A lack of resources to attend costly LSAT preparation classes and to fund expensive admissions applications is a significant factor in hindering the application to law school by diverse students. The Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program aims to increase diversity in law schools and, eventually, in the legal profession by subsidizing the LSAT preparatory course and law school application expenses of diverse, high-performing college students who have difficulty paying the expenses associated with applying to law school.

"The Sidley Scholars Program prepared me for the upcoming year's curriculum and enabled me to focus on what's important right now - achieving academic success."
Isaac G. Lara, Sidley Scholar

“Sidley has a significant commitment to achieving greater ethnic and racial diversity within the legal profession and the firm. We wanted to develop a program that would widen the pipeline by helping to eliminate barriers at an earlier stage in a student’s career,” said Carter Phillips, immediate former chair of the firm’s Executive Committee. “Our diversity committee and staff are to be congratulated for developing this creative approach.”

2019 Program Timeline

Friday, January 11, 2019
Application deadline (postmark date or electronic submission)

Week of March 11, 2019
2019 Sidley Scholars published to website the week of March 11, 2019.
Check website for the list of newly named Scholars: www.sidleyscholars.com

April 2019
Start date for LSAT prep course for June 2019 LSAT (exact dates vary by location and provider)

Monday, June 15, 2019
June 2019 LSAT

Monday, July 15, 2019
July 2019 LSAT

Saturday, September 21, 2019
September 2019 LSAT

Monday, October 28, 2019
October 2019 LSAT

Saturday, November 23, 2019
November 2019 LSAT for Sabbath observers

June/July 2020
Sidley Scholars Summer Seminar (Exact dates to be determined and may be subject to change. The program is generally hosted in Chicago, Thursday – Sunday.)

For more information, please contact Merisa Lima.


Sidley Scholars will be selected on a competitive basis. To be considered as a Sidley Scholar, one must:

  • Be a second-semester college junior or a senior, graduating from an accredited American college in good standing no later than June 30, 2020, or be a very recent graduate of an accredited American college.
  • Submit a complete application and supporting materials by the application deadline.
  • Demonstrate financial need through the application and supporting materials.

Because of the mission of the program, preference will be given to the most well-qualified diverse applicants, with an emphasis on populations underrepresented in the legal field.

Required Application Materials:

  • Completed Application (Signed and Dated) including Personal Statement (two page maximum);
  • Copy of most recent FAFSA Student Aid Report;
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (unofficial transcript may be submitted initially; however, official transcript must be provided in order to receive award);
  • Résumé (one page maximum);
  • Signed and completed recommendation form from one academic reference in a sealed envelope. Recommendations may be submitted electronically to: sidleyscholars@sidley.com. If submitting electronically the form must be emailed directly from the recommender (and not the applicant).

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Top applicant phone interviews will take place in late February through early March.

Expectations of Sidley Scholars

Each Sidley Scholar is expected to:

  • Graduate in good standing from college no later than June 30, 2020.
  • Meet all LSAT, law school application and program deadlines.
  • Attend all classes associated with the LSAT preparatory course.

Attend the entire Sidley Scholars Summer Seminar in the summer before law school.  The last installment of the scholarship award is contingent upon in-person attendance and successful completion of the Sidley Scholars Summer Seminar. It is expected that 2019 Sidley Scholars will attend the 2020 Summer Seminar. Reasonable travel expenses to the Summer Seminar will be reimbursed.

  • Matriculate to law school in Fall 2020.
  • Be available to Sidley representatives via telephone and email from February 2019 through September 2020 and respond in a timely way to all inquires from Sidley.
  • Upon starting law school, remain in touch with Sidley representatives to provide feedback on how the Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program is benefiting the Sidley Scholar during the first year of law school.
  • Upon an expression of interest, be available to a future Sidley Scholar as a mentor.

In rare circumstances, a student may request that the firm consider an exception to a requirement of the program. Sidley’s Diversity Committee will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis, but certain benefits of the program may not be made available to such student. For example, Scholars who do not attend the entire Summer Seminar will not receive the second installment of their scholarship award. All such decisions are at   the sole discretion of Sidley’s Diversity Committee.

The 2019-2020 Sidley Prelaw Scholars will be announced the week of March 11, 2019.