L-Star Program

IMPORTANT FORMS
L-Star Information Sheet | NALP Travel Expense Form


FIRM FAQ's
1. What is SFPIF?
2. What is L-STAR?
3. What is the rate being charged for each declined night hotel stay?
4. Is the contribution to SFPIF tax deductible?
5. Where should we send the payment?
6. If we have additional questions about L-STAR, who do we contact?

STUDENT FAQ's
1. What is L-STAR?
2. Why should I participate in L-STAR?
3. Who can participate in L-STAR?
4. Where do I get the L-STAR form?
5. What if I'm not interviewing with an OCI firm?
6. Do I have to ask about L-STAR when I schedule my interview?
7. When should I mention L-STAR at the callback?
8. What should I say?
9. Does using L-STAR have a negative effect on my interview or prospects?
10. When must I decide to participate in L-STAR for a particular callback?
11. What if I'm visiting more than one firm during one callback trip?
12. After I return from my callback, how do I complete the L-STAR process?
13. If I participate in L-STAR, does that mean I never get to stay in a hotel?
14. I already made my arrangements but now I want to use L-STAR.
15. What if I want to support SFPIF but don't have friends or family in a callback city?
16. What’s the deal with the raffle?
17. If I have additional questions about the L-STAR process, who do I contact?


Firm FAQ's
What is SFPIF?
Back to top

SFPIF stands for Northwestern’s Student Funded Public Interest Fellowship. Last year, SFPIF raised approximately $96,900 to fund 45 Public Interest Fellowships for Northwestern Law students. SFPIF relies on tax-deductible contributions from students, faculty, alumni, law firms, and local businesses.

What is L-STAR?
Back to top

L-STAR is the Law School Travel and Reimbursement program. L-STAR allows Northwestern Law students doing callback interviews to opt to stay with friends or family instead of in a hotel. Participating law firms make a tax deductible contribution to Northwestern’s SFPIF organization, in lieu of paying for hotel accommodations. The contribution will go directly towards funding summer public interest fellowships.

What is the rate being charged for each declined night hotel stay?
Back to top

Participating law firms make a tax-deductible contribution of either the amount they have budgeted to pay for each interviewee’s hotel stay or $165, whichever they prefer.

Is the contribution to SFPIF tax deductible?
Back to top

Yes. This contribution is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. Even though your firm is donating the cost of a hotel stay (or $165) in lieu of paying for hotel accommodations, the contribution is equivalent to any normal donation to SFPIF.

Where should we send the payment?
Back to top

Please make checks payable to Northwestern University. They should be sent to:

Valerie Krasnoff
Northwestern University School of Law
Firm & Corporate Relations
Rubloff, Room 542
375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-3069

Note: This information will also be included in an information sheet attached to the NALP reimbursement form that you receive from the students after callbacks.

If we have additional questions about L-STAR, who do we contact?
Back to top

The L-STAR Coordinator:
Kate Riordan: k-riordan2013@nlaw.northwestern.edu


Student FAQ's

What is L-STAR?
Back to top

L-STAR is the Law School Travel and Reimbursement program. L-STAR allows Northwestern Law students doing callback interviews to opt to stay with friends or family instead of in a hotel. Participating law firms make a tax deductible contribution to Northwestern’s SFPIF organization, in lieu of paying for hotel accommodations. The contribution will go directly towards funding summer public interest fellowships.

Why should I participate in L-STAR?
Back to top

1) The money raised makes it possible for your fellow students to provide a variety of legal aid to non-profit and government agencies.
2) L-STAR gives law firms an opportunity to demonstrate support for Northwestern Law students and public interest law.
3) At the end of the OCI season, SFPIF will hold a raffle prize drawing for all students who have submitted L-STAR requests with their NALP forms. The prizes will be announced mid-semester.

Who can participate in L-STAR?
Back to top

Any student going on a callback interview whose family or friends can provide a room for the night.

Where do I get the L-STAR form?
Back to top

Download the L-STAR information sheet here and attach it to the NALP form or pick up hard copies at the Office of Career Services.

What if I'm not interviewing with an OCI firm?
Back to top

Use L-STAR anyway! Even if you're interviewing with a small firm or a firm that doesn't come to campus - any firm that's willing to put you up in a hotel can participate in L-STAR. Just decline a hotel room and tell them that you would appreciate it if they could donate the money to SFPIF instead. Then attach the L-Star information sheet to the nalp form and submit it to the firm as you normally would. If the firm has any questions direct them to our website or give them our email at SFPIF.LStar@gmail.com.

Do I have to ask about L-STAR when I schedule my interview?
Back to top

No. We have sent a letter to the participating firms and virtually all of them have already agreed to participate in L-STAR. Just decline hotel accommodations and tell them that you will be staying with a friend/parent/sibling/etc but that they can send a tax-deductible donation to SFPIF instead.

When should I mention L-STAR at the callback?
Back to top

You do not need to mention that you would like to participate in L-STAR to the hiring partner or anyone else you would not feel comfortable discussing your travel plans with. Generally, the partner will put you in touch with someone else to arrange travel plans. The only time you should bring it up is when the person in charge of travel gets your information for the hotel stay.

What should I say?
Back to top

You certainly don’t need to make a big deal out of it. We suggest something along the lines of “Thank you so much for the offer. I will actually be staying with my parents/friend/etc during my stay in DC/NY/SF/etc. I know that your firm has agreed to participate in Northwestern’s L-STAR program and I would appreciate it if the funds for the hotel room could be donated to our public interest group to fund summer fellowships. I will submit the L-Star information sheet with the NALP travel expense form.”

Does using L-STAR have a negative effect on my interview or prospects?
Back to top

Not at all! L-STAR has no effect on your interview or chance at landing a job. Almost every firm participates in L-STAR - it gives firms a chance to increase their commitment to public service. Firms that don't participate just let SFPIF know that they can't make a commitment at this time - there is no negative effect on the student interviewing.

Also keep in mind that most hiring committees don't care (or even know!) about your travel arrangements and that most students don't even submit their receipts until after offers are made, so you have plenty of time to wow the firm before submitting your L-STAR form.

When must I decide to participate in L-STAR for a particular callback?
Back to top

At any point before you get that room key! Simply inform the firm that you won't need accommodations during your visit. You can even cancel arrangements you've already made (as long as you follow the hotel's cancellation policy).

What if I'm visiting more than one firm during one callback trip?
Back to top

Simply submit the NALP travel expense form with the L-STAR form attached and the firms will take care of the rest.

After I return from my callback, how do I complete the L-STAR process?
Back to top

Print out this L-STAR information sheet, attach it to the NALP travel expense form that you will have to submit anyway for each city you visit, and the firms will send their donations to SFPIF. If you don’t have a printer, you can pick up hard copies in the career center.

If I participate in L-STAR, does that mean I never get to stay in a hotel?
Back to top

NO!!! You can decide on a trip-by-trip basis. But if you have friends or family you could just as easily stay with (or were planning to stay with anyway) in any particular city, why let that money go to waste?

I already made my arrangements but now I want to use L-STAR.
Back to top

Unlike nonrefundable airfare, hotels are usually fully refundable until the day of your arrival. If your best friend moves or Great Aunt Mildred offers you space in the spare room, just call the firm’s travel agent back and cancel that hotel. Then simply submit the L-STAR form with your NALP reimbursement form.

What if I want to support SFPIF but don't have friends or family in a callback city?
Back to top

No problem! Donate and/or win something at our auction, donate a day's pay over the summer, buy tickets to barrister’s ball or just donate whatever you can. Most law firms match your donations so be sure to let us know where you're working if you donate - that way we can follow up with your firm and double your donation.

What’s the deal with the raffle?
Back to top

We don’t know what the prizes will be yet but we will announce that as soon as possible. You will get one raffle ticket for each night you forego the hotel stay. Please send us a quick email each time you submit a NALP form for L-Star so that we can ensure that everyone who participates is included in the raffle. We will announce more details this fall.

If I have additional questions about the L-STAR process, who do I contact?
Back to top

The L-STAR Coordinator:
Kate Riordan: k-riordan2013@nlaw.northwestern.edu