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Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowships in Law and Social Science for Undergraduate Students

Applications for the Summer 2016 Fellowship are now open.

Click here to apply

Video of Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuéllar (1992) speaking about his experience in the Summer Diversity Research Fellowship Program


The American Bar Foundation sponsors an annual program of summer research fellowships to interest undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in pursuing graduate study in the social sciences. The 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 in part by the Kenneth F. and Harle G. Montgomery Foundation, AT&T, the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and the Law School Admissions Council.

The American Bar Foundation is the nation's leading research institute for the empirical study of law. An independent, nonprofit organization for more than sixty years, ABF seeks to advance the understanding and improvement of law through research projects of unmatched scale and quality on the most pressing issues facing the legal system in the United States and in the world. ABF’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. The Foundation conducts empirically based research on a broad range of civil and criminal justice issues. Current research areas are: 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 ABF’s multidisciplinary resident research faculty members hold joint appointments at Chicago-area universities. 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 career.


Eligible are American citizens and lawful permanent residents including, but not limited to, persons who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Puerto Rican, as well as other individuals who will add diversity to the field of law and social science, such as LGBT individuals and those with disabilities. Applications will be considered only from sophomores and juniors, that is, students who have completed at least the 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 summer research fellowships will be awarded each year. Each student will be assigned to an American Bar Foundation Research Professor who will involve the student in the professor’s research project and who will act as a mentor during the student’s tenure. The students also will participate in a series of seminars and field visits to acquaint them with the many facets of sociolegal research and the legal system. The students will work at the American Bar Foundation’s offices in Chicago, IL for 35 hours a week for a period of 8 weeks, typically from early June to late July. Each student will receive a stipend of $3,600.


Applicants for the Summer Research Fellowships must provide the following:

  • A brief essay on the topics indicated in the application form
  • Official transcripts of all academic courses completed at the time of application
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the student’s work

Completed applications, including transcript and letter of recommendation, are due no later than February 15, 2016. Due to the volume of applications, late applications cannot be reviewed. Awards will be announced by April 15, 2016. For further information, call 312.988.6515 or send your inquiry to .   

Transcripts and letters of recommendation should be sent to: American Bar Foundation, Summer Research Diversity Fellowships, 750 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611 Email: Telephone: (312) 988-6515; Fax: (312) 988-6579. Email is preferred. 

Click here to apply