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 July 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.
- Transfer/Visitor Application Checklist
- Application Instructions
- Application Deadline
- How to Apply
- Advanced Standing Credit
- Application Review Process
- Application Processing Fee
- Bar Admission
Transfer/Visitor Application Checklist
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. Required items should be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than July 31. Applications that are missing required material after that date will be reviewed and final decisions will be rendered based on the information that exists in the file at that time.
- Application form submitted and signed electronically through LSAC.
- $70 non-refundable application processing fee. The fee must be submitted electronically through LSAC.
- Resume (use attachment)
- Personal statement (use attachment)
- 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
- Official transcripts reflecting ALL law school courses taken
- Final semester class rank from current law school or documentation indicating that the institution does not rank students (must be received directly from your law school)
- LSAC CAS Report
We begin accepting applications on April 1. The application deadline is July 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
Applications are reviewed in mid July through early August.
Application Processing Fee
The application fee is $70. A credit or debit card payment is required and must be submitted with the electronic application. The application processing fee is non-refundable. Fee waivers are not available for the transfer and visitor applications.
You will be required to submit a current résumé as an attachment. Include your significant work experience, educational history, college and law school community activities, honors and awards you have received, and dates for all items listed. Please provide complete information; there is no required length.
You will be required to submit a personal statement as an attachment. 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 explain their reason(s) for wanting to spend their 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 the CAS.
Duke Law School requires that foreign transcripts be submitted through the 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 are required. Letters may be submitted using the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service or you may have them submitted directly to the Office of Admissions. The LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service is included in your CAS registration and will accept generic or school specific letters.
If you wish to send additional material after submitting your electronic application, forward the material directly to the Office of Admissions by email or postal mail. Include your full name and LSAC account number. If your email attachment is lengthy, it may be more beneficial to submit a 1-2 page summary by email or submit the material by postal mail.
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.
We recommend that you investigate the rules governing bar admission in the jurisdictions where you intend to practice. Information about bar admission requirements may be obtained by contacting the appropriate state board of bar examiners.
Scholarship assistance is not available for transfer and visitor applicants.
International Students and Visa Applications
Applicants who are not U.S. citizens should indicate their country of citizenship in Section 2 of the application (Demographics). When admitted students who are not US 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 visiting student (to attend the third year at Duke Law School; degree to be granted by home institution).
5: Prior Application
Complete this section in full. If you applied previously, 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. Under Educational History, list your high school, undergraduate degree granting institution and the most recent graduate and professional school. Use the Additional Schools Attended addendum to list all other undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools attended.
Complete this section in full.
Complete this section in full.
9: Character and Fitness
Duke Law requires a candidate to reveal knowledge of ALL disciplinary charges. You are also required to reveal knowledge of any arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions (except for those 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 an offer of admission is extended to you, 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 a detailed explanation of the circumstances and outcomes.
In addition, if you answer "yes" to the Question 3 (disciplinary action), you will be required to have a 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 that provides complete information about the incident.
An electronic signature is required 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.