Each year, Duke Law School enrolls a number of transfer students who have completed their first year at another law school. The exact number varies, but has ranged between 12 and 20 in recent years. Review of transfer applications may begin as early as late June, and admission decisions are generally made in time for transfer students to participate in most of the On-Campus Interview process for second-year students. In addition, Duke Law journals conduct a write-on competition to allow transfer students to earn staff positions.
Most successful transfer applicants have a law school record that puts them at least in the top quarter of their class. We are particularly interested in admitting applicants who have specific reasons for wanting to be at Duke Law and seem likely to be active members of our community. Transfer applicants must have completed the entire first year of legal study at an ABA-approved law school with membership in the Association of American Law Schools, and must complete at least two years of study at Duke Law School.
In addition, Duke Law School considers applications for visitor status, in which students are admitted to complete their final year of law school at Duke. However, their home school awards the degree and agrees to accept credits from Duke.
The deadline for advanced standing applications is June 1. Indicate whether you are applying as a transfer (2L) or visiting (3L) student. Transfer applicants will receive no more than one year of academic credit toward a Duke Law degree for work completed at another law school. Final decisions are normally made by the end of July. Students with advanced standing are not eligible to apply for application fee waivers or Duke Law scholarships. Transfer and visitor applicants are not eligible to apply for dual degree programs.
Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment. Review the full policy to learn more.
Duke LLM students are required to contact the Office of Admissions by email to receive special instructions before submitting a transfer application.
2019 Transfer and Visitor Application
- Application Checklist
- Application Instructions
- Application Deadline
- How to Apply
- Advanced Standing Credit
- Application Review Process
- Application Processing Fee
- Bar Admission
The following items are required. You will be notified by email once your application has been received. The email will include instructions on how to check your file status online.
- Application (submit electronically through LSAC)
- $70 non-refundable application processing fee (submit electronically with the application)
- Resume (use attachment to submit electronically with the application)
- Personal statement (use attachment to submit electronically with the application)
- Final semester letter of good standing from current law school (must be received directly from your law school)
- Permission to visit letter - visitor applicants only; letter from dean or registrar must indicate that credits earned at Duke University School of Law will be accepted at home institution (must be received directly from your law school)
- Two recommendation letters from law school professors or instructors from your current law school (submit through LSAC to be included with the CAS report)
- Official law school transcript submitted through LSAC reflecting ALL law school courses taken
- Final semester class rank from current law school or documentation indicating that the institution does not rank (must be received directly from your law school)
- LSAC CAS Report (we will request from LSAC after you submit the application)
We begin accepting applications on March 1. The deadline to submit the application for Transfer Early Review is May 1. The priority deadline to submit the application for Transfer Regular Decision or Visitor is June 1.
How to Apply
Application material must be submitted electronically via LSAC. For information on applying electronically, contact LSAC at 215.968.1001 or www.lsac.org. It is important to review the complete application checklist and instructions.
Application Review Process
Files are submitted for review as they become complete; however, decisions are not returned in the same order.
Transfer applicants have the option to select Early Review or Regular Review. Early Review applicants will receive a decision based on first semester law school grades. The letter of good standing and class rank should indicate your standing after the first semester. Transfer applicants who are admitted under Early Review will also be required to submit a final law school transcript that includes ALL first-year grades prior to enrolling at Duke Law School.
Application Processing Fee
The application fee of $70 is required and must be submitted through LSAC with the application. The application fee is non-refundable. Fee waivers are not available for transfer and visitor applications.
You will be required to submit a current resumé with the application. Include your significant work experience, educational history, college and law school community activities, honors and awards you have received, any prior Duke affiliation, and dates for all items listed. There is no required length.
You will be required to submit a personal statement with the application. The statement should focus on the specific resources and opportunities at Duke Law School that will further your legal career goals, as well as the contributions you might make as a member of the Duke Law School community. There is no required length. Visitor applicants should include reason(s) for wanting to spend the third year of law school at Duke.
The personal statement and all other writing samples must be your own work. This means that the ideas and expressions originated with you, and you wrote all drafts and the final product. It does not preclude asking family members, friends, and others for proofreading assistance or general feedback.
All applicants must register with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). CAS information is available online at LSAC.org. Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work must be submitted directly to CAS.
Duke Law School requires that foreign transcripts be submitted through CAS if you received your degree from an institution outside the U.S. or Canada, or if you completed the equivalent of more than one year of undergraduate study outside the U.S. (including its territories) or Canada. This service is included in the CAS registration fee. An International Credential Evaluation will be completed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), which will be incorporated into your LSAC CAS report. Log in to your online account and follow the instructions for registering for the service. Be sure to print out a Transcript Request Form for each institution and send it promptly to them. More time is usually required to receive foreign transcripts. Questions about foreign transcripts can be directed to LSAC at 215.968.1001 or LSACinfo@LSAC.org.
Letters of Recommendation
Two recommendation letters from law school professors or instructors from your current law school are required and must be submitted using the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service included in your CAS registration. Additional letters may be submitted through LSAC or directly to the Office of Admissions.
If you wish to send additional material after submitting your application, forward the material directly to the Office of Admissions by email or postal mail. Include your full name and LSAC account number. If the material is lengthy, it may be more beneficial to submit a 1-2 page summary.
Advanced Standing Credit
Transfer students will receive no more than one year of academic credit toward a Duke Law degree for work completed at another law school.
In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. For additional information, please visit http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/bar_admissions.html.
Scholarship assistance is not available for transfer or visitor applicants.
International Students and Visa Applications
Applicants who are not U.S. citizens should indicate their country of citizenship where requested on the application. When admitted students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents submit their tuition deposit and admission acceptance form, they will receive information about applying for a Duke-sponsored F-1 visa. They will be required to submit copies of their passports, previous visa documents, and proof of financial support. Duke University policy states that graduate and professional students who are not in lawful immigration status will not be enrolled. For more information, please contact the admissions office.
Please read the following instructions carefully before completing the application.
Complete this section in full.
Complete this section in full.
3: Contact Information
Complete this section in full. Submit updates to your contact information directly to the Office of Admission by e-mail.
4: Degree Program
Indicate whether you are applying as a transfer student (after completing one year of law school at another ABA-approved law school) or a visitor (attend your third year at Duke Law School; degree to be granted by home institution).
Transfer applicants also have the option to select Early Review or Regular Review. Early Review applicants will receive a decision based on first semester law school grades. The letter of good standing and class rank should indicate your standing after the first semester. Transfer applicants who are admitted under Early Review will also be required to submit a final law school transcript that includes ALL first-year grades prior to enrolling at Duke Law School.
5: Prior Application
Complete this section in full. If you previously applied to Duke Law School, please indicate the year(s) for which you applied for admission.
You are required to provide information on your high school and all post secondary schools attended.
Complete this section in full.
Complete this section in full.
Complete this section in full.
10: Character and Fitness
Duke Law requires that you reveal knowledge of all disciplinary charges, and any arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions (except arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions that have been expunged from your record). When in doubt, you should err on the side of full disclosure, as subsequent discovery of a failure to fully and accurately answer these questions may have serious consequences. You have an ongoing obligation to report any conduct that would require you to answer "Yes" to any of the questions in this section during the pendency of your application. If you are admitted, the obligation to report conduct applicable to the questions in this section continues until your first day of class at Duke Law School.
If you answer "Yes" to any of these questions, you will be required to provide an explanation. Include details, the current status of any disciplinary action or judicial sanctions, and the final resolution of the issues involved.
In addition, if you answer "Yes" to the disciplinary conduct question, you will be required to have the dean, registrar, department supervisor, judicial officer, or academic officer with access to official records from your institution submit a letter directly to the Office of Admissions providing complete information about the incident. If your institution has no record of any disciplinary conduct, please have them submit a letter indicating so.
Applications will not be processed without an electronic signature agreeing to the conditions and certifying that the information is true and complete. You are obligated to notify the Office of Admissions immediately of any change in the information provided.