Columbia Law School typically admits 35 to 60 transfer students—rising 2Ls from schools that are members of the American Association of Law Schools or approved by the American Bar Association’s section on legal education—every fall. While most successful transfer students are in the top 5 percent to 10 percent of their law school class, the Admissions Committee will holistically evaluate the entire application.
Transfer applicants must have between 28 and 32 credits with some exceptions (see Transfer Credit below for more details). Applicants from LL.M. or other post-J.D. programs at law schools other than Columbia, including international law schools, must apply as first-year students. Transfer students are eligible to apply to participate in all Columbia student law journals.
Application Process and Components
Before You Apply: Register with LSAC.org and enroll in the Credential Assembly Service. You must be a rising 2L from an accredited law school to be considered as a transfer student.
Apply online using the Transfer Student Application at LSAC.org. Applications are due July 15, 2022. Prepare by reviewing our 2021 Preview Application (PDF). Note that there may be changes to the 2022 application. The application fee is $85.
In addition to the application form, you will also need to submit:
- Personal statement/essay
- GRE or LSAT
- Letters of recommendation (two from current law school professors)
- Faculty appraisal (PDF) (additional optional form for recommenders)
- Dean’s appraisal(s)/certification(s) (PDF) (from undergrad, grad, and law school)
- Academic transcripts
Transfer applicants must have accrued between 28 and 32 credits from law schools that belong to the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) or have been approved by the section on Legal Education of the American Bar Association. If you have fewer than 28 or more than 32 credits, please include a written explanation as an addendum to your application.
After you have transferred to the Law School, the director of academic counseling will review your credits and determine how many will count toward the core first-year curriculum as well as the J.D. degree.
In order to obtain the J.D. degree, you must:
- Earn at least 83 total academic points
- Take at least 51 points at Columbia Law School (if you completed your first year of law school elsewhere in the United States)
- Complete four terms of full-time residency in the J.D. program
The Law School does not award credit for:
- Summer school courses
- Non-law courses
- Courses in which you received a grade lower than C
- Courses graded on a pass/fail system
Subject to ABA Standard 505(d), transfer applicants seeking to apply credit from LL.M. or other post-J.D. programs at law schools other than Columbia, including international law schools, must apply as first-year students.
2021–2022 Admissions Dates
- May 1, 2022: Applications open — instructions will follow
- July 15, 2022: Applications due
Transfer students are eligible to apply to participate in all student law journals at Columbia Law School. Each journal has its own application criteria. With the exception of Columbia Law Review, transfer students are informed of application procedures for journal participation upon admission to Columbia Law School as a transfer student. For more information regarding journals other than the Columbia Law Review, please see the Journals page.
Transfer students with an interest in the Columbia Law Review may apply in one of two ways: through a transfer application period, or the Publishable Notes Program during the academic year. The transfer application for the Columbia Law Review consists of two elements—the writing component and the personal statement. For more information, including application deadlines, please visit the Columbia Law Review website.