Social Justice Initiatives
The Pipeline to Justice program demonstrates CUNY School of Law's commitment to provide access to legal education to those from communities underrepresented in the legal profession. This novel program, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, offers a second chance at admission to CUNY Law to excellent, public interest-focused students whose LSAT scores seem incompatible with their achievements. In its first year, the Pipeline to Justice program accounted for a 20 percent increase in students of color among the incoming class.
The two-part course includes intensive, individualized preparation for the exam itself as well as an in-depth analytic reading and writing component. Students also receive coaching on test anxiety, self-efficacy skills, and individualized study planning. Students receive copious written and oral feedback on weekly writing assignments and are expected to revise their papers until they demonstrate graduate level writing ability.
The success of our Pipeline students demonstrates that left-brain agility can be improved with learning and exercise and that enhancing these skills and the speed at which they're performed leads to higher LSAT scores, as well as stronger achievement on law school exams and on the bar exam.
The Pipeline enriches the student body at CUNY Law by attracting students who have personal and professional accomplishments that resonate with CUNY Law's mission and who are deeply motivated to excel.
Pipeline: A Close-Up
- Pipeline participants are selected at the end of the admissions cycle from among those denied admission to CUNY Law.
- The Pipeline course costs roughly half the cost of well-known commercial test-prep programs. All weekday Pipeline sessions are offered in the evening from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
- Part I meets twice a week from October to February, as well as for six all-day Saturday sessions. Students take at least 15 LSAT practice tests during the course.
- Part II, the writing/reading component, meets twice a week for eight weeks, from March through June.
- Students who successfully complete the program are admitted to CUNY School of Law
Pipeline: Quotes of Support
"Twenty years of experience with students who outperform their standardized test scores, learn new modes of thinking, and become excellent lawyers is all the evidence we needed to start a program designed not only to give students a shot at admission to law school, but also to provide them with the skills they need to excel from day one."
— Associate Dean Mary Lu Bilek, Director of the Pipeline program.
"I realized I am not the only person who has the drive and capability to get into law school but who was hindered by the weight that is put on doing well on standardized tests."
— Pipeline participant Pauloma Martinez (Class of 2010; raised her LSAT score 13 points after Pipeline).
- Changing the Face of the Legal Profession (Diverse Education, April 16, 2009)