Even though visiting another law school and transferring to another law school may have a number of practical similarities, the two processes are very different both in terms of the time it takes to complete the application process and in regards to how it affects your resume and job prospects. As a transfer student you will be a graduate of the new law school and you will generally be treated as if you were always a student there. On the other hand, as a visitor you will merely be an interloper at the visiting law school. You can only transfer before the fall semester of your second year due to the 30 hour limitation on transfer credit and transfer applications are typically due by June or July. So if you have already started your second year of law school then you are not a candidate to transfer and graduate elsewhere, but you may be able to take up to a year of school as a visitor.
Visiting In Law School
If you visit another law school, even if for your last semester or your entire third year, then you will still graduate from your original law school. The specific arrangements vary from school to school, but the credits you earn at the institution you are visiting will be added to your law school transcript as transfer credits applicable towards graduation. Since most schools limit such credit to a maximum of 30 hours or so, your maximum visit time is for one academic year. A visiting semester or year at a particular law school is unlikely to have a positive impact on your resume other than showing an interest in a particular geographic area. Visiting is usually done as a matter of convenience, such as if your spouse has a job in a different state. Visiting law students will not receive a degree from the school they are visiting and won’t have full access to that school’s career services and even may get the last pick of course offerings. Law schools are generally happy to oblige with admitting visiting students as it merely adds to their bottom line with little impact on their resources or the experience of their students. The visiting application process is fairly menial and is more of a simple administrative process than law school or transfer applications, although a personal statement indicating the reasons you are seeking to visit is required. That said, timing can still be critical so if you want to visit another school you should look into the process in advance to make sure you have all the documentation in place ahead of the relevant deadlines.
Transferring In Law School
On the other hand, if you are transferring law schools, it is a major undertaking with a significant impact on your life and career. Transferring to a different law school requires an application that is similar to, although not as extensive as, your initial law school application. When you transfer to a new law school you will receive your degree from that school and you won’t even be required to mention your first-year school on most job applications. You will also count in the transfer law school’s employment numbers and you will be an alumnus of their institution for the rest of your life. So law schools are very careful in considering transfer applications and you should set aside a significant amount of time to put together your applications if you decide you want to transfer law schools.