New Haven, Conn. — With rising law school application costs and other barriers limiting access to the legal profession, a law degree can be out of reach for some students. Announced today to provide these aspiring students with the best opportunities to access a legal education, the Yale Law School Launchpad Scholars Program, powered by Latham & Watkins, helps members of underrepresented or underserved communities navigate the law school application and admission process from start to finish. The innovative program aims to ensure that excellent applicants from all backgrounds can maximize their potential as law students and legal professionals, empowering them to become leaders in their future careers.
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. Scholars will be selected based on their potential for academic excellence, leadership promise, engagement with their communities, and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and with diverse perspectives. The program will provide participants with application and career readiness support, including substantial LSAT preparation, attorney and law student mentorship, and other resources that will prepare participants to apply to the law schools of their choosing. The Launchpad Scholars Program is open to all applicants, but especially welcomes applications from members of groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession.
Applications for the inaugural program will open in March 2023. Information sessions will be conducted through this fall and winter for applicants to learn more about the program; interested applicants are invited to view the schedule of information sessions on the program website.
The program will kick 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 will conclude in June 2024 with a weeklong Residential Institute, where students will spend a week at Yale Law School focusing on the law school application process, participating in field trips to legal employers, and engaging with distinguished members of the Yale Law School and Latham & Watkins communities.
“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.”
“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.
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.
“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.”
Recognizing that talented students may have differing levels of knowledge about and access to careers in law, Latham & Watkins is committed 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. Latham & Watkins has 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.
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.
For more information about the program and application requirements, please visit law.yale.edu/launchpad.