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Undergraduate Research Diversity Fellowships in Law and Social Science

Applications for the 2019 fellowship are now closed.

Video of California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuéllar (SRDF 1992) speaking about his experience in the program.

Application Information

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) 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.  Many of the ABF’s resident research faculty members hold joint appointments at Chicago-area universities, including Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

The ABF hosts two distinct fellowship opportunities:

1)      Summer Research Diversity Fellowship (SRDF) – Summer 2019 (8 weeks)

2)      LSAC Research Diversity Fellowship – June 2019 to May 2020 (Chicago area applicants only)

These fellowships are designed to introduce undergraduate students to the rewards and demands of a research-oriented career in the field of law and/or social science. They are supported by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the Kenneth F. and Harle G. Montgomery Foundation, and Walmart.  Each Fellow will be assigned an ABF research professor who will involve the Fellow in his or her research project and act as a mentor during the Fellow’s tenure.

Fellows 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 law firms, social justice-oriented nonprofits, and criminal courtrooms, sitting in on graduate level classes, and meeting with admissions representatives from local law schools.

All Fellows will work at the ABF’s office in Chicago on a full-time basis from June 3 to July 31, 2019 and receive a stipend of $3,600.  The ABF will provide housing for SRDF Fellows during their stay and cover the costs of domestic transportation to and from Chicago.   

After participating in the summer program, the LSAC Research Diversity Fellow will continue their fellowship for a full academic year as a part-time research assistant and receive a stipend or class credit, depending on their institution's requirements.   


These fellowships are designed to encourage a diverse and inclusive community for underrepresented individuals in the fields of law and social science.  To that end, individuals who demonstrate a commitment to diversity with respect to economic background, religious affiliation, race, ethnicity, disability, military experience, sexual orientation, and/or gender expression/identity, and other individuals who are diverse and traditionally underrepresented in the fields of law and social science are encouraged to apply.

Applications will be considered only from sophomores and juniors attending colleges and universities in the United States. That is, students must have completed at least their sophomore year and must 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).

In addition to meeting the above-referenced criteria, the LSAC Research Diversity Fellow must attend a Chicago-area university or college.

We are particularly impressed by students who have research experience, especially in sociolegal studies.

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