The Leadership Experience Admission Deferral (LEAD) Fellowship Program
This program is only open to current Columbia University undergraduates.
Columbia Law School is thrilled to offer a unique and exciting new pathway to our School. Through our new Leadership Experience Admission Deferral (LEAD) fellowship program, Columbia Law School seeks to admit and support self-starting undergraduate students, who plan to launch meaningful ventures in the public or private spheres prior to entering law school.
The Law School believes that by undertaking such initiatives, LEAD Fellows will necessarily draw upon and refine their leadership talents, as well as other important skills such as problem-solving, time-management, innovation, negotiation, communication, and strategic-planning—all of which are indispensable to success in law school. In turn, LEAD Fellows will matriculate at the Law School well-positioned to further hone those skills in the legal context before undertaking post-law school professional pursuits.
WHAT IT IS:
The Columbia Law School LEAD Fellowship Program is an experimental, special, deferred admissions program open only to students who are currently completing their junior or senior year at one of Columbia University’s undergraduate institutions, specifically: Columbia College, Barnard College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, or the School of General Studies (collectively, the "Colleges"). Prospective students from the Colleges who are interested in pursuing a JD degree from Columbia Law School and who also aspire to found, expand, partner with, and/or advance a commercial or nonprofit venture are invited to apply to the Law School through the LEAD Fellowship Program. In addition to being granted assured, deferred admission to the Law School, successful applicants will be considered for a funding grant of up to $10,000 to enable them to finance and pursue their project, venture, or activity during a two-year mandatory gap period between completing their undergraduate studies and commencing their studies at the Law School.
HOW IT WORKS:
In order to qualify for a funding grant, LEAD Program applicants will be required to describe their intended gap period undertaking and to provide a project plan detailing how they intend to pursue and realize the objective(s) of their proposed venture. It is understood and expected that LEAD Fellows may concurrently pursue employment opportunities or graduate studies during their two-year mandatory gap period.
ELIGIBILITY FOR FINANCIAL AID:
Candidates for admission who apply through the LEAD Fellowship Program are eligible to apply and be considered for Financial Aid. Applicants will be evaluated on the same basis as are all other applicants to Columbia Law School.
Successful applicants who accept Columbia’s offer of a LEAD Fellowship are required to sign a LEAD contract and are bound to attend the Law School after their two-year gap period.
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions for more information regarding Program Features, the Admissions Process, Application Components, and General Questions.
The 2020 application for admission will be available through LSAC.org in Spring 2020.
You may prepare for the 2020 application by reviewing a preview copy of the 2019 application. Please note, however, that this PDF does not reflect changes that will be made for the upcoming admissions cycle.
LEAD Contract Preview (.pdf)
Two Letters of Recommendation (up to 3 may be submitted)
Official Undergraduate Transcript
LSAT or GRE Score(s)
Any and all addenda required by the Character and Fitness section of the Application
Interview (By Invitation Only)
Dates and Deadlines
2019-2020 Dates and Deadlines (subject to change)
Fall/Winter recruitment season: Prospective LEAD applicants are invited to attend information sessions and tour the Law School, as well as consult with a pre-law advisor.
Prospective LEAD applicants who have not already done so should register with LSAC.org.
March 1: LEAD Program applications become available
- Request LORs
- Request Transcript(s)
- Request Dean's Certification
- Prepare Personal Statement
- Prepare Leadership Plan
- Compile Résumé
May 15: Financial Aid application deadline
May 15: LEAD Program application deadline
May/June: Application review and admissions interviews
July 15: Admissions decisions released