About PLSI

Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives

What is PLSI?

Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives
PLSI is an intensive two-month program that prepares American Indian and Alaska Native individuals for the rigors of law school by essentially replicating the first semester of law school. The PLSI concentrates its content into eight weeks of instruction, research and study, teaching students the unique methods of law school research, analysis, and writing. The success of the PLSI in providing a nationally respected pre-law orientation can be traced to its original and continuing intent — that it be based on sound legal education principles, and not function as a philosophical, political, or cultural training ground. For more than five decades, the Law Center has remained dedicated to providing valid training in the skills required for the study of law.

Who should attend?

Any American Indian or Alaska Native who plans to attend law school in the fall after attending the summer program of PLSI. Law school is unlike any other course of study. The skills required to study law are both unique and vital to success in law school, and these are the skills that the PLSI begins to teach.

Some have mistakenly believed that the PLSI is designed to be an admission-by-performance program for students with lower than average predictors. That is not the case.  Although it serves that function for some students, the Institute is as valid a preparatory program for the student with a GPA and LSAT score in the top 25% as it is for students in the lower quartiles. Students who have been admitted to top ten law schools receive as much benefit as students who have not yet been admitted to law school when they begin the program. Further, attending the PLSI will give you the opportunity to become part of a cohort of Native American law students from around the country who will have established relationships with Native lawyers nationwide when you begin practice.

The Institute is strongly endorsed by a wide variety of both state and private law schools nationwide. PLSI graduates have gone on to such prestigious schools as Cornell, Harvard, and Stanford, as well as to a wide spectrum of both state and private universities around the country. Graduates may be found throughout federal, tribal, and state governments and courts, as well as in private practice and in industry.

How much does it cost?

There are no tuition or other charges to qualified participants to attend the Institute, and the PLSI provides a modest living allowance when funds permit. The amount of the allowance when it is provided depends on the number of qualified participants who are admitted (a maximum of 36) but not funded by their tribes, and the amount of funds actually received to administer the Institute.  If your tribe is unable to fund you, we have received private donations from the Law School Admissions Council and several law firms with which we can assist you.

All text books required for the PLSI courses are provided by the Institute, and will be issued to participants at registration. These books become the participants’ private property and are their sole responsibility. Text books which are lost, stolen or destroyed cannot be replaced by the PLSI.

The cost for a single student to live in Albuquerque for two months is approximately $2,500 – $3,800.  In addition, you will need funds to travel to and from Albuquerque.  Please see the “Financial Assistance” section below for more information.

What is not included?

The PLSI does not provide housing, meals, transportation, household items or school supplies. The PLSI living allowance is provided for those purposes; acquiring the items above is up to individual participants. Information about local apartment complexes that allow month-to-month rentals and available sublets will be sent to applicants who have been accepted and intend to attend the Institute. However, participants are responsible for making their own arrangements and paying any costs or deposits.

You should plan to bring a laptop if possible.  If you cannot acquire one prior to PLSI, you may use the PC’s available in the law library, but the hours they are available are restricted so this option should be used only if absolutely necessary. It is the participants’ responsibility to make arrangements for any photocopies needed.

Finally, participants do not receive academic credit for the PLSI. The advantage is that the participants’ law school records are not prejudiced by less than stellar grades which might be the result of students making the necessary adjustments to law school. The disadvantage is that attending the PLSI does not qualify participants for waivers of repayment of academic loans.