UCLA transfer taking questions

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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UCLAtransfer
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UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Mon May 16, 2011 7:33 pm

It's that time of year again, where many 1Ls emerge from their post-finals drinking haze and frantically start working on transfer applications, and I figured many would have questions.

I just graduated as a transfer from UCLA, and have a week until I start BarBri so I thought I would take some questions for a bit. Feel free to ask in the thread or by PM if you have questions about UCLA in particular, or about transferring generally. Any other transfers should feel free to chime in with their experiences as well.

About me:
-Transferred from a mid-T2 in the northeast, b/w top 10% and top 15% after 1L
-Strong ties to CA (went to undergrad in LA)
-Had one really solid rec and one (probably) generic/good
-Applied to schools at the end of May-ish, and started hearing back right after supplementing with Spring grades (mid-June).

Anything else feel free to ask.

V811
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby V811 » Mon May 16, 2011 7:48 pm

how were you viewed by firms during OCI?

lovelaw27
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby lovelaw27 » Mon May 16, 2011 7:48 pm

I am assuming you must have gone through OCI in 2009. That must have been brutal. How has the job search gone so far? It sounds like you want to work in cali. I am curious why you attended a school in the northeast for 1L. Can you discuss generally how law firms viewed you as a transfer, especially before you got grades at UCLA?

lolol10
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby lolol10 » Mon May 16, 2011 7:56 pm

im going to either a t2 or a t3 school in the fall however i want to explore the possibility of transferring out to a t25 after my 1l yr-- preferably back to my ug institution, ND. aside from outstanding grades what else do adcoms consider? were you actively involved in any groups such as student bar association, etc? also, did you know you wanted to transfer out going into your 1l year? when did you begin the process?

lolol10
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby lolol10 » Mon May 16, 2011 7:57 pm

lovelaw27 wrote:I am assuming you must have gone through OCI in 2009. That must have been brutal. How has the job search gone so far? It sounds like you want to work in cali. I am curious why you attended a school in the northeast for 1L. Can you discuss generally how law firms viewed you as a transfer, especially before you got grades at UCLA?

good question. how did that work for you? did you just put down you were from UCLA then explained the situation?

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Tue May 17, 2011 11:55 am

lovelaw27 wrote:I am assuming you must have gone through OCI in 2009. That must have been brutal. How has the job search gone so far? Can you discuss generally how law firms viewed you as a transfer, especially before you got grades at UCLA?


I'll just answer the OCI-type questions together. This will likely be a long post, so if anything doesn't make sense or needs clarification, let me know.

Yeah, OCI in 2009 was a bloodbath (compared to my understanding of how it has been in past years at UCLA). While transfers didn't fare nearly as well as they normally do, the majority of the 10-15ish transfers I know well enough to know where they work/etc. ended up with biglaw (if they wanted it). I know of a few who were not interested (who wanted to do gov work, PI, etc.), but there were definitely a number who were shut out.

From what I observed, most of the people who were shut out fell into one or more of three categories: (1) came from a school that OCI screeners/firms simply weren't familiar enough with to know reputation, etc.; (2) bid too highly on selective firms; and/or (3) were not good interviewers.

I fell somewhere between not wanting biglaw, and getting shut out, which bears some explanation. I worked for almost two years between undergrad and law school in a job that was an absolutely terrible time-drain that made me hate my life, so I was not all about putting in another few years of that. Accordingly, I focused my search early on more midsized firms that did the type of work I was interested in, but told myself that if I had to I would take a big firm if nothing else came up. Career services provided us with a list of firms that historically took the most transfers, and I concentrated my OCI bids on those firms (which happened to be quite selective, see (2) above). Unfortunately, those firms (Gibson, O'Melveny, Latham, Paul Hastings, etc.) were the ones that seem to have decided NOT to hire many/any transfers that summer. I got a couple of callbacks, no offers from big firms, but ended up getting a SA at a mid-sized firm (60ish attorneys) that does the type of work I am interested in and pays decently. All in all, it worked out quite well for me, and most of the transfers I know are happily employed.

From the couple of current 2L/rising 3L transfers that I know, things have really turned around in a serious way for UCLA transfers, and apparently a lot of them had multiple offers.

lovelaw27 wrote:Can you discuss generally how law firms viewed you as a transfer, especially before you got grades at UCLA?


I think that how firms view you at OCI as a transfer depends primarily on what school you are coming from. It seemed like pretty consistently, the transfers that were having the most success were those who came from schools in the region that firms/screeners were familiar with (think Loyola, USD, Davis, Hastings, Santa Clara, etc.). If you will not be transferring to a higher ranked school in your region, I think the absolute best thing to do is really spread out your OCI bids in terms of selectivity to truly give yourself the best shot.

lovelaw27 wrote:It sounds like you want to work in cali. I am curious why you attended a school in the northeast for 1L.


I was really convinced that I wanted to get out of CA and end up back east long-term, didn't even apply to any schools in CA, and had almost a full scholarship to my T2. I was wrong, haha. Once I decided (after Fall semester in the midst of winter) that I wanted to go back to CA, it was quite good motivation for studying and kicking ass.

lolol10 wrote:good question. how did that work for you? did you just put down you were from UCLA then explained the situation?


Career services will help you with the resume/grades stuff (presumably) wherever you transfer, and yes you will get questions about it in basically every screening interview. Since you will not have grades from your new school or anything else under that line in your resume, one thing that would be wise to do would be to join a secondary journal immediately so that you can have it on your resume going into OCI.

wojo96
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby wojo96 » Tue May 17, 2011 12:09 pm

To what extent did interviewers focus on your experience of transfering during the interviews themselves? You (assumedly) worked hard to lock down a succinct and convincing answer to the "why tranfer" question, but what were other common questions you received?

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Tue May 17, 2011 12:17 pm

lolol10 wrote:im going to either a t2 or a t3 school in the fall however i want to explore the possibility of transferring out to a t25 after my 1l yr-- preferably back to my ug institution, ND. aside from outstanding grades what else do adcoms consider? were you actively involved in any groups such as student bar association, etc? also, did you know you wanted to transfer out going into your 1l year? when did you begin the process?


This is a uniformly terrible idea, and I cannot advise strongly enough against going to one of those schools unless you are absolutely positively without a doubt 110% okay with graduating from the T2 or T3, and even then you must be sure that you aren't lying to yourself saying you will be okay with it when really you are holding onto hopes of transferring in the back of your mind.

All that matters is the rank of the school you are coming from, and your 1L grades. That is what makes having a "plan" to transfer such a fantastically bad idea. Until you have gone through a set of law school exams, you have NO IDEA how you will do. I don't care if you graduated from the top of your class in undergrad, are a reasoning genius, whatever. A lot of doing well in law school still comes down to a specific (as of yet untested) skill, and a lot of luck. I know many people who I consider much smarter than myself, who KILLED undergrad, got much higher LSAT scores than I did, put in more time studying, and still don't do as well on law school exams.

This has been said 1.2 million times on TLS, but it bears repeating because it is quite true- Every single person in a law school's entering class has done just as well as their peers, and plans on killing it and making it into the top 10%, and many many many of them hope to transfer. Obviously, 90% of the class is not going to end up in the top 10%, and will have zero shot at transferring. You wouldn't go to Vegas and throw down $150k+ on 1 in 10 odds of winning, and you shouldn't do it with your life/career by planning to transfer.

Sorry for the long post, and I don't mean it to be an attack on you personally by any means, but I think that these are serious things to bear in mind, and all I hope is that I can convey the gravity of the matter.

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Tue May 17, 2011 1:08 pm

wojo96 wrote:To what extent did interviewers focus on your experience of transfering during the interviews themselves? You (assumedly) worked hard to lock down a succinct and convincing answer to the "why tranfer" question, but what were other common questions you received?


As far as I remember, it came up in virtually every screening interview. I did spend some decent time coming up with an answer to the why did you want to transfer question that included some of what I mentioned above, as well as some specifics as to why UCLA (most screening interviews were alumni).

Other than that standard transfer question, the follow ups varied greatly. I had a couple of screeners who were transfers themselves, so we discussed that, others were curious about the process and how I liked UCLA so far, etc. Beyond that, screening interviews just consisted of the typical discussion of resume items, goals, interest in the firm, classes I was taking that Fall, practce areas, etc.

Most of the interviewers were quite familiar with transferring, and some seemed to have particular respect for how much work and dedication it takes to do so. All in all, I would say it was typically a pretty minor part of OCI screening interviews (less than 5 min out of a 25ish min interview).

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Tue May 17, 2011 1:09 pm

V811 wrote:how were you viewed by firms during OCI?


I think I generally answered your question in my long post above, but if you were wondering about anything in particular, let me know.

wojo96
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby wojo96 » Tue May 17, 2011 1:29 pm

Appreciate the response. Don't mean to put you on the spot, but:

1) What led to your choice of UCLA (particularly over a comparable such as USC)? Both are great schools, similarly ranked, same legal market, etc.

2) As a transfer student, was it UCLA or bust, or did you cast a wider net?

Thanks.

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Tue May 17, 2011 1:46 pm

wojo96 wrote:Appreciate the response. Don't mean to put you on the spot, but:

1) What led to your choice of UCLA (particularly over a comparable such as USC)? Both are great schools, similarly ranked, same legal market, etc.

2) As a transfer student, was it UCLA or bust, or did you cast a wider net?

Thanks.


Not a problem. My main desire was to come back to CA (anywhere), and since I knew transfer admissions were unpredictable, I applied to UCLA, USC, Berkeley, Davis, and Hastings. Berkeley was obviously my #1/longshot, but I didn't get in. (Got in to UCLA, my #2, and had a deadline, so I had to call Berk and talk to someone about my deadline. They said they could provide me with a decision, and it was a no. Not sure how much of it was b/c I had to "rush" them, but I knew it was a reach anyhow.)

I don't want to start the prototypical UCLA v. USC thread here, but a couple of things: I decided before I even got in to any schools that my order would be Berk, UCLA, USC. Between UCLA and USC, this was largely based on convos I had with attorney contacts I had in LA and SF, professors, and my understanding that UCLA offered a bit more "reach" into Northern California (which is something I'm potentially interested in long term). Also, I knew people at both schools and in talking with them it seemed like professors and clinics and journals at UCLA were more in line with what I was looking for.

In the end, USC made it easy for me by rejecting me, haha. They have a notoriously small transfer class, and I know USC undergrads and people that got into numerous T14s as transfers that were rejected from USC. In any case, I would have gone to UCLA over SC anyhow, but I would definitely recommend applying to both and seeing what happens.

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kings84_wr
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby kings84_wr » Tue May 17, 2011 3:08 pm

I'm a rising 3L transfer to UCLA, and I wanted to re-emphasize everything that UCLAtransfer wrote.

I will say that it seemed that those from CA schools had a slightly easier time during OCI because of familiarity with the school. I think Bidding is one of the biggest issues though. I definitely bid too aggressively and didn't get anything through OCI (but I ended up with a mid-sized firm that I'm very happy with). The really selective firms are tough to break into as a transfer. I know several of them have hard UCLA grade cut offs, so transfers essentially have no shot.

For what its worth I applied only to Stanford, Berkeley, and UCLA and got rejected by the other two.

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thexfactor
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby thexfactor » Wed May 18, 2011 1:06 am

did ucla cut back on transfers for last year's transfer class?
or were they looking for "ties" to california? I was rejected by ucla with t10% t50 school.

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kings84_wr
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby kings84_wr » Wed May 18, 2011 1:19 am

thexfactor wrote:did ucla cut back on transfers for last year's transfer class?
or were they looking for "ties" to california? I was rejected by ucla with t10% t50 school.


I don't think they cut back. There were 30+ transfers this year. It did seem like a lot had ties to CA. I think it was tougher to get in this last year. A lot came from schools in the 20's and 30's.

For what its worth I was around top 7-8% at a T25.

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Wed May 18, 2011 4:26 pm

kings84_wr wrote:
thexfactor wrote:did ucla cut back on transfers for last year's transfer class?
or were they looking for "ties" to california? I was rejected by ucla with t10% t50 school.


I don't think they cut back. There were 30+ transfers this year. It did seem like a lot had ties to CA. I think it was tougher to get in this last year. A lot came from schools in the 20's and 30's.

For what its worth I was around top 7-8% at a T25.


This is consistent with my general understanding as well. From what I have heard/seen, transferring has become increasingly competitive over the last few years, so even where transfer classes remain the same size, it looks like it is becoming tougher to achieve the type of transfer I was able to pull off (being outside top 10% at a T2).

Dman
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby Dman » Sat May 21, 2011 10:24 pm

I am also a rising 3L transfer. My experiences with OCI were meh. I had 22 screeners, ended up with 2 CBs and no offers. As the other two transfers already mentioned, don't over bid. I basically only bid on big international firms and offices outside of LA. Not the best strategy in hindsight. Also, at the time I was not over interested in litigation which seemed to be the majority of the firms' recruiting interests. Since my goals have always been Fed government, I pretty much stopped the firm search after OCI. I ended up with a great Fed internship working on foreign policy and administrative actions in DC. I know that, if I did not have UCLA on my resume, I would of never landed the gig.

As for competitiveness in transferring in, most transfers I know are from Cali schools and WUSTL (there seems to be a few every year). My lower T2 school has 4 in our transfer class, but everyone was top 5% ish. Also UCLA was one of latest deadline to transfer for Cali schools, for some who came from schools who played games with not releasing grades, UCLA was the only option left in July.

1L1284
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby 1L1284 » Mon May 23, 2011 6:46 pm

UCLA Transfer,

How do you address your transferring situation for OCI employers when you actually apply? Do you still list your 1L GPA from the original school? How does that work and what exactly does your resume say?

Thanks!

UCLAtransfer
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Re: UCLA transfer taking questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Tue May 24, 2011 1:09 am

1L1284 wrote:UCLA Transfer,

How do you address your transferring situation for OCI employers when you actually apply? Do you still list your 1L GPA from the original school? How does that work and what exactly does your resume say?

Thanks!


Career services from your new school should be able to give you example resumes showing how to reflect the transfer situation, but it basically looks something along the lines of:

UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
J.D. Candidate, May 2011
Activities: UCLA Journal of XXXXX, Articles Editor
Federalist Society

XYZ School of Law, Nowhere, CA
Attended August 2008 - May 2009
GPA/Rank: 3.XX (Top 10%)
Activities: Received CALI award in Torts and Legal Research and Writing
Dean's Scholarship Recipient

(The formatting looks kind of weird on here, but there should just be indents and stuff in the right places obviously)




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