Pre-Law Pipeline Programs

NYLS launched its Summer Pre-Law Program for college students in 2019 and is developing additional pipeline programs for rising ninth-graders and for working professionals.

The goal of these programs is to provide individuals from underrepresented populations with a dedicated set of opportunities to explore the law and create a pathway to earn their J.D. degrees at NYLS.

Supporting a more diverse law school community and legal profession is a critical component of NYLS’s Institutional Diversity Plan, its 2013 Strategic Plan, and its forthcoming 2019 Strategic Plan.

Undergraduate Program

Participants in the Summer Pre-Law Program attend courses at NYLS for two consecutive summers. The program is open to rising college juniors who study in the New York City metropolitan area, or elsewhere in New York State. NYLS will work directly with undergraduate partner institutions to identify candidates, and the inaugural class will include approximately 25 students.

The program runs for four weeks the summer before students’ junior year and four weeks the summer before students’ senior year. As part of the program, NYLS checks in with participating students throughout their junior and senior years and provides them with law school-related resources.

The curriculum, which includes four hours of class per day, four days a week, was developed and taught by NYLS’s faculty. It includes these topics:

  • Introduction to the Legal Method
  • Written Legal Communication
  • Introduction to LSAT Preparation
  • Academic Success
  • Professional Development
  • Project-Based Capstone

The Project-Based Capstone represents the culmination of students’ work during each summer session and will engage students in simulated arguments on behalf of a “client.” They use NYLS’s high-tech Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity, home to the School’s 20-plus clinical and experiential programs, for this portion of the program.

The program is offered at no cost to participants, and classes are held at NYLS’s Tribeca campus. The summer 2019 program has concluded. For questions about the 2020 program, please contact Ella Mae Estrada, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management, Financial Aid, and Diversity Initiatives at 212.431.2888.

High School Program

Through a partnership with the nonprofit Legal Outreach, NYLS will host Legal Outreach’s Summer Law Institute. For 35 years, Legal Outreach has prepared urban youth from underserved communities to pursue higher education. Its Summer Law Institute teaches rising ninth graders about law school, legal careers, criminal justice, and the criminal trial process. Students explore topics such as stop and frisk, search and seizure, evidence, arraignment, and bail. They also participate in a moot court before actual judges.

In addition to Legal Outreach’s curriculum, NYLS will facilitate a Speaker Series for its Summer Law Institute participants, drawing from its rich alumni base.

Non-Traditional Pipeline Program

NYLS is laying the groundwork to launch its Non-Traditional Pipeline Program, for civil servants and other working adults, in 2020. Since 2013, the School has informally partnered with paralegal studies programs and government agencies to create new on-ramps to law school. The Non-Traditional Pipeline Program will represent a formal approach to this work. NYLS will share more details before the launch.