Dear Professor Campos:I happen to know the dean in question here, and the funny part (not ha ha funny) is that unlike 98.44% of legal academics he has very extensive practice experience, so there's a zero per cent chance that his remarks regarding treason could be a product of some sort of self-serving carefully cultivated ignorance regarding the attitude law firms actually have toward transfers. (In other words he's lying rather than bullshitting).
I am currently at a tier 2 University.
I have been admitted into [Top 20 school] as a transfer student and I will be leaving my present school because the school is regional and the market here is dead, and I have some connections [there]. I do not have my spring semester grades, but I would like to transfer into a better and smaller school than [the one that's already accepted my transfer] if possible.
I wanted to let you know that the "law school scam" does not end with admissions and the schools have a strategic interest in maintaining the facade through the duration of the first year in order to keep their best students from transferring
My negative encounter with an "anti transfer pitch" actually resulted from being rewarded for strong first semester grades(placing me in the top 10%). I was invited to lunch with the Dean, Dean of Faculty, and Dean of Career services. The Dean began by stating that if we transfer we are traitors, and employers will not hire us because they will view us as just using them as a stepping stone. This naturally confused me because [my current school] accepts a handful of transfer students and this would be very unethical if he was allowing the school to recruit a handful of people who he strongly believed could not get jobs and are traitors. The Dean of Career services then went on to outline all of the great opportunities employers were providing to grads of this school (a lie). The Dean said that we should be bound together by our poor US News ranking and seemed kinda angry.
My anti transfer experience was relatively minor, but there is a host of stories out there. Such as schools making students pay absurd fees for letters of good standing, or sending email to faculty prohibiting them from writing letters of recommendation to students.
Do you believe that transferring law schools is in a student's best interest and what do you think of the transfer game?
This vignette has more than a whiff of desperation on both sides, as the top 20 school isn't even waiting for half the 1L's grades before gratefully accepting his money, while the second tier school's administration abases itself with transparent lies in an attempt to hold onto its better students.
I wrote about the transfer game a few months ago, and I wouldn't be surprised if the next month features an unusually wide open scramble, as some schools try to patch big revenue holes opened up by their failure to fill their first-year classes, and others try to avoid an unusually large number of transfers for the same reason (of course some schools will be dealing with both problems at once). Any rising 2L on the transfer market who happens to be reading this should take this general situation into account, and should approach potential transfer schools not as a supplicant, but rather as a seller of a valuable commodity. Think of yourself as a former Dewey partner with a particularly big book of business (sorry Dean X!).
Other signs of the impeding opening of the Seventh Seal:
(1) Chicago hired 12% of its 2011 class into one-year school funded fellowships. These numbers are somewhat hidden on a separate click-through page rather than on the main employment statistics page so they're easy to miss. Note that all but one of these positions are counted as permanent full-time legal employment for NALP purposes, since the fellowships last one year (the minimum criterion for long-term employment per NALP's definitions).
Chicago's stats are full of indications of how badly the top end of the law school graduate employment market is doing. The percentage of its grads getting jobs with law firms has fallen from 81.6% to 58.8% over the past four years, and the drop is even sharper when you consider that in 2008 exactly one grad took a job with a firm of 2-10 attorneys while in 2011 six per cent of its grads going to law firms went into such positions. (The percentage of graduates going to firms of 50 lawyers or less tripled between 2008 and 2011).
The percentage of Chicago people going into public interest work has zoomed from one (!) graduate in 2008 to 31 in 2011. Most of these of course are the law-school funded fellows, which hints at the extent to which these fellowships are simply stopgaps for people who couldn't get law firm jobs rather than a new institutional response to the freezing up of the market for PI work (The extent to which there have been no PI jobs for some time now is reflected by the 2008 class stats, as surely there must have been several people in that class who took law firm jobs because they couldn't get PI positions).
The percentage of graduates going into "business and industry" has risen from 3.0% (comparable to the typical HYS numbers in this category) to 7.5%, suggesting that the majority of those positions are something other than consulting gigs with McKinsey. Given that the number of grads going into "academia" has gone from zero to nine we can safely assume that "academia" likely doesn't represent a good result either.
All in all it appears that roughly 30% of the 2011 Chicago class ended up with facially bad outcomes nine months after graduation, which raises the serious question of whether for the modal applicant Chicago at sticker is a good idea. And if that question can now be raised legitimately about the country's fifth-ranked law school . . .
(2) I've heard from various sources that a certain fourth-tier law school is in fairly imminent danger of being shuttered by the central administration of the university where it's located. It seems dropping the admissions bar to the floor and saturation email bombardments offering "scholarships" to anybody with a current LSAT score are falling well short of filling this fall's class.
(3) A couple of high-priced low-ranked schools are apparently cutting (not freezing but cutting) faculty salaries. A little bit more of that sort of thing and American legal education is suddenly going to have a crisis on its hands.