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 students who have overcome educational inequality and/or adversity the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to succeed in the study of law. Seton Hall Law recognizes that the traditional criteria for admission to law school (such as LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA) 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 inequality” encompasses one or more of five non-exclusive areas: economic position; inferior pre-college schooling; family circumstances; English not primary language; and physical/learning/other disability. Early educational inequality applies to circumstances before enrolling in college. (However, if the condition is discovered or diagnosed after enrolling in college, an applicant may make a claim documenting how the newly discovered or diagnosed condition had an impact prior to college.) Ordinarily, educational inequality 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 inequality(ies) and provide ample support for their claim. Documentation should be submitted where appropriate.

Applying to Attend The Institute

Candidates for admission to Seton Hall Law through the LEO Institute may identify themselves as overcoming educational inequality and/or diversity 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 their responsibility to demonstrate clearly the circumstances surrounding educational inequality and/or adversity which may have affected early educational development, impairing abilities to be fully prepared for the demands of college (including, but not limited to, how those circumstances affected an applicant's UGPA and LSAT scores).  This is the opportunity to make the case to the LEO Admissions 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 (CAS) 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:

  1. LEO Admissions Committee Review: The Committee will decide if a Fellow will be admitted to the Law School with mandatory participation in the Summer LEO Institute. If a student is offered admission by the LEO Admissions Committee to become a LEO Fellow, the Fellow will initially be admitted as a full-time student with a reduced load for the first year of law school, or as a weekend student.
    LEO Admissions Committee decisions are made after reviewing the claimed inequality or adversity, an 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, specific additional information may be requested.
  2. General Admissions Committee Review: Even if it is determined that a student does not qualify for admission by the LEO Admissions Committee, that student may still be admitted through the general admissions process in accordance with Admissions Committee guidelines and standards.


The Legal Education Opportunities (LEO) Institute consists of a full-time, two-week summer program during which LEO Fellows attend classes covering material from 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 LEO Fellows 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 all classes begin. If a student plans to work next summer, that student must arrange to take leave from work, as the Institute will require a 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, Fellows will begin law school as full-time students with a reduced load in either the day or weekend division.

During the first year, LEO Fellows will participate in a one-credit course, Introduction to Legal Analysis and Methods that will continue from the summer program into the fall semester. Fellows selected for this program will be enrolled on a full-time basis with a reduced load for at least the first year of study. In subsequent semesters, Seton Hall Law will continue to provide other opportunities to hone skills to succeed in law school and pass the bar exam.

There is no additional fee to become a LEO Fellow. Fellows will need to meet all JD program payment obligations in accordance with standard payment and financial aid requirements. LEO Fellows with demonstrated financial need (as determined by the Seton Hall Law School Financial Aid Office) will be awarded an annually renewable grant towards tuition and fees. Starting with the incoming class of 2019, the grant will be $15,000 for full-time students and $11,000 for weekend students.  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 applicants believe they may qualify for Admission as a LEO Fellow, a completed Application for Admission and the Supplemental Application must be submitted 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.