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IDEAL Pipeline Program

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IDEAL Program logo

The Program

"Fordham Law School’s Increasing Diversity in Education and the Law (IDEAL) is a pipeline program that identifies motivated and talented underrepresented students in the New York City area and exposes them to the many facets of the legal profession. With this initiative, we are embracing our responsibility to increase diversity in the legal profession. If our legal system is to provide equal justice, it must provide equal opportunity to become a lawyer.”

—Dean Matthew Diller, Fordham Law School

FLS IDEAL Pipeline Dean Matthew Diller with participants


Our Mission

The IDEAL program seeks to engage college students who are interested in pursuing a law degree or who have an interest in the law. Through the program we seek to address issues relating to disadvantaged and underrepresented individuals in law school and the increasing need for racial and socioeconomic diversity in the legal profession. In collaboration with Fordham University and the CUNY network as a minority serving institution of higher education IDEAL identifies promising students and exposes them to a rich and dynamic educational curriculum that begins the sophomore year and culminates with graduation from their undergraduate institution. IDEAL offers the participating students early exposure to the study and practice of law and through the program, seeks to afford participants the opportunity to learn about and attend law school and to become leaders on a variety of issues that impact the legal profession such as issues of racial, economic, and social justice. Participants in the IDEAL program will receive the tools and the opportunity to learn about law school and the profession of law. We will prepare participants for the law school application process and for the challenges of law school.

photo of two participants with mask during an IDEAL Pipeline session
photo of Judge Denny Chin during an IDEAL Pipeline session
photo of participants with masks during an IDEAL Pipeline session

The Experience*

*Activities and timeline subject to change

Summer I - Prep Program (Hybrid)

July 5 - August 7, 2023
Students are enrolled in and complete Fordham’s Pre-Law Summer Institute. The Fordham Law Pre-Law Institute is a 6-week online summer course designed to give undergraduate students and graduates insight into the law school experience and an  introduction to foundational subjects in U.S. law. The program also includes a dialogue with a judge, a virtual visit to a law firm, and a panel on public interest lawyering. In addition, optional sessions prepare students for the law school admissions process and the first year of law school. ** students are eligible to receive 3 college credits

Junior Year (Fall/Spring)

  • Participate in the The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) Jumpstart LSAT program at Fordham
  • Attend diversity related programming and special events put on by Fordham Law School
  • Travel to Albany, N.Y. to meet with legislators, legislative staff, administrative agency staff, and judges (costs covered by the program)

Summer II - LSAT Boot Camp

  • Students are enrolled into an LSAT preparation course
  • (OPTIONAL) Students may be placed in selected legal internships upon completion of the LSAT boot camp. Internship placements include:
    • Public interest organizations
    • District attorney’s offices
    • Judges chambers
    • New York City law firms
  • Students will participate in professional development workshops featuring speakers from the legal community and Fordham Law School network.

Senior Year (Fall/Spring)

  • Attend information session hosted by Fordham Law School Admissions Staff
  • Meet with Fordham Law alumni and student mentors and cultivate relationships
  • Travel to Washington, D.C., to visit U .S. Supreme Court (costs covered by the program)

Summer III - The Bridge

  • Students will be placed in selected legal internships that reflect their interest and will work alongside mentoring attorneys in a practical setting. Internship placements include:
    • Public interest organizations
    • District attorney’s offices
    • Judges chambers
    • New York City law firms
  • Students will again participate in professional development workshops featuring speakers from the legal community and Fordham Law School network
  • IDEAL Students will receive monetary stipends ($1,475) for each year of participation. The program itself is FREE for all participants.


Daniela Lopez

As a first-generation college student from a financially disadvantaged background, I am grateful for the IDEAL program because it has provided me with a sense of security in moving forward with a legal career. The program has afforded me the opportunity to participate in enlightening legal preparatory courses and attain judicial internship opportunities. Finally, this program has allowed me to pursue my passion for immigration law with a degree of legal awareness that many of my peers might lack.

Daniella Lopez
Fordham University, Class of 2023


Jordan joachim james I am so grateful for the IDEAL program and all they taught me. The program provided me with unique exposure to the field of law that has been beneficial.

 Jordan Joachim-James
 IDEAL program alumna, Fordham University at Rose Hill, Class of 2021; Fordham Law School, Class of 2024 




Apply to the Program


IDEAL application is now closed. Additional applications will be accepted by invitation only.

December 5, 2022 Application Opens
February 13, 2023 Priority Deadline
March 6, 2023 Final Application Due Date
Starting March 31 Selected Applicants Notified      
July 5, 2023 First Day of Pre Law Institute Program
August 7, 2023 Last Day of Pre Law Program
Fall 2023 - Spring 2024                   IDEAL Programming for the Academic Year              


  • Undergraduate students enrolled in a full-time program at an accredited college or university within the Fordham University and CUNY network 
  • Students must be in their sophomore year at the time of the application (entering junior year Fall 2023)
  • Demonstrates an interest in law or a strong interest in applying to law school upon graduation

For questions about the IDEAL program, please email Jennifer Haastrup, Program Manager for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, at [email protected].


photo of Dean Diller during an IDEAL Pipeline session

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the program?

Undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in a full-time program of study at an accredited college or university are eligible to apply.  We welcome applications from college students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, those enrolled at institutions within the CUNY network, as well as undergraduate students already affiliated with Fordham University. In addition, you must be a college student who has completed your sophomore year prior to the commencement of the program. No particular academic major is required, however applicants must plan to attend law school upon graduation for their undergraduate program.

What is the program commitment?

The IDEAL program begins at the end of your sophomore year in college and concludes during the summer after you graduate college. This program is a 2 ½ year commitment. Students are required to recommit to the program before every summer session.

Does the IDEAL program cover the summer program transportation costs?

At this time, the summer 2023 program will be hybrid. If required, the IDEAL program will cover relevant costs associated with travel.

What are the dates of the Summer I - Prep program?

The prep program begins on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, and ends on Monday, August 7, 2023.

Where will classes take place?

The Pre-Law Institute courses will take place virtually, however students will be required to attend in-person afternoon sessions on select days. Students enrolled in Summer II will take an LSAT prep course in-person.

Does the program cover housing and meal expenses?

The IDEAL program does not cover housing or meal expenses.

Are IDEAL participants automatically admitted into Fordham Law School?

Participation in the IDEAL program does not guarantee admission to Fordham Law School.

IDEAL Program

Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023

Email: [email protected]