Deciding whether to transfer law schools or to remain at the school where you’re currently matriculated can be difficult.
Some students have no or little choice but to transfer for personal or hardship reasons, including finances, job relocation of a spouse or partner, or proximity to family.
Others seek to transfer to another law school that they perceive as having a higher status or ranking. If you are seeking transfer for this reason, be advised that the transfer may do you more harm than good; there are many negative aspects of law school transfers.
Consequences of Transferring
- Loss of Community and Close Friendships: The relationships you make during the first year of law school are often the strongest and can last throughout your career. Transfer students often comment on the loss of community and close friendships they made during their first year.
- Ineligibility for Scholarships: Transfer students are often ineligible for scholarships at their new law schools. This factor may be significant if transferring would cause you to forgo a scholarship award at your current school.
- Ineligibility for Law Reviews and Moot Court Programs: Often law reviews, journals, and moot court programs will not consider you for membership until you have completed your first year at the new school. This may preclude you from being considered for law review at all or from being selected for either the law review’s editorial board or the school’s moot court team.
- Limited Course Selection: At many schools, course selection for the fall will already be complete by the time your transfer application is accepted. As a result, you may not have access to the courses you desire or need as prerequisites for later advanced offerings.
- Altered Class Rank and Lack of Graduation Honors: Class ranking systems at many law schools will not include the grades you earned at your previous law school. At some schools, transfer students are ineligible for GPA-based graduation honors such as Order of the Coif.
If you’re considering transferring law schools, gather as much information as possible concerning the ramifications of the transfer. This will help you determine whether transferring is actually the best choice.
Does my transfer application need to include an LSAC Law School Report?
Check with the law schools for their LSAC report requirements. Some schools will accept the record from your current law school in lieu of a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report.
If the school does require a CAS report, you must have a current CAS file and you must arrange for both your current law school transcript and your undergraduate transcript to be sent to LSAC. Your undergraduate transcript must indicate the date your bachelor's degree was awarded.