Eligibility and Application for the LEO Program
Monsignor Thomas Fahy Legal Education Opportunities (LEO) Summer Institute
In 1977, Seton Hall University School of Law created the Legal Education Opportunities (LEO) program to provide educationally disadvantaged students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to succeed in the study of law. Seton Hall Law recognizes that the traditional criteria for admission to the law school (such as Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and undergraduate grade point average (UGPA) might not accurately measure the potential of students whose early education may have been compromised in some respect.
For purposes of the LEO program, “early educational disadvantage” encompasses one or more of five non-exclusive areas: economic disadvantage; inferior pre-college schooling; family circumstances; English not primary language; and physical/learning/other disability. Early educational disadvantage applies to circumstances before enrolling in college. (However, if disadvantage is discovered or diagnosed after enrolling in college, an applicant may make a claim documenting how the newly discovered or diagnosed disadvantage had an impact prior to college.) Ordinarily, educational disadvantage outside the U.S. does not qualify for purposes of the LEO program unless applicants can demonstrate both disadvantage in their home country and that the disadvantage had an effect on their early educational development after arriving in the U.S.
LEO applicants must specifically identify and explain their educational disadvantage(s) and provide ample support for their claim. Documentation should be submitted where appropriate.
APPLYING TO ATTEND THE INSTITUTE
Candidates for admission to Seton Hall through the LEO Institute may identify themselves as educationally disadvantaged and request alternative consideration by completing and submitting the "Application For First Year Admission with LEO Summer Institute Consideration" that can be accessed via your LSAC account at lsac.org. Applicants seeking LEO consideration must meet the same application requirements as those only seeking general admissions review.
LEO applicants should bear in mind that it is your responsibility to demonstrate clearly how specific educational disadvantage(s) affected your early educational development, impairing your ability to be fully prepared for the demands of college (including, but not limited to, how your early education disadvantage(s) affected your UGPA and LSAT scores). This is your opportunity to make your case to the committee; please provide all of the requested information and be as specific as possible, providing documentation where appropriate.
April 1. This deadline is firm. The application and all supporting documentation must be received by the admissions office by this date. This includes a complete Credential Assembly Service file, with all transcripts and letters of recommendation having been processed by LSAC by this date. Any applicant whose file is deemed complete after April 1st may only receive consideration via general admissions review.
Once we receive your application materials, you can be admitted one of two ways:
- Through the LEO Committee Review: If you are offered admission via the LEO process, you will initially be admitted as a full-time student with a reduced load for your first year of law school. If you qualify for consideration as a disadvantaged applicant, you may be admitted directly into the law school, be admitted to the law school with mandatory participation in the summer LEO Institute, or not be given further consideration for admission to the law school. This determination is made on the basis of a review of the claimed disadvantage, your academic record, LSAT scores, and any other information you have provided. Appropriate supportive documentation such as tax returns, medical records, or school records may be submitted to support a claim. In some cases you might be requested to provide specific additional information.
- Based on general admission standards, irrespective of your educational disadvantage: Even if it is determined that you do not qualify for disadvantaged status by the LEO committee, you may still be admitted through the general admissions process in accordance with Admissions Committee guidelines and standards.
STRUCTURE OF THE INSTITUTE
The Legal Education Opportunities (LEO) Institute consists of a full-time, two-week summer program during which participants attend both classes covering material from regular first-year core courses, and workshops on critical skill development and adjusting to law school. These classes and workshops are taught by law school faculty, administrators and other professionals. The Institute is designed to give you a running start on developing skills and techniques for approaching the study of law. The program typically runs from August 1 through August 15, after which regular classes begin. Consequently, if you are working next summer, you will want to arrange to take a leave from your job early, as the Institute will require your full-time commitment. Students who will be relocating to the New York – New Jersey area for attendance in the Institute are encouraged to contact our Student Services Department for assistance with your housing search. Upon fulfillment of LEO program requirements, students will begin law school as full-time students with a reduced load.
Seton Hall is also committed to supporting you after you begin law school. During your first year, you will participate in Seton Hall’s Academic Success Program. Through this program, you will continue your skills development, and your instructors will provide you with assistance in outline preparation and further guidance as you approach exams. The structure of the program is based upon many years of experience in helping students succeed in law school and pass the bar exam. Once regular classes begin, you (along with other students selected for this program) will be enrolled on a full-time reduced load basis. A reduced load full-time enrollment, in conjunction with mandatory participation in Skills & Methods I and II during the fall and spring semesters, will enhance further your educational experience and prospects for success.
There is no additional fee for the LEO Institute or the Academic Success Program. You will need to meet all JD program payment obligations in accordance with standard payment and financial aid requirements. LEO students with demonstrated financial need (as determined by the Seton Hall Law School Financial Aid Office) will be awarded an annually renewable $10,000 grant towards tuition and fees. In order for a determination of financial need to be made, LEO applicants must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than April 1st.
Important: If you believe that you may qualify as disadvantaged under the standards discussed above, you must submit the completed Application for Admission and the Supplemental Application by April 1st to be considered. All supporting documents and required application materials must be received by this date, without exception. Applicants who have previously participated in LEO, or who have attended another law school, are ineligible for LEO and will not be considered.
If you have further questions about applying for consideration for the LEO program, please contact the Admissions Office directly at 973-642-8747.