Program Description
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NOTE 

This program is not used to fund legal education tuition. It is for researchers only.  

For more information about the Research Grant Program, call 215.968.1198

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The Law School Admission Council Research Grant Program funds empirical research on legal training and legal practice broadly viewed. This includes the study of precursors to legal training (including demographic variables), all varieties of legal training itself, and the work that lawyers, judges, law teachers, and other legal professionals do after they complete their training (“law jobs”).

The program welcomes proposals for comparative research proceeding from any of a variety of methodologies, a potentially broad range of topics, and varying time frames. Proposals will be judged on the importance of the questions addressed, their relevance to the mission of LSAC, and the quality of the research designs. Eligible investigators need not be members of law school faculties. Proposals from interdisciplinary teams of law faculty and empirical researchers are strongly encouraged. Comparative proposals about topics outside the United States, Canada, and Australia should include some explicit connection to legal education or professionals within those countries.

Although the program supports only empirical research, a meritorious project could be informed by any disciplinary perspective and be guided by any of a variety of methodologies. Applicants may use methodologies derived from anthropology, criminology, demography, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Projects can be qualitative or quantitative, cross-sectional or longitudinal. They may involve surveys, experiments, correlational methods, systematic observations, ethnography, and so on. The program, however, requires that any project that is funded be planned and conducted in accordance with the best social scientific standards that are applicable to the type of research in question.

Some types of projects are not eligible for funding under this research grant program. Examples of projects that would NOT be funded include doctrinal studies (e.g., investigations into points of substantive law), curriculum development or evaluation for a particular law school, preparation of casebooks or other course-specific material, studies focused on a single law school, and evaluative studies of programs where the principal investigator is a program administrator.

Possible topics can address a broad range of issues. Click here for illustrations.

Although the program welcomes research on a variety of topics, three requests for proposals have been issued in the following areas (follow the links to view the RFP for each topic).

Who Is Eligible to Apply

The program is open to applicants from all countries. Globalization of law means globalization of research on legal institutions. Principal investigators need not be based in law schools; proposals are welcome from social, behavioral, and educational researchers of all kinds. The Grants Subcommittee encourages collaborations between those who know legal education most intimately (i.e., legal educators and administrators) and those who know most about how to design and conduct empirical research.

Grants must be made to an institution or organization, not to individuals. Entities outside the United States, Canada, and Australia are encouraged to collaborate with an institution within those countries to satisfy issues such as concern about humans as research subjects (e.g., institutional review boards).

Not eligible to receive grants from this program are members of the LSAC Board of Trustees, members of the LSAC Test Development and Research Committee or its Grants Subcommittee, and persons who had been members of one or more of those bodies within one year prior to applying for a grant.

Proposals

Proposals should include the following sections: cover sheet, summary, project description (problem statement, literature review, and research methods), work plan and timetable, dissemination plan, budget, CVs, and supporting documents. The proposal should be double-spaced and printed in a font not smaller than 12 point. To find out what you should include in your proposal, click here.

Submit 16 copies plus a copy in an IBM-compatible format to Nancy Miller, Law School Admission Council, Box 40, 662 Penn Street, Newtown, PA 18940-0040 (telephone: 215.968.1198; e-mail: ; fax: 215.968.1169). Questions should also be directed to Nancy Miller.

There are two reviewing cycles each year. The deadlines are September 1 and February 1. Decisions on proposals are expected to be made within 3-4 months following those deadlines.

Budgets

LSAC will not pay indirect costs. However, upon delivery of and acceptance of the final report of the project by the Grants Subcommittee, LSAC will make an additional payment to the grantee institution in the amount of 15 percent of the total salary and wages budgeted under the grant. LSAC will include a faculty salary budget component only if the faculty member’s home institution has granted release time for the project, and only to the extent that the amount of release time granted is appropriate to the project. For summer salaries, LSAC will approve a maximum amount of 2/9 of the faculty member’s 9-month salary.

Expectations

LSAC's expectation is that its grant funds will be used to produce valuable research of high quality, which will be published in an appropriate journal or book. Progress reports will be required of those projects planned to run for longer than one year.

The Review Process

The Grants Subcommittee consists of law faculty or administrators and social science researchers. If the proposal appears to require expertise that is not represented on the committee, it will also be reviewed by specialist reviewers outside of the committee.

Proposals will be judged on the importance of the questions addressed and the quality of their research designs.

Law School Admission Council

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is a nonprofit corporation whose members are more than 200 law schools in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Headquartered in Newtown, PA, USA, the Council was founded in 1947 to facilitate the law school admission process. The Council has grown to provide numerous products and services to law schools and to more than 85,000 law school applicants each year.

All law schools approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) are LSAC members. Canadian law schools recognized by a provincial or territorial law society or government agency are also members. LSAC is best known as the sponsor of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is required for admission to all LSAC-member law schools, and is taken by more then 150,000 people at 650 test centers worldwide each year.