Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP announced the launch of its new multi-pronged philanthropic initiative, the Weil Legal Innovators Program (WLI). The firm, working in partnership with five prominent law schools and more than 20 nonprofit organizations (NPOs), will invest $1 million annually to support 10 emerging leaders in the program each year.
WLI’s primary objective will be to engage incoming law school students in addressing some of the most pressing social and legal challenges in our communities today. The program also aims to increase the Firm’s commitment to social impact and strategic philanthropy by leveraging the core competencies of the Firm and bringing together multiple stakeholders through a unique public-private partnership model. This signature initiative is also tied to the 35th anniversary of the Weil Foundation, whose charitable contributions along with those of the Firm have totaled nearly $100 million since 1983.
Applications for WLI will open this fall. WLI’s 10 selected participants will have been accepted to one of the five partner law schools and will defer entering their first year of law school to complete a year of public service through employment at a U.S.-based partner nonprofit organization. Weil will also support sponsoring NPOs to ensure they have the resources needed to provide meaningful experiences for each of the participants.
To further support WLI participants, NPOs will be based in cities where Weil has a U.S. office location. Innovators will be matched with a Weil partner-mentor to aid in their professional development and to provide coaching and mentorship over the course of the year. As a part of the program’s additional resources and opportunities, participants will be invited to Weil’s New York office for an opening reception and orientation, as well as a closing reception where they will present their work to Firm leadership, attorneys and administrative staff.
The inaugural law school partners participating in WLI include: Columbia University Law School, Duke University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, New York University School of Law and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Sponsoring nonprofit organizations will be finalized this summer in advance of the fall 2019 application period. The first WLI cohort will run from July 2020 to July 2021. The Firm intends to expand this initiative outside the United States in the future.
“The Weil Legal Innovators Program allows the Firm to expand our social responsibility footprint more broadly,” said Weil Executive Partner Barry Wolf. “We are committed to helping develop the next generation of social impact leaders and trust that the WLI will enable us to achieve that goal.”