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Transfer Students

Typically, we admit 15 to 20 2L transfer students each year. Most successful applicants are in the top 10 percent of their 1L class. Below, we'll run through both the life of a transfer student and the nuts and bolts of the application process. 

The life of a transfer student

Career Planning. Admitted transfer students participate, along with other second-year students. Transfer students are eligible to bid for any interviews they wish; we allow no pre-screening of candidates by the employers. Just as the students do who enter Michigan Law in their 1L year, our transfer students experience extraordinary success in their legal careers. Of the 67 transfer students from 43 different law schools who have graduated in the past four years, over 98% reported jobs within 10 months of graduation. Nearly 18% began their legal careers with prestigious judicial clerkships, all at the federal or state supreme court level. More than 74% went to jobs at private firms, with more than 82% of that group going to American Lawyer 100 or Global 100 firms. Those who chose not to work at firms went on to sought-after legal positions in public interest and the government, at employers like the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., and St. Andrew's Refugee Service in Cairo, Egypt. As a whole, these transfers spread out to 30 cities across the nation and overseas. 

Journals. 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 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 early in the summer. Be advised that journals at Michigan Law are student run; journal application requirements and deadlines are set wholly at the discretion of each respective journal. Of the 8 transfer students who enrolled in 2020, 5 have joined journal staffs, and some of those students received offers from multiple publications.

Curriculum. 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. At least two years of credit must be earned in residence at the University of Michigan; in general, transfer students may expect a maximum of one year of transfer credit to be accepted toward the Michigan degree. (In general, transfer applicants must present one full year of academic credit from their home institution.)

Application nuts and bolts


TimingFor the 2021 transfer admission cycle, please submit all materials electronically, to avoid delays occasioned by postal service problems as well as by our limited COVID in-office staffing. We will accept applications for the 2021 transfer season between May 1 and July 15, 2021, but if you are interested in participating in our on-campus Early Interview Week, which will be held August 2-6, we strongly encourage you to submit your application and supporting documentation as early in the process as possible, and no later than July 9. Applications received between July 9 and July 15 will receive full consideration, but we cannot guarantee that those applicants, if admitted, will be able to fully bid for on-campus interviews. We will begin making decisions in early June, and will proceed on a rolling basis, making decisions on a daily basis.

We are committed to matriculating a small, highly qualified transfer class. Transfer applicants who are admitted to Michigan are among those who 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. 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.

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. At least two years of credit must be earned in residence at the University of Michigan.

If you have any questions about the timing of your application, we encourage you to contact our office directly as soon as possible (by telephone, 734.764.0537, or by email, law.jd.admissions@umich.edu). Because the timeframe for transfer decisions is so tight, it is necessary for transfer applicants to be proactive in order to make sure we have received all necessary materials. If you anticipate having any difficulty in obtaining any required application item from your current law school, please contact the Admissions Office to discuss your situation.

Requirements. The following documents are necessary to complete a transfer application 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. Use our transfer/visitor admission application available via LSAC between May 1 and July 15. (After you submit via LSAC, we download all that information into a completely different, more aesthetically pleasing, and paper-saving format. We invite you to take a peek at the reader's-eye view of our application PDF.)

2. Application fee ($75.00). All applications for admission must be accompanied by a $75 application fee. Checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank should be made payable to the University of Michigan; we cannot accept cash. Applications submitted via LSAC may be paid for with a credit card. Fee waivers are not generally available for transfer applicants.

3. Letter of good standing. This should be sent directly from the Dean (or Dean's designate) at your current law school to us by email (law.jd.admissions@umich.edu), 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. Class rank. Please have the records office of your current law school directly send us a letter (by email) stating your class rank. 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. 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 check to see if you applied to Michigan Law within 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 email us a copy directly.

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

PLEASE NOTE: If you applied to your current law school without an LSAT score, we are happy to consider your application. We will still, however, need to receive a copy of your LSAC report through one of the methods described above.

7. Letter of recommendation. We require at least one letter of academic recommendation from a faculty member at your current law school who has had you as a student. (We are happy to also consider additional letters of recommendation from academics or employers.) The letter may be emailed 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 above, you’ll need to prepay LSAC for that cost.

8. Experience. Please provide a one- or two-page résumé; please be sure to include information about any employment since enrolling in law school. 

9. 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, please tell us more about your interest in transferring to the University of Michigan Law School. What do you believe Michigan has to offer to you and you to Michigan? For ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font. Your essay should be about two pages.

Financial Aid. 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 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. Also, please be advised that we do not provide grant aid to students matriculating as transfers.

Please feel free to contact the Admissions Office by telephone (734.764.0537) or by e-mail (law.jd.admissions@umich.edu) if you have additional questions.