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 Weil Legal Innovators Program?
All students who have been accepted to a J.D. program at one of the 2023-2024 WLI law school partners are eligible to apply. 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 Weil Legal Innovators program?
Weil Legal Innovators’ 2023-2024 law school partners include Berkeley Law, Columbia University Law School, Duke University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law, Stanford Law School, University of Michigan Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, University of Texas at Austin School of Law and Yale Law School.
Can I apply to the Weil Legal Innovators Program if I am not already accepted to one of the law schools participating in the program?
No. Weil Legal Innovators Program applicants must have already been accepted to at least one of the law schools participating in the program.
If I am accepted from the waitlist to another school that is not participating in the Weil Legal Innovators Program can I still participate in the program?
No. Weil Legal Innovators Program participants must attend one of the participating law schools in order to remain in the Weil Legal Innovators Program.
Is diversity or financial need a factor in the selection process for the program?
The Weil Legal Innovators Steering Committee aims to identify a class of Innovators for each 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 my admission to participate in the Weil Legal Innovators Program?
All participating law schools have already agreed to a one-year deferral for their school’s Weil Legal Innovators Program participants.
I have already been accepted into a partner law school’s early deferral program (e.g. Columbia’s Leadership Experience Admission Deferral (LEAD) Fellowship Program; Georgetown’s Early Assurance Program, or Harvard Law School’s Junior Deferral Program (JDP). Can I still apply?
Yes. As long as you have graduated or intend to graduate from your undergraduate institution by spring 2023, you are eligible to apply for the 2023-2024 Weil Legal Innovators Program. You can participate during any year of your gap period between completing your undergraduate studies and commencing law school, however, you must apply for the WLI program year in which you intend to participate; i.e. applying for the 2023-2024 WLI Program means you are applying to work at a WLI nonprofit partner from summer 2023 through summer 2024.
What are the required components of the application? What should I include in my personal statement and in my project plan?
The Weil Legal Innovators application includes six components: A completed WLI application form, proof of acceptance to and intention to attend one of the WLI law school partners*, resume, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a project proposal for your desired first and second choice WLI nonprofit initiative.
*In the circumstance that an applicant is still deciding between two or more WLI law school partners by the application deadline, the program will accept an official letter of acceptance to a partner law school in lieu of a letter of intent to attend and/or proof of a deposit. However, a letter of intent to attend and/or proof of a deposit to one of the WLI law schools must be submitted by the time the Innovator accepts their offer to participate in the Weil Legal Innovators program.
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 Weil Legal Innovators application website, which opens December 2022 and closes March 17, 2023.
May I request an interview?
Requests for interviews will not be accepted. Weil Legal Innovators candidates who are selected to proceed beyond the first round of reviews will be offered a virtual interview with the WLI Steering Committee in April 2023. Following Steering Committee interviews, a short-list of candidates will have the opportunity to interview with one or multiple WLI nonprofit partner organizations.
Is work authorization required?
Positions offered through WLI are not eligible for visa sponsorship. All Weil Legal Innovators Program 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 Weil Legal Innovators Program?
WLI 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.
Where are the nonprofit organizations in the program based?
All WLI 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.
Note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, many nonprofit partners are currently operating (and may likely continue operating), in a remote or hybrid work capacity. Should you be selected to move forward in the WLI interview process, we will work with you and our nonprofit partners to clarify expectations around where work will take place.
If I do not see a nonprofit organization or initiative that I am interested in, may I suggest one of my own?
No. WLI nonprofit partners and their respective initiatives have been carefully identified to fit the parameters and requirements of the Weil Legal Innovators Program. We are unable to accept requests to work at nonprofit organizations that are not already participants in the program.
Compensation and Benefits
How are the salary and scholarship components of the Weil Legal Innovators Program disbursed?
The $55,000 salary (before taxes) per Innovator will be issued directly to the Innovator’s nonprofit organization which will serve as the Innovator’s employer for the duration of the program. The employer 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 via Weil by the start of the student’s first semester. The scholarship can only be applied to tuition and other university fees, and cannot be applied towards housing, books, or any other personal expenses.
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, including all insurance premiums. The cost for the benefits package is covered by Weil.
Who serves on the Weil Legal Innovators Steering Committee?
The Weil Legal Innovators Steering Committee is comprised of current and retired Weil partners, professional staff, 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 the WLI Program, 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?
Weil Legal Innovators applicants can expect to hear back regarding the status of their application on or before May 2023.
Is a contract required for the Weil Legal Innovators Program? What if my plans change?
All Weil Legal Innovators participants will be asked to agree to the terms of the program. We do understand however that life happens. A member of the Weil Legal Innovators 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 mentor for the year?
Innovators will have access to a Weil attorney mentor (Partner, Counsel and/or Associate) throughout the duration of the Weil Legal Innovators Program. Mentors and Innovators will be matched based on background, skillset, experiences and professional interests.
Will Innovators 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 and/or Diversity Fellowship Programs pending meeting the firm’s law school GPA requirement.
How can I find out more about the Weil Legal Innovators Program?
To speak to a member of the Weil Legal Innovators team, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org