OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

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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OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:35 am

This question inevitably comes up in the interview process. What has been your answer?

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Re: OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby Georgiana » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:This question inevitably comes up in the interview process. What has been your answer?

As someone who has done interviews, I don't think its a very useful question to ask since its pretty obvious to anyone who knows anything about the legal market that better school generally means better chances for success. But if its asked, I think the best answer is the honest one, if you transferred between peer schools, you should probably have a personal reason for it, if you transferred up, tell them you wanted to position yourself as well as possible for recruiting and that transferring (in addition to your hard work during 1L and your plan to do x, y and z during your time at new school) would give you the best chance at a great job.

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Re: OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:43 am

Is there any reason why just saying "I wanted to be in the best place I could be" or something along those lines wouldn't be an acceptable answer? I agree with the above person that it's a dumb question unless it's a lateral transfer.

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Re: OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby BVest » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:47 pm

I've been surprised by how much this is asked, but my SO and I had family reasons for transferring, it was not simply about improving rankings (I moved up within a tier), so I answer honestly. But then I guess since my transfer was within a tier, that might be why they ask.

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Re: OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby rustyyoda » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:56 pm

Honesty is the best policy while also keeping in mind that you should never say anything negative about your old school. I transferred to my undergrad institution's law school, so my answer was part better opportunities and part "coming home" to an area that I love (which is also within my target job market, and my old school was not)

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Re: OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby BFrankBYangC » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:53 am

I think any one of these will suffice: weather/lifestyle, money, regional ties, family ties. If you don't have a better reason for transferring than "I moved up 20 spots on the USNWR rankings!" you should probably stay put. I guess if you're going from Cooley to Cornell you could say something about your new school having a way better reputation and no one would bat an eye, but I think most transfers happen within a narrower range than that.

edit: this question came up in literally 100% of my interviews and I would agree that it is kind of a dumb one. Just have at least one compelling reason that isn't "for the preftige" and you should be fine.

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Re: OCI Interview Tip: Why did you transfer?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:10 pm

I transferred from a tier 3 to a t10 in fall of 2009 (so the worst OCI year yet), and was asked why I transferred by at least 75% of employers I interviewed with at OCI interviews, and even the following year by judges, etc. I thought it was kind of a dumb question in that the answer was simple: the school was ranked better and places like the firms/judges that were asking the question wouldn't have interviewed me if I hadn't transferred. However, I was told, prior to OCI, to focus my response more on other things than the fact that the school was ranked better. So my response was usually related to clinics that were offered (e.g. I was interested in litigation, and my new school had numerous litigation related clinics, including ones where you could represent actual clients during real court proceedings); the quality of the professors (e.g. some of them are well known leaders in particular practice areas); the quality of the other students; and also the career opportunities, such as being able to interview with you for X position.

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