Law school can feel out of reach for many individuals because of rising application costs as well as other barriers to access. The new Launchpad Scholars Program seeks to lower those barriers for the next generation — and you can help by getting the word out to friends and family.
The Yale Law School Launchpad Scholars Program, powered by Latham & Watkins, helps prospective law students, particularly those who are members of underrepresented communities, navigate the law school application and admission process from start to finish. The free program aims to ensure that excellent applicants from all backgrounds can access law school and enter the legal profession.
“The Launchpad Scholars Program will meet prospective students where they are, providing the knowledge and skills they need to enroll in law school, thrive while there, and go on to become leaders in their chosen fields,” said Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken. “This program is a critical part of our ongoing commitment to further diversifying the legal profession and making the benefits of a rigorous legal education available to everyone.”
Who should apply, and when, to the Launchpad Scholars Program?
The Launchpad Scholars Program is open to all current college students and graduates planning to apply to law school in the fall of 2024, with the goal of matriculating to law school in the fall of 2025. The inaugural application period opens March 6 and closes June 4, 2023 at 11:59 pm ET. All who apply within this window will receive equal consideration. First generation college students and graduates, individuals from low-income backgrounds, members of racially and ethnically underrepresented groups, members of the LGBTQ+ community, individuals with disabilities, and veterans or military service members are especially encouraged to apply.
What does the Launchpad Scholars Program entail?
The program will provide application, admission, and career readiness support, including substantial LSAT preparation, attorney and law student mentorship, and other resources that will prepare participants to submit competitive applications to the law schools of their choosing.
The program kicks off in August 2023 with a Welcome Summit at the New York office of Latham & Watkins, featuring community-building, career exploration, and leadership development sessions. Each Scholar will be paired with a student mentor from Yale Law School and a lawyer mentor from Latham & Watkins, both of whom will provide support throughout the program.
Launchpad Scholars will also participate in a comprehensive, cohort-based LSAT preparation program, including classroom instruction, proctored practice tests, individual review sessions, and more. Throughout the year, Scholars will attend monthly sessions led by prominent staff and alumni of Yale Law School designed to prepare them for the law school application process, law school itself, and post-graduation careers. The program concludes in June 2024 with a weeklong Residential Institute at Yale Law School focused on the law school application process. Activities include field trips to legal employers and engaging with distinguished members of the Yale Law School and Latham & Watkins communities.
“This groundbreaking pipeline program enables the next generation of law students to engage with lawyers, law firms, legal education and the admission process upfront, empowering students to ultimately create the law school experience of their choice,” said Abid R. Qureshi, Global Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Recruiting Committee.
There is no cost to apply to or participate in the Launchpad Scholars Program. All travel, food, and lodging expenses for in-person programming will be covered, as will all expenses of the LSAT program, including registration fees for two test administrations. All Scholars will also receive reimbursement for six law school applications.
What does a program like Launchpad Scholars mean for the profession?
“Without access to academic, professional, financial, and logistical support systems, the challenges of applying to law school can often be too much to overcome, even for the most gifted and motivated students,” said Miriam Ingber ’04, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Yale Law School. “The Launchpad Scholars Program will lead to an expanded pool of qualified applicants that will enhance the intellectual and community life of law schools around the country, including ours.”
The Launchpad Scholars Program builds upon Yale Law School’s commitment to expanding access and equity in legal education. Together with The Tsai Leadership Program and the Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program, these initiatives continue to make law school more accessible and impactful to cohorts of students who better reflect the diversity of our communities. Since Dean Gerken’s first term, Yale Law School welcomed its six most diverse classes, tripling the number of veterans who matriculate, and nearly doubling the number of first-generation college graduates who enroll at the Law School.
For Latham & Watkins, the program reinforces the firm’s commitment to leveling the educational playing field for students from historically underrepresented groups and contributing to the careers of aspiring lawyers at the earliest stages of their education. The Launchpad Scholars Program represents the latest of Latham’s numerous programs and partnerships in place to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at the firm and in the legal profession at large.
“We are excited to work with Yale Law School to attract, cultivate, and mentor the next generation of lawyers. We believe drawing from students of all backgrounds will build strong future lawyers, and best enable us to serve the communities in which we live and work,” said Michèle Penzer ’93, Partner, Latham & Watkins.
How can you help get the word out?
You’ve spent the last few years learning the system inside and out. You’ve fielded calls and inquiries from friends and former classmates considering a career in law. You’ve recognized that talented students may have differing levels of knowledge about and access to careers in law. Now, you can help aspiring students begin their journey by sharing a great opportunity to access a legal education. For more information about the program and application requirements, please visit law.yale.edu/launchpad.