Prelaw Summer Programs for Underrepresented Students
Starting law school can be overwhelming, especially when you might be the only one out of your group of friends or family to ever attend. Figuring out where to start so you walk into your first class with confidence can be a daunting task. We thought we would compile a list of prelaw summer programs for underrepresented students that you can use to start your studies. There are a variety of programs to choose from! Some programs come with application requirements while others are open to all prospective law school students. Read on to learn more about prelaw summer programs for underrepresented students.
Prelaw Summer Programs for Underrepresented Students
JD Advising’s Law School Prep Course
We offer a free law school prep course for all incoming 1L students. Some students sign up for our law school prep course before they even apply to law school in order to obtain a better understanding of what law school is all about. Since we started our law school prep course, we have had thousands of students enroll and participate. If you’re not sure where to start and you want some information about what to expect in law school, this course is worth your time! What do we cover in our law school prep course? Check out the course highlights below:
- What to expect in law school (and how it differs from your undergraduate studies)
- An overview of useful legal vocabulary
- Best resources (to save you time and anxiety in law school)
- How to speed read and book brief cases
- How to answer questions when you’re on call (and what this means!)
- Strategies for note-taking in class
- How to outline and study your outlines
- Approaching law school final exams and how to answer law school exam questions
- Study techniques for preparing for final exams throughout the semester
- An in-depth guide for creating a law school study schedule
- Tips for approaching legal research and writing assignments
- Six-hour overview of substantive law you’ll learn in your core 1L classes (Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Real Property, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure)
The purpose of this course is pretty straightforward. We want to provide students with a solid overview of what to expect in law school so you walk in feeling prepared with an understanding of exactly what you need to do!
JD Advising Scholars Program
The JD Advising Scholars Program is specifically designed to help historically underrepresented law students prepare for and excel throughout law school. Unlike our law school prep course (described above), our scholars program provides students with assistance throughout their first semester of law school.
What are the eligibility requirements for our JD Advising Scholars Program? JD Advising Scholars (1) must be enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school for Fall 2022, (2) must have a minimum of either a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or a 160 LSAT score, and (3) must identify as a member of an underrepresented racial, ethnic, or gender group, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or are an incoming law student with a disability.
Students who are selected for the JD Advising Scholars Program receive access to a number of different (free!) resources to help them excel in law school. These resources include the following:
- Ten hours of one-on-one tutoring beginning before and continuing throughout your first semester of law school
- JD Advising’s Law School One-Sheets
- Access to JD Advising law school study aids (including outlines, flashcards, short-answer questions, multiple-choice questions, and more!)
- Ability to connect with a law firm during your first year of law school with potential for mentorship by a law firm sponsor
What law firms participate in the JD Advising Scholars Program? They include Warner Norcross & Judd, BSP Law, Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, King & Spalding, Hongiman, Miller Canfield, Latham & Watkins, LLP, Smithy Haughey Rice & Roegge, The Heidemann Jabbori Law Firm, and Varnum. This list continues to grow each year!
How do I apply for the JD Advising Scholars Program?
While our application window for 2022 is now closed, we anticipate opening the application window for the 2023-2024 school year in early 2023. Applicants must provide the following to be considered for the program:
- Complete an application
- Provide a resume and undergraduate transcript
- Send proof of acceptance into law school
- Provide a short video of why you want to join the JD Advising Scholars Program (optional)
These requirements may change prior to the next application period, so be sure to check out our website for the most recent application requirements!
SEO Law Catalyst and Fellows Program
SEO Law offers its Catalyst program to underrepresented students interested in gaining admission to law school. Where our programs tend to be useful to students who have already applied for and been accepted into law school, the SEO Law Catalyst program provides assistance prior to acceptance as well as after a student has been accepted into law school.
The SEO Law Catalyst program is a 9-month program and features the following:
- A customized LSAT preparation course taught by an SEO Law partner
- Workshops to help you with application materials
- Individualized review of application materials (through JD Advising!)
- Access to mentorship with attorneys from sponsor law firms
- Access to exclusive roundtable discussions with admissions officers at law schools nationwide
SEO Law also offers the SEO Law Fellowship Program. The SEO Law Fellowship Program is a one-of-a-kind program that offers historically underrepresented incoming law students the opportunity to work at top law firms the summer before law school begins, and the program provides supports to these students for a one-year period. SEO Law Fellows participate in a 10-week paid summer work experience, receive access to SEO Law’s Law Institute, and receive supplemental academic tutoring during their first year of law school.
SEO Law has additional details on how and when to apply to these programs on its website.
Law Firm Programs
As you look around for prelaw programs, don’t forget to check with law firms! Some law firms offer programs geared toward prelaw students, while others offer scholarships to those in their 1L and 2L years at law school.
For example, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP offers five diversity scholarships to first and second-year law students to work with various corporations in order to gain legal experience. Additionally, Dinsmore offers a diversity fellowship program for students who clerk at Dinsmore after their first year of law school. There are also specific scholarships for those in the African-American and LGBTQ+ communities.
As another example, Sidley offers the Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program. Geared toward incoming 1Ls, the Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program provides resources for LSAT prep and law school applications. In the past, the application deadline is in January (although this could change!), so be sure to check out their website if you are interested in this program!
If these types of programs are of interest to you, be sure to check out the law firms in your area (or outside your area!) to see if they offer any sort of prelaw support or scholarships for incoming 1Ls. These programs might range from employment opportunities, mentorship programs, scholarships, and/or assistance throughout (and after) the law school application process. While robust prelaw programs are something that you might tend to see at a large law firm, smaller firms might also have assistance available!
LSAC Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program
The LSAC partners with a variety of law schools in order to help prospective law students excel in law school through its PLUS program. The program is geared towards undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the legal field. This program provides a stipend and fee waiver to help make the cost of going to law school a bit more attainable. PLUS students also have access to a variety of networking opportunities.
To apply, you can use your LSAC JD Account. Each PLUS partner has its own application process, and you can apply to different PLUS partners during the same application period. Simply find the programs that are most geared toward your expected course of study and follow the rules set forth for applying. Who are the schools that the LSAC partners with for this program? They include Boston University, North Carolina Central University, Heritage University, Gonzaga University, Seattle University, University of Washington, Tulane University, University of Puerto Rico, University of Memphis, and the University of Oregon.
Law School Programs
If you have an idea of where you might want to attend law school, you can check and see what prelaw programs that law school might provide. Many law schools have programs for incoming 1Ls or for prospective students, and some of these programs are geared specifically toward students who are underrepresented in law school. Are you interested in a particular school? Check and see what kinds of prelaw offerings they have for prospective and accepted students. Do you want to attend law school in a particular city? Check and see what area law schools have introductory programs that you might be able to attend! There are likely plenty of options available to you as you begin your law school journey!
As you can see from the list, many of the prelaw opportunities that might be available include an application process. Make sure you are regularly checking application requirements and deadlines so you don’t miss out on a program that might be a good fit for you! If you plan to apply to prelaw programs, application requirements might differ from program to program, so it might be helpful to create a list early on of the components you’re going to need. By spending some time organizing early on, you’ll be less likely to miss a deadline!