LEAD: Legal Education Accelerated Degree Program
KU is excited to offer its students an innovative program that allows KU students to earn both a B.A. and a J.D. degree in six years instead of seven.
As a KU LEADer, you will have the opportunity to:
- Earn a B.A. and J.D. in six years
- Be guaranteed admission to KU Law after your junior year, provided that you meet the admission requirements
- Have opportunities to connect with KU Law professors and students prior to your admission
- Prepare for your career through specialized law-related educational activities and internships opportunities
To be considered for this program all you need to do is submit an essay on one of three topics, or you can submit the essay you wrote for KU’s Honors Program. The essay topics and application can be found on KU's undergraduate admissions website.
The right place at the right time
Zachary Kelsay, L'21
Ever since I was a little kid, I have wanted to be a lawyer. When my mom would read stories to me before bed, I remember there was a book all about people who work (construction workers, teachers, doctors, etc.). However, like most kids for no rational reason, I only wanted my mom to read one page: the one with the people in suits carrying briefcases and talking to a jury.
I chose KU because of one thing: the LEAD program. The LEAD program allows students to “double dip” their undergrad elective credits with their first year of law classes to get a Bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctor in 6 years.
Though I am younger than most of my peers, Green Hall is a very supportive environment where people of many different experiences contribute to the school’s character.
From newbie to whiz kid
Samantha Wagner, L'19
“The best three years of your life that you will never want to experience again.” That was how a current lawyer and mentor described law school to me. And let me tell you, he was right. I am currently in my first year, and it is the most challenging, stressful thing I have ever done. That being said, I am loving law school! It is amazing, and I have made closer friends in the last few months than I had through years of undergrad.
I have had my sights set on law school since high school. I am a member of the inaugural class of KU’s Legal Education Accelerated Degree Program. It is a 3+3-year program for my bachelor’s and law degrees. Part of being in the LEAD program means that my first-year law classes are counting toward the last year of my bachelor’s degree, and after I finish my 1L year I will graduate from undergrad. ...
Starting law school at age 20 has had its ups and downs. But here are the top five things about being a little bit younger that made law school better:
Each year, students in the LEAD program will be exposed to program content designed to prepare them for law school and a legal career. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about law school and legal practice, as well as to begin building relationships in the law school and with practicing attorneys.
LEAD students participate in four off-campus activities to introduce them to the practice of law and law school. Activities may include:
- A Kansas Supreme Court tour and discussion with a justice of the court
- A trial court tour and discussion with a judge of the court
- A private-practice law firm tour in Kansas City and discussion with partners and associates in the firm
- A government-practice tour and a discussion with attorneys in that practice
KU Law faculty facilitate volunteer experiences with a law-affiliated organization for LEAD students during the fall term. During the spring term, KU Law coordinates a discounted LSAT class exclusively for LEAD students.
LEAD students are encouraged to take a 1-credit course — Introduction to the American Legal System — taught by KU Law faculty. At the conclusion of the junior year, the law school hosts a recognition ceremony for juniors (and their families) who are "stepping up" to KU Law the next academic year.
All LEAD students are required to complete three full years or six full semesters (fall or spring) of undergraduate studies in residence before enrolling in law school classes. In residence means earning credit for classes offered by the University of Kansas (or Kansas State University for K-State students) for students enrolled in a degree program. While AP and other college credit earned prior to enrolling at the University of Kansas (or Kansas State University) may be used to meet graduation requirements, they will not count towards the residency requirement.
To qualify for the LEAD Program:
- Students must begin the program when they enroll as freshmen at KU.
- Students must be enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences seeking a B.A. degree.
- Students must have a 26 ACT score and a 3.5 GPA, or better.
- Prior to admission to KU Law, students must meet the bar-required character and fitness requirements and the required LSAT and GPA scores, which are currently a 156 LSAT and 3.5 GPA.