Law Students

Top 10 Law Schools with the Most Transfer Students
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Georgetown Law School Campus, Spring 2011.

Georgetown Law School Campus. Courtesy of Georgetown Law.

Summary: Which law schools are accepting the most transfer students?

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to transfer law schools. Maybe they think they’ll get a better education at the new school. Maybe they’re looking for a different culture. Or maybe being stuck in a small city doesn’t compare to the urban jungle of New York. Whatever the reason, the number of incoming transfers is usually a sign that the school is top notch, while on the flip side, law schools with the most transfers appear to be lacking.


The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar collects and requires schools to report the number of students transferred in as well as where they came from, according to The Legal Whiteboard. Additionally, these entities monitor the students’ incoming GPAs. The Legal Whiteboard said, “This allows us to look at where students are coming from and are going to, and to look at the first-year GPA profile of students transferring in to different law schools. ”

According to ABA Journal, the law schools with the most incoming transfers in 2015 was Georgetown and George Washington. Arizona State University was third on the list for the second year in a row.

In 2015, 1,979 students transferred, compared to 2014’s higher number of 2,187.

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Jerry Organ of The Legal Whiteboard created the chart below illustrating the change in the number of transfers from 2011 to 2015. From the data, he concluded, “There is no reason to believe the transfer market is “growing” as a general matter. It has been fairly consistently in the 4.6% to 5.6% range for the last five years, with an average of 5.2%.”

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 9.37.15 AM

Chart created by Jerry Organ.

Not surprisingly, Harvard was listed on the top 10 list of incoming transfers. The Careerist noted that transferring was a “back door” way for candidates to get an Ivy-league degree even if they weren’t accepted the first time around. The Legal Whiteboard analyzed the data and found that the number one feeder school into Harvard was George Washington University, which interestingly enough was a top transfer school itself.

“HLS’s admissions dean, Jessica Soban, says the size of this year’s transfer group jumped 20 percent because “the applicant pool had exceptional academic and professional strength,”” The Careerist wrote. “And why wouldn’t Harvard open more spaces for transfers… since increased headcounts also expand revenue.”

The Legal Whiteboard found that several schools, like Harvard, had the majority of their transfers come from one particular place. “For Miami, roughly 34% of its transfers came from St. Thomas University (Florida); for Berkeley, roughly 39% of its transfers came from Hastings; for George Washington, 40% of its transfers came from American; and for Arizona State, 72% of its transfers came from Arizona Summit,” Organ wrote.

Top 10 law schools with the most incoming transfers

1) Georgetown (110)

2) George Washington (109)

3) Arizona State (65)

4) Harvard (55)

5) Emory (51)

6) New York University (51)

7) University of California at Berkeley (49)

8) Rutgers (45)

9) Columbia (44)

10) Miami (44)

While the above list indicates an ability to attract students, the five law schools below are bleeding the most students. This is troubling considering that law schools are already shrinking class sizes due to lack of potential student interest, and law schools desperately need as much tuition money as possible.

Top 5 law schools with the most outgoing transfers

American: (69 students out, 33 in)

Florida Coastal: (69 out, 0 in)

Arizona Summit: (49 out, 0 in)

Hastings: (43 out, 20 in)

Suffolk: (42 out, 0 in)

Why do you think so many students are transferring? Let us know in the comments below. 


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