Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

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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Hadlendale
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 2:00 pm

Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby Hadlendale » Fri May 27, 2011 2:14 pm

I just finished 1L at southwestern. I was at 3.75 last semester and so far this semester I have a 3.81 with 9 units worth of grades reported (school curves to 2.9). I'm fairly certain I'll finish in the top 10%, but not sure exactly where (school doesn't report exact ranks). I'm debating whether or not I should transfer schools.

- I like my school for the most part including the professors and people. I actually feel like I am getting a pretty quality education.
- I want to work in Los Angeles
- I plan on doing Law Review at southwestern
- I paid full price to go to southwestern this year, but i anticipate a big scholarship for my next two years based on my class rank. I'm not sure what the exact amount will be, but I think it's over half tuition
- I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in it for the money, but I also just want to be a lawyer. I want to be able to make enough money coming out of school to pay off loans comfortably, but it's not 160k biglaw or bust. I'd be happy with a good shot at 100k-130k. I'm not even sure if there is a realistic chance at getting that type of job at Southwestern though.

What are my realistic transfer options? Given that I want to stay in LA and Southwestern is actually decent at placing in the LA market, should I just stay? I heard the top student at Southwestern transferred to UCLA and ended up with no summer associateship, while I heard of t20% SW'ers getting very nice midlaw SAs from Fall OCI.

How about considering the fact that my ultimate debt will be much lower if I stay at Southwestern and accept scholarships?

What will transferring do for my career options? I feel like if I "lateral" to somewhere like Loyola or Pepperdine my job prospects will actually be hurt given that I won't have law review. What if I'm able to get something like USC or UCLA? I know these are a lot of questions but I need some advice. Thanks for your help.

duckmoney
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby duckmoney » Fri May 27, 2011 2:25 pm

If you can get into UCLA or USC, I'd do it. You know the job climate at your school better than I do, but it's nowhere near as good as at those schools. Transferring has its risks for sure, but I think it would be worth it.

Also, may as well throw an app to Boalt and see what happens.

Good luck!

Hadlendale
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 2:00 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby Hadlendale » Fri May 27, 2011 2:29 pm

duckmoney wrote:If you can get into UCLA or USC, I'd do it. You know the job climate at your school better than I do, but it's nowhere near as good as at those schools. Transferring has its risks for sure, but I think it would be worth it.

Also, may as well throw an app to Boalt and see what happens.

Good luck!


I've heard that transfer students have significantly worse prospects as far as jobs go than regular students. I've heard that at OCI firms are reluctant to talk to you, skeptical about your abilities, and probably won't take you unless it's a last resort given that they have no idea how you actually rank against your classmates.

Is there something to be said as far as being one of the best at Southwestern Fall OCI this year vs. an anonymous sketchy transfer student at USC or UCLA?

Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it.

NE1410S
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:39 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby NE1410S » Fri May 27, 2011 11:16 pm

Hadlendale wrote:
duckmoney wrote:If you can get into UCLA or USC, I'd do it. You know the job climate at your school better than I do, but it's nowhere near as good as at those schools. Transferring has its risks for sure, but I think it would be worth it.

Also, may as well throw an app to Boalt and see what happens.

Good luck!


I've heard that transfer students have significantly worse prospects as far as jobs go than regular students. I've heard that at OCI firms are reluctant to talk to you, skeptical about your abilities, and probably won't take you unless it's a last resort given that they have no idea how you actually rank against your classmates.

Is there something to be said as far as being one of the best at Southwestern Fall OCI this year vs. an anonymous sketchy transfer student at USC or UCLA?

Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it.



As a student that transferred from a T4 to a T1 school last year, I feel my experience my be helpful to anyone considering a transfer.

Depending on the reputation of your old school, you might have some trouble landing a job with a large law firm during the OCI process. However, this is somewhat minimized if your old school is in the same region and employers are knowledgeable about your old school. I landed four interviews with large firms and one interview with a medium sized firm during 2L OCI at my new school. I only recived an offer from the medium-sized firm, which I accepted. In addition, I got an offer to work in the legal department for a Fortune 500 company the second half of the summer. I was informed that I would not have received either of these offers if I had remained at my previous school. I am extremely happy with this considering the economy. I have two jobs this summer when many non-transfers at my new school don't have anything.

I am now going into my 3L year and have moved into the top 15% of my new school (down from top 5% at previous school). I am currently waiting to hear the results of the law review write-on competition. Additionally, I have been very successful in the advocacy programs at my new school.

When I transferred from my old school I gave up a full scholarship, law review, and being in the top 5% of the class. However, I am 100% sure that I made the right decision for me. Now, I am proud of the school that will grant my education, and I don't have to defend my choice in education to anyone.

Of the thirty or so transfers that I know, about half are at the top of the class with great jobs (some at big firms). These transfers (myself included) are convinced that they made the right decision. The other half are in the middle to bottom of the class and don't have a job offer. However, this second group of transfers are happy that they will have a law degree from a T1 school which will follow them for the rest of their lives.

I hope this helps anyone interested in transferring. A lot of people will tell you that transferring is a waste of time and that employers look down on you. Although some employers may view you this way, this certainly is not true for the majority of employers. In considering whether or not to transfer, you should consider all of your options. Additionally, you need to be honest with yourself about you ability to be successful at your new school. For example, I was in the top 5% at my previous school without working very hard. I knew that if I transferred I had I would have to really study to be successful.

Don't let anyone convince you whether or not your should transfer. Be a good law student. Consider all of the information and make a well thought-out decision.

Good luck!!!

Hadlendale
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 2:00 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby Hadlendale » Sat May 28, 2011 5:27 am

NE1410S wrote:
"good stuff"

Good luck!!!


Great post. Thank you very much. This was very helpful and insightful. A question if you have the time:

I'm curious about the raw numbers in terms of income:

Do you feel like the difference in your income / career options off-set any increase in debt? I think I have a shot at getting into USC if not UCLA which would increase my expected potential income but I would also be paying sticker for 2 more years of school. If I stay, I think I will get at LEAST 50% off tuition (more, so they say) the next two years which would leave me with significantly less debt. I feel like coming out of school with ~70k debt and earning 115k/yr is fine compared to coming out with ~120k and making 140k/yr? Am I being realistic in assuming these kind of numbers? Honestly I try to research but no one will tell me the truth these days.

I apologize if this is too specific and I understand if it's not possible to answer. If only things were this simple...

NE1410S
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:39 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby NE1410S » Sat May 28, 2011 8:08 am

Hadlendale wrote:
NE1410S wrote:
"good stuff"

Good luck!!!


Great post. Thank you very much. This was very helpful and insightful. A question if you have the time:

I'm curious about the raw numbers in terms of income:

Do you feel like the difference in your income / career options off-set any increase in debt? I think I have a shot at getting into USC if not UCLA which would increase my expected potential income but I would also be paying sticker for 2 more years of school. If I stay, I think I will get at LEAST 50% off tuition (more, so they say) the next two years which would leave me with significantly less debt. I feel like coming out of school with ~70k debt and earning 115k/yr is fine compared to coming out with ~120k and making 140k/yr? Am I being realistic in assuming these kind of numbers? Honestly I try to research but no one will tell me the truth these days.

I apologize if this is too specific and I understand if it's not possible to answer. If only things were this simple...



No worries. I wish I had someone to discuss these things with me when I transferred.

I went from a free ride at my old school to paying $40k a year, plus living costs, at my new school. It will add about 120k to my student debt. Including some debt from undergrad I will have about 150k in student loans when I graduate.

The starting salary at my old school was around 75k compared to 115k at my new school. Now, a word about averages. Those people who land large firm jobs at 160k a year really pull the average up, and there are a lot more people at my new school that land those jobs. Of course, that is partly why I transferred. At my old school, I only know of two people that landed jobs with large firms. Of the remaining students that I know in the top 15%, only about 4 or 5 (out of 30) even found a paying job for the 2L summer. This is one of the main reasons why I know I made the right decision to transfer.

Here's the way I reasoned my transfer. Important Caveat: I have been told to by several lawyers that "you will make good money no matter what you do if you are a top-notch lawyer." I assumed that I would increase my salary by a similar percentage no matter what my actual starting salary was. And a 8% annual increase of $145k a year was a lot more than an 8% increase on $80k a year. I decided that the starting pay difference and the difference in annual pay increases made up for the additional cost in the long run. The other way to look at it is that I can live modestly for two or three years, pay of my loans in that time, and enjoy the extra money from that point on. Plus, I knew that landing a job with a good firm could increase the likelihood of having a successful and profitable career. Yes, I know this methods has flaws, but it's the best I could do with all the unknowns.

Although, I did attempt to take a quantitative approach to making the decision, I really decided to transfer because I knew that the reputation of the school I graduated from would follow me for the rest of my life. I worked for a judge the summer before I transferred and I saw the way attorneys reacted when I told them what school I attended (my old school), and I noticed that their reaction was much more positive to another intern going to a T1 school. This is the biggest reason I transferred. I did it just to have more confidence in my school.

It's really about being honest with what you are comfortable with. If you transfer, realize that you have to work extremely hard to stay at the top of the class. Plus, take classes you really like your first semester. You are more likely to do well if you like that classes. You're first semester grades after you transfer are VERY important. They will help you land a job in the Spring if you didn't land anything from OCI. Once you have a GPA at your new school, most people will remove their old school from their resume.

Let me know if you have other questions.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat May 28, 2011 11:14 am

OP: The reality is that you have neither a scholarship at your current school nor an acceptance to a transfer school. You need to create options for yourself. Submit transfer apps to UCLA, USC & Berkeley, for example, ask your current law school for a scholarship & see what options develop for you. Also, is law review and/or moot court a certainty for you at Southwestern ?

Hadlendale
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 2:00 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby Hadlendale » Sat May 28, 2011 4:48 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: The reality is that you have neither a scholarship at your current school nor an acceptance to a transfer school. You need to create options for yourself. Submit transfer apps to UCLA, USC & Berkeley, for example, ask your current law school for a scholarship & see what options develop for you. Also, is law review and/or moot court a certainty for you at Southwestern ?


Law review is supposedly guaranteed to t10% as long as you make a "good faith effort" on the write-on.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm definitely going to start doing transfer applications to at least keep my options open. I will probably apply to UCLA Berkeley and USC.

The thought of transferring makes me uncomfortable, especially since I have really grown comfortable at my current school. I put in effort, but it's not crazy hard by any means. I also have made a lot of friends and connections that it will be hard to let go.

BTW: I am actually RAing for one of my 1L professors. Is it rude to ask him/her for a letter of recommendation?

NE1410S
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:39 pm

Re: Should I transfer? LA TTT t10%

Postby NE1410S » Sat May 28, 2011 10:12 pm

Hadlendale wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:OP: The reality is that you have neither a scholarship at your current school nor an acceptance to a transfer school. You need to create options for yourself. Submit transfer apps to UCLA, USC & Berkeley, for example, ask your current law school for a scholarship & see what options develop for you. Also, is law review and/or moot court a certainty for you at Southwestern ?


Law review is supposedly guaranteed to t10% as long as you make a "good faith effort" on the write-on.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm definitely going to start doing transfer applications to at least keep my options open. I will probably apply to UCLA Berkeley and USC.

The thought of transferring makes me uncomfortable, especially since I have really grown comfortable at my current school. I put in effort, but it's not crazy hard by any means. I also have made a lot of friends and connections that it will be hard to let go.

BTW: I am actually RAing for one of my 1L professors. Is it rude to ask him/her for a letter of recommendation?


Friends & connections are important. I miss my friends from my old school; however, by making friends at my new school I now I know twice as many people that I will soon be practicing law with.

FYI. I had a professor talk to be about being a TA. I expressed my intent to transfer and he happily wrote me an amazing LOC.




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