Hobart and William Smith Colleges - HWS and Cornell Establish Law Program
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HWS and Cornell Establish Law Program

A new memorandum of understanding will enable Hobart and William Smith students to earn their bachelor’s degree at the Colleges and their law degree from Cornell University.

Signed this semester, approved by vote of the faculty of Cornell Law School and by Hobart and William Smith’s Committee on Academic Affairs, the agreement establishes the Law Early Admissions Program (LEAP), a “3+3” joint degree framework that allows participating HWS students to complete their undergraduate and legal education in six years rather than the typical seven.

“Thanks to the months of planning and collaboration between HWS and Cornell, our students now have the opportunity to build on a unique liberal arts education at HWS with a degree from one of the best law schools in the world,” says Professor of Philosophy Scott Brophy ’78, P’12, the Colleges’ pre-law adviser.

An informational session on the new program will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at noon in Delancey 2.

Brophy and Director of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education Brandi Ferrara can guide students through the details of LEAP, including eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Through LEAP, students complete the requirements for their major and the Colleges’ educational goals in three years at HWS, before beginning their studies at Cornell, where they finish coursework toward their minor. After a year of study at Cornell, students graduate from HWS alongside the Classes that they matriculated with, before continuing toward their J.D. at Cornell.

Students should express their intent to apply for the program by the end of their sophomore year and are expected to submit LEAP applications and request HWS’ endorsement by Sept. 1 of their junior year. Interested juniors are eligible and should contact Brophy to declare their intent. Students must take the LSAT by February of their junior year to be eligible for program consideration and must meet the admissions requirements of Cornell Law School. HWS serves as a test site for the LSAT several times throughout the year. The pre-law adviser and a small review committee will review student applications to the LEAP program and recommend applicants to Cornell.

LEAP is the latest addition to the joint degree programs HWS offers for students of promise who are interested in pursuing professional certifications. The roster includes joint degree programs in engineering (through the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College); business (through Clarkson University, and the Saunders School of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology); and nursing (through the University of Rochester School of Nursing).

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.