Welcome to Learn Law Better, where today I am going to provide you with the pros and cons
of transferring to another law school after your first year.
Stay to the end, and you might change your mind before you pack your bags for another
Hi, this is Beau Baez, and today I want to provide you with some advice on whether you
should transfer to another law school.
This is an option that students with top grades have after their second semester of law school.
If you transfer, you will get a diploma from the law school where you complete your final
two years and not the law school where you completed your first year.
Most students transfer to a higher ranked law school based on the U.S. News & World
Report ranking system.
First the pros of transferring: you will graduate from a higher ranked law school, which may lead to better
jobs, clerkship opportunities, and higher salaries.
The cons are more numerous and complex. One, your current school will likely throw money at you to stay,
while you will likely pay full tuition at the new school.
Two, many schools will prohibit you from getting on law review, so those opportunities are now gone.
Three, there are likely other organizations and activities you may be precluded from participating
in as a transfer student, such as moot court.
Four, your GPA will likely not count at the new school, so this means you might not
be able to get special honors at graduation.
Four, you will lose your 1L friends and may find it difficult to make new friends at the
After all, most of the friends that you keep in law school and after law school are the ones you made in your first year.
Five, you may have better job prospects at your current law school as employers look
to hire the best and brightest from your law school. So keep in mind, stay at your current school you may graduate at the top
You transfer, you very well might not be at the top
and you may find it more difficult
to be in the middle of a class than at the top of the pack.
Now, let me tell you what I would tell my son or daughter, and what I have told some of my students.
First, f you can move from a law school outside the Top 14 into the Top 14, then you just do that jump.
It’s worth making a jump into the top 14, it will open up opportunities for you.
Now if you are in that position, you are in the Top 14, and you are looking to jump within the 14
look at how big of a jump,
Going from school 14 to 12, it’s probably not going to make a difference.
Now, if you go from school 14 to school 1 or 3, that’s a pretty big jump.
I still remember my first year at Georgetown, one of my friends did very well in his first year,
he transferred to Harvard, and he took it.
That was a good move.
And, by the way, at the time, Georgetown was ranked #9 in the country,
But even then
But a jump from #9 to whatever Harvard is, 1 or 3, 1, or 2 or 3. That made sense.
Now the more difficult question is when you want to transfer to a law school that is not in the Top 14.
Some students believe that any upward momentum is great, and will jump from school 27 to
school 17. By the way, I am just stating random numbers and have no idea what schools have
those spots this particular year.
Now unless the transfer is significant, you are likely going to be worse off by moving to a different law school.
Just bring it to the attention of your current law school, take any additional money that you have and stay at your current school.
Now as a rule of thumb, unless you are making a jump of 50 or more schools you probably should
For those of you at a law school that is ranked below 100, I would recommend that you not jump to
another law school below a 100.
So for example, you are at school number 201 and can jump to school 106.
Trust me, there really isn’t going to be a significant prestige jump and you are likely going to be better off
staying at your current law school.
Lawyers and judges do not keep a copy of the U.S. News & World Report on their desks and
go “wow, you graduated from school number 107. That’s not how it works.
Now if you do decide to try to transfer to a better school, make sure you get a letter from a professor that
know you well.
I helped several of my law students move from a very low ranked law school to Top 14 law schools.
Lots of students with good grades apply to the Top 14, but only those with great
letters of recommendation make those huge jumps. I mean I was able to craft the letter
for these students and able to talk about their integrity, their academic performance
their character. Thats what those schools want. You need a professor that can
speak those kind of words if you really want to have a good shot at getting into a Top 14.
Especially when you are ranked, you know, way at the bottom of the list.
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