I want you to digest that headline for a moment. This weekend, a rising 2L is going to share his “system” for succeeding in law school, a system he honed — for a whole year — at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The kid is trying to charge people money to attend his seminar.
Maybe for some people, hearing that someone you’ve met was class valedictorian for high school, college, or law school is still impressive. I’m not one of those people, but maybe I’m in the minority. A controversy is currently brewing at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law over this year’s choice for valedictorian.
Some soon-to-be graduates are upset that a transfer student earned the title. It’s just not fair, they say, to swoop in after an easy-peasy year at some lower-ranked school and show up at a new school to demolish everyone else’s GPAs by comparison.
Let’s see the details of what’s happening down in Texas, and then take a poll: do you think transfer students should be able to earn the valedictorian title?
When you are a transfer student, you are constantly fighting for respect. If you don’t think your non-transfer classmates look down on how you gunned your way into their school despite whatever faults kept you out the first time, you really aren’t paying attention to your surroundings.
But most transfer students do feel the sting, and they try like hell to prove that they belong.
Which is just weak. Come on, there’s nothing worse than trying to interact with somebody who has a huge chip on his shoulder. Actually, the annoyingness of transfers is directly related to the rank of the school: the better the ranking, the more annoying the kids who transfer in.
Call it “elite law school problems.” One of the pleasures of going to an elite school is that you get to spend time around people who aren’t frustrated that they couldn’t get into a better school with better prospects. There’s a calmness on campus; everybody’s doing their thing, everybody feels like things are going to work out. Then the transfers get there and they’re gunning, and annoying, and have ridiculous bro stories about bombing the LSAT, “But it’s ALL GOOD, ’cause I’m HERE NOW buddy, YEAH. I’m taking a class with PROFESSOR FAMOUS PANTS which will really help in my CALLBACK at [mid-tier firm that is actually a fallback option for people at elite schools] DAY.
Sigh. At least that’s how transfer students talk to non-transfers. We don’t often get to see how transfer students talk among themselves.
But today, we’ve got a whole transfer student email thread from Stanford Law School — and boy, like Fredo in the Godfather, they want respect….
As we noted, Tammy Hsu’s blog is now restricted to invited readers. Some posts are still accessible via Google Cache (and in the comments to our original story, some of you identified favorite posts of yours).
Shortly after we wrote about her, we heard from Tammy C. Hsu. She sent us a defense and explanation of her blog’s origins, which we will now share….
We begin with a message to our readers. Consider yourselves on notice: we regard almost anything you place on the internet, even if just for a brief hot second, to be fair game for coverage. It doesn’t matter to us if you later try to “recall” your mass email or delete your public blog. Once you’ve put something out there, thereby forfeiting any reasonable expectation of privacy, then it’s gone, baby, gone. [FN1]
And honestly, in the internet age, what privacy expectations are reasonable in the first place? Emails can be forwarded; images can be downloaded or photographed themselves, then re-posted. If it’s not already dead, privacy is rapidly dying. You might as well start living in public now, and make life easier for yourself. Just let it all hang out, and then you’ll never be embarrassed about anything getting leaked. (This is my philosophy on Twitter, where my feed is often TMI.)
Living in public: that’s the premise behind a charming new law student blog by a 1L with ambition. Like a fair number of bloggers — Brian Stelter and his Twitter diet come to mind — law student Tammy Hsu seeks to harness public exposure for her own benefit. Hsu, a first-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law, writes a blog built around her goal of transferring into Yale Law School. It’s right there in the title of her site: “Confessions of an (Aspiring) Yalie.”
By putting her ambition out in the open, Hsu is motivating herself to succeed, because failure would be so public. She is lighting the proverbial fire under her own arse, turning her classmates and the internet into one big Tiger Mother. If she’s not at 127 Wall Street this time next year, people will look down upon her — so now she has every incentive to excel in her 1L year at Wake Forest.
For many law students, the path to Biglaw riches looks something like this:
Step 1: Get into cheap law school.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit.
A lot of kids fill in “Step 2″ with the idea of trading up to a “better” law school after a successful 1L year. Now that finals have wrapped up at most law schools (and the law schools still conducting finals are generally places nobody wants to transfer from), many students will set their sights on the goal of transferring out of their current law school.
Of course, just because students want to transfer doesn’t mean they can. And unfortunately many students will find that their current law school actively tries to make it difficult for kids to get out and into a better law school.
Is your school cock-blocking you from scoring a better legal education?
Last month’s open thread on transfer students proved very popular. It generated surprisingly substantive commentary, full of helpful advice (and the usual law student status anxiety).
Since then, we’ve received several requests for more coverage of this constituency. So we thought we’d revisit the subject of transfer students and transfer applications.
With on-campus interviewing (OCI) fast approaching, it’s a timely topic. A transfer-student tipster tells us:
The beginning to middle of August would be a good time [to talk about transfer applications]. Transfer applicants are either going to find out soon or will just have, so stress will be high for them. OCI bids will either have just gone in or will be going in, so the “legitimate” students (my name for kids that do well on the LSAT) will chime in with frustration and hatred towards transfers.
C’mon, guys — don’t hate, appreciate!
Do the “legitimate” students hate transfers out of fear? Let’s explore this theory.
The middle of the summer would seem to be a dead period for American law schools. Law students are gone, working as summer associates or interns (if they were lucky enough to snag something). On-campus interviewing won’t start for a few more weeks (or even later, if more firms adopt the Orrick model).
But the summer is a period of critical importance for one particular group: transfer students. During the summer months, transfer applicants learn what school(s) they’ve been admitted to, then decide if — and where — they’d like to transfer.
This year, transfer applications take place against the backdrop of the tanking economy. Does the Great Recession increase or reduce the appeal of transferring? On the one hand, given the super-competitive job market, you might think it’s more important than ever to attend a highly ranked school. On the other hand, if you’re at a lower-ranked school that has given you generous scholarship support, this might not be the best time to jump ship for a more expensive school (and take on more debt as a result).
If you have thoughts to share on the transfer application process this year, or if you’re an aspiring transfer student eager to compare notes with fellow transfers, this open thread is for you. Transfer Students — The Data [Empirical Legal Studies] Henderson on transfer students [Ideoblog] Transfer Students, Part-time Programs, and US News Rankings: A Response to Ribstein [Empirical Legal Studies] Earlier: Transfer Students: Second-Class Citizens?
Is it right for a law school to discourage students from transferring? Is it right for a law school to deny services to students who are considering transferring? Because it looks like that is what happening at Loyola (L.A.) Law School right now.
Loyola has moved up its on-campus interview season; it now starts in late July. Unfortunately, that is too early for most students who are transferring to have received notice of whether or not their applications have been accepted. But now, at Loyola, students who have outstanding transfer applications are no longer allowed to participate in OCI. A tipster makes the situation clear:
Many schools have had similar policies for students who have accepted a position at another school, but Loyola’s policy is targeted at students simply applying for a transfer. This puts students in the very real position of applying, missing out on OCI, and then possibly not getting in at the higher ranked schools. Basically f*cking their chances at BigLaw.
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