The Professionals in Legal Education Developing Greater Equity (PLEDGE) Initiative is a partnership between AccessLex Institute and the Southern Education Foundation, two organizations committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. Launched in 2022, the PLEDGE Initiative is an effort to increase knowledge and skills related to using empirical research methods to design, administer, and assess student success programs.

The initiative is targeted at law school administrators and faculty and consists of the PLEDGE Bootcamp and the PLEDGE Fellowship.

PLEDGE Bootcamp

The PLEDGE Bootcamp is a two-day, in-person training session focused on building knowledge and skills related to conducting and interpreting high-quality empirical research. The Bootcamp targets experienced law school administrators, faculty members, and other similarly situated professionals seeking insight into the practical uses of empirical research methods. The Bootcamp is intended to serve as a precursor to applying for the PLEDGE Fellowship.

The 2023 Bootcamp took place in April at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.

PLEDGE Fellowship

The PLEDGE Fellowship is a 14-month professional development program in which Fellows complete a Capstone, taking the form of an empirical assessment of a law student-facing program. The program should be premised on fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments. The Fellowship targets experienced law school administrators, faculty members, and other similarly situated professionals.

The partnership between AccessLex and the SEF was met with resounding success in 2022 as we welcomed the inaugural class of PLEDGE Fellows.

Applications for the 2023-2024 Fellowship are now closed. The 2023-2024 Fellowship will conclude in November 2024 at the AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium.

Questions about the Fellowship or this application should be directed to