Transferring Law Schools

Published April 2023

Are you thinking about transferring law schools? When I worked at NYU School of Law in JD admissions, I helped manage the transfer process and read every transfer application.

There are some nuances regarding changing JD programs. With the new version of the LSAT, scores have been trending higher in recent years. Grade inflation is rampant at the college level. Admissions to top law programs is competitive. Many clients desire going to a top law school to increase their chances of having a strong employment outcome.

If you are considering making the effort to transfer law schools, here are a few tips!

1) Apply as early as possible. Please do this once the application opens. JD admissions offices practice rolling admissions, and they review as applications become complete. To be ready for review in the earlier batches is advantageous.

2) Your first year law grades matter significantly. You will have a better chance with at least a 3.7 GPA. Law schools will not make a decision on your transfer application until they have your full first year grades available.

3) Make sure to check the requirements of the new law school that you have enough credits to apply for transfer. Many ask for 28-32 credits at your current school. You generally transfer only after 1L year, and from another law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

4) Luckily your test scores are not a big consideration for admissions committees for transferring law schools. So if you felt limited by your LSAT or GRE score when applying to law schools for the 1L class, these are not really considered as a transfer applicant.

5) Try to get a recommendation from a law school professor who taught you in class that will write a very positive letter. Foster that connection during your first year of law school. This is a component that shows your ability to thrive in the law school environment.

6) Be involved in some activities during law school. You will be certainly be busy with classes, but have a few clubs and extra-curricular offerings in which you are active to show what you might contribute to your next law school community.

7) Present your materials a bit differently than when you were applying to a first year law program – make sure your essays are updated with new information and do not repeat verbatim from your statements as a first-year applicant.

8) In your personal statement, do not complain about your current law school – whining is not attractive. Provide reasons for why you want to transfer separate from the prestige of the school. Explain why you want to be in that particular location and which offerings their school has that would appeal to you. This essay needs to demonstrate clearly and convincingly what you want in law school, how you will contribute to your community, and why that particular law school is a good fit for you.

9) Keep in mind that scholarships from law schools are not usually available for transfer students.

10) Be prepared to enroll at a moment’s notice! You might not hear you are admitted until late in the summer. It will be a whirlwind time. If you are changing cities, you have to be prepared to get a place to live. Ask if there is a current student you can talk to for advice at your new school. You might have to go through the on campus recruiting process right away at your new school in order to interview for jobs that start at the end of your 2L year. It is a lot to process at once, but just be ready to dive into the next part of journey!

If you have any questions about the transfer process for JD programs, Renaissance Admissions Consulting has the expertise to help you achieve your dreams! Thanks, and good luck with your application process!

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