AccessLex Institute conducts research and awards grants to address some of the most critical issues facing legal education today, including: 1. enhancing access to legal education for students from diverse backgrounds; 2. increasing the affordability of a legal education; and 3. expanding the value and relevance of a legal education.
Grant Application Process
Step 1: Review funding priorities and eligibility requirements
Before submitting an application to AccessLex Institute for consideration, please review the following information.
Program Description: The Legal Education Diversity Pipeline Grant Program awards grants to current or proposed programs that provide college students and/or college graduates from historically underrepresented groups with information and resources premised on aiding their successful matriculation into law school and the legal profession. The best programs are collaborative and provide meaningful and holistic content, experiences and support, and are designed to yield measurable outcomes and scalable best practices.
We encourage applications from programs that display a collaborative approach and strong partnerships with other organizations to achieve the goal of enhancing access to legal education.
We recommend applicants review a paper commissioned by AccessLex Institute titled Diversity Pipeline Programs in Legal Education: Context, Research, and a Path Forward, prior to submitting an application. The paper provides recommendations for leaders and supporters of legal education diversity pipeline programs. The complete report is available on the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence website.
Eligibility: AccessLex Institute will review grant proposals from nonprofit educational institutions and other nonprofit and public organizations which are classified as tax-exempt under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) or as “public” charities under § 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the Code, as well as public organizations that are designated under § 170(c) of the Code. Faculty, practitioners and researchers are eligible for grants through their affiliated organization, provided that the organization maintains a qualified tax-exempt status as described above.
To be considered for funding, a proposal should fit the parameters of the Program Description above.
Award Amounts: Applicants must request funding of no less than $25,000 and no more than $125,000.
Grant Period of Performance: Applicants must propose a grant period of performance between 6 months and 24 months.
Grant Agreement: Grantees are required to enter into a written agreement for each grant awarded. This agreement describes the terms and conditions of the grant. The standard grant agreement is available for download and review in the Grantee Resources section of the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence Website.
If, after performing the above review of the proposed project, you believe the project meets all of the criteria, please move onto Step 2.
Step 2: Submit a letter of inquiry (LOI)
AccessLex Institute will accept LOIs from eligible organizations seeking funds to enhance access to legal education for students from diverse backgrounds. Generally, AccessLex will require an LOI that addresses the following questions:
- How does the work relate directly to AccessLex Institute’s funding priority of increasing access to legal education for students from diverse backgrounds? What are the intended goals and objectives of the program?
- What are the intended outcomes and how will the work achieve them? How will the outcomes be measured?
- Why is this work important to pursue at this time?
- What qualifications does the organization bring to the proposed project?
- What is the total cost of the proposed project? What amount do you seek from AccessLex Institute and for what period of time? What resources, if any, will other funders or organizations provide?
All applications must be submitted through AccessLex Institute’s online application system. Applicants are required to create an account through the system. If you have questions concerning the online application system, you may direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To ensure that you receive all correspondence regarding your proposal, please add email@example.com to your email safe senders list, address book or contacts.
AccessLex Institute accepts and reviews LOIs, and informs applicants whether they will be invited to submit a full proposal according to the schedule provided below.
Step 3: Full proposal solicitation and review process
If an LOI is selected for a full proposal request, AccessLex Institute will invite the applicant to submit a full proposal. Generally, AccessLex Institute will require a full proposal that describes the proposed project’s:
- relevance to AccessLex Institute’s funding priority;
- means to achieve the objective;
- number of students impacted;
- amount of funding requested, including a detailed budget:
- organization qualifications; and,
- a program evaluation plan.
In addition, applicants are asked to identify any provisions of the standard grant agreement that would require material changes when submitting the full application.
An invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding. AccessLex Institute will consider all invited proposals and may solicit input from relevant third parties to assist in evaluating a proposal. AccessLex Institute will make funding decisions on full proposals based on the application schedule provided below.
Grant Application Review Schedule
Letters of Inquiry and invited full proposals will be accepted and reviewed according to the following schedule:
Annual Application and Funding Cycle
Letters of Inquiry Accepted
March 1 through March 31
Proposal Invitation Notification
Prior to May 31
Full Proposal Deadline
Funding Decisions Announced
On or before September 30
AccessLex Institute reserves the right to modify or cancel this policy at any time without notice. Moreover, the existence and operation of this policy does not obligate AccessLex to offer grant funding to any applicant.
Indirect costs may not exceed 10% of total direct costs. AccessLex Institute defines indirect costs as expenses for an organization or institution to do business that are not easily attributable to a particular grant, contract, or sponsored activity because they benefit more than one project. Direct costs, on the other hand, are those that are directly attributable to the funded project. Examples of direct costs and indirect costs are provided in the table that follows:
- Salaries of project employees
- Fringe benefits of employees
- Travel for project employees
- Subgrants (work sourced from primary grantee to another organization and funding is provided upfront)
- Subcontracts (work sourced from the primary grantee to another organization and funding is based on invoicing)
- Existing facilities
- Utilities for existing facilities
- Existing information technology equipment and support
- Existing shared equipment
- Existing equipment maintenance
- Depreciation on equipment
- Communications expenses (e.g., phones)
- Administrative office supplies
- General administration support
AccessLex Institute offers the following statements for the purpose of clarity.
- AccessLex Institute reserves the right to modify or cancel this policy at any time without notice. Moreover, the existence and operation of this policy does not obligate AccessLex Institute to offer grant funding to any applicant.
- Grant funds from AccessLex Institute may not be used to support political campaigns, legislative lobbying, and building or capital campaigns;
- AccessLex Institute does not make grants directly to individuals or to for-profit organizations.
- During the pendency of any grant application, all contact with staff at AccessLex Institute relating to such application by a potential grantee should be directed to the applicable AccessLex Institute contact. Any unsolicited contact by an applicant, or any third party on the applicant’s behalf, with AccessLex Institute management or members of its Board of Directors, may weigh negatively on its review.