Is Harvard Law Suffering From the Admissions Crisis? Hardly.

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 15, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

At least one school we know about is weathering the law school admissions storm: Harvard Law.

As lesser ranked schools struggle to survive, the nation's top law school has adopted a strategy that few others have the privilege of doing: sucking up the talent from other great schools.

Transfers Into Harvard

In 2015, Harvard Law accepted 55 transfer students from other schools according to the ?ABA and Bloomberg Business. According to those sources, the school never took in more than 35 transfer students over the last four years. Why such a large uptick in transfer students?

Stealing Away Talent

"Stealing" is such a harsh and misleading word. Although one theory is that last year the applicant pool was particularly strong, another slightly more cynical theory was that Harvard is actually stealing away the recipients of other top law schools. Since Harvard sits at the top of the competitive T14 list, it is the recipient of the nation's creme-de-la-creme of candidates.

So, rather than having to go through the application process for new possible 1Ls, the school could take advantage of students who have already proven their academic mettle at other schools. This translates into lower risk for Harvard while still maintaining excellent standards. No need to compromise or fudge numbers to maintain relevance.

Woes for the Bottom

It's no secret that law school applications are down -- way down. Either few people are attending or the top students are angling for better schools. Schools at the bottom cater to students who either do not have the time, resources, of the inclination for the intense law school curriculum. As a result, the lowering of standards seems to have become a regular practice at many schools.

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