People choose law schools for a variety of reasons, and sometimes, the 1L year will reveal to some students that their choice was not the best for them. Those students can transfer for their 2L and 3L years and receive their degree from the school to which they transfer. Other students may have a short-term need to be in a different location, and those students can visit for either their entire 2L or 3L year, or for one semester during that time. (All transfer and visiting students must have originally matriculated at ABA-accredited law schools.)

The decision to change schools can be a weighty one, and we are very happy to talk with candidates who want to explore either of these paths.

The Life of a Transfer Student

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.

  • Career Planning

    Admitted transfer students participate, along with other second-year students, in our Early Interview Week. 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 our 82 transfer students (originating from 44 different law schools) who have graduated in the past five years, 98% reported jobs within 10 months of graduation.

    Nearly 16% began their legal careers with prestigious judicial clerkships, all at the federal or state supreme court level.

    About 75% went to jobs at private firms, with more than 80% 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., the Federal Community Defender in Detroit,  and St. Andrew's Refugee Service in Cairo, Egypt. As a whole, these transfers spread out to 34 cities across the nation and overseas. 

    Careers

  • Law Journals

    Transfer students are eligible to join the staff of the Law School's eight student publications:

    The journals hold writing competitions for transfer students over the summer. Transfer applicants interested in participating in a student journal are required to register for the transfer student journals writing competition. Registration is open from June 17-29, and write-on applications can be submitted June 30-July 18. 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 16 transfer students who enrolled in 2021, 11 have joined journal staff, including the Michigan Law Review and 4 of those students received offers from multiple publications. 

     Registering for Law Journals

    Create a U-M Friend Account

  • 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.)

    Areas of Interest

    JD Program

Application Nuts and Bolts

  • Timing

    For the 2022 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 2022 transfer season between May 1 and July 15, 2022, but if you are interested in participating in our on-campus Early Interview Week, which is tentatively scheduled for early August, we strongly encourage you to submit your application and supporting documentation as early in the process as possible. 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 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.)
    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. A 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.
    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 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. 

    Office of Financial Aid

    Financial Aid for Transfer Students

    Please note: While providing your Social Security number on the application form is entirely optional, you must provide it to us 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.

Visiting Students

A limited number of visitors who are currently enrolled in another law school but who have compelling personal reasons for attending Michigan (e.g., a spouse who recently got a job in Ann Arbor; a parent who is ill and lives in the area) will be admitted to the fall or winter terms, or both. We consider an applicant's previous law school performance in assessing how he or she will integrate into the Michigan Law School community.

  • Timing

    Typically, applications for visiting are accepted between May 1 and July 15, but if an issue arises outside of that time frame that leads you to want to explore visiting, simply contact our office to discuss.

  • Application Requirements

    If you wish to apply to be a visiting student, you must submit, or have submitted on your behalf, the following documents directly to Admissions Office:

    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.)
    2. Application fee ($75.00). Fee waivers are not available to applicants for visitor admission.
    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. This letter should also state that you will be granted credit by your home school for courses taken at Michigan.
    4. A full, official transcript that includes your most recent semester's grades. Please have the records office of your current law school send us a copy directly. If your most recent grades have not yet been recorded on your transcript, they may be provided in a letter.
    5. A letter stating your class rank. Please have the records office of your current law school send us this letter directly. 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. If you have any other information that will assist in evaluating the strength of your academic performance, please let us know.
    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 within the last two admissions seasons, and if so, we'll use the CAS 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.
    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 CAS 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.
    8. A Statement that gives your reasons for requesting visitor status at the University of Michigan Law School.

    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. You can also drop in via Zoom (Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.-5 p.m.).