Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

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SomewhatLearnedHand

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:12 am

khaleesi_k wrote:
Npret wrote:If only those other people who didn’t to well enough to transfer believed in themselves they would have been fine. How can facts and statistics stand up to that advice and anecdotal evidence?


yeah and honestly thank god i didn't take that advice or I wouldn't be where I am now. I fully think it is a good choice to go to a school intending to transfer so long as it is somewhere you will be still be happy with if transferring does not work out.

And honestly, I think believing in yourself is a huge portion of it. Law school is intimidating af. There were people in my classes from crazy undergrads like harvard, or who had been working in the legal field for a while. it seemed impossible that I would be able to score well in comparison to all my incredibly smart and successful peers. I think its REALLY easy to allow self doubt consume you in those situations and put up a mental block. Every single 1L book I read started with "recognize that you are capable of doing well in law school" and I do think that is an important portion of it. There is a lot of evidence backing the fact that people perform better when they feel competent.

I didn't JUST say "believe in yourself either". I also said you have to work your ass off. I studied all day every day and took practice tests for each class every single weekend. I do think if you a) believe in yourself and b) put in the effort you can succeed in law school. some of it is based on luck, sure, but test taking for law school exams is a skill and most people who go into law school are smart enough to learn it.

and then my final caveat, which was to make sure you are ok with wherever you are in case you can't transfer. I liked the school I was at this year and knew would have been ok staying there if I hadn't done well enough to transfer... even though I went in with the intention of trying to transfer out.

How is that bad advice? believe in yourself, work hard, and make sure you're ok with the outcome if it doesn't work out? I was in this person's shoes last year and decided to go for it, and thank god I did because now I am going to my dream school in the fall despite like fifty people on here railing me for not retaking.


There are legitimate points to be made for BOTH SIDES (edit: idk why this is in caps but I cant change it?) of this argument. Overall I think it depends on the persons financial situation and their appetite for risk. I would agree with khaleesi that in some cases it does make sense to take a bit of a risk and go for it. For example, in my case, I had like a 2.7 ugpa, so I would've needed a ridiculous lsat to crack into the T13. I'll probably catch some heat for this, but I went to a T15 private undergrad and was confident I had the intelligence to succeed in law school. So I went to a lower T1 school with the intent of transferring after 1L. I did my due diligence, found out what it takes to excel on a law exam, worked my ass off, and was able to transfer into the T13 last year. I'm a ridiculously competitive person, almost to a fault, and tend to perform my best under a little pressure with my back against the wall. It worked for me.

All of that said, it would be extremely naïve of me to suggest that this is the ideal path. Just because it worked for me does not mean it couldnt produce a catastrophic result for someone else. I was ranked somewhere right about top 5 (people not percent) in the class after the fall. Prior to returning for the spring my significant other and I split, and by the end of the year I had slid to top 15%. Although I did make it into a lower T13, my dream of the T6 did not come to fruition. My point is that there are just so many variables and potential problems you cannot account for that could completely ruin your chances of a successful transfer. The much safer bet is to retake and get into the best school you can for 1L (i.e. the T13). If that is not possible, then it's my opinion that there are some scenarios where it makes sense to plan a transfer into the T13.

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khaleesi_k

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby khaleesi_k » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:35 pm

SomewhatLearnedHand wrote:
There are legitimate points to be made for BOTH SIDES (edit: idk why this is in caps but I cant change it?) of this argument. Overall I think it depends on the persons financial situation and their appetite for risk. I would agree with khaleesi that in some cases it does make sense to take a bit of a risk and go for it. For example, in my case, I had like a 2.7 ugpa, so I would've needed a ridiculous lsat to crack into the T13. I'll probably catch some heat for this, but I went to a T15 private undergrad and was confident I had the intelligence to succeed in law school. So I went to a lower T1 school with the intent of transferring after 1L. I did my due diligence, found out what it takes to excel on a law exam, worked my ass off, and was able to transfer into the T13 last year. I'm a ridiculously competitive person, almost to a fault, and tend to perform my best under a little pressure with my back against the wall. It worked for me.

All of that said, it would be extremely naïve of me to suggest that this is the ideal path. Just because it worked for me does not mean it couldnt produce a catastrophic result for someone else. I was ranked somewhere right about top 5 (people not percent) in the class after the fall. Prior to returning for the spring my significant other and I split, and by the end of the year I had slid to top 15%. Although I did make it into a lower T13, my dream of the T6 did not come to fruition. My point is that there are just so many variables and potential problems you cannot account for that could completely ruin your chances of a successful transfer. The much safer bet is to retake and get into the best school you can for 1L (i.e. the T13). If that is not possible, then it's my opinion that there are some scenarios where it makes sense to plan a transfer into the T13.


exactly! I was in a really similar boat, my ugpa was like a 3.5 which was well below average for the schools I wanted to go to and I was fairly certain I maxed out my LSAT score and it wasn't quite gonna cut it. Maybe I could have squeezed out an additional point or two but I'm not sure and I'm also not convinced it would have made that much of a difference for the schools I wanted to go too.

I am also crazy competitive and I know I perform better under that pressure, and I knew that about myself going in. I went to a lower T1 with almost a full ride that I knew I would be ok with staying at. I wasn't excited about staying there, but I knew it would be OK if things didn't work out. Then every day I literally woke up at 6 to work out, get to school by 8, study/go to class until 9, and be in bed by 10. it was really hard but it worked for me. I also do not have kids and did not have to work outside of law school which I'm sure are huge factors; several of my classmates had young children/family commitments and I can't imagine studying the way I did if I had a family to take care of as well. I also dumped my ex right before going to school because I did not want any drama to impact my GPA lol

It's definitely a risk and it's definitely not the right move for everyone, just like retaking isn't the right move for everyone either. there are so many factors that come into play in law school. I also think some people kind of have a natural knack for law school exams while other people do not. OP has to evaluate him/herself and figure out what the right move is.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby nls336 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:34 pm

Npret wrote:The point isn’t that 1L is hard. The point is that everyone who takes it seriously will be well prepared for the exam and that you are forced into a curve.

I promise you there are people at every law school who think they will do well and end up at the median.

OP has the issue as well if not being a good student in undergrad. Who knows if he can get it together in law school?

There is no reason to waste a high lsat because you applied late. It won’t help you transfer. That score is the most valuable to you right now


I totally understand the point you're trying to make. It is statistically not likely, and I even got beat down by the curve in some of my classes the first semester because I didn't have the method of studying for success down yet. I also agree that going to a school you aren't at all proud to attend JUST to transfer is a really poor choice because of the statistical likelihoods that don't work out in your favor BUT, if you're okay graduating from that place but just really have a dream of being somewhere else, to me the dream will always be what you should work to achieve.

re: "If only people believed" -- You can call it anecdotal evidence all you like but I am happy to link you to a few studies that support the things I said in my earlier statement -- specifically about practice tests, and other methods! I also have been lucky to get professors with doctorates in education here who have spent ten or more years trying out new additions or subtractions to the methods I used and have refined them over multiple trial and errors with generations of 1Ls. These professors taught me what they have viewed, and practiced, and taught as the most effective way to achieve better grades and to beat the curve. It sounds like a gimmick, I suppose, in so far as hard, grinding work and studying over ten years of student success and failure is a gimmick.

To OP and others like OP with this question:

The reality is that ALTHOUGH the curve is mandatory and will suck 85% of the class in, you can still beat it. This comes down to real work and preparation. It also comes down to the demographic and preparation of 85% of the class you're in. If 50% of your class is simply unprepared mentally and physically for the demands of law school then if you can find a way to outpace them in studying and work ethic and preparation and you actually understand have to do to succeed then you probably just placed yourself in the top half of the class. The first semester if you PREPARE earlier than 85% of your class, if you don't go out, if you work REALLY, REALLY hard, and if you're willing to make transferring your life (which is why I said, don't be foolhardy and really assess what you're capable of) you'll PROBABLY beat the 80-85% of students who don't really know what they're looking for when they read a case, don't understand they need to constantantly practice the rules, for that matter don't even know where to find the rules, and only start studying for the exams a few weeks out, and who really truly believe that having an outline is the best method for getting an A on an exam that allows you to use an outline then the person who prepares above that level will easily break the curve.

The second semester, no matter what, the key is never to get complacent and to keep the same level of energy in your life as you likely had the first semester. A lot of kids who underperformed in the first semester, and/or who overperformed become complacent thinking that if they're the bottom 50% or if they're the top 20% that their GPA won't change and they can coast through. The second semester, I think, is where the most movement happens because your cohort gets tired, and individuals get discouraged or arrogant and just don't work as hard. The cumulative grades rise a little bit in terms of when you see the class cut-offs but this is because more people have a little more of the game mapped out, but most people still just don't.

I'm sorry, I just don't think that because something is statistically likely that means you should relegate yourself to accepting that statistic as being determinative of your success in the endeavor. You should never allow yourself to think that because it is more likely it is definitely my destiny, therefore I will give up before I try. Of course, if you're not serious, and if you don't want to work as hard as it takes, AND if you frankly don't think of transferring from where you are as a dream of yours then you're probably going to let yourself down -- but that is on you and is, I believe, completely within your agency to change.

That's just what I view as a reality. Law school rewards hard work more than it does natural capability or defeatist attitudes. OP + others who are in a situation like OP; if you, above all people, can't take the chance on yourself then you'll probably never know what you're capable of. That's just how I see it, take it or leave it.

All the best and Good Luck to prospective transfers out there.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby hoos89 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:02 pm

khaleesi_k wrote:
How is that bad advice? believe in yourself, work hard, and make sure you're ok with the outcome if it doesn't work out? I was in this person's shoes last year and decided to go for it, and thank god I did because now I am going to my dream school in the fall despite like fifty people on here railing me for not retaking.


It's bad advice because it will be financially ruinous to most people. You were lucky. Most aren't. You want to believe that you knew beforehand but the truth is you really can't. Some people will always succeed in each law school class and you were one of those few. I'm sure plenty of those ranked below you in the class also believed in themselves really hard too.

nls336 wrote:
re: "If only people believed" -- You can call it anecdotal evidence all you like but I am happy to link you to a few studies that support the things I said in my earlier statement -- specifically about practice tests, and other methods! I also have been lucky to get professors with doctorates in education here who have spent ten or more years trying out new additions or subtractions to the methods I used and have refined them over multiple trial and errors with generations of 1Ls. These professors taught me what they have viewed, and practiced, and taught as the most effective way to achieve better grades and to beat the curve. It sounds like a gimmick, I suppose, in so far as hard, grinding work and studying over ten years of student success and failure is a gimmick.



Come on... you even admit to being lucky in your post. Most law professors don't have doctorates in education. Some are just not that good. The thing about law school is that one sufficiently bad grade can sink you because so much relies on your 1L grades: one laptop issue, one crappy professor, one class that never quite clicks can sink you, one bad day, one completely off-the-wall exam (my Con Law exam, for instance, was completely unlike any of that professor's prior exams). And sure maybe by the end of 3L you'll have made up for it, but it's too late. You just are not capable of knowing whether you'll do well in law school prior to going. By the end many of the people who did well will convince themselves that they just "knew" they would do well and many of the people who didn't will convince themselves that they didn't.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby nixy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:05 am

nls336 wrote:The reality is that ALTHOUGH the curve is mandatory and will suck 85% of the class in, you can still beat it. This comes down to real work and preparation. It also comes down to the demographic and preparation of 85% of the class you're in. If 50% of your class is simply unprepared mentally and physically for the demands of law school then if you can find a way to outpace them in studying and work ethic and preparation and you actually understand have to do to succeed then you probably just placed yourself in the top half of the class. The first semester if you PREPARE earlier than 85% of your class, if you don't go out, if you work REALLY, REALLY hard, and if you're willing to make transferring your life (which is why I said, don't be foolhardy and really assess what you're capable of) you'll PROBABLY beat the 80-85% of students who don't really know what they're looking for when they read a case, don't understand they need to constantantly practice the rules, for that matter don't even know where to find the rules, and only start studying for the exams a few weeks out, and who really truly believe that having an outline is the best method for getting an A on an exam that allows you to use an outline then the person who prepares above that level will easily break the curve.

Law school rewards hard work more than it does natural capability or defeatist attitudes. OP + others who are in a situation like OP; if you, above all people, can't take the chance on yourself then you'll probably never know what you're capable of. That's just how I see it, take it or leave it.

With all due respect, I think this is all confirmation bias wrapped up as objective analysis. I don’t know how on earth you get these statistics about 50% and 85% - you simply can’t know ahead of time what your classmates will be like and where you will fall compared to them. Even if you’re on a full ride, the GPA/LSAT bands at schools are narrow enough that you can’t rely on that having significant meaning for your ability to succeed. I don’t know how you can think 50% of the class is unprepared, for instance. These are just assumptions applied after the fact.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being open to transferring (and I get the argument about people who aren’t likely to get a better outcome, like serious splitters - you can’t fix the GPA after the fact) but I think the risk is that a lot of people use it as an excuse to make a less good admissions decision because they don’t want to take time off or retake.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby northwood » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:11 am

CanadianWolf wrote:No, do not matriculate at one law school with the intention of transferring to another. The first year of law school is much different than undergraduate study. Working hard is not enough to assure one of finishing above median.

It would be wiser to study hard at improving your LSAT score so that you can get admitted to a better law school at an affordable price.

Retake. (Seriously.)



You can retake the LSAT, you can’t retake 1L once you have grades ( absent very extraordinary circumstances ). Since your 1L grades dictate if you can transfer, retake is your best bet.

And only matriculate into a school where you would be happy graduating at median in your class.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:04 am

khaleesi_k wrote: I fully think it is a good choice to go to a school intending to transfer so long as it is somewhere you will be still be happy with if transferring does not work out.


If the bolded caveat is clearly true, even when the candidate has eyes wide open to the employment and financial prospects of staying at their 1L school, then sure.

However, most 0Ls are just salivating over the prospect of getting into a school their current application couldn't support. There's very little thought beyond that. As mentioned in prior comments, a few get lucky. I'll even add that a few work their asses off and transfer through sheer work ethic. However, neither of those outlying conditions mean that it's a good idea in general to go to law school expecting to transfer. To use hyperbole, some folks come home from Vegas having won hundreds of thousands of dollars. That doesn't mean that going to Vegas is a viable way to reap a windfall.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby nls336 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:03 am

Just wanted to say this for anyone seeing this thread and unsure of what to do.

I got in as a transfer to NYU yesterday. After a lackluster first semester performance and a stellar second-semester performance (top 50%, then top 12% respectively). I could not be happier with my decision to go to law school with the mindset to transfer. It's not all doom and gloom. Make a decision for yourself and just stick by it.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby notellewoods » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:58 am

First time posting here. I went into my first year with the intention to transfer. It's a HUGE risk. Because while it is easier to get into some schools as a transfer than the first time around, your application's success stems mainly from your first year grades. And your grades have to be good. Not average, not okay, GOOD. Which can be extremely problematic because there's a curve. Meaning it's not just how well you do, it's how well you do in comparison to everyone else in your class. I worked my ass off from the start and I got a 3.99 first semester. But I didn't do as well second semester because of a sudden family circumstance. However, I still managed to fair well in my transfer apps and I got into Northwestern last Friday. If you work hard, and I mean HARD, you can be successful. But if you come in thinking that you can transfer by putting in somewhat okay effort, it's a long shot. Long story short, you should still try as hard as you can to get into a good school the first time around. Grades aside, transferring is not easy. You have to redo the write-on competition, compete again for Moot Court spots, and scramble to bid for OCI's.

Do I regret entering my first year with the intention to transfer? Not at all, because all it did was further motivate me to succeed and do well. This sounds corny but during my first week of classes, I wrote "Transfer to a T10 school" on a Post-It note and stuck it on my bulletin board. And last Friday, I got into my first T10 school. Good luck with your apps!

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:00 am

nls336 wrote:Just wanted to say this for anyone seeing this thread and unsure of what to do.

I got in as a transfer to NYU yesterday. After a lackluster first semester performance and a stellar second-semester performance (top 50%, then top 12% respectively). I could not be happier with my decision to go to law school with the mindset to transfer. It's not all doom and gloom. Make a decision for yourself and just stick by it.


First off, congrats. That's awesome for you. But now lets think about this for a second. Assuming top 50% means 40-50 %, your final rank for the year was probably between 25-33%. Last year I was top 13% at a lower T1 and didn't get into NYU as a transfer. So if these assumptions are correct, that probably means youre either a URM or already at a T30 range school. This means you wouldn't completely fucked if you graduated from your original school. What most people here are advocating is to not go to a garbage TT-TTTT school with the plan to transfer, because if you don't do well enough (i.e. 80% of the class) youre stuck at a bad school with piss poor prospects.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby hoos89 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:41 am

nls336 wrote:Just wanted to say this for anyone seeing this thread and unsure of what to do.

I got in as a transfer to NYU yesterday. After a lackluster first semester performance and a stellar second-semester performance (top 50%, then top 12% respectively). I could not be happier with my decision to go to law school with the mindset to transfer. It's not all doom and gloom. Make a decision for yourself and just stick by it.


Yeah cool. Nobody is saying it won't work out for SOME people, but for more people than not it won't work out. Your grades probably aren't THAT great overall (top 1/3? top 1/4?), which tells me that you're at a school that would already be okay to graduate from, not some TTT shithole (or alternately that you have something else going for you), which in either case means that you were probably alright not transferring. Certainly not everyone with those grades who applies to NYU gets in. Your advice is dangerous. I'm glad it worked out for you, but you could be leading someone else to financial ruin.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby nls336 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:52 am

SomewhatLearnedHand wrote:
nls336 wrote:Just wanted to say this for anyone seeing this thread and unsure of what to do.

I got in as a transfer to NYU yesterday. After a lackluster first semester performance and a stellar second-semester performance (top 50%, then top 12% respectively). I could not be happier with my decision to go to law school with the mindset to transfer. It's not all doom and gloom. Make a decision for yourself and just stick by it.


First off, congrats. That's awesome for you. But now lets think about this for a second. Assuming top 50% means 40-50 %, your final rank for the year was probably between 25-33%. Last year I was top 13% at a lower T1 and didn't get into NYU as a transfer. So if these assumptions are correct, that probably means youre either a URM or already at a T30 range school. This means you wouldn't completely fucked if you graduated from your original school. What most people here are advocating is to not go to a garbage TT-TTTT school with the plan to transfer, because if you don't do well enough (i.e. 80% of the class) youre stuck at a bad school with piss poor prospects.



Thank you so much! That's exactly what I advocated in my original posts though! I never said go to a T4 to try and transfer, I said if you think you can AND you're at a school you wouldn't be screwed by then do it. Everyone ignored that part and went straight for saying that I was a one-off, and that it was terrible advice and impossible which is why I wanted to update my story here.

I think it's important to know the outcome when someone thinks about it and I know it's a bad idea to take advice from people who didn't achieve what they're advocating. I would have updated if I didn't get in as well so people would know that it all comes with a grain of salt, or an ocean of it. For the record, I got rejected at BU and waitlisted at Georgetown so I'm not without my own share of defeats in this realm.

I'm not saying I wasn't lucky, I'm not saying I didn't have help, I'm not saying there wasn't some chance involved, I'm saying that it's possible. The whole point I was trying to make was that if you have a dream, and you want to believe in that dream, and you think you're capable of it, weighed the risks and won't be screwed if it doesn't happen then don't let random people on the internet tell you that you can't do something just because it's unlikely.

I just wanted people to know that if you need someone to say it's possible then here I am, an unlikely candidate that succeeded. I know it's not the normal advice and I, of course, do NOT want to sound like I'm being uppity or annoying right now, but I just remember when I made this choice. I would have wanted and needed to hear this. So, here I am, saying it for people like me that just need the boost to believe in themselves. Nobody believed in me or thought this was even possible. After my first semester, If I asked people to guess at my chances they would never have estimated my acceptance. Yet, here I am. It's unlikely, but it's possible. But more importantly, if it's your dream DO NOT let other people dissuade you. Accept the risk and give yourself a shot if you think you can!

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby numisma87 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:06 am

I went to law school with the intention of transferring, and I realized two weeks in that this was a terrible idea. For the record, I was just recently admitted to GULC amongst other schools (and still waiting to hear back from others) after finishing 1L at a Southeastern TT (50-75) in the top 8%. In short, retaking the LSAT is the better option because once you start 1L, there are factors that are out of your control that can weigh heavily on your chances of transferring.

For one, if you go to a TT/TTT/TTTT school, A LOT of people have the same ambitions as you whether or not they admit it initially. What's more, everyone realizes at these schools how important it is to get into the top 10% for job prospects, so even if they don't have transfer intentions, the addition of this factor combined with the transfer factor creates a highly competitive atmosphere (my section was gunner af). Furthermore, you risk getting unlucky and having an inordinately strong section or worse, a very strong (and smaller) legal writing/research class. Mine had 14 people in it, 11 made honors or above, 6 made high honors, and 1 made highest honors. With a mandatory curve, it's going to be very difficult to do well in that class and your overall GPA is likely to suffer.

You may get sick. I got my flu shot in September and got lucky not to get sick at all in 1L. I saw numerous people miss more than a week, and one really smart girl had to drop out entirely because she was really really sick. If you miss an entire week of school in bed dying, you will fall behind someone who is gunning hard and not sick. Getting really sick is death to transfer dreams, period.

You don't know whether you are a good legal writer yet. Working hard is not the end all solution. I thought I would just outwork everyone and win. That's simply not the case. Law school grades boil down to how well your legal writing is, which is new to most people. Multiple choice makes up a very small portion of grades, and so you better "get" legal writing before mid-terms or you will fall behind. Some people take longer than others to "get" it. It's just natural. It doesn't matter how high your LSAT was or your uGPA, the IRAC, CRAC, CREAPAC concepts just click with some people faster than others. To be sure, if you're smart, you'll get it, but it just may take longer than it needs to in order to finish in the top 10% in 1L.

There is very little feedback until you actually get a grade that means something. Our first feedback in my section was our Criminal Law mid-term worth 35% of our grade. I smashed because I took a ton of practice tests before it, but the vast majority of people were completely shocked at what was expected of them only two months into law school.

I highly recommend you just spend 4-6 months of intense LSAT prep instead of going to law school with the intention of transferring. Taking this route gives you greater control over your future.

Recommendations if you do decide to enter 1L with the intention of transferring

- Go to a school where you don't mind ending up if you don't transfer, even if it costs more. I'm from California and was living in New York City prior to law school. My 1L school is in the South. I do not really like it here (still here for one more month). Think about whether you want to risk living somewhere for many years that you don't like.
- DO NOT date anyone in your section. This would be crazy. Honestly, if you're good-looking, I would be hesitant about even being study partners with another single person of the opposite sex. It may seem fine the first couple months, but when finals roll around, even if you're not romantically involved, get ready for attempts at emotional warfare. I am single, but found two persons to study with of the opposite sex who were serious about school and in serious relationships. This was a very professional and productive study group. All three of us finished in the top 10%.
- DO NOT go to the weekly bar review/rump court/whatever they call it at your school - study instead. While everyone else is getting hammered, you'll be getting ahead.
- USE SUPPLEMENTS - there are many threads in this forum about supplements; you're giving up a huge edge if you don't use them.
- QUALITY participation goes a long way. There is a lot of nonsense about how softs don't matter when transferring; they matter a lot. In transfer interviews, they will ask about your softs. The only way to get genuine letters of recommendation is by regularly contributing to class discussion. If you're a quiet person, you need to get over yourself and speak up. Raise your hand. The only way you will get better at public speaking is by speaking in public. Even if it doesn't matter for grades, it matters for letters of rec, and it will make you a better lawyer. Strive to positively contribute once in every class session; even if it's something small.
- DO NOT mess up in Legal Process. No employer is going to hire a Summer Associate who did poorly in Legal Process.
- DO NOT tell anyone that you intend to transfer. It's harder to form meaningful relationships with people when they know you are leaving or that you want to leave. They may even take it personally because they are from that area and love where they live. Moreover, law school is competitive, and competitive people go after other competitive people even harder. If you are perceived as a threat, people will come after you. Amongst other things, I've seen false accusations of cheating in the middle of finals and people hiring brass instrument players to play outside someone's window. Hilarious from an observer point of view to be sure, but you don't want to deal with that crap.
- DO WELL on your midterms the first semester. Most people don't have legal analysis figured out yet. Make sure you do.
- Have perfect attendance. The only class I missed second semester was the day we discussed conditions precedent in Contracts II. Notwithstanding my own intense study of conditions precedent, the only points I missed on the Contracts II final were regarding conditions precedent.
- DO NOT make enemies. Be kind to everyone, even if you despise them. Even though law school is competitive, your life will be so much better if you maintain a pleasant demeanor.

I hope this advice helps someone out there who was in the same shoes I was in roughly 15 months ago. Happy to answer questions via PM or through reposts on here.

ivankinghk

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby ivankinghk » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:39 am

I am just ganna jump to the main point and respond to the title .

I went to cooley with the intention of transferring. I transferred to T20 after 4 semesters at cooley, got my NY bar in my first try, and now legal counsel for a tech company.

you just gotta do man.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby Wubbles » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:44 am

ivankinghk wrote:I am just ganna jump to the main point and respond to the title .

I went to cooley with the intention of transferring. I transferred to T20 after 4 semesters at cooley, got my NY bar in my first try, and now legal counsel for a tech company.

you just gotta do man.

You shouldn't encourage people to make the same statistically bad bets that you did

nixy

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby nixy » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:22 am

Also you had to pay for an extra year of law school? No thanks.

SomewhatLearnedHand

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:56 am

Christ almighty...Before another transfer from this cycle comes in with their success story.... We aren't saying it is impossible. Hell, every year people transfer to the T13, myself included. We are saying that statistically the odds of success are pretty slim, and the margin for error is nil. If you're at a T1, youre going to have to be top 20% at the very least to crack the T13. For those of you going to some TTT/TTTT shit hole that should be shut down like Cooley, youre gonna have to be ranked like top 5% to get anywhere decent, and idk if that would even get you t13. The bottom line is no matter how great you think you're going to do in law school, you really don't know and the risk is pretty damn high. This is why the advice is to not go somewhere you wouldn't be content graduating from.

NotSkadden

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby NotSkadden » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:47 am

Is it bad? Well that really depends on how pissed you're going to be if (or more likely than not, when) it doesn't work out.

If it doesn't work out, then what? You're stuck at a law school you didn't expect to be at after a year. Well you better be okay with that outcome because hate to say it but that is the most likely result. Just have a plan B, C, and D because you can also work as hard as you want but sometimes shit happens. I've seen people start off great only to have a parent pass away mere days before finals and completely and utterly fall apart. You just never ever no.

That being said. I went to law school with the intention of transferring even though I had everyone on this site and others telling me it was a poor idea, so I'm sure you'll do it too. I decided against transferring though, which was surprising.

The one thing I will say--that I think most people on here will disagree with me--is that you can have a competitive advantage over most of your peers heading into law school. Whether its taking time off and working in a law firm, or reading everything there is to know about law school, most people who go to lower tier law schools are doing it because they don't know what else to do. So many people have no plan at all besides "working really hard." I knew how to do well in law school, and that was a hell of a lot more important than "working really hard."

For example, I had done four years of undergraduate mock trial. Our coach taught us evidence and trial procedure like it was a law school evidence class. It was tough going through this in undergrad but he always said I guarantee that you will all get As when you take Evidence in law school--I got an A+.

I took every law school class my undergrad had to offer, and TA'd for many of them (when I got to law school many of my classmates where former students I TA'd for). I knew a majority of high level concepts in many of my 1L classes, and that just made it so much easier to not get lost in the weeds.

I read every guide you can read about law school on this site and others, 10x over (literally). I read books about law school. I read biographies about people who went to law school. I did a ton of discovery and motion practice work at a law firm I worked at before law school, and knew way more about the FRCP prior to law school that I would like to admit.

I was obsessed with and prepared for law school before I got to law school. If this sounds crazy, it is, but there were enough people like me to make up the top 10% at my TTT so just think about what your going up against coming in.

In year 2, and 3, people started figuring it out. But all that really matters is doing well that first year, and then the sky is the limit in most scenarios. So if you're dead set on going to a lower ranked school with the intent on transferring, make sure you prepared for the grind, the ups and downs, and how to excel in law school.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby Lolstudent » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:24 am

I’m transferring from a school ranked around 90 to Harvard, and I wasn’t ranked #1 or #2 or anything.

This does not mean my result is typical or that I didn’t get extremely lucky, because I did.

It’s way too much of a crapshoot to assume you’ll be top 5%, or even top 10-20% for that matter With enough dedication and time put in, you can essentially guarantee that you won’t be in the bottom 10-20%, but nothing else is guaranteed.

Don’t go anywhere you don’t see yourself for three years, because that is the likely outcome.

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khaleesi_k

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby khaleesi_k » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:09 pm

NotSkadden wrote:I took every law school class my undergrad had to offer, and TA'd for many of them (when I got to law school many of my classmates where former students I TA'd for). I knew a majority of high level concepts in many of my 1L classes, and that just made it so much easier to not get lost in the weeds.

I read every guide you can read about law school on this site and others, 10x over (literally). I read books about law school. I read biographies about people who went to law school. I did a ton of discovery and motion practice work at a law firm I worked at before law school, and knew way more about the FRCP prior to law school that I would like to admit.

I was obsessed with and prepared for law school before I got to law school. If this sounds crazy, it is, but there were enough people like me to make up the top 10% at my TTT so just think about what your going up against coming in.

In year 2, and 3, people started figuring it out. But all that really matters is doing well that first year, and then the sky is the limit in most scenarios. So if you're dead set on going to a lower ranked school with the intent on transferring, make sure you prepared for the grind, the ups and downs, and how to excel in law school.


I didn't go to a TTT so I don't know if it is different there, but just gonna throw out that depending on who you are this level of prep may not be necessary to achieve success in law school. I did nothing the summer beforehand except sit around at home. I also had a major in college that literally had nothing to do with the law. I think I read one prep book. I was SUPER intimidated at first coming in because there were people coming in from crazy undergrads, or who had had YEARS of legal experience, mock trial champs, etc. but I (a K-JD student who went to a small undergrad w a religious studies major) still managed to do really well.

Before second semester, I thought about trying to get a jump on my classes by reading some substantive material but decided against it - I know I had some 1L teachers who were SO particular about the way they wanted their students to do things and wanted their students to analyze things exactly the way they do in our exams, so I actually felt that reading substantive materials that didn't come from my prof may have been a waste of time or ultimately confusing/unhelpful if it differed too much from my profs style. This was not true for all my professors, but it was for at least two of them!

what I DID do was take a 3 hr practice exam for each class every weekend. and then I marked whichever points I was unsure about and brought it in to my prof to talk about in office hours. Every weekend I did this. This was by far the MOST helpful thing for me to do - it gives you practice writing exams and you actually get to go in and get feedback from professors. by the end of the semester I was so comfortable writing about most issues that regularly show up on exams - this also helped with any anxiety I had about test taking! if you do go to a school and want to be successful this is what I recommend... but take the caveat that this is what worked for me and I may have a different learning style! I also highly recommend doing MC daily if you know you're gonna have MC on an exam (all of mine did!). there are a lot of resources for this. Just do like five a day for each class and go over them.

I also recommend against just outlining the answers to exams... I have some friends who did this, and yeah writing full answers is a huge pain in the butt but it helps practicing formulating complete thoughts/sentences onto paper.

Another point people are making on here that I hadn't thought about previously was the difference between going a TTT school vs a T1. It sounds like that makes a huge difference. People at my T40 were bright and determined to do well but it also wasn't as cut throat as it sounds like some of these TTTs are. I know now that some unranked schools literally cut the bottom 10% of their classes and can't imagine the grade blood lust that this would inspire, so maybe try to get a feel for where you're starting your 1L year at. For me, my school is very reputable in its region and people get good job opportunities from there, so I knew I'd be ok if I couldn't manage the transfer. A lot of people at my school do transfer and get into T14 places and then decide to stay anyways because they have a good scholarship and good job opportunities from my 1L school! If you're going somewhere totally random this may not be the case. It really depends so much on yourself, the school, and other factors of your life that we have no way of knowing so it's hard to give definitive advice on this subject. This is SUPER important though because like people have said you have no way of knowing what's going to happen this next year - you could get sick, a family member could get sick, etc. and it will affect your grades. Life happens and you can't predict that so in the case that something comes up and you don't perform as well you have to be somewhere where you are ok with staying at.

Also to the list of advice above - I agree wholeheartedly with everything numisma87 says EXCEPT if you want to go out to bar review/whatever every now and then like go for it. I did some fun stuff my 1L year. I didn't go out every week but like sometimes you have to take a break and have fun for a night lol. I also don't think its a huge deal if you tell someone you want to transfer - I did not because I didn't want to be embarrassed if it didn't happen but I don't think anyone at my school would have cared if you had a valid reason for wanting to leave (i.e. maybe you want a more portable degree or a different geo location - just don't be a dick about it "wah this school sux I'm outta here"). Everything else is pretty spot on though - DO NOT MISS ANY CLASSES! It blew my mind that people would miss class. Profs give SO many tips (inadvertently sometimes) about their exams in class!! Go and pay attention! Just because you could slide through undergrad missing class/teaching yourself stuff on your own does not mean that will fly in law school. I also handwrote all my notes. Oh and do the reading!! I had so many people tell me I didn't have to do the reading - for me it helps a lot because it gave me context for what we were talking about in class.

Also on the topic of dating, this sounds extreme but I literally broke up with the guy I had been dating the summer before law school. Law school kind of needs to be your entire life for a year if you want to transfer. obviously it depends on what your relationship is like but I wasn't ready to risk any big fights/break ups/whatever during my first year. or having to travel to see him or vice versa! I knew I'd want to otherwise and those would be weekends I wouldn't want to study. At the risk of sounding like a total nun, I would totally avoid dating your 1L year.

going to a school intending to transfer may or may not be a good decision for you based on so much stuff I cannot predict from your post (or to future law students reading this) but if you're stubborn (like me) and do it anyways those would be my tips
Last edited by khaleesi_k on Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

LawSchoolGeeky

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby LawSchoolGeeky » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:15 pm

Here to add my two cents. I went into law school with the intention of transferring at first but also with the mindset that I would be fine staying at that school should it come to that. I definitely don’t think you should ever go to a school fully planning to transfer and knowing that you would be miserable and screwed if you don’t transfer because it’s definitely always a real possibility that it won’t happen.

Remember that in law school you’re graded on a curve, so it doesn’t matter if you say the right answer because the person next to you could say the right answer and say it better than you or in a way the professor likes more and get the A while you’re stuck with the B or worse. I didn’t realize just how crazy law school was until I started and honestly I genuinely forgot how bad I had wanted to transfer before going into things because I got so swept up in the chaos that is first year. I have a naturally competitive spirit and ended up putting in ungodly hours and effort I didn’t even know I had. There were definitely people in my class who were partying every week and not working as hard as others and I used that to my advantage.

So I definitely think if you work hard and put your mind to it you can end up transferring, but I agree with others that probably everyone thinks this way so I wouldn’t bank on transferring. I think what helped me is that I actually forgot about it all together and threw myself into just being competitive and working hard so focus on that and only that and then once grades come through you can plan from there.

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hoos89

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby hoos89 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:17 pm

numisma87 wrote:- DO NOT go to the weekly bar review/rump court/whatever they call it at your school - study instead. While everyone else is getting hammered, you'll be getting ahead.

Seems like a good way to be burn out, be miserable and have no friends. Most people benefit from taking time off from studying. That doesn't necessarily have to mean going out and getting drunk...but it doesn't necessarily NOT mean going out and getting drunk either.

numisma87 wrote: - QUALITY participation goes a long way. There is a lot of nonsense about how softs don't matter when transferring; they matter a lot. In transfer interviews, they will ask about your softs. The only way to get genuine letters of recommendation is by regularly contributing to class discussion. If you're a quiet person, you need to get over yourself and speak up. Raise your hand. The only way you will get better at public speaking is by speaking in public. Even if it doesn't matter for grades, it matters for letters of rec, and it will make you a better lawyer. Strive to positively contribute once in every class session; even if it's something small.


I think you attribute a bit too much to class participation, and some people would run the risk of being "that guy" if they force this too much. A lot of people would probably be better off just going to office hours. Also just because they ask about softs in your interviews doesn't mean they "matter a lot".

numisma87 wrote: - DO NOT mess up in Legal Process. No employer is going to hire a Summer Associate who did poorly in Legal Process.


Yeah this is not true. There may be some employers who reallly care about that but the vast majority aren't going to care as long as your GPA is good.

numisma87 wrote: - DO NOT tell anyone that you intend to transfer. It's harder to form meaningful relationships with people when they know you are leaving or that you want to leave. They may even take it personally because they are from that area and love where they live. Moreover, law school is competitive, and competitive people go after other competitive people even harder. If you are perceived as a threat, people will come after you. Amongst other things, I've seen false accusations of cheating in the middle of finals and people hiring brass instrument players to play outside someone's window. Hilarious from an observer point of view to be sure, but you don't want to deal with that crap.


I doubt people are taking it personally because they're from the area or whatever...probably more because it comes off like you think you're smarter/better than the rest of your class.

numisma87 wrote: - DO WELL on your midterms the first semester. Most people don't have legal analysis figured out yet. Make sure you do.

Most schools/classes don't have midterms.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby NotSkadden » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:30 pm

khaleesi_k wrote:
NotSkadden wrote:I took every law school class my undergrad had to offer, and TA'd for many of them (when I got to law school many of my classmates where former students I TA'd for). I knew a majority of high level concepts in many of my 1L classes, and that just made it so much easier to not get lost in the weeds.

I read every guide you can read about law school on this site and others, 10x over (literally). I read books about law school. I read biographies about people who went to law school. I did a ton of discovery and motion practice work at a law firm I worked at before law school, and knew way more about the FRCP prior to law school that I would like to admit.

I was obsessed with and prepared for law school before I got to law school. If this sounds crazy, it is, but there were enough people like me to make up the top 10% at my TTT so just think about what your going up against coming in.

In year 2, and 3, people started figuring it out. But all that really matters is doing well that first year, and then the sky is the limit in most scenarios. So if you're dead set on going to a lower ranked school with the intent on transferring, make sure you prepared for the grind, the ups and downs, and how to excel in law school.


I didn't go to a TTT so I don't know if it is different there, but just gonna throw out that depending on who you are this level of prep may not be necessary to achieve success in law school. I did nothing the summer beforehand except sit around at home. I also had a major in college that literally had nothing to do with the law. I think I read one prep book. I was SUPER intimidated at first coming in because there were people coming in from crazy undergrads, or who had had YEARS of legal experience, mock trial champs, etc. but I (a K-JD student who went to a small undergrad w a religious studies major) still managed to do really well.

Before second semester, I thought about trying to get a jump on my classes by reading some substantive material but decided against it - I know I had some 1L teachers who were SO particular about the way they wanted their students to do things and wanted their students to analyze things exactly the way they do in our exams, so I actually felt that reading substantive materials that didn't come from my prof may have been a waste of time or ultimately confusing/unhelpful if it differed too much from my profs style. This was not true for all my professors, but it was for at least two of them!

what I DID do was take a 3 hr practice exam for each class every weekend. and then I marked whichever points I was unsure about and brought it in to my prof to talk about in office hours. Every weekend I did this. This was by far the MOST helpful thing for me to do - it gives you practice writing exams and you actually get to go in and get feedback from professors. by the end of the semester I was so comfortable writing about most issues that regularly show up on exams - this also helped with any anxiety I had about test taking! if you do go to a school and want to be successful this is what I recommend... but take the caveat that this is what worked for me and I may have a different learning style! I also highly recommend doing MC daily if you know you're gonna have MC on an exam (all of mine did!). there are a lot of resources for this. Just do like five a day for each class and go over them.

I also recommend against just outlining the answers to exams... I have some friends who did this, and yeah writing full answers is a huge pain in the butt but it helps practicing formulating complete thoughts/sentences onto paper.

Another point people are making on here that I hadn't thought about previously was the difference between going a TTT school vs a T1. It sounds like that makes a huge difference. People at my T40 were bright and determined to do well but it also wasn't as cut throat as it sounds like some of these TTTs are. I know now that some unranked schools literally cut the bottom 10% of their classes and can't imagine the grade blood lust that this would inspire, so maybe try to get a feel for where you're starting your 1L year at. For me, my school is very reputable in its region and people get good job opportunities from there, so I knew I'd be ok if I couldn't manage the transfer. A lot of people at my school do transfer and get into T14 places and then decide to stay anyways because they have a good scholarship and good job opportunities from my 1L school! If you're going somewhere totally random this may not be the case. It really depends so much on yourself, the school, and other factors of your life that we have no way of knowing so it's hard to give definitive advice on this subject. This is SUPER important though because like people have said you have no way of knowing what's going to happen this next year - you could get sick, a family member could get sick, etc. and it will affect your grades. Life happens and you can't predict that so in the case that something comes up and you don't perform as well you have to be somewhere where you are ok with staying at.

Also to the list of advice above - I agree wholeheartedly with everything numisma87 says EXCEPT if you want to go out to bar review/whatever every now and then like go for it. I did some fun stuff my 1L year. I didn't go out every week but like sometimes you have to take a break and have fun for a night lol. I also don't think its a huge deal if you tell someone you want to transfer - I did not because I didn't want to be embarrassed if it didn't happen but I don't think anyone at my school would have cared if you had a valid reason for wanting to leave (i.e. maybe you want a more portable degree or a different geo location - just don't be a dick about it "wah this school sux I'm outta here"). Everything else is pretty spot on though - DO NOT MISS ANY CLASSES! It blew my mind that people would miss class. Profs give SO many tips (inadvertently sometimes) about their exams in class!! Go and pay attention! Just because you could slide through undergrad missing class/teaching yourself stuff on your own does not mean that will fly in law school. I also handwrote all my notes. Oh and do the reading!! I had so many people tell me I didn't have to do the reading - for me it helps a lot because it gave me context for what we were talking about in class.

Also on the topic of dating, this sounds extreme but I literally broke up with the guy I had been dating the summer before law school. Law school kind of needs to be your entire life for a year if you want to transfer. obviously it depends on what your relationship is like but I wasn't ready to risk any big fights/break ups/whatever during my first year. or having to travel to see him or vice versa! I knew I'd want to otherwise and those would be weekends I wouldn't want to study. At the risk of sounding like a total nun, I would totally avoid dating your 1L year.

going to a school intending to transfer may or may not be a good decision for you based on so much stuff I cannot predict from your post (or to future law students reading this) but if you're stubborn (like me) and do it anyways those would be my tips


I should back track a bit, perhaps I was being a bit to hyperbolic. There are certainly people in the top 10%, like yourself, at my TTT who didn't have a "competitive advantage" coming in, but they were typically more intelligent, more studious, and harder workers than the majority of students.

Plus your posts shows full well what working smarter, not harder is all about. I agree with, and recommend everything in the above post. Practice tests are game changing; not enough people do them.

qwer123456789

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby qwer123456789 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:59 pm

Coming from someone with a successful 1L fall and a devastating 1L spring...Law School is too unpredictable to bank on transferring. Just do something fun for a year and retake. Unless you finished every single practice test you can find on earth, don't say you have maxed out. Keep practicing.

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Re: Is it bad to go to law school with the intention of transferring?

Postby LaCroixBoix » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:08 pm

Coming from someone who has had a successful transfer cycle, I still wish I had just retaken the LSAT. The connections you lose at your old school are very painful and the quick turn around of transferring makes OCI even more stressful than it would be otherwise. I am positive if I had but 1/4 of the effort it took to get top 10% grades 1L year into studying for the LSAT, I would have improved my score by 10 points



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