Elsa Mota, Shariful Khan, Daria Rose, Paula Garcia-Salazar. With the help of four first-generation students, Yale law professor James Forman Jr. will pilot a free pipeline program in the fall for New Haveners to access the opportunity legal careers.

The program is seeking an inaugural class of 20 first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority fellows with an interest in law school.

Forman’s four research assistants (RA) are first-generation Yale Law School (YLS) students whose unique first-hand experiences have helped the program to be developed for underrepresented groups.

The program will offer three parts. The first, a series of 18 “Saturday Academies” to begin in October through April touching on a topics like how to succeed in law school and wellness coaching to confront and overcome structurally biased injustices in the legal profession. The second part will focus on preparation for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The third part will provide mentorship and personal support assistance with choosing and applying to law schools.

Since starting in April, the four research assistants, Elsa Mota, Shariful Khan, Daria Rose, and Paula Garcia-Salazar, have helped to create the program website and design the fellow application. They will help review the applications and picking the fellows.

As not so cookie-cutter law students themselves, the RAs aimed to design an inclusive application that doesn’t rely exclusively on essays and or GPA or standardized test requirements.

Forman decided he would begin developing the program last fall while giving a talk at California State University Dominguez Hills about a Pulitzer Prize-winning book he authored.

After the talk, a student started a conversation with him about study habits in law school. Forman was surprised to learn from the student that she was homeless and that she was constantly struggling to get her school work done because of it. After connecting the student with help, he was reminded that “you don’t know what people’s obstacles are,” he said. “While I teach at a place that is privileged, the city and people around it struggle with a lack of resources.”

As his four assistants know from firsthand experience. From A Car To Yale Elsa Mota, for instance, […]

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