I got an acceptance letter today from a school in Boston(recently dropped to T4). Believe me I was THRILLED to get in, but this situation also put me in a bind. They want me to return a signed form within 10 days. However I have other applications pending(4) and I wanted to apply to some other schools which have not released applications. I am in the top 6 percent from a T4 in Michigan so I feel I have a shot at some T1's. How strict are schools when it comes to returning these forms? I want to practice in Boston, but I'm also shooting for a biglaw job. My biggest fear is that I will mess up my offer from Boston, not get in anywhere else, and find my way back into Michigan. Any advice would be helpful.
All good responses. Your circumstances and wishes contain some mutually exclusive elements.
CanadianWolf is quite right about the strictness issue, and chances are if they want you they'll be at least somewhat flexible. A call to the dean of admissions--once you know what you want--will likely buy you a few additional days or even weeks. (That given, the timelines on transfers are tight.)
Leverandon and BikePilot point to a serious question, if a big law job is the sincere wish. You're likely not buying a huge boost with a local firm, given your 1L grades. Depending upon your other connections to Boston, it's possible you wouldn't be that much further behind from Michigan seeking a job in Boston--although that's a long shot, as you already know. The reason this is more of a toss-up than it would be otherwise is that you're going to give up some job-generating kudos in exchange for proximity, which with a T4 in Boston is not likely to be much. Unless there's more in the picture, this isn't sounding like a jump-at-it offer. (Too, it's possible that you might secure some funding, if they truly want you. That's unlikely with transfers, generally, but you never know unless you ask.)
As to timelines, I'm a bit rusty, but if the info I read recently in Art of the Law School transfer is correct for the law schools you're referring to, the window is not wide open, but for transfer applications closes shortly after it opens. There is very little margin for error here. Have you checked with each school as to the final elements they'll need?
PS: Another option, if it would be helpful, is to apply to schools in New England or the New York area (or even anywhere on the East Coast) that would put you in the rough vicinity (or air trip) of Boston. It's unlikely--again to BikePilot's point--that an in-Boston T4 is going to give much boost, if at all. A T2 or lower T1 within a few hundred miles (or an hour's flight) puts you in the proverbial ballpark, and puts you much closer in terms of actual law office interviews. As BikePilot states, for big law even this is at the margins; you really want solid T1 to have that solid shot, especially in a market such as Boston.
(Toward that, other factors can make the deciding difference. A big law partner added an excerpt in Art of the Law School Transfer about how big law interviewers interview transfer students. In short, what attracts interviewers to transfer applicants is the dedication and perseverance, in addition to the stellar 1L showing. Adding to that solid summer work and a likeable personality can make the difference in interviews. Believe it or not, most interviewers would not remember having interviewed you two hours before; they'll remember the best handful and the worst handful. That's your real hurdle in interviews. Yet one more recommendation for actually getting the big law job: The Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job. It's hard to overstate the importance of the soft variables--raw likeability, the right research, etc.--once the interview is actually secured.)
Best of luck to you.