ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Faculty Scholar

Deadline: January 15, 2024

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) seeks a diverse group of empirical scholars interested in researching access to civil justice to join the ABF’s intellectual community for the ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program. The program brings together cohorts of Faculty Scholars in order to support their research, mentor their progress, and build intellectual relationships needed to grow the access to justice field. By facilitating the translation of research into policy and practice, the program generates more effective approaches to improve justice for all. More information about the program and past scholars is available here.


This non-residential scholarship is for a duration of 18 months. Scholars selected for the 2024-25 cohort will be required to attend an in-person kickoff meeting in June 2024 in Chicago, IL and will be invited to attend an optional research conference on May 8, 2024 in Detroit, MI. Over the course of the scholarship, Faculty Scholars will convene for additional in-person and virtual meetings. Throughout the term of the scholarship, each Scholar will be supported by ABF staff, personal mentors, and other experts who will offer guidance on publishing, getting research funding, and dissemination, as well as the translation of their research into policy and practice.

Financial Support

Faculty Scholars receive funds toward course reduction(s) in their usual teaching load and summer support. They have access to a research account to reimburse expenses associated with research or travel to conferences at which papers are presented. It is expected that the Faculty Scholar’s primary support (including benefits such as health insurance) will continue to be provided by their home institution.


By the end of their scholarship term, participants will submit at least one article from their access to justice research project to a peer-reviewed journal outlet and at least one proposal for research funding to a funding source external to their home institution.

Application Criteria and Selection Process

Applications from empirical scholars in a broad range of disciplines and interdisciplinary programs are welcome. Individuals from groups historically underrepresented are especially encouraged to apply. There are no citizenship requirements. Non-U.S. nationals are welcome to apply; however, the ABF is unable to sponsor an H-1B visa. Comparative research is welcome, but the proposed project must include a U.S. component that would permit the project to produce insights relevant to the U.S. context.

Applications must include:

1. a curriculum vitae;

2. a research proposal of no more than 5 pages that describes the substance and methods of the proposed research and discusses how the project will contribute (a) new scholarly understanding of access to civil justice and (b) insights for application to access to civil justice policy or practice and its role in combating poverty;

3. a letter of support from another scholar, who will provide an evaluation and endorsement of the proposed project and the benefits that the prospective Scholar and the broader community would receive from the Scholarship;

4. a letter of support from the prospective Scholar’s Dean or department head, indicating that their institution supports the application and would welcome the scholarship and facilitate its implementation at the Scholar’s institution;

5. if the proposed project requires a partner (e.g., a court, legal aid program, or community-based organization must permit access to records or observations), a letter(s) of agreement showing that the project is feasible; 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: (a) Awareness of and ability to articulate understanding regarding diversity broadly conceived, and historical, social, and economic factors that influence the under-representation of particular groups in academia. Life experience may be an important aspect of this understanding, (b) 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, (c) Specific, concrete goals, plans, and priorities for engagement on diversity, equity, and inclusion as your career goes forward.

Please submit all materials through the application portal.

Applications will be accepted through January 15, 2024. The ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program Advisory Council will review applications. Scholars will be selected on the basis of their proposed research projects. Projects must demonstrate that significant progress can be achieved during the term of the Scholarship and show clear promise along both of two dimensions: the production of social scientific discoveries relevant to understanding access to justice and the production of knowledge that can inform real world access to justice policy and practice, particularly as they relate to anti-poverty efforts. Scholarship appointments will be announced in March 2024 and selected Scholars must attend an in-person kickoff meeting June 2024.

Information on this program may also be found by visiting the ABF website.

About the Partners

The American Bar Foundation
is a Chicago-based, independent, non-profit research institute that focuses on the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law, legal institutions, and legal processes.

The JPB Foundation
is a private foundation whose mission is to advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives that empower those living in poverty, enrich and sustain our environment, and enable pioneering medical research.