Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

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Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:13 am

Here's my story:

I want to clerk, that's my only long term goal at the moment. Would like to go "all out" and gun for the feeder judges while I'm at it.

I am currently the top of the class at a t10. I also have a full scholarship.

Which is a stronger position: 1) stay here (which I love) and continue to develop relationships w professors; continue to get top grades and graduate w honors. Or
2) Go to Yale, do well but not as well, possibly might have trouble getting meaningful letters of rec in such a short time.

Basically, for competitive CoA gigs, would it be better to be top 5% (T10) with lots of great recs or should I gamble on Yale, knowing that I could graduate median there?

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glewz
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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby glewz » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:17 am

I know a person who was top of T10 and is now on law review at Y. He said it was the best decision he's made. But his career goals were different from yours (corp. law). Tough call - are you 1L? If you're 2L, I'd say no.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:28 am

Yes, I'm a 1L. Also would be concerned about giving up the scholarship I have at my T10. I know Yale opens so many doors, I'm just trying to figure out if it will open doors I wouldnt have access to as the/a top student at the Top10. And if those doors are worth the extra $100k.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:35 am

Look at all your goals. You're at the top of your class? The one person at your school who is most likely to get those things is you.

I'm often strongly in favor of transferring, but here I just don't see the need.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:25 am

My intuition (from the very little information we've been given) is that you should stay. The only thing that would change my mind is if you are sure you want to be in academia. What you said about clerkship recommendations is completely right. But a word of caution - top 5% at a T10 isn't really competitive for feeder judges, to be honest with you. At my T10, only a couple people got feeder clerkships and they were literally ranked top 1% or higher. This would become even harder if you transferred to Yale, where a lot more people are competitive for feeder clerkships.

I'm a former transfer student myself and really wish I would have gone to one school all three years. It is really not fun transferring - you have to make new friends, worry about journals, get asked the "Why did you transfer" question over and over in interviews, etc.

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Wholigan
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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Wholigan » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:29 am

glewz wrote:I know a person who was top of T10 and is now on law review at Y. He said it was the best decision he's made. But his career goals were different from yours (corp. law). Tough call - are you 1L? If you're 2L, I'd say no.


The consensus seems to be that you transfer T14 --> Y for academia or clerkships. I'm curious as to what kind of firms your friend believes is more likely from Yale than from top of the class at a T10.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Cavalier » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:57 am

Unless you are certain you want to go into academia, I think you'd be crazy to transfer. At UVA (and I suspect it's the same way at other non-YHS T-10 schools), the top 3 to 5 students are competitive for feeder judges. If you maintain your class position, you'll be in better shape than almost anyone. If you transfer, you have basically one semester to bring yourself to the top again and develop new relationships with professors, since much of the feeder hiring occurs in February-April of 2L year (with the exception of the DC Circuit). You'll also have to write on to the Yale Law Journal (which isn't a huge obstacle, but still, if you're unsuccessful, you're not getting a feeder clerkship). You'd be foolish to risk it all for a slightly better chance at a feeder clerkship.

The money only makes transferring even crazier. If you maintain your class rank you'll be able take basically any job you want without being constrained by debt, which is a great situation to be in. If you're going to give serious consideration to transferring, talk to your professors and the 2L students at the top of the class who chose to stay (if you know who they are).

Edit: I assume that your statement of "I am currently the top of the class at a t10" means number one, and not top 5%.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Sup Kid » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:30 pm

Cavalier wrote:...[M]uch of the feeder hiring occurs in February-April of 2L year

Just wondering how accurate this is. I'm personally not looking to do a clerkship so I may be completely wrong, but I thought I had heard people discussing that they apply in the beginning of September of their 3L year, and judges won't even look at applications before then...

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:38 pm

betasteve wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:
Cavalier wrote:...[M]uch of the feeder hiring occurs in February-April of 2L year

Just wondering how accurate this is. I'm personally not looking to do a clerkship so I may be completely wrong, but I thought I had heard people discussing that they apply in the beginning of September of their 3L year, and judges won't even look at applications before then...

You heard wrong, at least as to many feeder judges. Cavalier is correct that lots of feeder hiring occurs in the second semester of 2L year, or very shortly thereafter. A whole lot of non-feeder CoA hiring occurs between April and August of 2L year as well (leading into 3L September, when the hiring plan opens up).

Umm.. what???


Check law clerk addict for historical details. A lot of judges seem to move in July and August once 2d semester 2L grades come out.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Cavalier » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:50 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
Cavalier wrote:...[M]uch of the feeder hiring occurs in February-April of 2L year

Just wondering how accurate this is. I'm personally not looking to do a clerkship so I may be completely wrong, but I thought I had heard people discussing that they apply in the beginning of September of their 3L year, and judges won't even look at applications before then...

September hiring (i.e. "the plan") is pretty much dead except for with the DC Circuit and a few other judges who continue to adhere to it. In years past, the feeders tended to hire over the summer, but in the last couple of years some hiring has occurred even earlier. Wilkinson has already hired someone, and Kozinski has been seeking applications (no idea whether or not he's hired yet). Last year Wilkinson hired someone in March and Kozinski hired someone in February. Certainly not all feeder judges hire at this time of year, but if you are determined to get a feeder clerkship, you'd be wise to be ready to apply (by having everything in your application prepared and having your recommenders lined up) soon after you begin your second semester of your 2L year.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:06 pm

OP here. Thanks very, very much for the responses, everyone. Although I had originally "decided" a month ago that I definitely would not transfer, the idea started to resurface this last week. As someone who never thought they would ever had a chance to attend a school like Harvard or Yale, the fact that these schools are now within reach has made it difficult to abandon the transfer idea. However, thanks to these responses, I will definitely decide to stay at MVPB.

To complicate matters, I am interested in academia, but hardly intent on following that path. Yale would certainly be the way to go if I knew I wanted to teach, but I don't know this for sure. It is simply one interest of many; I want to remain open-minded about long-term career goals. The only thing I know I want to do is pursue a CoA clerkship.

Cavalier wrote:Edit: I assume that your statement of "I am currently the top of the class at a t10" means number one, and not top 5%.


Yes, after one semester, I am tied for top of the class. I received the highest possible grade in each graded class (with an AmJur in one of them). However, it would be unrealistic to assume that I can continue to repeat perfect grades for the rest of the semester. Although my goal is to remain at the top of the class, my more "reasonable" goal is to ensure that I stay top 5%.

All in all, it seems like a much safer bet to stay at a school where I know I can perform well and possibly graduate very near the top of my class. If I transfer to Y or H, I take on a substantial added debt burden plus I will throw all sorts of unknowns into the mix, including how a massive relocation will affect my personal life and overall happiness as I approach 30, thereby potentially having a significant effect on my ability to perform well in a class which will be (presumably) much more competitive to begin with.

Again, thanks, everyone.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:20 pm

I considered many of the same things during 1L, and here are the most important points:

(1) Yale (and H & S) really only have competitive academic/clerkship advantages from the standpoint of a 0L choosing where to go. While MORE people at Yale will have opportunities in those areas than people at the rest of the T10, the people actually at the top of their classes at other schools will have exactly the same opportunities. Top quarter type credentials at Yale gunning for CoA/academia would kill to be top of the class at a T10 with academic or clerking ambitions.

(2) The killer jobs tend to be all about who you know after your past the qualification post. Very few judges look at a pool of candidates and select based on objective criteria like the top students. I've already seen a lot of people land feeder type clerkship interviews as a result of getting a 'tap on the shoulder' from a professor, former clerk, or the judge themself. You give up a lot of steam in that regard by transferring. As 'the transfer' the profs who know they have clout with judges and the like have already started to form relationships with the students who started at Y (or H or S) as 1Ls. Additionally, no matter how much the profs from your former school liked you while you were a 1L, many will simply not bring the big guns to bear for somebody who left the institution. You might not even realize the person you had a great connection with and asked for a transfer rec was going to get a call from Kozinski next Spring asking if there was anybody he should take a look at. And if Garland phones somebody at Yale, you being there for only a few months is going to make it much less likely that yours is the name swimming around in their head.

(3) For academic jobs, the focus is all on publications - actual or potential - in addition to a sterling resume. Your resume won't be substantially more sterling coming out of Yale than it will be at the top of your T10. Again, more Yale students become profs, but a non-zero number from your T10 do. Once you're in the group that's competitive, a move to Yale wouldn't measurably increase your chances. You've already checked off the combination of school and performance necessary to really stand out, and the rest of the resistance down that path is going to come from getting published and prepping for the meat market. If you haven't already, you should learn as much about how this process works now as can be managed.

In short, you HAVE almost everything that made Y/H/S seem like a 'better' place to attend law school than your T10 a year ago today, and you run a very real risk of losing some of it by uprooting yourself. You'll be in a position to become a prof, land killer firm/gov't/public interest jobs, and clerk for the fanciest judges if you transfer - but you will absolutely NOT be in an objectively better position. There's a lot of noise and chaos - if you happen to miss the prof who knows the judge that would love a candidate like you, then you might never get that 'tap on the shoulder' whatever school you spend your 2L year at. But the odds are way better if you're actively playing politics at your home institution.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby DontKnowMe » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:2) Go to Yale, do well but not as well

or should I gamble on Yale, knowing that I could graduate median there?


What exactly do "doing well but not as well" and "graduating median" mean at Yale? Three quarter Ps? Half Ps? What about ungraded credits?

Keep in mind that the usual calculations don't apply to Yale with its quirky grading system.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby jimmyd11011 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:23 pm

In 7-30 years, nobody will know or care what your law school grades were, but they'll still care (up to a certain point) you went to YLS. No one is checking Bill's or Hillary's grades...

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Tanicius » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:30 pm

jimmyd11011 wrote:In 7-30 years, nobody will know or care what your law school grades were, but they'll still care (up to a certain point) you went to YLS. No one is checking Bill's or Hillary's grades...



Not really true. They care about whatever job you're coming from and the experience/successes you've so far had. Law school means nothing after the first real job. It might be a tougher crowd at your son's parochial school's Bring Your Parent to Work Day when you have to say you went to Michigan instead of Yale, and... well, that's about it.
Last edited by Tanicius on Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:41 pm

jimmyd11011 wrote:In 7-30 years, nobody will know or care what your law school grades were, but they'll still care (up to a certain point) you went to YLS. No one is checking Bill's or Hillary's grades...



To be fair... People do talk/care about Bush's grades...

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Cavalier
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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Cavalier » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:42 pm

jimmyd11011 wrote:In 7-30 years, nobody will know or care what your law school grades were, but they'll still care (up to a certain point) you went to YLS. No one is checking Bill's or Hillary's grades...

Grades themselves don't matter long-term, but the opportunities they open up do. If you're third in the class at Duke, your transcript won't help get you a job ten years later, but your clerkship with a well-known court of appeals judge will.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:41 pm

Even though I also go to Boalt I would def recommend the transfer to Yale. The amount of COA clerks we have just pales in comparison to Yale, and even the people I know have them got them because of some other hook than grades. I don't think being top of class without some other selling point is enough at our school. Also, as you have seen from even our OWN faculty committee hires, everyone is pretty much from Yale. You are basically foreclosing academia by staying. If you have SCOTUS aspiration that is also out of the question. Bottom line, we go to an awesome school and I'm sure you love the environment as much as anyone, but by staying here you are closing a lot of doors. Plus if you don't keep HH'ing all classes 2nd year(which more than a few people do), COA chances go way down, whereas you know they will be competitive at Yale. The same people always get HHs.

Anyways, don't close doors and close off amazing career options, when you look back down the line you will regret it.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Wholigan » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote: If you have SCOTUS aspiration that is also out of the question.


I don't really know if it's fair to say even SCOTUS is out of the question for OP. 8 of the 9 seats on SCOTUS have taken multiple clerks from outside of the T6 in the last two terms. With 10-12 clerks per year coming from outside the T6, OP could be in as good a position as anyone already to get one of those, as the #1 person at a T10.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:40 pm

To the person who said SCOTUS is out of the question: I believe Boalt has a SCOTUS clerk this term as well as next term, not to mention Bristow Fellowship recipient two years in a row. Obviously way more HYS students get those opportunities, but it's still def possible from any top school.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:04 pm

Tangerine Gleam wrote:To the person who said SCOTUS is out of the question: I believe Boalt has a SCOTUS clerk this term as well as next term, not to mention Bristow Fellowship recipient two years in a row. Obviously way more HYS students get those opportunities, but it's still def possible from any top school.

This is true; UVA typically ends up with one or more SCOTUS clerks each year also. It's rare, but not impossible.

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Re: Should I transfer? (T10 -> Y)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:49 pm

Cavalier wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:
Cavalier wrote:...[M]uch of the feeder hiring occurs in February-April of 2L year

Just wondering how accurate this is. I'm personally not looking to do a clerkship so I may be completely wrong, but I thought I had heard people discussing that they apply in the beginning of September of their 3L year, and judges won't even look at applications before then...

September hiring (i.e. "the plan") is pretty much dead except for with the DC Circuit and a few other judges who continue to adhere to it. In years past, the feeders tended to hire over the summer, but in the last couple of years some hiring has occurred even earlier. Wilkinson has already hired someone, and Kozinski has been seeking applications (no idea whether or not he's hired yet). Last year Wilkinson hired someone in March and Kozinski hired someone in February. Certainly not all feeder judges hire at this time of year, but if you are determined to get a feeder clerkship, you'd be wise to be ready to apply (by having everything in your application prepared and having your recommenders lined up) soon after you begin your second semester of your 2L year.


Wilkinson has already hired all 4 2012-13 clerks. He did so in February.




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