Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:14 am

phoenixsoars wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Transferring has its advantages, but you'll lose that top-of-the-class status, and you'll probably be treated as a middle-of-the-road student at your new school. You may be treated as worse. I know one student who transferred from a T30 to HYS, interviewed with a top firm, and was told bluntly, "We don't interview at your T30 so we don't consider you qualified for our firm." The situation for HYS transfers still seems good overall, but with median or below students at lower T14s struggling to get hired, would you really want to plan on becoming one of them?

Planning on transferring is, in general, a bad idea if it's avoidable. This is conventional wisdom here for a reason.


Excellent advice. I also know a student like the one you refer to, and would advise OP to keep in mind that many top firms have semi-hard quotas for T14 schools, and they will almost always take a kid that's Law Review and has top grades from that school than a transfer, even if that transfer was top 1% at a T30. I've even heard of some firms suggesting they would have called back a transfer if she was still at her old school, but that they can't compare her grades to top students at HYS and have taken as many students as they can from that particular school. So if you're top 1% at a T30, a firm that does not interview at your OCI might still be willing to interview you, just to have a bit of school diversity, but they will probably overlook you if you transfer to a higher ranked school.


And on the other hand, you have stories like mine (and others) - people who are now working at firms (and have clerkships set up) which would have been 100% unobtainable at the original school.

phoenixsoars
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby phoenixsoars » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:16 am

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Last edited by phoenixsoars on Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rynabrius
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby rynabrius » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:20 am

If you plan to transfer, do it for the long term, don't do it for OCI success.

solidsnake
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby solidsnake » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:08 pm

I'm going to throw my hand in there and say that, had i not transferred, there is no way i would've got the firm i did or the opportunity that firm is presenting me. Transferring may have its downsides; but the upside is potentially endless.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:11 pm

solidsnake wrote:I'm going to throw my hand in there and say that, had i not transferred, there is no way i would've got the firm i did or the opportunity that firm is presenting me. Transferring may have its downsides; but the upside is potentially endless.

You made a significant transfer upward, right?

My point was not that transferring isn't worth it, only that the upsides and downsides need to be weighed. I think there's a huge difference in transferring from a T25 to lower T14, and transferring from T25 to T6, for example, in the amount of gain you get for the same "loss". I agree there are situations where transferring is worth it; after all, I did it, and I'm happy with my decision so far. It's not really a simple matter of whether transferring is worth it, but when.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:20 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
solidsnake wrote:I'm going to throw my hand in there and say that, had i not transferred, there is no way i would've got the firm i did or the opportunity that firm is presenting me. Transferring may have its downsides; but the upside is potentially endless.

You made a significant transfer upward, right?

My point was not that transferring isn't worth it, only that the upsides and downsides need to be weighed. I think there's a huge difference in transferring from a T25 to lower T14, and transferring from T25 to T6, for example, in the amount of gain you get for the same "loss". I agree there are situations where transferring is worth it; after all, I did it, and I'm happy with my decision so far. It's not really a simple matter of whether transferring is worth it, but when.


I certainly agree. Honestly, I think that, for most people in most situations, coming from a T25 (if it's in the market you want to work in) HYSCC should be your cutoff (add N if, and only if, you want to work in NYC - N doesn't have the clerkship cachet that CC give).

AND DO A SECONDARY JOURNAL IF YOU DON'T GET ON THE PRIMARY, FFS. I've seen so, so many posts recently by people who (inexplicably) chose not to do a secondary journal because it wasn't prestigious enough. Being on my secondary got me my 2L summer gig (though it probably didn't matter much for the post-graduation offer I ended up taking at a different firm,) and it got me my clerkship. Just do it.

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Badger3920
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Re: Top 25 to top 14...how high up is worth it?

Postby Badger3920 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:30 pm

I think all of this is great advice. I think TLS has a tendency to be too heavy-handed and "Omg, you can't do it - don't even think about it because I did it, but you're not smart like me."

However, that is -not- this thread. At this point in time, OP's goals should be to top his class, not to transfer - even if the two are heavily correlated in some instances.

Transferring is something that, in retrospect, I still can't figure out (considering all of the variables) how the hell we made it work. By "we", I mean my study group. Of our study group of 4 at a school in the low 40's, one of us transferred to #1, one transferred to #4, and two transferred to #7. That was the result of a lot of working nights and weekends together, and I mean A LOT, and also A LOT of luck.

While this means it can certainly be done, as many here can attest to with similar stories, I think the advice in this thread is providing some fantastic caution. This transfer forum is full of so many similarly situated folks (those who did very well their 1L year), that it could easily fuel false conceptions of the transfer process being easy or a very viable back door to some of the high-ranked institutions. It is NOT. Consider the difficulty of being in the top 10% of your class two semesters in a row, or at our school, having to be in the top 5% for two consecutive semesters to have any real chance at the T-10. That means surviving the whimsical grading of ~10 academics for an entire year. And that's not it; that only opens the door to one of the most crapshoot processes you'll ever experience. Transfer applications. This forum is a testament to that; so many come here because no one has any clue as to what their odds are. The best we can do is provide generalizations and, even then, the generalizations are not numbers that make you a sure-fire shot. The general figures here provided are usually ones meant to say, "If your stats are at least X, then adcomms wont put your file in the trash on arrival."


The odds are daunting - and people (rightfully) mention this frequently. In the end, consider the following as an illustration. Many schools have class sizes ranging from 200-400 people. Think of EVERYONE in your 1L class. Now, think of the smallest seminar room at your school (~10 seats). Picture your entire class in a line outside that seminar room, the door opening, and people walking in and sitting down until each seat is full. The people with seats have a chance at transferring to the top few institutions; everyone still outside the door will graduate with a JD from the institution you matriculated to. Additionally, the people with seats are now qualified to go stand in another similar line to get into the T-10 schools (another similar, overcrowded, crapshoot).

Your first year is the only control you have in the process by which you may struggle to be toward the front of the line before that door opens.

Please don't matriculate with the idea that "I'm smart; I bet I can at least transfer to ONE of the T-14." The likelihood is, as some frequently say, 0-10%




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