The 2023 application season has closed.
What is the Access to Law School Program?
What is the structure of the program?
How much does the program cost?
How much of a time commitment is this program?
Will we be meeting in person or virtually in 2021-2022?
What if it takes me longer than the program’s length to apply to law school?
What if I’m not sure that I want to apply to law school?
Is there a residency requirement for Fellows?
How do I apply?
How many Fellows will be admitted?
I’m in college now. When can I apply?
I’ve already graduated from college. Can I still apply?
Is there anything in my background that would disqualify me from consideration?
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
Who runs the program?
What if I have more questions?
The Access to Law School Program is an innovative law school pipeline program designed for people from the greater New Haven area who are first generation, low-income, formerly incarcerated, or members of another group that is underrepresented in the legal profession. Program participants — whom we call Fellows — attend a series of "Saturday Academies," featuring law school admissions counseling, coaching from attorneys and law students, and workshops on critical thinking and writing skills. Fellows also take an LSAT preparation course designed to increase their LSAT score for law school admission. Once Fellows are ready to apply to law school, they receive personalized admissions and financial aid counseling to help them navigate the application process.
Part I of the program consists of a series of "Saturday Academies" offered most Saturdays from 9:00–noon from January to April and September to November. Academies feature lectures, panels, and workshops, as well as small group and individual advising. The sessions are led by current law students and an LSAT preparation program. Topics include: 1) exposure to the various careers in law and law-related fields, 2) demystifying the law school application process, 3) how to succeed in law school and the legal profession, 4) leadership development, and 5) LSAT test taking skills and strategies. At the end of the first year, Fellows take the June LSAT.
Part II of the program focuses on applying to and preparing for law school. It consists of individualized admissions support and 6-8 Saturday Academies. Topics will include: 1) research and writing skills, 2) choosing a law school, and 3) strategies for confronting and overcoming imposter syndrome and micro- and macro-aggressions in the legal profession.
The program is free of charge. Fellows receive an LSAT prep program, two LSAT registrations, and support with application fees during the application cycle.
You will get as much out of this program as you put into it. Because the program aims to holistically support each Fellow through all aspects of the law school application process and build community in each cohort, we do ask for a substantial time commitment from Fellows. Fellows come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including many who are parents or full-time workers, and we do our best to accommodate their schedules as is reasonable within the structure of our program.
In the first 18 months of the program, Fellows are expected to attend the weekly Saturday Academies from 9:00-noon from Janaury to April and from September to December. To get the most out of this program, you will need to be able to spend about 10 hours a week attending classes and studying for the LSAT during year one. This will include full group sessions, small group LSAT classes, private tutoring sessions, and individual studying.
The second phase of the program requires less of a time commitment, though prospective Fellows should be aware that law school applications do take time. Fellows Fellows will attend 2-3 Saturday Academy sessions in addition to working on their applications and meeting with their coach on their own schedule. We recommend that fellows submit their applications between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Fellows should expect to attend in-person Saturday sessions as well as in-person and virtual LSAT sessions. Most Saturday sessions take place in New Haven, in Yale Law School buildings and in community spaces. Once each year, we host a session at UConn Law and a session at Quinnipiac Law.
Fellows should enter the program with the intention of applying to law school in the fall of 2025. However, we understand that the LSAT and law school application process can take longer, especially for Fellows who are balancing the application process with caregiving duties and/or full-time work. The Access program is dedicated to our Fellows as people, not just as law school applicants. While we may not be able to extend the structure of our program, in cases where the application process takes longer, we work individually with Fellows to figure out how to best support them.
Applicants should at least be seriously considering law school, but it is okay if you aren’t 100% sure that it is for you. One of our goals is to educate Fellows about what law school and legal careers are like. We will understand if at the end of the program you decide that you don’t want to apply after all.
This program is primarily designed for New Haven residents and people with close connections to the city. We will review each application holistically to assess the residency requirement. Factors that we will consider include: a) whether you attended K-12 schools in New Haven, b) whether you grew up in New Haven or live here now (and if so, for how long), c) any other connections you have to the New Haven community.
When the application cycle is live, you can find it here. The application asks for biographical information, short essay questions about your interest in law school and your connection to New Haven, a list of your college and/or current activities, a letter of recommendation from a non-family member who knows you well, and an unofficial copy of your college transcript.
The application for the 2023 cohort has now closed.
We expect to admit up to 20 Fellows.
Rising juniors and seniors may apply to the program.
Yes! We welcome applicants of all ages, including applicants who have had other careers or jobs and want to transition to law. Our Fellows have ranged in age from 20 to 60.
No. We consider each application individually and holistically.
In particular, we welcome applicants who have direct experience with the criminal legal system, including those who have been arrested or incarcerated.
No. There is no citizenship or immigration status requirement for this program.
This program is run by the Law and Racial Justice Center at Yale Law School along with YLS students. The RJC's leadership includes Executive Director Kayla Vinson and Faculty Director James Forman, Jr., who is the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law and author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.
If you have questions about the program or the application, please e-mail us at email@example.com.