The legal profession is one of the least diverse professions in the United States. The demographics of the profession are a direct reflection of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in legal education access and bar exam outcomes.

The Professionals in Legal Education Developing Greater Equity (PLEDGE) Fellowship is an 18-month professional development program and intervention-based research project, launching in June 2022 as a partnership between AccessLex Institute and the Southern Education Foundation. The fellowship targets experienced law school administrators, faculty members, or other similarly situated and experienced professionals.

Teams of two fellows will undertake intervention-based research projects, called Capstones, focusing on one of the following three topical strands:

  • Admission and Access
  • Academic Performance
  • Bar Exam Performance

Fellowship teams will receive the following funding and support premised on enhancing the feasibility and quality of their work:

  • Capstone budget: up to $25,000 for research activities
  • Stipend: $5,000 per Fellow
  • Access to Capstone design expertise
  • Access to DEI professional development coaching

By the end of the 18-month fellowship, each fellow will be knowledgeable of:

  • Statistical trends pertaining to racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity among law school applicants, law students, and the legal profession
  • Concepts and issues relevant to the fostering of diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations
  • Foundational concepts of program evaluation and assessment

Important Dates

  • Application:
    • Launch: January 20, 2022
    • Informational webinar: February 10, 2022, 3pm ET
    • Submission deadline: March 27, 2022
  • Fellowship teams announced: May 13, 2022
  • Fellowship:
    • Begin: June 22, 2022
    • End: November 2023

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