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JD Advising Scholars Program Helps Historically Underrepresented Students Find Success in Law School

JD Advising

JD Advising Scholars Program Helps Historically Underrepresented Students Find Success in Law School
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The JD Advising Scholars Program is a yearlong opportunity for historically underrepresented first-year law students from across the country to receive the highest quality educational support and resources, free of charge. For many students who may not otherwise have access to such resources and are first-generation students, this program is a critical tool during the often-challenging transition to law school that allows them to find immediate success. This initial academic success helps put students in a great position to secure competitive jobs while in law school and upon graduation.

What began as a 25-student class in the program’s first year has quickly doubled in its second year with the support and partnership of law firms from across the country. “We are honored to be part of the diversification of the legal profession, and we could not do so without sponsorship from so many law firms who share in our mission of seeing a more diverse legal profession that better matches the communities it serves,” said JD Advising founder and CEO Ashley Heidemann, Esq. As a result of this generosity, the program is pleased to announce that it will be offering even more scholarships for eligible students in the upcoming year. Heidemann believes the continued support will allow for exponential growth in the coming years.

As part of the JD Advising Scholars Program, students receive access to one-on-one tutoring and JD Advising’s Law School Study Aids throughout their first year of law school. Scholars also have access to assigned mentors from some of the country’s top law firms, allowing students to quickly expand their legal network and gain expert insight into building successful legal careers. Furthermore, students participate in several events throughout the school year, highlighting law firm associates, partners, and recruiters who offer insight into law firm life and advice on recruiting, interviewing, and networking.

The following firms participated in the 2022-2023 Scholars program:

  • Bush Seyferth PLLC
  • Covington & Burling LLP
  • Haynes and Boone, LLP
  • Honigman LLP
  • Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Lowenstein Sandler LLP
  • Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC
  • Ogletree Deakins
  • Robinson+Cole
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Taft
  • Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP
  • Varnum LLP
  • Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Program Perspectives

Despite its relatively short history, the Scholars Program is already paying dividends for participants and alums. Rohan Gandhi (class of 2025) at UCLA School of Law says:

The JD Advising Scholars Program was instrumental to my early success in law school. I was not only assigned a tutor, but I was also given study aids, invited to exclusive networking events, and paired with a mentor from Skadden (who sponsored my scholarship). By leveraging these resources, I finished my first semester of law school with grades substantially higher than the median in my class. Additionally, the strong connection I had with my mentor, along with my grades, ultimately helped me secure a 1L summer associate position with Skadden in their Los Angeles office! I truly believe that if it wasn't for the JD Advising Scholars program, I wouldn't be where I am today.

As Heidemann reflects on the previous JD Advising Scholar participants, she is pleased with the critical role this program serves in the lives of students who need it. “As a first-generation college or law student, entering a demanding Juris Doctor program can easily be overwhelming. Our goal is to help students overcome the challenges presented in their first year, so they are able to perform to their highest potential.” Rachel Margiewicz, Esq., who co-leads the Scholars Program, adds, “Most of our Scholars are first-generation students who often lack the institutional knowledge others have. Our program lessens these disparities allowing historically underrepresented law students to find immediate success in the classroom and in their careers.”

JD Advising Scholars agree with this sentiment. Fred Freeman (class of 2025) at Yale Law School says, “As a first-generation professional with no idea how to navigate law school and the job hunt, JD Advising’s guidance has been invaluable in setting me up for success.”

Adan Carrillo (class of 2025) at Wayne State University Law School added:

As a first-generation law student, I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare myself for success in the field of law. JD Advising provided a holistic framework that not only aided tremendously in my studies through a wonderful tutor, but also facilitated consistent opportunities to connect with current lawyers/judges to build my professional network. Going into my second semester of law school, I feel confident that I have the tools to succeed in and out of the classroom due to my experience with the JD Advising Diversity Scholars Program.

Likewise, participating law firms have benefited from the opportunity to help new law students begin their legal journey. “We continue to invest in pipeline programs, like JD Advising, to help attract, cultivate and mentor the next generation of lawyers,” said Abid R. Qureshi, Global Chair of Latham's Recruiting Committee. “By providing these talented students with mentorship, global law firm exposure, and financial support, we hope to diversify the legal profession, so that we can better serve our clients and communities.”

Partnering law firms play a vital role in the JD Advising Scholars Program by providing each accepted student with a scholarship to access hours of one-on-one tutoring, career panels, and mentorship opportunities.

Eligibility and Benefits

To be eligible for the JD Advising Scholars Program, first-year law students must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school for the upcoming fall semester.
  • Must have a minimum of either a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or a 160 LSAT score.
  • Must identify as a member of an underrepresented racial, ethnic, or gender group, a member of the LGBTQ community, or disabled.

Those selected for the JD Advising Scholars Program receive, at no cost to the law student:

  • 10 hours of one-on-one tutoring before and throughout the first semester of law school (valued at over $2,000!)
  • JD Advising Law School One-Sheets
  • JD Advising Law School Study Aids (outlines, flashcards, short-answer questions, multiple-choice questions, and more!)
  • The opportunity to connect with law firms, attorneys, and judges!

JD Advising is currently accepting applications for its 2023–2024 class of Scholars. You can learn more about and apply for the JD Advising Scholars Program here.