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Transfer Students

Typically, 20 transfer students with outstanding first-year law school records are admitted to Michigan each year. We find that our community benefits strongly from this influx of new scholars with proven records of achievement. And just as the students do who enter Michigan Law in their 1L year, our transfer students experience extraordinary success in their legal careers. Through our On-Campus Interview Program and the support of our Career Planning counselors, transfer students enjoy wide-ranging 2L summer and post graduate employment options. Of the 58 transfer students from 37 different law schools who have graduated in the past three years, 100% reported jobs within 10 months of graduation. Over 17% began their legal careers with prestigious judicial clerkships, the vast majority at the federal or state supreme court level. More than 65% went to jobs at private firms, with more than 84% of that group going to National Law Journal 250 and American Lawyer 100 firms. Those who chose not to work at firms went on to sought-after legal positions in public interest, the government, and corporations, at employers like the DOJ, EPA, Office of Special Counsel, and the JAG Corps. As a whole, these transfers spread out to 30 cities across the nation and overseas.

We are committed to matriculating a small, highly qualified transfer class. The number admitted depends on a variety of factors, including the strength of the applicant pool. Transfer applicants who are admitted to Michigan have demonstrated outstanding academic promise as first-year students at other law schools by earning first-year grades that place them at or near the top of their class. Class rank is an important factor in our evaluation process; successful applicants are typically in the top 10 percent of their class, based on first-year grades at their current law school. Other particularly important factors are legal employment experience during the 1L summer; the institution at which the first year was completed; and the strength of law school faculty recommendations.

Applications for transfer will be accepted beginning May 1. Our application deadline is July 12, but if you are interested in participating in our on-campus Early Interview Week, we strongly encourage you to submit your application as early as possible. We make decisions quickly, but we cannot guarantee that those applicants who are admitted after July 9 will be able to fully bid for on-campus interviews during our Early Interview Week, which will be held in late July and early August. If you have any questions about the timing of your application, we encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible. (Please be aware that because the timeframe for transfer decisions is so short, it is necessary for transfer applicants to be proactive in order to make sure we have received all necessary information.) Decisions are made beginning in June.  
In general, transfer applicants must present one full year of academic credit and may expect a maximum of one year of transfer credit to be accepted toward the Michigan degree. For details, see paragraph one of the Policy for Transfer of Credit. At least two years of credit must be earned in residence at the University of Michigan.
If you wish to apply for transfer to the University of Michigan Law School, the following documents will be necessary to complete your file; if you have any difficulty obtaining any item from your current law school, please contact the Admissions Office to discuss your situation:
  1. Application for admission. Apply via LSAC between May 1 and July 12.

  2. Application fee ($75.00). Fee waivers are not generally available for transfer applicants.

  3. A letter of good standing. This should be sent directly from the Dean (or Dean's designate) at your current law school to us, and should state that you are academically eligible to return to that school.

  4. Law school grades for the entire first year. We prefer to receive an official transcript, if available. However, we recognize that transcripts can often be delayed, and we will be happy to review your application with an unofficial transcript or other record of your grades. Any offer of admission will be conditional until we receive an official transcript from your current law school.

  5. A letter stating your class rank. Please have the records office of your current law school directly send us a letter. If your class rank is shown on your transcript, you need not provide a separate letter. If your law school does not rank students, please have the records office of your law school send a letter confirming that fact, and if possible, provide us with any other information that will assist in evaluating the strength of your academic performance.

  6. A copy of your LSAC report. We can get this in one of three ways:  (A) We will automatically request a report directly from LSAC as soon as we receive your application—but please note that in order for us to receive a new report, you must prepay LSAC for the cost; (B) If we are unable to receive the report because you didn’t prepay, we will then automatically check to see if you applied to Michigan Law in the last year’s admissions season, and if so, we’ll use the report still on file in our office; (C) If you don’t want to pay LSAC for a new report and you didn’t apply to us in the recent past, you should ask the records office at your current law school to send us a copy directly. 

    Please have any transcripts (graduate or undergraduate) that are not already included in your report sent directly to the Admissions Office by the originating institution.

  7. A letter of academic recommendation from a faculty member at your current law school who has had you as a student. The letter may be sent to us directly by the faculty member. Alternatively, you may use the LSAC recommender service, in which case we’ll need to order your report in order to receive your letter—which means that, as described in paragraph 6 above, you’ll need to prepay LSAC for that cost. (We are happy to consider additional letters of recommendation from academics or employers.)

  8. Essay. The University of Michigan Law School has long understood that enrolling students with a broad range of perspectives and experiences generates a vibrant culture of comprehensive debate and discussion. Essay submissions are an extremely helpful tool for evaluating potential contributions to our community. To that end, we require a personal statement explaining your interest in transferring to Michigan.
Transfer students are eligible to join the staff of the Law School's eight publications (the Michigan Law Review, the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, the Michigan Journal of International Law, the Journal of Gender & Law, the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, the Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, and the Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review). Writing competitions for transfer students are held over the summer. Transfer applicants interested in participating in a student journal are required to register for the transfer student journals writing competition between June 11 and July 5. In order to successfully register for the journals writing competition, you must log in by creating a friend account with your personal email address, or by using a University of Michigan uniqname, and you must continue using your initial method of logging in throughout the competition. Specific details (competition dates, instructions, etc.) for each journal's writing competition will be provided upon registration. All applicants must apply during the registration period regardless of whether an offer of admission has been made, or if one has been made, whether it's been accepted by the applicant. Failure to register during this period will result in being ineligible to participate on a journal. Be advised that journals at Michigan Law are student run; journal application requirements, deadlines, etc. are set and supervised wholly at the discretion of each respective journal.
Admitted transfer students register for classes during transfer-student orientation in August. In our experience, transfer students do not suffer any particular disadvantage in selecting the classes they want.
Admitted transfer students participate, along with other second-year students, in our Early Interview Week. About 500 employers visit the campus in late July and early August. Transfer students are eligible to bid for any interviews they wish; we allow no pre-screening of candidates by the employers.
Finally, transfer students are eligible for loans on the same terms as all other second-year students. For full details of the financial-aid application process, please visit the website of our Financial Aid Office. Please note: while providing your Social Security number on the application form is entirely optional, you must provide it to us in order to be processed for federal financial aid, including loans. Therefore, if you do not wish to include the number on your admissions application, but intend to submit the FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office (734.764.5289) to discuss.

Please feel free to contact the Admissions Office by telephone (734.764.0537) or by e-mail ( if you have additional questions.