Student walking in the Tundra

A look inside the transfer admissions process for law school.

Did you know that the first year curriculum is largely the same for all law schools across the country? 

L-1 is all about learning the basics of law — those essential concepts that will provide you with a solid foundation for your advanced level coursework and experiential learning activities. It’s during L-2 and L-3 that students really begin to tailor their academics with elective courses and certificate tracks to reflect their interest(s).  

This means that transferring law schools during or after completing your first year is a relatively straightforward process. If you decide that ONU Law or another law school would better fit your needs, here’s what you need to know about law school transfer admissions.

When should you apply to transfer law schools? 

According to Hailey Russell, Director of Law Admissions, “Students should explore their transfer options at the end of their first year if they don't believe their current institution is a good fit for them either personally or professionally.” 

Typically, law students transfer during the second semester of their L-1 year for early admission or at the end of their L-1 year. If you are accepted, your status as a L-1 or L-2 is determined by the number of transfer credits you have; and, because the L-1 curriculum is fairly standard across law schools, it’s most likely that you will keep your same status at the new school. Sofia McDaniel JD ‘21 transferred to ONU Law after completing her first year at another law school, entering the program as an L-2 - without falling behind on her degree.

If transferring is a thought that has crossed your mind after enrolling at your current law school, we would encourage you to begin researching your transfer options early! You should start to do research on which school(s) you want to transfer to during the early part of the second semester of your L-1 year, according to LSAT prep site 7Sage, since transfer application requirements differ per school. 

Starting in January or February gives you the time to compile all of your application materials in advance of the school’s deadline and to explore your schools in greater depth to see whether their institution would be a better fit for your needs. Take advantage of an early start by scheduling a campus visit and connecting with current students and faculty at schools you’re interested in!

Will I be eligible for any scholarships?

Yes! Each institution will be different but, at ONU Law, transfer students are evaluated for merit scholarships automatically at the time of submitting their application. It’s important to be aware of the potential differences in the cost of attendance between your current institution and your transfer options before making your final decision.

What do law schools look at when you transfer? 

There are a few different aspects of your application that law schools will review in the transfer admissions process.

L-1 Grades & Class Rank

If you are looking to transfer, you will need to have earned exceptional grades in your time as an L-1 . Earning stellar grades in your first semester — and ranking high in your class — may mean that you can transfer after that semester. Some schools will only admit students who are in the very top of their class.

You will need to request a Letter of Good Standing as part of the transfer application process. A Letter of Good Standing indicates that you are in good academic standing at your current law school and are eligible to continue your legal studies at that institution. Ask the Dean’s Office at your law school to provide this letter.  

Undergraduate GPA & LSAT

In addition to your current law school grades and class rank, many law schools will request your Credential Assembly Services (CAS) report, including your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score, as a required component of your transfer application. That way, the school can take all parts of your application into consideration before rendering their decision.

If you feel like your undergraduate GPA, LSAT or any other aspect of your CAS report doesn’t reflect your potential now that you’ve experienced a semester or two of law school, that is something to discuss in your personal statement or in a separate addendum. 

Letters of recommendation

Some law schools will require letters of recommendation from your law school so they can know what your current professors think about you. While letters of recommendation are optional for ONU Law, they can provide helpful insights into a student’s character, motivations and ability to handle the rigor of a graduate-level program. Some students choose to reuse their letters of recommendation from their first round of law school applications but it’s advantageous to include a new letter from a current law school professor. Speaking with your professor about your motivation for transferring and voicing your goals will help them craft an insightful letter. 

Personal statement

Your personal statement (or addendum) should convey what you’ve experienced in your first year of law school. Address questions such as:

  • “Why are you choosing to apply to this new school?”
  • “What makes the new school a good fit for your goals?”
  • “What would you bring to their law school?”


​​​​​​​Interested in transferring to ONU Law? 

ONU Law considers students who are in good standing at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Learn more about transfer admissions at ONU Law.