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Friday, May 19, 2023
Alphonse Simon ’24 Helps Launch Nonprofit for Law School Applicants
Two years before he applied to Yale Law School, Alphonse Simon ’24 knew that wanted to become a lawyer. But as a low-income applicant, he lacked resources such as tutoring and mentorship that more privileged students often take for granted. Two weeks before he was first scheduled to take the LSAT, Simon withdrew, knowing that he did not have the foundation to do his best on the test.
Now as he finishes his second year at Yale Law School, Simon has helped launch Fighting for Fairness, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing equity in the law school admissions process. Simon and four colleagues, a majority of whom are from low-income backgrounds, will provide free tutoring and other resources to low-income law school applicants during the upcoming admissions cycle.
“I became passionate about this project because I knew the challenges of applying as a low-income applicant,” said Simon, who serves as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer.
Simon said his experiences in New Haven demonstrate why financially disadvantaged students bring vital perspectives to the table. He recalled a talk given by Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law Baher Azmy, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who visited Simon’s Litigating Civil Rights class.
“He explained that all of us bring our loved ones and our communities into the classroom and the courtroom,” Simon said. “I realized how much my own mother’s, grandmother’s, and communities’ values influences how I engage in the classroom and in my legal work. This realization inspired me to expand law school access for low-income applicants.”
Read more about Simon’s journey to Yale Law School
Learn more about the Fighting for Fairness application process
Fighting for Fairness will welcome its inaugural cohort of Fellows this summer, offering them scholarships, mentorship, and other resources.
“Fighting for Fairness’ mission is to provide economically disadvantaged law school applicants with the support they need to achieve their goals,” Simon said.
The organization has already partnered with 7Sage, a digital LSAT-preparation company, to offer each Fellow complimentary LSAT tutoring and application consulting.
Simon and the other students behind Fighting for Fairness met through Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Law, a program that supports law students from historically excluded backgrounds.
“During the program, we grew close and throughout law school we discussed the unique experience of being low-income at law school,” Simon said.
Simon credited his Yale Law School experience for equipping him to lead a new nonprofit. “YLS’ training has prepared me to tackle new problems on the fly,” he said. “Working for a young nonprofit often means getting creative, thinking in first principles, and adapting quickly to solve problems.”
Fighting for Fairness was co-founded by Brad Carney (Harvard Law School ’24) and Justine Glubis (University of Michigan Law School ’24), who soon invited Simon, Rachel Hsu (UCLA School of Law ’24), and Beatriz Ramon (Harvard Law School ’24) to join the team.
“Ultimately, the heart of Fighting for Fairness is empathy — a shared understanding of the challenges low-income law school applicants experience,” Simon said. “Remembering how lost I felt through the process reminds me of how important this nonprofit’s mission is.”