Inside Higher Ed reports that top-tier law schools are taking on significant numbers of transfer students who started out at lower-ranked schools. Though some evidence suggests transfer students could be paying more at their new schools than their old ones, the schools getting transfer students claim they aren’t doing anything wrong—just accepting students who don’t like their current school and qualify for transfer. But the schools losing them aren’t happy:
American lost 13 of those students to Georgetown and 55 to George Washington University. Using the imprecise measuring stick of U.S. News law school rankings, Georgetown and George Washington are both top 20 schools. American is ranked 72nd. Yet a significant number of Georgetown’s and even more of George Washington’s students were originally American students. In 2013, the median LSAT score at Georgetown was 168; at George Washington, 165; at American, 157.American’s losses prompted its associate dean for academic affairs, Anthony Varona, to call George Washington “downright predatory” in an online post.
Of course, law schools would be better served thinking about how to restructure themselves to meet the changes coming to their industry than fighting over students in this way. But given how little foresight most law schools have shown heretofore, that may be too much to ask. Expect to see more of this infighting among law schools as the status quo of legal education continues to dissolve due to financial pressure and the shrinking number of students.