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IDEAL Pipeline Program

Increasing Diversity in Education and the Law

Ideal Pipeline Program

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

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.

The Experience*

*Activities and timeline subject to change

Summer I - Prep Program

Tuesday, July 5- Thursday, August 4, 2022
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

  • Students are enrolled into an LSAT preparation course
  • 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 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

  • Students will again be placed in selected legal internships that reflect their interest and will work alongside mentoring attorneys in a practical setting.
  • 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.


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

The application for the 2022 cohort of the IDEAL Pipeline Program is now CLOSED.

Key Dates:

  • Priority Due Date: February 14, 2022
  • Final Due Date: March 15, 2022
  • Interviews: March 21-25, 2022
  • Decision Letters: March 28-31, 2022 


  • 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 2022)
  • Demonstrates an interest in law or a strong interest in applying to law school upon graduation

You must also submit the following by the March 15, 2022 application due date:

  • Online application

  • Resume 

  • Current transcript (official or unofficial acceptable)

  • (2) References — Faculty and Academic Advisor 

  • Personal statement:

    • Why are you interested in pursuing law?
    • How do you think Fordham Law's IDEAL Program will help you achieve your law career goals?
    • Describe an obstacle or challenge that you (or a family member) have overcome and how that has shaped your journey.

For questions about the IDEAL program, please email Christine Kowlessar, Pipeline Program Coordinator, at


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.

Does the IDEAL program cover the summer program transportation costs?

At this time, the summer 2021 program will be held virtually. 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 Tuesday, July 5, 2022, and ends on Thursday, August 4, 2022.

Where will classes take place?

The Pre-Law Institute course will take place virtually for the summer 2021 session for students enrolled in Summer I - Prep.  Students enrolled in Summer II will take an LSAT prep course remotely.

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