T25 --> HYS transfer here. I concur with everything in Arrow's post (having just read through it, great job by Arrow in putting that together). Read everything in there if you are even remotely thinking about transferring, as it sums up the entire process about as well as anyone could. No need to regurgitate things here. Also feel free to consult PKSebbern's Transferring FAQ (Michigan transfer, current 3L) for some other transferring tidbits. (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=62455
). Also check the archives at Law School Discussion (http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/stud ... ard=1006.0
) for some more transferring info. That board is dead now but the archives have some good info on dates, applications, and other random stuff.
First, I think the toughest choice is if you have significant scholarship money at your old school. I gave up a full ride and it costs me as much for my 2L year (factoring in living costs) as it would have for my entire 3 years at my 1L school. I added roughly 1K per month to my loan payments, which is a boatload of money. Sit down and figure out what your long-term goals are and see if transferring makes fiscal sense, especially ITE. You should have a better idea of how the legal job market is by the summer when you have to make a decision (seems that some firms are unfreezing salaries, paying decent bonuses, actually starting deferred 1st years on time, etc.).
Second, think long term. It is tempting (as noted in Arrow's post) to think that LR + Scholly + not having to move across the country + not having to pay $900 bucks to apply to the T14 + not having to make new friends at a new school + not having to erase your 1L GPA + not losing connections with professors at your old school + all the other random transferring hassle = good reason for not transferring. In some limited cases, this might be true. But the name on your law degree is always going to be at the top of your resume, and in this profession, that matters a whole heck of a lot. Keep that in mind during the process.
Third, I am not a huge fan of the EA programs, unless those schools are your top choice and you feel comfortable paying full tuition to attend. Do not apply to GULC EA unless you (1) are 95% or more sure you would attend if admitted and (2) feel comfortable paying sticker price to attend there ITE. You will have to pay all of your relevant deposits (equaling $600 or so once you add in the application fee) to hold your place prior to knowing whether or not you were admitted to any other schools as a transfer during the regular admissions process (May-July/August). And they accept 100 transfers, so if you would get in during EA, there is a good shot you could get in during regular admission. If you are really worried about your 2nd semester grades, I suppose it is a good insurance policy (which was my thought when applied, but even if my grades had gone down some, I wouldn't have attend based on the cost and lack of OCI guarantee), but it seems that more often than not, the top 1L performers continue to do well the 2nd semester (but see TLS poster "Amped" for an opposing view).
As for Chicago EA, I think the below poster is one of the people who would benefit from this. Assuming a repeat performance, it seems like you will (1) be deferred EA and (2) have a better shot of getting in during the regular cycle. I believe that another poster on this board had similar stats from a similarly ranked school, applied EA and was deferred, and then got in during regular decision and believed that applying EA helped. I think if you are T40 and in the top 3-5% and want to keep open the possibility of HYS open (probably H based on the number of transfers taken per year), I don't think EA is a good call at UC. You will likely get in during the regular cycle, but if Chicago is your top choice and you would feel ok foreclosing that option, apply. TLS poster ToTransferorNot might be able to give some more insight on Chicago EA and the relative benefits and drawbacks of it.
I think another good discussion point is Chicago ED, and that's a decision I'm faced with right now.
I finished top 3 % at my mid-level T2, and I'm thinking of throwing an app at Chicago ED. I don't think I'll get in at first pass, but I think it will set me up well for regular decision.
However, my fear is that I do get in and either a) bomb exams somehow, getting myself out of Chicago and having to sacrifice (if I get in) a GULC EA acceptance or b) decide I really want to stay.
Thoughts? What are my odds at GULC EA vs. Chicago ED?
Also, you can get need-based aid for some transfer schools in the T14. I have not heard of scholarship money, but need-based aid does get handed out to some transfer students.