Collegiate Entry Program (CSTEP)

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) has developed a gateway program of study for eligible minority and underserved students wishing to enter the CUNY Law School, successfully complete the curriculum, and graduate ready to enter the profession as licensed attorneys having completed studies with a concentration in labor law.

The Leadership, Achievement, and Work (LAW) project has two major goals: 1) to prepare qualified underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals for entry to and successful matriculation in a program distinctively designed for educating undergraduate and graduate students who aspire to become licensed public interest attorneys in New York State; and 2) to instill in these students, through an emphasis in labor law, the four principles of social justice: equity, access, civic participation, and human rights.

To realize the aforementioned goals, project LAW at SLU will embody a comprehensive hybrid experience intended for enrolled CUNY students who, after matriculating through a traditional “face-to-face” curriculum aligned with a digital learning community especially created for the project, will advance, persist, and graduate from the experience ready to apply to and begin law school.

Project participants will include advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Participant students will register for a 10-week learning experience in either the summer, fall, or spring to familiarize students with the basics of the law profession, law study, and the process of applying to law school.

To attend one of our information sessions for the Summer 2021 Cohort, click here to register

All applicants must be New York State residents for at least the last 12 months and demonstrate an interest in labor studies and labor law. Applicants should be from a minority/underserved population or identify as economically disadvantaged. (See chart for income criteria.)

Undergraduate Students

  • Class standing: Junior or Senior
  • GPA: 3.0

Graduate Students

  • Class standing: maximum earned graduate credits is less than 12
  • GPA: 3.0

Project LAW is a gateway program for minority and underserved students to enter CUNY Law School. Participants go through a free 10-week learning experience online through Zoom with curriculum that develops legal writing skills, explores labor law through a social justice lens, and prepares students to take the LSAT exam.

Applications for Summer, Fall, and Spring are accepted on a rolling basis. Those admitted will be sent an acceptance email within a month of their cohort starting.

Classes will be offered in the mornings and evenings. Please see the sidebar calendar for the most updated program schedule.

  • Voucher for LSAT exam fee assistance
  • Travel to the annual CSTEP research conference​
  • Test preparation for the LSAT
  • A glimpse into life as a freshman law school student
  • Law School application and PRLDF workshops
  • Guest speakers in Labor Law

Asima Chaudhary, Esq.

Asima Chaudhary is a skills instructor at the CUNY School of Law where she provides academic skill support for students in their first year of law school. She also coordinates and teaches the Summer Law Institute for incoming law school students. Prior to joining CUNY School of Law, Asima was a Legal Policy Fellow with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Office of the Chair. In addition to handling Source of Income discrimination complaints, she researched legal issues pertaining to discrimination in housing, education and policing in New York City.

As a co-teacher of CSTEP Project L.A.W., Asima teaches legal writing based on Labor Law doctrine and critical academic skills for law school such as note-taking, case reading, and case briefing.

Ellen Dichner

Ellen Dichner is a Distinguished Lecturer in Labor Studies at CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. She has practiced labor and employment law for more than 25 years. From 2013 to 2018, she served as Chief Counsel to former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. Before her appointment at the NLRB, Ellen was a partner at Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, LLP, where she handled a wide range of matters on behalf of union clients, including collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, union organizing campaigns, litigation in federal and state courts as well as in proceedings before administrative agencies, such as the NLRB and the New York Public Employment Relations Board. Her clients included unions representing workers in health care, transportation, communications and education. Ms. Dichner also represented individuals and groups of workers in wage and hour cases, employment discrimination and other litigation.

As a co-teacher of CSTEP Project L.A.W., Ellen uses real-life labor law cases to prepare students for the kinds of scenarios they will one day face as labor lawyers in New York.

Carolyn Nelson

Carolyn Nelson is the founder and President of Nelson Test Prep, which focuses primarily on providing affordable LSAT instruction to those who traditionally underperform on the LSAT. Carolyn started her LSAT instruction career almost 20 years ago at Princeton Review and has subsequently taught LSAT courses for New York University (NYU) and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), both while still practicing as a New Jersey commercial litigator. Carolyn has provided LSAT instruction and consulting services to many New York based Pipeline and PreLaw programs including: The Pre Law Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Fried Frank Pre-Law Scholars Program; LAWbound; Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies and the Ronald H. Brown Summer Law School Prep Program. In addition to the courses she provides to undergraduate pipeline programs, Carolyn is currently the instructor for the CUNY Law School Pipeline Program.

As part of CSTEP Project L.A.W., Carolyn teaches participants the tips, tricks, and techniques of the LSAT so that students can begin preparing themselves to take the exam.

The New York State College Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) provides academic enrichment and research experience in STEM content areas.

Projects consist of academic year and summer components including supervised training in research methods, graduate/professional school admissions preparation, standardized tests preparation, and academic and career development activities.

To learn more, visit the NYSED Webpage.

The best way to contact CSTEP Project L.A.W. at SLU is by emailing

The CSTEP Project L.A.W. Administrative Team is: