Q&A: Low Grades and Transferring Law Schools

Q: I’m in my first year at an unranked law school, but I'm hoping to transfer into a top law school. My first semester GPA is less than perfect at 3.0, which I think I can bump up to 3.2 or 3.3 by year's end. I am an older student with considerable work experience in investment banking and corporate finance and I already accepted a summer internship at the U.S. attorney’s office. Can my work experience and a fairly good 1L summer internship boost my odds of getting into a top law school, perhaps top 30? I’m willing to go out of state for the right opportunity. – SH

A: Congratulations on your internship with the U.S. attorney’s office! Clinching such a highly competitive internship, despite admittedly unspectacular grades, reveals two things about your career potential. First, you must have excellent interpersonal skills like networking and persuasive speaking and writing. Second, discerning lawyers recognize what you bring to the table. As I have advised other transfer applicants, the most important things you can do this semester to strengthen your transfer application are raise your grades, secure a favorable recommendation letter from a professor and develop a compelling argument for your transfer.

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