At the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law we believe that dedicated individuals deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams. To that end, the law school created the Legal Education Advancement Project (LEAP) to identify and admit individuals of historically underrepresented groups in law school and the legal profession who have the teamwork, leadership, drive, and academic skills necessary to complete law school and pass the bar examination.
LEAP participants attend an immersive, six-week summer program at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Participants are assigned a faculty advisor, engage in collaborative exercises, and take a non-credit course that requires considerable in-class and out-of-class work. Classes and activities are required all day Monday through Friday. LEAP is a full-time commitment and working during the program is prohibited.
The overwhelming majority of previous LEAP participants who successfully obtained law school admission have performed as well as, and some better than, many of their non-LEAP peers. LEAP participants’ success as law students is a result of their close work with a faculty advisor, meeting regularly with other LEAP participants as a group, and completing other program expectations. LEAP is not just an admissions program; it supports students throughout their law school careers and lays the first stone in the foundation of their professional futures.
What are the steps in the LEAP admissions process?
- Receive an invitation to apply to LEAP from the Bowen Admissions Committee
- Submit a LEAP application to the Admissions Office
- The Bowen Diversity and Excellence Committee reviews the application
- Interviews are conducted if the Committee deems it necessary
- The Committee selects applicants and notifies them of their acceptance to the program
- Decisions of the Committee are final and non-appealable
LEAP is a very competitive admissions process. The Committee typically only admits 10-15 students into the program.
How are LEAP participants selected for the J.D. program?
The Diversity and Excellence Committee and LEAP Faculty review participants’ performance in the program and assess whether the applicant exhibits the team-building, leadership, drive, and academic skills necessary to complete law school and pass the bar examination. The LEAP Committee then recommends individuals to the Law School’s Admissions Committee for admission to the entering Juris Doctor class. The Admissions Committee reviews the recommendations and makes a final determination of admission. Admission to the full-time program is not guaranteed.
LEAP is a rigorous program and success is not guaranteed. The recommendations and decisions of the Committees are final and non-appealable.
What are the expectations of LEAP participants?
- Attending weekly group meetings led by LEAP faculty;
- Attending bi-weekly individual meetings with the LEAP advisor throughout the summer and throughout the first year of law school and monthly the 2nd and 3rd year;
- Building a team requires trust. Trust requires team members to be open and honest in both group and individual meetings about what is happening in their personal lives that may interfere with them doing their best, for example a family illness or death, financial problems or other significant family and individual issues. Also, participants are expected to share any concerns about classes;
- Timely responding to all correspondence, including emails, and any requests made by LEAP faculty; and, if you have a concern about the request, raising that concern directly with the LEAP faculty rather than ignoring the request;
- Being punctual to class, individual and group meetings;
- Attending all classes and activities as scheduled;
- Attending any supplemental programs recommended by the LEAP faculty;
- If there is a reason for not being able to attend a class, group or individual meeting, or supplemental program, advising the LEAP director or, in the fall, the chair of the Diversity and Excellence Committee of this prior to the scheduled class or activity and discussing options for attending unless a family or medical emergency. If it is an emergency, notifying the appropriate person as soon as possible of the need to be absent and discussing it after the emergency is addressed; and
- LEAP summer participants who are admitted to the law school will not be able to work during their first semester of law school
LEAP is not just a performance-based admission program. LEAP students function as a collaborative team throughout their entire law school career; studying together and supporting each other, while mentoring the LEAPers that come after them along the way.
If you have any questions about participating in LEAP, please contact Admissions at 501.324.9903 or via email