3 Things to Consider Before Transferring Law Schools

Published May 28, 2019

Are you finishing up your first year of law school and considering seeking transfer admission to another law program? Perhaps you were unsuccessful in seeking admission to your top choice program as a first-time applicant, or recently found that your current law school is not an ideal match for your long-term goals. Whatever the case, here are 3 questions to ask before transferring to a new law school.

1. Are transfer students considered for merit scholarship?

It’s possible you’re receiving merit scholarship at your current law school, but there’s no guarantee the school to which you’re seeking admission awards scholarship to transfer students. All schools are different so be sure to ask in advance, especially if cost of attendance is a make or break factor for you.

Do the math. Weigh the pros and cons of a potentially more costly option.

2. Will transferring law schools put you at a networking disadvantage?

For better or worse, law students spend a great deal of time with their first-year section classmates. Lifelong bonds are made among sections as students tackle the 1L curriculum alongside one another. Transferring law schools would mean leaving behind friendships and future colleagues, but perhaps the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

For additional consideration. Law schools typically offer first-year law students opportunities to connect with alumni through networking events and alumni-supported mentor programs. Before seeking transfer admission, connect with Career Services at the school to which you're seeking admission to inquire about networking opportunities for transfer students. Remember to ask: How will transferring law schools impact my ability to participate in On-Campus Interviews?

3. Will you have an opportunity to compete for a spot on law review?

Being named to “Law Review” usually means you’re at the top of your class, have rigorous training in legal research, an eye for detail, and excellent writing skills, and is very attractive to certain employers, especially law firms and judges.

Each school’s process for selecting law review members differs, but typically includes first-year grades, a case note competition, and a Blue Book exam at the end of the first-year, or a combination of the three. If law review is important to you, be sure to ask about the opportunity and process for transfer students to compete for a spot on law review.

Law School GPA. How will your law school GPA be calculated post-transfer? How will this impact your ability to stand out during the job interview process?

If you’ve considered the above questions and are still interested in transferring, begin to research the transfer application process as requirements vary from school to school. Many law schools consider transfer applications from individuals with completed coursework at another ABA-accredited law school. Per ABA Standard 505, law schools cannot award transfer credit in excess of one-third of the total required for its JD degree. For this reason, it is wise to seek transfer admission after successful completion of the first-year JD curriculum.

You can discover more about the University at Buffalo School of Law’s transfer application process and requirements.

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Guest blogger Lindsay Gladney is the Vice Dean for Admissions at UB School of Law.

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