About the Fellowship

The Professionals in Legal Education Developing Greater Equity (PLEDGE) Fellowship is a partnership between AccessLex Institute and the Southern Education Foundation, two organizations committed to fostering access, diversity, and equity in education.

The fellowship is premised on achieving the following goals:

  • Cultivate evidence-based experimentation and assessment in legal education
  • Contribute to the development of best practices for fostering access and success among aspiring lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds
  • Increase the law school enrollment and academic success of people from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Expose Fellows to principles and concepts underlying DEI, statistical methods, experimental design, and evidence-based decision making
  • Build partnerships with and among legal education stakeholders, particularly law schools that enroll disproportionate numbers of underrepresented students and those that seek to increase the enrollment of these students

Since 1983, AccessLex Institute has continually evolved to meet the ever-changing challenges and needs of the law students and institutions that we serve. We are steadfast in our commitment to inform students of the economic realities of law school without limiting their aspirations. We conduct and commission research to illuminate the latest data and evidence on the most critical issues facing legal education today. And we are resolute in our appeal to policymakers and influencers to take actions that make legal education work better for both students and society at large. As a nonprofit organization underpinned by nearly 200 American Bar Association-approved nonprofit and state-affiliated law schools, we are intently dedicated to the betterment of legal education. AccessLex Institute is headquartered in West Chester, PA. We currently have $800 million in total net assets. Learn more at AccessLex.org.

Originally founded in 1867 to educate Black children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation also has a long history of developing leaders in education and was a pivotal source of research and data to support legislation and litigation aimed at fighting inequity in education during the civil rights era. The organization today conducts leadership development, research, and advocacy to improve educational opportunities for Black students, other students of color, and students from low-income families and achieve educational equity in the Southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia.


Planning Committee

Aaron N. Taylor, Executive Director, AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence

Raymond Pierce, President and CEO, Southern Education Foundation

Tiffane Cochran, Managing Director, Research, AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence

Kenita Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Southern Education Foundation

Danielle Harris, Manager of Development and Donor Relations, Southern Education Foundation

Kent Lollis, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant, Vice President Emeritus, Law School Admission Council


Curriculum Team

Marybeth Gasman, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

Alice Ginsberg, Educational Consultant, Director of Programs, Partnerships and Strategy, The Collective Success Network

Meera Deo, The Honorable Vaino Spencer Chair/Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School

Andrés Castro Samayoa, Assistant Professor, Boston College School of Education and Human Development

Raquel Muñiz, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Higher Education, Assistant Professor (by courtesy), School of Law, Boston College

Leah Hollis, Associate Professor, Morgan State University


Please feel free to send questions about the fellowship to PLEDGE@southerneducation.org