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 a J.D. program at one of the eight 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 2021-2022 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, University of Michigan Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Can I apply to the WLI program if I am not already accepted to one of the eight 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 eight 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 deferral for their school’s WLI program participants.
I have already been accepted into a partner law school’s early deferral program (e.g. Harvard Law School’s Junior Deferral Program (JDP); Columbia’s Leadership Experience Admission Deferral (LEAD) Fellowship Program). Can I still apply?
Yes. So long as you have graduated or intend to graduate from your undergraduate institution by spring 2021, you are eligible to apply for the 2021-2022 WLI program. You can participate any year of your gap period between completing your undergraduate studies and commencing law school, however, you must apply for the program year in which you intend to participate in; i.e. applying for the 2021-2022 WLI program means you are applying to work at a WLI nonprofit from summer 2021 through summer 2022.
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 to and intention to attend 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.
*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 into 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 WLI 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 WLI application site, which will open in fall 2020 and close in spring 2021.
May I request an interview?
Requests for interviews will not be accepted. WLI candidates who are selected to proceed beyond the first round of reviews will be offered a virtual interview with the WLI Steering Committee Co-Chairs in late March 2021. Following Steering Committee interviews, a short list of candidates will have the opportunity to interview with one or multiple nonprofit partner organizations in May 2021.
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.
Note that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our nonprofit partners are currently operating in a remote environment and will likely continue operating remotely by the commencement of the Innovator’s working year (July 2021). 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?
WLI nonprofit partners and their respective initiatives have been carefully identified to fit the parameters and requirements of the WLI program. We are unfortunately 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 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 individual'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 May 2021.
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?
Innovators will be paired with a Weil Partner mentor for the duration of the WLI program. Partner mentors and Innovators 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 WLI team, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org