Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Updating the Transfer Market Analysis for 2015

This blog posting updates my blog postings here and here of December 2014 regarding what we know about the transfer market. With the release of the 2015 Standard 509 Reports, we know have two years of more detailed transfer data from which to glean insights about the transfer market among law schools.

NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES OF TRANSFERS – 2011-2015

The number of transfers dropped to 1,979 in 2015, down from 2,187 in 2014 and 2,501 in 2013. The percentage of the previous fall’s entering class that engaged in the transfer market also dropped slightly to 5.2%, down from 5.5% in 2014 and 5.6% in 2013. In other words, there is no reason to believe the transfer market is “growing” as a general matter. It has been fairly consistently in the 4.6% to 5.6% range for the last five years, with an average of 5.2%

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Number of Transfers

2427

2438

2501

2187

1979

Previous Year First Year Enrollment

52,500

48,700

44,500

39700

37900

%   of Previous First-Year Total

4.6%

5%

5.6%

5.5%

5.2%

SOME LAW SCHOOLS CONTINUE TO DOMINATE THE TRANSFER MARKET

The following two charts list the top 15 law schools in terms of receiving transfer students in descending order in Summer 2013 (fall 2012 entering class), Summer 2014 (fall 2013 entering class), and Summer 2015 (fall 2014 entering class) – with one chart based on “numbers” of transfers and the other chart based on the number of transfer students as a percentage of the prior year’s first-year class.

Note that in these two charts, the “repeat players” are bolded – those schools in the top 15 for all three years are in black, those schools in the top 15 for two of the three years are in blue.   Seven of the top ten by number in 2015 and seven of the top ten by percentage 2015 have been among the top 15 on each list for all three years.

Largest Law Schools by Number of Transfers from 2013-2015

School

Number in 2013

School

bNumber in 2014

School

Number in 2015

Georgetown

122

Georgetown

113

Georgetown

110

George   Wash.

93

George Wash.

97

George Wash.

109

Florida   St.

90

Arizona St.

66

Arizona St.

65

Emory

75

Idaho

57

Harvard

55

Arizona   State

73

Cal. Berkeley

55

Emory

51

American

68

NYU

53

NYU

51

Texas

59

Emory

50

Cal. Berkeley

49

Columbia

52

Columbia

46

Rutgers

45

NYU

47

American

44

Columbia

44

Minnesota

45

UCLA

44

Miami

44

Arizona

44

Wash. Univ.

44

UCLA

43

Northwestern

44

Texas

43

Texas

37

UCLA

41

Minnesota

37

American

33

Cardozo

38

Northwestern

35

Florida St.

32

Southern   Cal.

37

Harvard

33

Minnesota

31

TOTAL

928

 

817

 

799

% of All Transfers

37.1%

 

37.4%

 

40.4%

 

Largest Law Schools by Transfers as a Percentage of Previous First Year Class - 2013-2015

School

% 2013

School

% 2014

School

% 2015

Florida State

48.1

Arizona State

51.6

Arizona State

45.5

Arizona State

48

Idaho

51.4

Emory

22.9

Utah

34.7

Washington Univ.

23.3

George Wash.

20.2

Emory

29.6

Emory

22.9

Miami

19.2

Arizona

28.9

Georgetown

20.8

Georgetown

19

Minnesota

22

George Wash.

20.2

Cal. Berkeley

17.9

George Wash.

21.8

Cal. Berkeley

19.4

Florida St.

17

Georgetown

21.2

Florida St.

18.2

Florida Int’l

16.7

Rutgers – Camden

20.7

Rutgers – Camden

17.1

Minnesota

16.1

Southern Cal.

19.7

Southern Cal.

17.1

Utah

16

Texas

19.1

Minnesota

16.7

UNLV

14.3

Cincinnati

17.5

Utah

15.9

UCLA

13.7

Northwestern

17.1

Northwestern

15.3

Texas

12.3

Washington Univ.

15.4

UCLA

15

Chicago

12.1

Univ. Washington

15.3

Seton Hall

14.5

Rutgers

12.1

Interestingly, the number of law schools welcoming transfers representing more than 20% of their first-year class has fallen from nine in 2013 to only three in 2015.

Nonetheless, as shown in the following chart, we are continuing to see a modest increase in concentration in the transfer market between 2011 and 2015 as the ten law schools with the most students transferring in captured an increasing share of the transfer market, from 23.5% in 2011 to 31.5% in 2015.  Nearly one-third of all transfers in 2015 transferred to one of the ten schools with the most transfers.

Top Ten Law Schools as a Percentage of All Transfers

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Total Transfers

2427

2438

2501

2187

1979

Transfers to 10 Law Schools with Most Transfers

570

587

724

625

623

Transfers to 10 Law Schools with Most Transfers as % of Total Transfers

23.5%

24.1%

28.9%

28.6%

31.5%

NATIONAL AND REGIONAL MARKETS

Starting in 2014, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar began collecting and requiring schools with more than twelve transfers in to report not only the number of students who have transferred in, but also the law schools from which they came (indicating the number from each law school) along with the 75%, 50% and 25% first-year, law school GPAs of the students who transferred in. This allows us to look at where students are coming from and are going to, and to look at the first-year GPA profile of students transferring in to different law schools. The following chart focuses on the top 15 law schools in terms of transfers in for 2015 presented in descending USNews ranking. It indicates the extent to which these law schools were attracting transfers from their geographic region and also identifies the law school that provided the largest number of transfers to each listed law school as well as the percentage of transfers that came from that school.

Percentage of Transfers from Within Geographic Region and Top Feeder School(s)

School

# of Transfers

14/15

Region

Regional # of Transfers

14/15

Regional % of Transfers

14/15

School from Which Largest Number of Transfers Came in 2015

#/% of Transfers

Harvard

33/55

NE

6/15

18/27

GWU

6/11%

Columbia

46/44

NE

19/19

41/43

Wash. Univ.

5/11%

NYU

50/51

NE

20/15

40/29

Georgetown

7/14%

Berkeley

55/49

CA

43/29

78/59

Hastings

19/39%

Georgetown

113/110

Mid-Atl

49/43

43/39

GWU

11/10%

Texas

43/37

TX

27/22

63/59

Texas Tech

6/16%

UCLA

44/43

CA

31/26

70/60

Hastings

9/21%

Emory

53/51

SE

40/31

75/61

Atlanta’s   John

Marshall

11/22%

Minnesota

37/31

MW

21/17

57/55

Hamline

9/29%

GWU

97/109

Mid-Atl

78/70

80/64

American

44/40%

Azizona St.

66/65

SW

51/48

77/74

Arizona Sum.

47/72%

Florida St.

31/32

SE

24/27

77/84

Florida Coastal

11/34%

Miami

29/44

SE

21/27

72/61

St. Thomas

12/27%

American

44/33

Mid-Atl

14/6

32/18

Charleston

3/9%

Rutgers*

45

NE

29

64

Widener-Delaware

10/22%

*Rutgers is a unified school as of 2015, but for 2014 reported data separately for the Newark campus and the Camden campus, so this only reports the 2015 data.

For these top 15 law schools for transfer students in 2015, 10 schools obtained most of their transfers (55% or more) from within the geographic region within which the law school is located, while five schools (Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Georgetown and American) had fewer than 45% of their transfers from within the region in which they are located.  Interestingly, 11 of the 14 law schools with data for both 2014 and 2015 saw a decline in the percentage of transfers from within the region in which the law school is located. Only two law schools in 2015 had more than 70% of their transfers from within the region in which the law school is located (Arizona State and Florida State), down from seven such law schools in 2014.

Moreover, several law schools had a significant percentage of their transfers from one particular feeder school.  For Miami, roughly 34% of its transfers came from St. Thomas University (Florida); for Berkeley, roughly 39% of its transfers came from Hastings; for George Washington, 40% of its transfers came from American; and for Arizona State, 72% of its transfers came from Arizona Summit.

The chart below shows the tiers of law schools from which the largest 15 law schools in the transfer market received their transfer students.  Ten of the top 15 law schools for transfers are ranked in the top 20 in USNews, but of those 10, only six had 75% or more of their transfers from schools ranked between 1 and 99 in the USNews rankings – Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, UCLA and George Washington.  Two additional schools, Georgetown and Texas, had at least 50% of their transfers from schools ranked between 1 and 99.  The remaining two law schools ranked in the top 20 in USNews (Emory and Minnesota) and the other five law schools in the list had at least half of their transfer students from law schools ranked 100 or lower, with five of those law schools having 75% or more of their transfers from law schools ranked 100 or lower. 

In addition, it shows that as you move down the rankings of law schools that are large players in the transfer market, the general trend in first-year law school GPA shows a significant decline, with several schools taking a number of transfers with first-year GPAs below a 3.0, including Minnesota, Arizona State, Florida State, Miami and American.

 Percentage of Transfers from Different Tiers of School(s) for 2014 and 2015 Along With First-Year Law School GPA 75th/50th/25th)

(In each column, the number on the left is the 2014 number and the number on the right is the 2015 number.)

(Highlighted cells indicate the modal response for each law school.)

(Color-coding of GPA data Reflects increases (Green) or decreases (Red) of .05 or more points.)

 

# of Transfers

 

Rank Top 50

   #              %

Rank 51-99

   #              %

Rank 100+

   #              %

GPA 75th

 

GPA 50th

 

GPA 25th

 

Harvard

33/55

23/41

70/75

10/13

30/24

0/1

0/2

3.95/3.98

3.9/3.92

3.83/3.85

Columbia

46/44

29/30

63/68

14/10

30/23

3/4

7/9

3.81/3.82

3.75/3.76

3.69/3.66

NYU

50/51

41/40

82/78

7/10

14/20

2/1

4/2

3.74/3.76

3.62/3.68

3.47/3.52

Berkeley

55/49

17/15

31/31

27/26

49/53

11/8

20/16

3.9/3.87

3.75/3.81

3.68/3.69

Georgetown

113/110

27/30

24/27

38/30

34/27

48/50

42/45

3.77/3.77

3.67/3.66

3.55/3.59

Texas

43/37

17/10

40/27

13/13

30/35

13/14

30/38

3.62/3.6

3.45/3.46

3.11/3.32

UCLA

44/43

15/15

34/35

23/23

52/53

6/5

14/12

3.73/3.7

3.58/3.58

3.44/3.46

Emory

53/51

3/5

6/10

7/8

13/16

43/38

81/75

3.42/3.45

3.27/3.3

2.93/3.06

GWU

97/109

13/21

13/19

73/63

75/58

11/25

11/23

3.53/3.46

3.35/3.32

3.21/3.15

Minnesota

37/31

4/6

11/19

12/7

32/23

21/18

57/58

3.3/3.43

3.1/3.12

2.64/2.96

Arizona St.

66/65

4/0

6/0

5/6

8/9

57/59

86/91

3.51/3.5

3.23/3.17

2.97/2.95

Florida St.

31/32

2/0

6/0

4/2

13/6

25/30

81/94

3.29/3.32

3.1/3.14

2.9/2.96

Miami

29/44

1/3

3/7

4/7

14/16

24/34

83/77

3.3/3.26

3.07/3.05

2.87/2.9

American

44/33

2/0

5/0

14/1

32/3

28/32

64/97

3.25/3.04

2.94/2.89

2.78/2.74

Rutgers

45

0

0

2

4

43

96

/3.29

/3.05

/2.75

STILL MANY UNKNOWNS

As I noted last year, this more detailed transfer data should be very helpful to prospective law students and pre-law advisors, and to current law students who are considering transferring.  This data gives them a better idea of what transfer opportunities might be available depending upon where they go to law school (or are presently enrolled as a first-year student).

Even with this more granular data now available, however, there still are a significant number of unknowns relating to transfer students.  In an upcoming post, I will touch on some questions that remain unanswered about the transfer market as well as a few other aspects of the transfer experience.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwhiteboard/2015/12/updating-the-transfer-market-analysis-for-2015.html

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