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Opportunity: Montgomery Research Diversity Fellowship (SRDF) in Law and Social Science

Montgomery Research Diversity Fellowship (SRDF) in Law and Social Science

The American Bar Foundation is pleased to sponsor an annual research fellowship for undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing graduate studies in the social sciences. This summer program is designed to introduce students to the rewards and demands of a research-oriented career in the field of law and social science. The program is supported by the Law School Admission Council, the Kenneth F. and Harle G. Montgomery Foundation and Walmart. The American Bar Foundation is among the world's leading research institutes for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. An independent, nonprofit organization for more than sixty years, the ABF seeks to advance the understanding and improvement of law through research projects on the most pressing issues facing the legal system in the United States and in the world. The American Bar Foundation seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. The Foundation conducts research on a broad range of civil and criminal justice issues to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. Current research areas include: law, diversity, and equal justice; the legal profession, legal education, and access to justice; law, health, and human development; rights, courts, and social change; criminal justice; law and globalization; and civil justice and dispute resolution. Many of the ABF’s resident research faculty members hold joint appointments at Chicago-area universities including Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Recognized as a major institution in the field of law and social science, the Foundation offers a rich environment to students considering an academic or research-based career.


Eligible are American students including, but not limited to, persons who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American,  as well as other individuals who will add diversity to the field of law and social science, such as those who identify as LGBQT+ and those with disabilities. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate students who do not reside in the United States.  Applications will be considered only from sophomores and juniors, that is, students who have completed at least their sophomore year and who have not received a bachelor’s degree by the time the fellowship begins. Applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and be moving toward an academic major in the social sciences or humanities.


Four research fellowships will be awarded each year. Each fellow will be assigned to an American Bar Foundation research professor who will involve the student in his or her research project and act as a mentor during the student’s tenure. The fellows will also participate in a series of in-house seminars and field visits to get acquainted with the many facets of sociolegal research and the legal system. Site visits include going to law firms, social justice oriented non-profits, and criminal court, sitting in on graduate level classes, and meeting with admissions representatives from local law schools.

The fellows will work at the American Bar Foundation’s offices in Chicago, IL from 9 am- 5 pm during the week for a period of 8 weeks, from June 3-July 31, 2019. Each fellow will receive a stipend of $3,600. The American Bar Foundation will provide housing for fellows during their stay.


Applicants must provide the following:

*  Two brief essays on the topics indicated in the application form

*  A writing sample from any academic discipline (no need to write something new; send us something you have written for a course at school that you are particularly proud

*  Official transcripts of all academic courses completed at the time of application (sent electronically or via mail by the school's


*  One letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the student’s work. Please have them send it to us directly via mail or email, not via Interfolio.

Applications will open on November 15, 2018. Completed applications, including the transcript and letter of recommendation, must be received (not postmarked) by February 15, 2019. Due to the large volume of applications, late applications cannot be reviewed.  Awards will be announced by early April, 2019.

Please e-mail or mail the official transcript and letter of recommendation using the following information:

Address: American Bar Foundation, Research Diversity Fellowship c/o Willa Sachs, 750 North Lake Shore Drive, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611

E-mail: fellowships@abfn.org or wsachs@abfn.org

To apply online on or after November 15, 2018, please visit:


**PLEASE NOTE that the Interfolio website is on Eastern time. Your ability to apply online will be cut off after 11:59 p.m. on February 15, 2019 EST.***