Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

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Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:06 pm

So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby InLikeFlint » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


There was a thread about this a while ago. One person brought up the point that, if you end up going for NYC biglaw, employers might look at the transfer suspiciously. Top 10% NYU should give you the same options as HY for biglaw, so potential employers may be worried that you are more interested in academia or other things that would rely more on HYS pedigree.

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thesealocust
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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby thesealocust » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:20 pm

School won't matter nearly as much as your connections with professors and publication potential/record. You won't win magic brownie points by transferring, and it will probably suck (law school is already short, uprooting is no bueno). If you miss law review at NYU but get into Yale that can turn into a major coup though, as it's (relatively) easy to write onto YLJ as a transfer. 3.67 would be a fairly big stretch to transfer, however.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:01 pm

Connections to professors who will set you on the road to academia should be your #1 priority. In that regard, trasferring seems counterproductive.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:47 am

InLikeFlint wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


There was a thread about this a while ago. One person brought up the point that, if you end up going for NYC biglaw, employers might look at the transfer suspiciously. Top 10% NYU should give you the same options as HY for biglaw, so potential employers may be worried that you are more interested in academia or other things that would rely more on HYS pedigree.


Seems like silly speculation to me. By that logic, employers should be suspicious of people who choose to go to HYS in the first place. They might ask you in an interview, but all you have to say is "I wanted to graduate from the best school possible"

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby straxen » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


You have all your grades back already? They're not even due until next week.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby HamDel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:10 am

blsingindisguise wrote:
InLikeFlint wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


There was a thread about this a while ago. One person brought up the point that, if you end up going for NYC biglaw, employers might look at the transfer suspiciously. Top 10% NYU should give you the same options as HY for biglaw, so potential employers may be worried that you are more interested in academia or other things that would rely more on HYS pedigree.


Seems like silly speculation to me. By that logic, employers should be suspicious of people who choose to go to HYS in the first place. They might ask you in an interview, but all you have to say is "I wanted to graduate from the best school possible"


That's a terrible answer, would make you look like a one dimensional prestige whore. Better answers would be that you thought Yale's academic atmosphere fit your learning style better, you liked Stanford's smaller class size, or you had research interests that were aligned with specific faculty members at Harvard. Those kinds of responses are much easier to swallow and come across as much more thoughtful.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:49 am

HamDel wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:
InLikeFlint wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


There was a thread about this a while ago. One person brought up the point that, if you end up going for NYC biglaw, employers might look at the transfer suspiciously. Top 10% NYU should give you the same options as HY for biglaw, so potential employers may be worried that you are more interested in academia or other things that would rely more on HYS pedigree.


Seems like silly speculation to me. By that logic, employers should be suspicious of people who choose to go to HYS in the first place. They might ask you in an interview, but all you have to say is "I wanted to graduate from the best school possible"


That's a terrible answer, would make you look like a one dimensional prestige whore. Better answers would be that you thought Yale's academic atmosphere fit your learning style better, you liked Stanford's smaller class size, or you had research interests that were aligned with specific faculty members at Harvard. Those kinds of responses are much easier to swallow and come across as much more thoughtful.


First of all, no one is even going to be "suspicious" of wanting to transfer upward in the first place. It's understood. Second, answers like yours are transparently bullshit and have nothing to do with the way law school actually works. You don't go to a law school because your "research interests" are aligned with certain professors, because law school is not a Ph.D. program and you don't actually do very much advanced research in law school. Further, prestige whoring is fully expected by big law firms. Besides, you can frame it as "I wanted to be in the most challenging atmosphere, in class with the brightest students" as opposed to just "I want the best resume credit."

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby HamDel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:31 am

blsingindisguise wrote:
First of all, no one is even going to be "suspicious" of wanting to transfer upward in the first place. It's understood. Second, answers like yours are transparently bullshit and have nothing to do with the way law school actually works. You don't go to a law school because your "research interests" are aligned with certain professors, because law school is not a Ph.D. program and you don't actually do very much advanced research in law school. Further, prestige whoring is fully expected by big law firms. Besides, you can frame it as "I wanted to be in the most challenging atmosphere, in class with the brightest students" as opposed to just "I want the best resume credit."


First, I never said they would be suspicious of anyone, but nice attempt at sliding the strawman in. I agree that most people won't be "suspicious," but they will almost certainly ask why the transfer because it is unusual.

Second, you're obviously a 1L or haven't even started law school if you think law students don't do significant research with professors. Most of the very top schools require a substantial research paper or a journal note for credit from students at the very least, and many students actually do research with professors beyond just these projects. I get emails CONSTANTLY from my school asking for resumes because professors want teaching assistants and research assistants, and many of my friends and I have taken up these offers. It's very common at my school and probably at many others.

It's much better to say "well first of all I thought going to Harvard was a unique experience in and of itself, but I thought it was especially good in my case as I've always been interested in X topic and I know that professor Y specializes in it and the faculty in that subject area is very strong on the whole. I'm doing research with Y this fall and I'm excited to get started." Compare that to what seems to be the suggestion of "I want 2 go 2 Harvard BC it is presitgus skool!" Obviously people are prestige whores, but you clearly don't understand that you aren't allowed to openly say that in an interview. It's like mentioning salary as a reason to go into law. A lot of people are motivated by that, but you aren't allowed to admit it as the reason. You just don't do it.

Obviously Harvard is the toughest one to explain as the others have more significant differences in terms of size and orientation, so if OP has a better answer he should use it. These are just my suggestions and I think they would go over much better than the idiotic statement that someone is willing to chase prestige at all costs and didn't form any worthwhile bonds at NYU.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby billyez » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:43 am

I'd just say that it isn't really clear what defines "significant" research. Also, the person you were replying to wasn't saying that that law students don't do significant research with Professors; he was saying that "research interests" aren't typically what guides them to choose a particular school and you typically don't do much advanced research in law school. I'd agree with that statement.
Last edited by billyez on Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:02 am

HamDel wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:
InLikeFlint wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


There was a thread about this a while ago. One person brought up the point that, if you end up going for NYC biglaw, employers might look at the transfer suspiciously. Top 10% NYU should give you the same options as HY for biglaw, so potential employers may be worried that you are more interested in academia or other things that would rely more on HYS pedigree.


Seems like silly speculation to me. By that logic, employers should be suspicious of people who choose to go to HYS in the first place. They might ask you in an interview, but all you have to say is "I wanted to graduate from the best school possible"


That's a terrible answer, would make you look like a one dimensional prestige whore. Better answers would be that you thought Yale's academic atmosphere fit your learning style better, you liked Stanford's smaller class size, or you had research interests that were aligned with specific faculty members at Harvard. Those kinds of responses are much easier to swallow and come across as much more thoughtful.


Adds something but I don't think the "prestige-whore" answer is absolutely unswallowable if worded correctly. People recognize the perks and may instead end up deducting points for a BS answer.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby HamDel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:Adds something but I don't think the "prestige-whore" answer is absolutely unswallowable if worded correctly. People recognize the perks and may instead end up deducting points for a BS answer.


I don't think that you have to avoid it completely, but I think it's enormously problematic to just have that as the only answer. Everyone knows the real reason, but it comes across very poorly on its own.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:26 am

HamDel wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Adds something but I don't think the "prestige-whore" answer is absolutely unswallowable if worded correctly. People recognize the perks and may instead end up deducting points for a BS answer.


I don't think that you have to avoid it completely, but I think it's enormously problematic to just have that as the only answer. Everyone knows the real reason, but it comes across very poorly on its own.


Not only is this TCR, it's 100 times more true if the jump is from top 10% at NYU to HYS. Your interviewer is going to know - flat out know as a fact - that top 10% at NYU has better prospects from a credentials point of view than almost everyone at Harvard, so the prestige whoring isn't even going to look intelligent.

GOING to Harvard over NYU is defensible. TRANSFERRING to Harvard after already BEING top 10% at NYU is prestige whoring of the nakedest kind.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:20 am

Yes, transfer to H or Y for academia. I think you will still be able to get 'biglaw,' regardless of some posters' concerns that firms will look badly on the transfer. I really doubt that any concern that may exist will prevent you from getting a firm job. IMO saying generally you felt the transfer would improve your options long-term is better than making something specific up if it isn't true. But obviously being tactful and using discretion about what you say is important. In terms of being super concerned about the firm jobs, your real target is academia anyway, right? From H or Y (Y especially) that becomes less of a pipe dream and more of a real option. But if you were just gunning for biglaw, then the transfer probably wouldn't make sense. Just my opinion.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:02 pm

for the record, not a 0L or 1L -- graduated this year. Yes, there are R.A. positions with professors, papers, journal notes (I met my faculty adviser exactly ONCE for my law review note), etc. but that's beside the original point, which was that you don't generally choose a law school because you want to do research with certain professors. That's more appropriate for Ph.D. programs, where you'll work closely with one or a few professors throughout your time in the program. Law school doesn't work that way. I mean yes, a rock star name like Lawrence Lessig might draw you to Stanford, but you don't go assuming that you're actually going to do research with Lawrence Lessig unless you're awfully overconfident and unrealistic.

Anyway, stepping back from the trees and looking at the forest here, fear of being perceived as a prestige whore is NOT a good reason not to transfer. It shouldn't even be a consideration. Very few law students wouldn't want to go to Harvard or Yale Law School if given the chance, and everyone understands that. I'm not sure what the perceived difference is between getting in in the first place versus not getting in, getting top grades at a slightly lower-ranked school and transferring. We can differ on how to explain it, and sure, a more nuanced, less blatantly prestige-obsessed answer might be better, but I wouldn't get carried away with trying to make it sound like some kind of pure academic thing (especially if the fear is being perceived as someone who only wants academia!).

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Renzo » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:10 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:for the record, not a 0L or 1L -- graduated this year. Yes, there are R.A. positions with professors, papers, journal notes (I met my faculty adviser exactly ONCE for my law review note), etc. but that's beside the original point, which was that you don't generally choose a law school because you want to do research with certain professors. That's more appropriate for Ph.D. programs, where you'll work closely with one or a few professors throughout your time in the program. Law school doesn't work that way. I mean yes, a rock star name like Lawrence Lessig might draw you to Stanford, but you don't go assuming that you're actually going to do research with Lawrence Lessig unless you're awfully overconfident and unrealistic.

Anyway, stepping back from the trees and looking at the forest here, fear of being perceived as a prestige whore is NOT a good reason not to transfer. It shouldn't even be a consideration. Very few law students wouldn't want to go to Harvard or Yale Law School if given the chance, and everyone understands that. I'm not sure what the perceived difference is between getting in in the first place versus not getting in, getting top grades at a slightly lower-ranked school and transferring. We can differ on how to explain it, and sure, a more nuanced, less blatantly prestige-obsessed answer might be better, but I wouldn't get carried away with trying to make it sound like some kind of pure academic thing (especially if the fear is being perceived as someone who only wants academia!).



The difference is that you are almost as likely to run into an NYU alum as an HLS alum among the lawyers at the pinnacle of the profession. If you've never been to NYU, the NYU alums just think of you as a HLS alum, but if you transferred, you've declared that their alma matter wasn't good enough for you. There is no nuanced explanation for this. You might be able to spin NYU to SLS based on a made-up dying relative or something, but since you can throw a frisbee from NYU to HLS, that's probably not going to work.

Additionally, academics are generally invested in their institution, so transferring is like saying, "thanks for everything, but I'm getting out of this shithole now." Understandably, that may not go over so well, so you'll be burning contacts with people who might otherwise really go out of their way to help you.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:42 pm

I would say transfer if you don't already have relationships with professors at NYU, and don't if you do.

Relationships with professors (along with publishing, which is often aided by relationships with professors) is one of the most important factors for academia. At Yale especially, class sizes are smaller so you'll be better able to form those relationships. H and Y also generally have a better institutional infrastructure for supporting people who want academia, since so many more people go into it from those schools.

That said, it's not worth throwing away the relationships you have already (if any) just for the name on your resume.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:44 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:I would say transfer if you don't already have relationships with professors at NYU, and don't if you do.

Relationships with professors (along with publishing, which is often aided by relationships with professors) is one of the most important factors for academia. At Yale especially, class sizes are smaller so you'll be better able to form those relationships. H and Y also generally have a better institutional infrastructure for supporting people who want academia, since so many more people go into it from those schools.

That said, it's not worth throwing away the relationships you have already (if any) just for the name on your resume.


Out of curiosity, do many students really develop significant relationships with professors during 1L year? It certainly didn't seem that way to me but maybe it's different at NYU. I mean is your torts professor going to be so impressed with your class participation and questions during office hours that it's going to form the basis of his aiding you on the academic track years later?

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:46 pm

Isn't this discussion a bit premature ? Better to wait until an acceptance to Harvard and/or Yale is offered & until you know whether or not you make NYU's law review & whether or not NYU makes a scholarship offer to keep you.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:09 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:
Out of curiosity, do many students really develop significant relationships with professors during 1L year? It certainly didn't seem that way to me but maybe it's different at NYU. I mean is your torts professor going to be so impressed with your class participation and questions during office hours that it's going to form the basis of his aiding you on the academic track years later?


Not that by itself. The point is you build the beginnings of a relationship 1L year, then expand on it later. Something that is quite common, even among people who aren't trying to do academia.

(1) Do well in a 1L class (especially small section), have good participation, and attend office hours. Basically, enough for the professor to remember who you are and think you must be a smart kid.

(2) RA or TA for the professor 2L year, and/or ask him or her to advise you on your note.

(3) Hit this professor up for clerkship recommendations, and keep in touch.

(4) Have the professor as one of your references, whether it's for academia or something else.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:07 am

straxen wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, I've been quietly assembling the materials to transfer to Yale or Harvard, but I'm still torn as to whether to do this or not. I have a 3.67, confirmed with recent grades, which I'm fairly certain is right on the top 10% mark for NYU. (I know that number doesn't guarantee admission as a transfer, but I at least have a good shot.)

I would really love to go into legal academia, but I'm not 100% certain that I want to foreclose other options, including biglaw. I'm curious to hear what stories others have from transferring from CCN to HYS--in getting academic jobs, in getting prestigious biglaw jobs, etc.


You have all your grades back already? They're not even due until next week.



OP here, yes, got lucky, all of my grades came in last week. I know people in other sections who have a grade or two back already, too.

Anyway, I've decided to mail off the application to at least see what happens. Like I said (and others have pointed out), top 10% is not a guarantee for getting into HY as a transfer anyway, so this discussion is at least a little bit premature.

NYU has very large 1L classes (~90 students in all graded classes), so there wasn't much opportunity to distinguish myself other than through grades themselves. I'm working with the professor whose class I did best in at the moment, but it's not in a field of law in which I can imagine myself maintaining interest for more than a summer (although it's not like I'm bored).

Also have a small scholarship at NYU already, but not enough to make much difference.

I agree with everyone that Yale is the obvious choice over Harvard; the real question is whether to transfer at all (i.e., would Yale be a good idea, then we can discuss whether Harvard would be a good idea or not).

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:29 am

Follow Brian Leiter's advice:

A law student writes:

"I am currently a 1L at [a top ten law school by just about all measures], and I think that I'm interested in pursuing a career in teaching. The blogs I've read on seeking a job in academics suggest that it's preferable to go to a top 5 school. If I'm capable of performing well enough, do you think it would be a smart move to try and transfer to a higher ranked school like Harvard or Stanford?"

Everything else being equal, of course, if you want to get into law teaching it is best to go to Yale, Harvard, Stanford, or Chicago in roughly that order (and not some mythical "top 5"). But everything else is rarely equal, and there are reasons to choose other schools with top faculties if their strengths better mirror a student's interests.

But the precise question here is different. What if you're already at one of the 15 or so schools that produce a decent number of law teachers? Is it worth it to transfer to one of the top four?

In general, it probably is not worth it to transfer, for the following simple reason: to get into law teaching, you have to have reputable faculty in your corner, which means you have to get to know them well enough during your time in law school that they can offer meaningful and enthusiastic support for your academic ambitions. As it is, law school is relatively short as far as this objective is concerned; if you transfer, you have even less time to make the relevant impressions and connections (only two years) and, moreoever, if you've transferred to a school that produces a lot of law teachers, you'll have lots of competition for the attention of the relevant faculty. So my general advice would be: stay where you are, and begin cultivating the professional and intellectual relationships that are so important for getting into law teaching.

That's my general advice, but there are exceptions. One possible exception pertains to Yale, which has such a disproportionate lock on the law teaching market, that it may be worth exploring the transfer option for Yale, notwithstanding all the preceding problems. Again, though, it will depend on factors like whether Yale will meet your particular intellectual and academic needs (in many areas, other top schools are as strong as or better than Yale), and also on what kinds of relationships you establish with faculty during your first year of law school. A student who is in a position to transfer to Yale from, say, Michigan or Texas or Penn has also likely made a powerful impression on his or her teachers, the kind of impression that may be more important in terms of academic opportunities down the line than the "Yale name."

Another exception would be relevant for students with very particular intellectual interests which their home school can't meet as well as one of the top four. A first-year student at Texas or Georgetown or Michigan with a strong interest in law and economics and academic ambitions probably should think about transferring to one of the top four, each of which are much stronger in that area. Conversely, a first-year law student mostly interested in law and philosophy would have no reason to transfer from Texas or Michigan, since in most respects these schools offer as much or more for philosophically-minded students than the top four. We could, of course, multiple examples of this kind.

I invite additional comments on this general question; non-anonymous postings will be very strongly preferred.

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leit ... o_top.html

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby fishdude » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:21 pm

If you're at NYU, interested in academia, and doing well, can you migrate into the Furman program? It seems like a great program and would allow you to keep building upon the connections you have already made at NYU.

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby BoriquaEsquire » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:29 pm

Ok, I'm 95% sure I know who the OP is on this thread.

I hope you don't transfer. We'd all miss you. :(

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Re: Academia: Top 10% at NYU or Transfer to HY?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:52 pm

They'll send out an email to you to apply to furman program next year. I think all of the people in the top 10% last year got it.




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