Harvard Law School, in partnership with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LL.P. (Paul, Weiss), is launching a new ‘Future Leaders in Law’ pre-law fellowship program to encourage and help prepare interested college students with a range of lived experiences, primarily individuals from first-generation and less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, to apply for admission to law schools around the nation. The new offering, which will support participants in becoming leaders in the law, whether at firms, in government, or at public interest organizations, is the latest in a series of pre-law pipeline programs and initiatives sponsored by Harvard Law.
“At Paul, Weiss, we recognize that our success is the sum of the unique life experiences, talents and viewpoints that lawyers from diverse backgrounds bring to our firm,” says Paul, Weiss Chairman Brad S. Karp ’84. “We are proud to partner with Harvard Law School on this critically important initiative that will provide the next generation of diverse lawyers with access to world-class education.”
Future Leaders in Law is currently recruiting its first class of fellows, who will begin the yearlong program with a weeklong residency this summer on the Harvard Law School campus in Cambridge, MA. During this in-person portion of the program, fellows will engage directly with Harvard Law faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Over the course of the yearlong program, fellows will benefit from test and application preparation services, mentorship and networking opportunities, field trips, as well as academic and professional skills-building elements.
John F. Manning ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, said: “The Future Leaders in Law program is the latest example of Harvard Law School’s longstanding commitment to developing more ways to make legal education attainable for students from every background and, in doing so, enabling them to pursue their highest aspirations while further expanding excellence in law schools and throughout the legal profession.”
The program will be fully funded for participating fellows, with all costs covered to participate, including transportation, lodging, and preparation materials. Need-based assistance will be provided for law school application fees, LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) reports, and LSAT administration.
In addition to the weeklong summer residency at Harvard Law School, the program will include a visit to Paul, Weiss’ offices in New York to learn from attorneys about different areas of practice, five empowerment seminars next winter and spring, an LSAT preparation course led by Advantage Testing, and mentorship opportunities provided by members of the Harvard Law community. Fellows will also receive access to Zero-L, an online course designed by Harvard Law to introduce incoming law students to the American legal system, the vocabulary of law school, and what it means to be a law student in the U.S.
College juniors and seniors, or recent college or university graduates, with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and an interest in applying to law school in 2024 and enrolling in fall 2025, are eligible to apply.
“We are launching the Future Leaders in Law program to help elevate, inspire, empower, and impact the lives of program participants and the legal profession by focusing on early talent generation and igniting excitement about law as a career path,” said Monica E. Monroe, assistant dean for community engagement, equity, and belonging. “Harvard Law School is committed to the idea that broadening the legal profession is integral to its future success, and I am delighted to be part of this newest effort to support a diverse array of applicants to U.S. law schools.”
Pre-Law Programs Offered by Harvard Law School
Future Leaders in Law joins other pre-law pipeline programs and related initiatives that Harvard Law School sponsors to expand opportunities for students from first generation, lower income, and other backgrounds and to help prepare them for applying to the nation’s law schools. In addition to Future Leaders in Law, these include Future-L, the Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools (TRIALS) program, and the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America Legal (LEDA Legal) program.
In 2021, Harvard Law School launched Future-L, offered in collaboration with the National Education Equity Lab, which provides high school and rising college first year students the opportunity to explore pathways to law school and a potential future career in law. Each week, Future-L participants access Zero-L video lessons on a new subject and meet virtually in small groups with their learning team leader — a current Harvard Law student. Harvard Law alumni and other expert guests are also invited to speak to Future-L participants to share their work, how they got into law, and why they are passionate about the legal profession.
The Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools program, or TRIALS, which Harvard Law School offers in collaboration with Advantage Testing Service and New York University School of Law, supports underrepresented students of modest means in gaining admission to leading law schools through rigorous LSAT preparation, skill development, and exposure to the legal world. In addition, participants attend lectures that introduce the study and practice of law, shadow practicing attorneys in New York and Boston, and get exposure to both law school campuses during this five-week residential program.
Harvard Law School also is a founding law school partner of the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America Legal Program, or LEDA Legal, which is designed to expand the pipeline of underrepresented, low-income students attending top-tier law schools nationwide. The program aims to help high-achieving participants explore legal careers, navigate the application process, and ultimately gain admission to the best law schools in the nation.
More information about the Future Leaders in Law Program, including eligibility requirements, application information, and a yearlong timeline, is available here.
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