Transfer/Visitor Admissions Information

Main Content

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. We may conduct an initial file review once the letter of good standing, class rank (if available), and law transcript from the fall semester are received. 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 third 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 complete the entire first year of legal study at an ABA-approved law school with membership in the Association of American Law Schools, and 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. Students with advanced standing are not eligible to apply for application fee waivers, Duke Law scholarships, or dual degree programs.

Non-Discrimination Policy

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 at  

2023 Transfer and Visitor Application 

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 monitor your file status online. 

  • Application (submit through LSAC)
  • $80 non-refundable application processing fee (submit with the application)
  • Resume (use attachment to submit with the application)
  • Personal statement (use attachment to submit with the application)
  • Optional essays (use attachments to submit with the application)
  • Two recommendation letters from law school professors or instructors from your current law school (submit through LSAC to be included with the CAS report)
  • Final semester letter of good standing from current law school (must be received directly from your law school and may include class rank)
  • 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 and may be included in the letter of good standing or noted on the transcript)
  • Visitor applicants only: Permission to visit 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)
  • Official law school transcript submitted through LSAC reflecting ALL law school courses taken
  • LSAC CAS report - we will request from LSAC shortly after you submit the application

Application Deadline

We begin accepting applications on April 1. The deadline to submit the application material is June 1. We will continue to accept supporting material after June 1 if seats are available.

How to Apply

Application material must be submitted electronically via LSAC. For information on applying electronically, contact LSAC at 215.968.1001 or It is important to review the complete application checklist and instructions.

Application Review Process

Files will be submitted for review as they become complete; however, decisions are not returned in the same order. 

Application Processing Fee

The non-refundable $80 application fee is required and must be submitted through LSAC with the application. Fee waivers are not available for transfer and visitor applications.

Resume, Personal Statement, and Optional Essays

There is no required length or page limit. All writing samples must be your own work; the ideas and expressions originated with you, and you wrote all drafts and the final product. It does not preclude asking family members, friends, pre-law advisors, and others for proofreading assistance or general feedback.


You will be required to submit a current resume as an attachment. Please provide complete information and 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.

Personal Statement

You will be required to submit a personal statement as an attachment. The statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and 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. Visitor applicants should include reason(s) for wanting to spend the third year of law school at Duke.

Optional Essays

You are invited to supplement your personal statement with either or both of the following optional essays. These topics are helpful in forming a full picture of our applicants so we encourage you to provide any relevant information either in your personal statement or in the optional essays (it is not necessary to duplicate information in both places).

  • Optional Essay 1: You may submit an essay providing additional information about why you chose to attend to law school and why you are applying to Duke. We are interested in the factors that have prompted your interest in a legal career and the ways in which you think Duke can further that interest.
  • Optional Essay 2: Our admission process is guided by the view that a student body that reflects the broad diversity of society contributes to the implementation of the Law School’s mission, improves the learning process, and enriches the educational experience for all students. In reviewing applications, we consider, as one factor among many, how an applicant may contribute to the diversity of the Law School based on the candidate’s experiences, achievements, background, and perspectives. This approach ensures the best and most relevant possible legal training and serves the legal profession by training lawyers to effectively serve an increasingly diverse society. You are invited to submit an essay that describes your particular life experiences with an emphasis on how the perspectives that you have acquired would contribute to Duke Law School’s intellectual community and enhance the diversity of the student body. Examples of topics include (but are not limited to): an experience of prejudice, bias, economic disadvantage, personal adversity, or other social hardship (perhaps stemming from one’s religious affiliation, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity); experience as a first-generation college student; significant employment history (such as in business, military or law enforcement, or public service); experience as an immigrant or refugee; graduate study; or impressive leadership achievement (including college or community service).

LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS)

All applicants must register with the LSAC CAS available at We will request your CAS report shortly after you submit the application. LSAC will not release your CAS report until they have processed the required transcripts and recommendation letters. 

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 (

Academic Transcripts

Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work must be submitted directly to CAS.

Foreign Transcripts

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

Supplemental Material

If you wish to send additional material after submitting the application, you may forward it to the Office of Admissions by email ( Include your full name and LSAC account number for identification purposes. If you have lengthy material, it may be more beneficial to submit a 1-2 page summary by email.

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.

Bar Admission

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


Scholarship assistance is not available for transfer or visitor applicants.

International Students and Visa Applications

Admitted applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents will receive information, after submitting the enrollment material, about applying for a Duke-sponsored F-1 visa. International students will be required to submit copies of their passport, 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. Non-U.S. citizens granted deferred action under DACA are considered to be in lawful immigration status under Duke's policy.

Application Instructions

Please read the following instructions carefully before completing the application.

1: Biographical

Complete this section in full.

2: Demographics

Complete this section in full.

3: Additional Demographics

Complete this section in full.

4: Contact Information

Complete this section in full. Submit updates to your contact information directly to the Office of Admission by e-mail.

5: 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).

6: 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.

7: Education

You are required to provide information on your high school and all post secondary schools attended.

8: Employment

Complete this section in full.

9: Military

Complete this section in full.

10: Family

Complete this section in full.

11: 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.

12: Certification

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.