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Author Topic: Transferring v. Reapplying  (Read 2128 times)

dima650

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Transferring v. Reapplying
« on: January 09, 2013, 12:15:50 AM »
I'm a 2L at a T4 school in California.  After the first year I finished in the top 10% of my class.  From what I've read online and on this forum it seems that unless you have a compelling story it's usually difficult to transfer upwards to a T3 or T2 school.  Just wondering if anyone has had any success by reapplying and starting at the new school as a 1L?

Thank You

kjw5029

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 12:38:10 PM »
I'm a 2L at a T4 school in California.  After the first year I finished in the top 10% of my class.  From what I've read online and on this forum it seems that unless you have a compelling story it's usually difficult to transfer upwards to a T3 or T2 school.  Just wondering if anyone has had any success by reapplying and starting at the new school as a 1L?

Thank You

I don't know who told you that.  That simply isn't true.  You need good grades and a good class rank (which you apparently have). 

livinglegend

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 01:56:19 PM »
Yea I don't know where the information is coming from if your in the top 10% it is very easy to transfer up, but the question is should you? Aside from that it is January so your in the middle of your 2L year and I have only heard of transfers being accepted from 1L's who completed their first year, but once you start as a 2L it is done your option to transfer is gone.

A tier 2/3 school doesn't mean much either from the limited information you presented it sounds like you are putting far to much stock into U.S. News which is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. If you finished in the top 10% of your class at any ABA school you are likely to do fine and going to the 84th opposed to the 118th won't make any significant difference.


I am a lawyer and know that Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc are outstanding schools, but I could not tell you what the difference between Gonzaga or Wayne State was and I don't care they are both ABA schools and fine I wouldn't hire someone from Gonzaga  over a Wayne State gradue because it was 97th and Wayne State was 118th I would interview them, see their transcripts, writing sample, etc.

Startng over as 1L sounds like a terrible idea on any law school application you would have to disclsoe you attended law school and your reason for dropping out would be my schools U.S. News Ranking was not high enough? An admissiosn committe woudl think you had serious problem not to mention retaking your 1L woudl give you a tremendous advantage over the rest of the incoming class at whatever school you attended.

Conclusion
I think your putting way to much stock into U.S. News if you graduate from an ABA school and pass the bar you will have some options. You can drop out and let the dream of being a lawyer die, try transfering but going to a Tier 2/3 over a Tier 4 is not going to automatically grant you numerous options at graduation.



Groundhog

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 12:04:21 AM »
I think the reason the OP heard it was difficult was because even top grades from a lower-ranked school won't help if your LSAT isn't up to snuff or they don't need more people. Law schools accept very few transfers, usually only to replace people they lost through attrition or transfers out.

kjw5029

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 12:31:59 PM »
I think the reason the OP heard it was difficult was because even top grades from a lower-ranked school won't help if your LSAT isn't up to snuff or they don't need more people. Law schools accept very few transfers, usually only to replace people they lost through attrition or transfers out.

Maybe.  My LSAT wasn't very good and I still transferred up multiple tiers.  I started at a tier 4 as well.  I don't think LSAT grades are very important for transferring.  Easily the most important are grades and class rank.  Though I definitely agree about the attrition / transfers out. 

Groundhog

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 01:45:20 PM »
Agreed, but no one wants to take a 151 guy and put him with a bunch of 175s, even if he was getting straight As before around a bunch of other people who got 150s. I know a couple people who transferred up and regretted it because they had a big GPA drop.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 04:56:22 PM »
Maybe.  My LSAT wasn't very good and I still transferred up multiple tiers.  I started at a tier 4 as well.  I don't think LSAT grades are very important for transferring.  Easily the most important are grades and class rank.   

The answer, as always, is "It depends."

In the majority of situations grades and class rank are the dispositive factors. If you have very good grades and a high class rank you can probably transfer from a T4 to a T1. The thing that transfer applicants have to keep in mind, however, is that terms like "T1" and T2" describe a broad range of schools with varying degrees of selectivity in admissions.

For example, if you're trying to transfer from a T4 to Stanford, I think they might very well take your LSAT into account along with class rank, GPA, and the reputation of your current law school. The competition for those few transfer spots is going to be fierce. (I know someone who transferred from Hastings to Berkeley, both T1. They were ranked near the very top of their class after 1L, and had an impressive resume to boot).

OTOH, transferring from the local T4 to the local T2 (or even a non-elite T1) is going to be based largely on GPA/class rank.

One thing the OP may want to consider is whether transferring makes much sense in the first place. I'm not sure that any benefits gained from transferring to a California T2-T3 are necessarily much better than those gained from graduating top 10% at a T4. In fact, I recently worked at an office where a top 10% T4 grad would have been viewed as highly preferrable to an average T2 grad.

I went to a T3-T4 in CA, and the top 10% of my class secured good jobs. Some went to Biglaw, others to government/judicial clerkships, others to very reputable boutique firms. If you transfer, I assume there is a good chance you rank will drop. Also, I believe transfers are often not eligible for law review. Things like that may or may not be compensated for by the increased tier rank.

Just something to think about, good luck! 

livinglegend

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 05:57:07 PM »
Very good point Maintain I think a good option for anyone in the OP's position is to send out some transfer apps and then ask their current school for some scholarship money if they stay. The reality is transferring from a T3 like New York Law School to a T2 like Brooklyn Law School will not make much difference in your NY career prospects. There is already NYU, Colubmia, and Cornell in the area then Harvard & Yale a train ride away then plenty of people from University of Michigan, Stanford, Boalt, etc are eager to move to New York.  When compared to those schools there really is no difference between Brooklyn or NYLS. They are both fine schools i am sure, but the pedigree of Brooklyn is not going to open anymore doors realistically than NYLS. However, if you can get out of NYLS with 100,000 less debt then your better off getting out with less debt. If NYLS is not offering you any money then why not go to Brooklyn since you wouldn't even need to move cities and go to a Tier 2 instead it can't hurt.

kjw5029

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 10:36:46 PM »
Everyone made good points.  I just want to say that just because you're transferring to a better school doesn't mean your grades will drop.  Many of my friends (mostly transfers) at my new school did just as well if not better.  They had developed solid work and study habits at their first school in order to transfer. 

Further, as always, even though a top tier t4 may place better into firms than a mid level t2 grad, location will play a huge role.  If you don't like your t4 location, you should probably consider moving to a school where you'd like to practice. 

livinglegend

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Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 12:01:07 AM »
Yea KJW is right if I remember correctly you transferred from a school in the Midwest to the Bay Area which probably made a far bigger difference than any ranking. For example if you want to do IP law go to a school in the bay area that is where start-ups, major tech companies etc are located. Even if South Dakota has the best IP law program according to U.S. News few companies are going to bother interviewing someone in South Dakota when there are 7 ABA law schools in the bay area already.

Same goes for Entertainment law go to an ABA school in New York or L.A. and you can probably find a job somewhere in the entertainment industry as that is where entertainment law happens.

KJW is also write about the grades all law school exams are similar if you have mastered IRAC, Issue spotting, and analysis you will do well at any school. Here is President Obama's Con Law Exam from University of Chicago http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/files/conlaw3.obama.1996.fall.pdf

Here is a law school exam from a Professor who teaches at a Tier 4, Tier 2, and Tier 1 law school in San Francisco all at the same time in San Francisco.

Here is his Tier 4 law school exam
http://law.ggu.edu/media/law/documents/law-library/exams/keane_p/Keane_ConLawII_Exam_SP11.pdf

Here is his Tier 1 law school exam
http://librarysource.uchastings.edu/exams/test/Exams/Professors/Keane,%20Peter/Constitutional%20Law%202/Keane,%20Peter%20-%20Constitutional%20Law%202%20-%202010%20Spring.pdf

They are both Con Law II exams dealing with Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion etc, Obama's deals with Equal Protection, Abortion, etc but they are all things you learn in Con Law at any ABA school whether it be University of Chicago or Cooley. If you understood the rules and how to IRAC at the Tier 1 or Tier 4 it would not make a difference. You would also be learning from the same exact professor, but somehow one school is quote on quote better and this may come as a surprise, but there are numerous duplicates like this at least in the Bay Area where the same professor teaches at Hastings, University of San Francisco, and Golden Gate. Yet somehow when your are reading the same textbook and learning from the same professor at Hastings it is somehow "better" than learning it at USF, because a magazine said so.