The Complete Guide to Law School Transfer: Process, Benefits, and Challenges


Thinking about transferring to a different law school? Law school transfer is a big decision and depends greatly on your situation and what you hope to achieve in law school. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you initially expected. Maybe your LSAT score was a bit low, or your GPA was just slightly under what your dream school wanted. But don’t worry—there’s still a chance to turn things around.

If you’re considering transferring law schools, this guide will help you figure out what to consider before making the switch, how and when to start the law school transfer process, and what you’ll need to apply. Let’s explore how you can make this big change successfully.

Students Standing Near a School Building- Law School Transfer

The Law School Transfer Process

Can you transfer from one law school to another? Yes. Most students transfer law school after the first year of their current school. This is because most law schools want to see your grades from the first year to evaluate your academic performance and potential. The law school transfer process involves the following:

  1. Research: Start by examining the transfer policies at both your current and potential new law schools. Focus on how their programs, faculty, and location align with your education, career ambitions, and interests. This step is important to ensure the schools meet your academic and professional needs.
  2. Prepare Your Application: After confirming your eligibility to transfer, gather the necessary documents for your application. This includes your law school transcript, recommendation letters, potentially a new LSAT score, and a personal statement explaining why you want to transfer. Given the limited time to study, it is best to seek LSAT expert guidance. You don’t need to worry because we offer a Live Online LSAT Prep Course where you can start reviewing as early as you can at your convenience.
  3. Submit Applications: Complete your application through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), using their standardized transfer form. Ensure you meet each school’s specific requirements and deadlines when submitting.

When is the Best Time to Transfer?

Most law schools require you to finish your first year and earn a certain number of credits before you can apply to transfer. This is because they want to see how well you’ve done in your current program to figure out if you’d be a good fit at their school.

The law school transfer timeline is generally focused around the end of your first year and the beginning of your second year of law school. Typically, the window to apply to transfer opens in the spring, right after your first year, and closes by early summer. 

If you’re thinking about transferring, it’s important to start looking into your options early. Make sure you understand all the law school transfer application requirements and deadlines. Do this research well before you finish your first year and create an admission roadmap so you don’t miss any deadlines. By planning ahead, you can ensure a smooth transition to a new law school that better fits your needs.

Pros of Transferring Law Schools

Transferring law schools can be a strategic move that opens up new avenues for success and satisfaction in your legal education. Here’s a look at some of the advantages of making such a change:

  • Improved Academic Environment: Transferring to a school with a better reputation or more resources can significantly enhance your educational experience. For instance, schools like Harvard and Georgetown offer extensive libraries, experienced faculty, and a broad network of professionals. This can provide you with a richer learning environment and better prepare you for your future career.
  • Specialized Programs and Opportunities: If your current school doesn’t offer specific programs or clinics that interest you, transferring can open doors to those opportunities. Schools with specialized legal programs can provide you with the knowledge and experience needed in your desired field, whether it’s environmental law, intellectual property, or international law.
  • Personal and Professional Growth: Changing environments can be refreshing and provide new challenges that foster growth. A new school may offer better career services and job placement rates, aiding in your professional journey. Additionally, you might find a better cultural fit or a location more suited to your preferences, allowing you to thrive both academically and personally.

Cons of Transferring Law Schools

While transferring law schools has its perks, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Let’s explore the potential downsides to ensure you’re making a well-informed decision:

  • Adjustment Challenges: Transferring law schools means you’ll have to adapt to a new academic setting, which can be challenging. You’ll need to acclimate to different teaching styles, and it might take some time to build relationships with new classmates and professors. For some, this can be stressful and requires time and effort.
  • Credit Transfer Issues: One of the more frustrating aspects of transferring law schools can be dealing with credit transfers. There’s always a risk that some of your completed courses won’t align with the new school’s curriculum, potentially extending your time and cost to graduate. This can have financial and personal implications, so, make sure to research credit transfer policies thoroughly.
  • Financial Considerations: Financially, transferring law schools can have significant implications. You might lose scholarships or financial aid that you received at your current school. Additionally, application fees, relocation costs, and potentially higher tuition fees at the new school can add up. It’s important to weigh these financial factors carefully and ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the additional expenses.

Multiethnic students doing research together in library- Law School Transfer

Steps to Strengthen Your Law School Transfer Application

Considering a law school transfer? The law school transfer process requires several key requirements. Here’s a list of the common requirements you’ll need to submit:

Official Transcripts

You’ll need to submit official transcripts from your undergraduate degree and completed 1L year of law school. Make sure to request these ahead of time, as they can take several weeks to process.

Standardized Test Scores

For the standardized test requirement, most schools will simply want you to resubmit the scores you used when you initially applied to law school as a 1L. You don’t necessarily have to retake the LSAT or GRE. However, the weight given to those scores won’t be as high this time around – your performance and grades during your first year of law school will matter much more to admissions committees.

That said, if you feel your original test scores were low or no longer reflective of your current abilities, retaking the LSAT or GRE can potentially strengthen your application. If you do decide to re-take, it’s best to enroll in our LSAT prep course, especially if you have limited time to prepare on your own. Odyssey Test Prep offers:

LSAT Prep Course

Excel on the LSAT exam and pave your way to success in law school with our comprehensive prep course. Our LSAT prep courses are updated to align with the upcoming change replacing the Analytical Reasoning section with an additional Logical Reasoning section. The structured curriculum will ensure you are thoroughly prepared for the new format. Plus, our Score Support Center members will monitor your practice test results and provide feedback to help maximize your scoring potential.

LSAT Tutoring

Unlock your full potential on the LSAT and secure admission to your dream law school with personalized tutoring. If you prefer more individualized attention, we also offer private LSAT tutoring. Our LSAT tutors, who have all scored 170+ on an official LSAT, will customize a study plan tailored to your specific needs based on a diagnostic exam. They’ll provide feedback, and strategies and ensure you are covering all the necessary concepts.

Personal Statement

This is your chance to explain why you want to transfer and make your case for admission. Don’t simply reuse the personal statement from your initial law school applications. 

Instead, write a new law school personal statement that directly addresses your motivations for transferring. You can reuse some background information about yourself, but make sure to dedicate substantive paragraphs to:

  • What appealing factors or programs drew you to the new school
  • How attending this new school aligns with your academic and career goals

Some students choose to reiterate their commitment and fit for the transfer school. Just be thoughtful and specific in your reasoning.

Updated Resume

You’ll need to submit a current law school resume, even if it doesn’t look drastically different from your previous one. Be sure to include any new relevant experiences from your 1L year – internships, clinics, law journals, moot court, etc. Highlight legal employment, research work, and academic achievements. Clean up formatting, tighten phrasing, and try to make your qualifications stand out. 

Letters of Recommendation

Most schools require 2-3 new law school letters of recommendation, with at least one coming from a current law professor. This underscores the importance of making faculty connections during your 1L year, even if you plan on transferring. Choose professors who taught classes you excelled in, and build relationships with them. You want them to not only comment on your academic performance but advocate for your skills and potential.

Diversity Statement

Many schools will ask for a law school diversity statement. This allows you to describe how your background and experiences could contribute to the diversity of their student body. Be genuine and focus on what truly makes you a unique individual.


If any circumstances negatively impact your performance, like personal/medical issues, you can address them in a law school addendum. Briefly explain the situation and how you’ve overcome any obstacles.

Certification of Good Standing

Some schools will require a dean’s certification or disciplinary clearance form. This is simply a form from your current school verifying you don’t have any disciplinary actions or academic misconduct issues on your record. 

Review the specific requirements for each school, as there may be additional conditions like application fees, essays, evaluations, etc. Give yourself ample time to prepare all materials well before the deadlines. Navigate the competitive admissions process confidently and secure acceptance to your dream law school with our expert consulting services. Our admissions consultants can provide guidance every step of the way and advice on polishing each component of your application. With a thorough and thoughtful application, you’ll position yourself strongly in the law school transfer process. 

Final Thoughts

Can you transfer in law school? Yes, and deciding to transfer law schools is a significant decision that requires careful thought and preparation. Many students consider law school transfers after their first year, once they have a clear picture of their academic performance and future career aspirations. This decision is not just about moving to a “better” school—it’s about finding the right environment that aligns with your professional goals and personal growth.

No matter what you choose, proper preparation is essential, especially if you think retaking the LSAT could strengthen your application. We offer a 3-week LSAT Free Class to help you experience our teaching style and determine if it’s the right fit. Our LSAT Free Consultation provides personalized guidance to address any questions or concerns you have about the LSAT or law school transfer process. 

Don’t hesitate to make that leap if transferring is the right next step!

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