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ABF/AccessLex Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Legal & Higher Education

We are not currently accepting applications for the ABF/National Science Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Program in Law & Inequality for the 2023-24 academic year. 


Pending budgetary approval, the American Bar Foundation (ABF), in partnership with AccessLex Institute, is committed to developing the next generation of scholars interested in empirical and interdisciplinary research on legal and higher education through one post-doctoral fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to assist emerging scholars who are studying issues of access, affordability, or value in legal and higher education. This fellowship program seeks to assemble and coordinate a professional network of scholars who will produce innovative, objective, empirical and interdisciplinary research in the field.


The Postdoctoral fellow will receive a stipend of $65,000 each year for two academic years (24 months), and benefits through the ABF. Fellows will also have access to a modest research account to reimburse expenses associated with research, travel to meet with advisors, or travel to conferences at which papers are presented. Reasonable relocation expenses may be reimbursed on application.


Fellowships are awarded for up to 24 months, beginning September 1, 2021.


Fellowships are held in residence at the ABF. Appointments to fellowships are full time. Fellows are expected to participate fully in the academic life of the ABF so that they may develop close collegial ties with ABF faculty and other scholars in residence.


The ABF/AccessLex Postdoctoral Fellowship Program will support one post-doctoral fellowships. Applications are invited from scholars who have recently received their J.D.s or Ph.D.s (within the last four years) or who will have completed the dissertation by September 1, 2021. Research must address significant issues in the field and show promise of a major contribution to social scientific understanding of legal or higher education. Applicants from underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply. There are no citizenship requirements for this fellowship. Non-U.S. nationals are welcome to apply; however, we do not have the institutional capacity to sponsor visas through the Department of Homeland Security.

How to Apply

Please submit all materials through this URL:

Applicants must include: 

(1) 1-2 page cover letter of application; 

(2) 2-3 page description of a research project or interest that relates to legal or higher education; 

(3) resume or curriculum vitae; 

(4) a writing sample, reflective of a candidate’s best work and appropriate to a candidate’s discipline;

(5)  names and contact information of 3 referees that we may contact if appropriate, one of whom should be the applicant’s dissertation chairperson; and

(6) a Contributions to Diversity Statement, 2-3 pages in length, highlighting demonstrated and planned efforts to promote diversity and equity through their research or other work, including detailed examples and descriptions that demonstrate both understanding and actions in the following three areas:

  1.         Awareness of and ability to articulate understanding regarding diversity broadly conceived, and historical, social, and economic factors that influence the underrepresentation of particular groups in academia. Life experience may be an important aspect of this understanding.
  2.        A track record, calibrated to career stage, of engagement and activity related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Specific details about these activities should be provided, including goals, strategies, outcomes, and your role in the cited activities. Strong evidence typically consists of multiple examples of action from undergraduate through current career stage.
  3.        Specific, concrete goals, plans, and priorities for engagement on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a potential law faculty member.

If you have questions about the application process or the position, please direct inquiries to with the subject line “ABF/ AccessLex PostDoctoral Fellowship Program in Legal and Higher Education.”

About the Partners

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally.

AccessLex Institute, in partnership with its nearly 200 nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved Member law schools, has been committed to improving access to legal education and to maximizing the affordability and value of a law degree since 1983. The AccessLex Center for Legal Education ExcellenceSM advocates for policies that make legal education work better for students and society alike, and conducts research on the most critical issues facing legal education today. The AccessLex Center for Education and Financial CapabilitySM offers on-campus and online financial education programming and resources to help students confidently manage their finances on their way to achieving personal and professional success. AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization with office in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. and field offices throughout the U.S. Learn more at



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