FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
View the below FAQs if you would like to learn more about the Weil Legal Innovators program:
Eligibility and Applying to the Program
Who is eligible to apply for the WLI program?
All students who have been accepted to one of the five WLI law school partners are eligible to apply to the program. Eligibility is open to students with prior professional experience, as well as students applying directly to law school from an undergraduate institution.
What law schools are participating in the WLI program?
WLI’s 2020-2021 law school partners include Columbia University Law School, Duke University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, New York University School of Law and University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Can I apply to the WLI program if I am not already accepted to one of the five law school’s participating in the program?
No. WLI participants must have already been accepted to one of the law schools participating in the program.
If I am accepted from the wait-list to another school that is not participating in the WLI program can I still participate in the program?
No. WLI participants must attend one of the five participating law schools in order to remain in the WLI program.
Is diversity or financial need a factor in the selection process for the program?
The WLI Steering Committee aims to identify a class of innovators for the WLI program that is diverse in many regards including demographic background, educational background, work experience, geographic representation, etc. Financial need is not a factor.
How do I speak to my law school about deferring to participate in the WLI program?
All participating law schools have agreed to a one-year defferal for their school’s WLI program participants.
What are the required components of the application? What should I include in my personal statement and in my project plan?
The WLI application includes six components: A completed WLI application form, proof of acceptance and intention to attend to one of the WLI program law school partners, resume, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a project proposal for your desired first and second choice WLI initiative and nonprofit partner. Note that under extenuating circumstances, the program will accept an official letter of acceptance into a partner law school in lieu of a letter of intent to attend and/or proof of a deposit. If you believe you will need this accommodation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by the application deadline to explain your special circumstance.
Is a transcript required?
No. A copy of your transcript from your undergraduate and/or any other graduate programs is not required.
Can I submit my application in parts or do all components of the application need to be submitted together?
All components of the application must be submitted together at the same time through the WLI Application Portal.
May I request an interview?
Requests for interviews will not be accepted. On a limited basis however, it may be necessary for a nonprofit to require an interview with their prospective WLI candidate. Should an interview with the nonprofit organization become necessary, we will notify the WLI candidate as soon as possible. Interviews may be arranged for in-person or phone.
Is work authorization required?
Please note that this position is not eligible for visa sponsorship. All WLI participants must demonstrate U.S. work authorization within three business days of hire.
Nonprofit Partners and Innovator Project Scope of Work
How are nonprofit organizations selected for the WLI program?
The WLI program’s nonprofit partners have been carefully selected for the program weighing a variety of factors, including a deep commitment to social, economic and/or legal justice, and a desire to solve complex societal challenges through innovative solutions. Excellence in nonprofit management is also a requirement for all WLI nonprofit partners.
Where are the nonprofit organizations in the program based?
All nonprofit partners are based in U.S. cities where there is also a Weil office location. While some nonprofit organizations may also have international operations, Innovators will only be based in the U.S. offices of those organizations.
If I do not see a nonprofit organization or initiative that I am interested in, may I suggest one of my own?
Unfortunately the program is unable to accommodate this. WLI nonprofit partners and their respective innovative initiatives have been identified very carefully to ensure that Innovators not only have the best possible experience in the program, but that they are also learning from leading practitioners in the nonprofit sector and are contributing to initiatives where the Innovator is offering a tremendous value add.
Compensation and Benefits
How are the salary and scholarship components of the WLI program disbursed?
The $50,000 salary (before taxes) per Innovator will be issued directly to the Innovator’s nonprofit organization which will serve as the student’s employer for the duration of the program. The nonprofit partner will be responsible for disbursing those wages as per the organization’s standard payroll schedule. The $10,000 law school scholarship will be issued directly to the Innovator’s law school by the start of the student’s first semester.
What can I use my WLI salary towards?
The Innovator’s salary and how it is used is left entirely to the discretion of the Innovator.
Will health insurance be provided through the program?
Yes. As the employer for each Innovator, each nonprofit organization will provide a comprehensive health benefits package to that individual including medical, dental and vision coverage. The cost for the benefits package is covered by Weil.
Who serves on the WLI Steering Committee?
The WLI Steering Committee is comprised of current and retired Weil partners, Senior Counsel and select clients of the Firm. The Steering Committee is Co-Chaired by two partner members of the Firm’s Philanthropic Committee. Our diverse and experienced Steering Committee members serve as thought partners for WLI, advisors during the application review cycle, and as a supportive resource for Innovators during their program year.
When will I receive a decision regarding the status of my application?
WLI applicants can expect to hear back regarding the status of their application in April.
Is a contract required for the WLI program? What if my plans change?
All WLI participants will be asked to agree to the terms of the program. We do understand however that life happens. A member of the WLI team is happy to speak with you to help you navigate any questions you may have.
Engagement with Weil
How will I be paired with my Weil partner mentor for the year?
WLI participants will be paired with a Weil partner mentor for the duration of the WLI program. Partner mentors and WLI participants will be matched based on background, skillset, experiences and professional interests.
Will WLI participants have an opportunity to apply for Weil’s Summer Associate program or Diversity Fellowship program?
Innovators are welcome to apply for Weil’s Summer Associate Program pending meeting the firm’s GPA requirement. Innovators that wish to apply for the Diversity Fellowship Program will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
How can I find out more about the WLI program?
To speak to a member of the the WLI team, please contact us at: email@example.com