Partnership with Weil Legal Innovators Program Offers Paid Fellowships to Admitted Students Who Defer
New fellowship enables incoming students to defer their first year to work at a WLI partner nonprofit organization
Texas Law is participating in the 2022–2023 Weil Legal Innovators Program (WLI), a paid fellowship that enables incoming students to defer their first year of law school to work at a WLI partner nonprofit organization. Applications are now live and will close on March 17.
This new partnership builds on the Law School’s commitment to supporting students who want to explore public interest law. Launched in 2019, WLI is a multi-stakeholder philanthropic initiative established by law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges to engage incoming law school students in addressing some of the most pressing social and legal challenges in our communities today.
“We are honored and excited to partner with the WLI Program in this creative approach in offering incoming students exposure to the role that lawyers play in public interest law, while gaining meaningful experience ahead of their first year of law school,” said Mathiew Le, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid. “In the admissions process, we have a strong commitment to enroll students with professional experience because we know it has a positive impact during their time in law school.”
Students accepted into the program may work on initiatives within a broad range of areas, including but not limited to racial justice, environmental conservation, humanitarian aid, human rights and legal services, and social services and community empowerment. Inaugural WLI partner nonprofit organizations included Ashoka, Aspen Institute, Earthwatch Institute, Human Rights Watch, Innocence Project, Oxfam and Tahirih Justice Center. Innovators receive a salary and health benefits for the year, a $10,000 academic scholarship, and ongoing mentorship by a Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner.
Supporting Students’ Growing Public Interests
Texas Law’s partnership with the Weil Legal Innovators Program builds on other recent efforts to further support students’ public interest objectives.
Public service has been a growing interest of our law students. During the 2020-21 academic year, Texas Law students donated 9,718 pro bono hours and served nearly 500 clients and families many from marginalized communities and 61% of our first-year law students participated in pro bono projects. This figure continues to increase each year and while pro bono participation is voluntary, 69-74% of our graduates engaged in pro bono work during their time at Texas Law.
Texas Law Summer Public Service Program (SPSP) was created in 2021 to provide a stipend to every student working in an unpaid summer internship with a nonprofit organization, government agency or legislative office. Texas Law has long been committed to supporting students and increasing access to justice, and we want every student to have a guaranteed opportunity to gain valuable professional experience while providing the community much-needed legal services.
Texas Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) went into effect September 1, 2020, raising the salary cap so that more graduates will be able to participate in this program. Since 2009, the Texas Law LRAP has helped hundreds of Texas Law alumni embark on public service careers. LRAP makes available loan repayment assistance, through semi-annual forgivable loans, to eligible Texas Law graduates who are in full-time, law-related work with qualified public service employers.