review would apparently do okay within Michigan, but, as I think we all are aware, the school isn't really respected outside of the Midwest.
What would you guys do if you were in her situation?
I tried breaking it down into a pro/con.
Staying at Cooley
Pros: Law review. Moot court. Decent placement in Michigan. So many people transfer out that her GPA (and rank) will probably shoot up next year.
Cons: It's probably the most derided T4 in the country. Little employment prospects outside of Michigan and almost zero outside of the midwest. Having to hide your diploma in shame.
Transferring to MSU
Pros: It's not Cooley. Has been on the rise since merging with MSU (I think it'll probably settle as a low T2, somewhere near DePaul). National name recognition.
Do you guys have any other thoughts? What would you do if you were in her situation?
It is always tough and my personal feeling with transferring is if you are doing well in an academic setting why rock the boat. Maybe if she was transferring to University of Michigan or an elite institution a transfer might be a good idea, but to transfer schools in the same location to one that is only slight more regarded might not be worth the change.
What your friend should do is negotiate for more scholarship money from Cooley they will not want to lose a top student and your friend may be able to to get 10-20k or more in scholarship money simply by asking.
Another thing to consider when transferring is the individuals personality after 1L clicks are formed and if you attend a new school and are not extremly outgoing it could be a depressing final two years. Also if the student has a chance to be on Law Review have great contacts with professors at Cooley that is more impressive than graduating from MSU. I think employers are more impressed by someone doing extremely well at a less regarded school opposed to a run of the mill student at a more highly regarded school.
Bottom line if I was your friend I would fill out a transfer application and try to get some scholarship money. If Cooley doesn't offer anything then consider actually transferring, but I imagine Cooley will give your friend a little extra cash if she negotiates properly.