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Transferring Law Schools: The Nuts and Bolts

I always dreamed of going to Georgetown Law School, but after a robustly mediocre performance at U.C. Berkeley, it wasn’t going to happen (I was so happy that I got into Cal in the first place that I didn’t bother doing much heavy-lifting once I got there). My LSAT scores were certainly no help and I ended up at a local third-tier law school; perfectly respectable, but it wasn’t where I saw myself. I knew from day one that my plan was to transfer. I’m a firm believer that you can always get where you want go, it just may not be the quickest route.

I remember walking into the first day of law school classes with my game face on. Transferring certainly isn’t a given; if you’re at a second or third tier school like I was, you’ll likely need to be in the top 5% of your class and AmJur as many classes as you can. I had never been particularly studious, nor had I ever really excelled at school, so I knew this was going to be particularly challenging for someone like me. That being said, I knew I was going to make it happen. And I did. After my first semester, I applied to Georgetown Law through the second year transfer program and got in after AmJur’ing three of my first semester classes and ranking in the top 5% of my class. So, how did I do it?

First, I never skipped a homework assignment. Ever. I took all of my class assignments very seriously. I briefed ALL of my cases, even the ones that seemed “easy.” It wasn’t so much that I needed to brief them all to understand them, it was that I was exercising a muscle that I hadn’t spent much time flexing: discipline. There was, of course, also the practical benefit of writing things out; it slows you down and gives your mind some time to absorb the facts/analysis you are attempting to process. Finally, there is the psychological benefit of knowing you are doing absolutely everything you can do to really “get” the material you’re reading.

Second, I supplemented my reading by purchasing study guides for every subject in my first year curriculum. That was hit-or-miss, some of the guides were wonderful, but some were very case-specific and didn’t cover the same ground my professors did. Before finals, I also purchased and listened to some subject matter CDs just to make sure I had all my bases covered. Taken together, they were like subject-matter tutors in each course. Ultimately, however, I think a private tutor would have been more helpful to hone in on my weak-spots and tailor my studies. I had great success using SAT tutors in high school to boost my scores (and ultimately, get into my dream college despite an average high school GPA), and I think that one-on-one tutoring is the way to go if you can afford it. I spent HOURS of my first semester at law school “over” studying because I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Someone who has been through it before is a great source to guide you through all of that, in addition to focusing in on your individual strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, I tried to pop into office hours at least a few times with each professor. Not enough to annoy them, or be the “gunner,” but only when I really had a question about the material. Don’t be shy in that regard, you’re likely paying a lot of money in tuition so get your money’s worth. Also, you’ll likely need a letter of recommendation from a least one of them, so start building a relationship with them early.

I graduated from law school in 2004 and now work for the Department of Justice after spending a couple of years at a large law firm in San Francisco. If there is anything I can tell you looking back, it’s that good people having your back is the key to achieving what you want in your legal career. But, you have to do your best to stand out and rise above the pack. Do everything in your power to make sure that happens and the rest will follow. Best of luck and remember, keep your eye on the ball. It’s never too late to decide to do better.

Written by H. Chahal


This article was written by FindMyLawTutor.com.

Visit us at www.findmylawtutor.com for Help with LSAT Practice Problems and Tutoring, Law School Admissions and Assistance, and Bar Exam Preparation. Our website matches LSAT, Law School, and Bar Tutors with students and legal study materials– Providing Law Students with Help with Legal Exams

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2 thoughts on “Transferring Law Schools: The Nuts and Bolts
  • Tool crib says:

    The most important thing I get from this is that if we set our sight on a goal and absolutely want it, there’s nothing that can stop us from reaching there. Of course there’s lot of hard work involved, like you did, but the desire to achieve what is want is the inspiration to work as hard as it requires to get there. It’s absolutely amazing to read about how you reached your goal. And in this very competitive world today, it is never wrong to reach for the sky.

    • Sumita Dalal says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! We at FindMyLawTutor are inspired and amazed at how Ms. Chahal set her eyes on the prize and reached her goal. We hope that all our students can benefit from this article and reach for the stars!

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