April 6, 2023

Celebrating Forty Years of AccessLex Institute!

Academic and Bar Success
AccessLex Bar Success
Diversity Programs
Financial Education
Helix Bar Review
Policy and Advocacy
Research and Data


The year was 1983. Sally Ride became the first American woman to go into space, the third and “final” installment of the Star Wars trilogy opened that summer in movie theaters everywhere, the first version of Microsoft Word was launched, and, in a speech given at the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer Co., boldly predicted that “the computer will become the predominant medium of communications.” 

In early spring of that year, the first iteration of what is now AccessLex Institute® was born when the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) established the Law School Assured Access Program (LSAAP) to provide financial resources to students admitted to ABA-approved law schools. After ten years of spectacular growth, the fledgling Company was spun off from LSAC as a separate entity, renamed Law Access, Inc., and resettled in Wilmington, Delaware as a nonprofit membership organization. 

In 1994, the Company expanded its reach by including more graduate and professional school programs under its umbrella. In doing so, the organization’s name changed once again, this time to Access Group, Inc. Within the next two decades, the Company grew exponentially while insourcing all product design, originations, financing, and collection activities. In 2014, Access Group created its policy and advocacy arm by opening its Center for Research and Policy Analysis (now the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence®) in Washington, D.C. 

In the years that followed, the Company’s suite of resources grew as well, as the Legal Education Data Deck and the Student Loan Calculator were both launched. Rebranded as AccessLex Institute in 2017, the Company continued its momentum by adding the MAX by AccessLex® free online financial education program, opening the AccessLex Center for Education and Financial Capability®, and establishing its Diversity Programs division. 

AccessLex has always distinguished itself as an organization in perpetual motion, always going forward, and the last five years have been no exception. In what was perhaps its period of largest growth, AccessLex seized the opportunity to expand by adding two new divisions, the Programs for Academic and Bar Success and Pre-Law Services. Yet, the ambition didn’t end there. In 2019, the Company announced the addition of four exciting new resources:  

  • The AccessLex Resource Collection (ARC) − a digital repository of the leading research and resources in legal education today. 
  • MAX Pre-Law by AccessLex℠ − a pre-law program offering webinars, worksheets, checklists, and one-on-one financial strategy coaching from AccessLex Accredited Financial Counselors for prospective law students.
  • LexScholars by AccessLex® − a diversity pathway initiative aimed at learning more about effective methods for increasing law school diversity and establishing programs to do just that.
  • XploreJD by AccessLex® − a free, online search tool for aspiring lawyers to use a personalized, data-based approach to find their best fit school. 

Despite these great resources, AccessLex Institute’s firm commitment to students’ welfare was most evident in 2020, when it created a $5 million Law Student Emergency Relief Program in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was followed the next year by the creation of the groundbreaking Helix Bar Review by AccessLex℠, AccessLex Institute’s no-profit, full-service bar prep program. With the addition of Ask EDNA!®, an education network designed for students at each phase of their law school journey, and most recently, JDEdge by AccessLex℠, a free summer prep program for students entering their first year of law school, AccessLex has no intention of slowing down. 

Today, AccessLex Institute has established itself as a nonprofit powerhouse with over $850 million in total net assets and strong partnerships with the nearly 200 ABA-approved law schools. Through a series of unique programs emphasizing school selection, scholarship and grant opportunities, academic success, financial coaching, policy and advocacy, and most recently, bar preparation, AccessLex is committed to improving access, increasing affordability, and enhancing the value of a legal education.   

Throughout the years, AccessLex Institute has been a study in adaptation and growth in the ever-changing environment that is legal education in America. “Four decades is a long time and like any 40-year-old, AccessLex has grown, learned, weathered tough times, adapted and evolved, and is as strong a force as it has ever been,” writes Christopher Chapman, AccessLex President and CEO. “I could not be more proud of the great mission-driven work of the organization’s past and could not be more excited for what the future holds.” 

Here's to another 40 years of AccessLex! 

AccessLex Timeline