About the Law School Access Program

Note: Applications are now closed.

What is the Law School Access Program?  

The Law School Access Program is an innovative pilot law school pipeline program designed for first generation, low-income and under-represented minority students from the New Haven area who are considering attending law school. Program participants — whom we call Law School Fellows — will attend a series of “Saturday Academies,” featuring law school admissions counseling, mentorship from attorneys and law students, workshops on critical thinking skills and professionalism, and wellness coaching. Fellows will also take an LSAT preparation course designed to increase their score for law school admission. Once Fellows are ready to apply to law school, they will receive personalized admissions and financial aid counseling to help them navigate the application process.

What is the structure of the program? 

Part I of the program consists of a series of 18 “Saturday Academies” offered most Saturdays from 9:30–noon beginning in October 2020 through April 2021. Academies will feature lectures, panels, and workshops, as well as small group and individual advising. The sessions will be led by law professors, current law students, and practicing lawyers from the New Haven area. Topics will include: 1) exposure to the various careers in law and law-related fields, 2) de-mystifying the law school application process, 3) financial advising, including navigating the financial aid process, 4) how to succeed in law school and the legal profession, 5) leadership development, and 6) wellness coaching, including strategies on confronting and overcoming test anxiety, imposter syndrome, and micro- and macro-aggressions in the legal profession.

Part II of the program focuses on LSAT preparation and will take place in the summer of 2021.

In Part III of the program, Fellows receive individual support in the process of applying to and choosing a law school. This will take place in late summer 2021 through 2021–2022.

How much does the program cost?

The program is free of charge.

What if I’m not sure that I want to apply to law school?

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.

Do I have to live in New Haven to participate?

Yes. The program is designed for New Haven residents. The only exception is for graduates of the New Haven public schools who are currently in college. Such students may be in college outside of New Haven, but should be close enough that they can get to New Haven for the Saturday Academies.

How do I know if I am a New Haven resident?

We will review each application holistically to assess the residency requirement. Factors that we will consider include: a) whether you attended or graduated from a public or public charter school in New Haven, b) whether New Haven is your permanent residence, c) whether you have been a New Haven resident for 5 or more years at the time of the application, and d) what other connections you have to the New Haven community. We will follow up with you after receiving your application if we have questions about residency.

How do I apply?

Please apply by filling out the application form below. Please email lawaccess@yale.edu with any questions.

Deadline: Applications are due July 15; final decisions will be made by August 1.

How many Fellows will be admitted?

The inaugural class will have 20 Fellows.

I’m in college now. When can I apply?

Rising juniors and seniors may apply to the program.

I’ve already graduated from college. Can I still apply?

Yes. We welcome applicants of all ages, including applicants who have had other careers or jobs and want to transition to law.

Is there anything in my background that would disqualify me from consideration?

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.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No. There is no citizenship or immigration status requirement for this program.

Who runs the program?

Yale Law Professor James Forman, Jr. along with students at Yale Law School. Forman 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.

What if I have more questions?

If you have questions about the program or the application, please e-mail us at lawaccess@yale.edu.