The UC Hastings faculty created the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP) in 1969 in order to make a top-tier legal education accessible to those who come from significantly adverse backgrounds. The LEOP program recognizes that the traditional numeric criteria used to determine admissions may not be sufficient indicators of academic potential for students who have experienced significant obstacles – educational, economic, social, or physical – that have restricted access to academic opportunities and resources.
In addition to completing the general application for admission, those applying through the LEOP program are required to address questions on the LEOP Application Supplement and are strongly encouraged to submit a second personal essay detailing the adversity they have encountered. Up to twenty percent of each entering class at UC Hastings is comprised of LEOP students.
Once at UC Hastings, students in the LEOP program are enrolled in the same courses as the rest of the student body, and participate fully in the life of the College. However, LEOP students are also provided with the opportunity to participate in a cooperative academic support program committed to their success in law school and in the legal profession. This academic support program, which begins with a week-long orientation prior to the beginning of school and spans a student’s entire stay at UC Hastings.
Applying as a LEOP Student
Each year, up to twenty percent of the UC Hastings entering class is enrolled through the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP). LEOP offers special consideration in admission to applicants who have been subject to significant adversity that may have prevented them from attaining numeric criteria that fully reflect their motivation, talent, and academic and professional ability. While standard numeric criteria are considered in LEOP admissions, added emphasis is placed on non-numeric criteria. The types of significant adversity that are considered include, but are not limited to: economic, educational, expectations for achievement, geographic/cultural, linguistic, disability, and exposure to bias.
Applicants interested in applying through LEOP must address all pertinent questions (listed below) on the LEOP Supplemental application. Answers to these questions will be used by the LEOP Committee to evaluate your claim of significant adversity, and by the Admissions Office to determine whether to offer admission.
- Describe the financial situation of your family from birth to college entry. Please include sources of income, income estimates, number of household wage earners, and number of dependents. Please describe any unusual expenses.
- Please describe the occupation(s) and the educational background(s) of the person(s) who raised you.
- Describe your early educational experiences through high school. Discuss the expectation level of and support for educational and career achievement in your family and community. What impact, if any, did it have on your education?
- Please list your source(s) of financial support in college by approximate percentage:
Family: ___ Employment: ___ Loans: ___ Grants/scholarships: ___ Other assistance:___
- Describe any paid or unpaid test preparation, academic support, or tutorial services you have used since elementary school.
- Identify and describe the community(ies) in which you resided from birth to age of college entry. Describe any bias you faced as a member of such community(ies) and explain what impact, if any, it had on your academic performance.
- Are you an immigrant or the child of immigrant parents? If yes, please include the country of origin, year of arrival in the U.S., and the reason for immigrating.
- If English is not your first language, how old were you when you first learned English? Was English the primary language spoken in your home?
- Have you had any learning or physical disability that may have adversely affected your academic performance? Please indicate what accommodations, if any, you were provided in high school and college. If possible, please include supporting documentation of your disability and/or accommodations.
LEOP applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an additional personal statement in which they identify and describe in detail the challenges and obstacles that they have faced and the impact these challenges may have had on their academic preparation. Applicants should include specific information on what they have done to meet and/or overcome these challenges.