Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2021 Legal Writing Scholarship Grants

The Legal Writing Institute (LWI), the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), and LexisNexis have announced the 2021 Legal Writing Scholarship Grants for teachers of legal research and writing.  These research grants enable gifted educators to spend their summers exploring scholarly ideas and producing scholarship that will assist others in the field of legal research and writing. While preference is given to proposals in the field of legal research and writing, consideration will be given to all proposals from legal research and writing professionals if the proposals are related to legal research and writing or inform the teaching of legal research and writing. The grants provide evidence of the three organizations’ support for the scholarly pursuits of legal research and writing professionals. 

In the past, the grants have varied from $2,000 to $10,000. The number of grants awarded depends on the quality of the applications and funds available. In 2020, LWI and ALWD cooperatively evaluated and awarded grants to three applicants.

The joint LWI-ALWD committee awarding grants consists of two groups that function independently. Committee members are either voters or mentors for the grant applicants. Voters review and score grant applications with no information about the identities of the applicants. Applicants may approach the mentors for advice on the grant application.  Mentors will not score applications or participate in any way in deciding who receives a grant. 

Application Procedures

  1. Eligibility: The grants are open to both full-time and adjunct teachers of legal writing and research. Teachers who have previously received a scholarship grant are ineligible for this program for three years after they have received such a grant. LWI and ALWD Board members, officers, and members of the Joint LWI-ALWD Scholarship Committee or the LWI Scholarship Development Committee are ineligible to participate until they have been out of those positions for a full academic year.  LWI, ALWD and LexisNexis encourage proposals from both veteran professionals and those new to the field. 

LWI, ALWD and LexisNexis specifically encourage proposals by faculty from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups and from those who have not, for example, received grants, presented in panels, or published in the past. LWI, ALWD, and LexisNexis recognize the historical inequalities that pervade the legal profession and the legal academy and affirms its commitment to contributing to a legal writing discipline that is equitable and inclusive. They further recognize that increasing diversity brings added intellectual, scholarly, cultural, social, and economic benefits to the academic and lawyering communities. 

  1. Deadline: Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. East Coast Time on February 22, 2021.  Please email the application as a Word document to: Susan Chesler, chesler@asu.edu, Sarah Morath, moraths@wfu.edu, and Jane Grisé, jane.grise@uky.edu
  1. Application materials: The Grant Application Form is available by email from Susan Chesler, chesler@asu.edu, Sarah Morath, moraths@wfu.edu, or Jane Grisé, jane.grise@uky.edu.
  1. Where to get help: If you would like a mentor for your grant application, please contact Sarah Morath, moraths@wfu.edu
  1. Review Process and Standards: The Proposal Description of the Grant Application Form, including the Detailed Description/Abstracts, will be blindly reviewed by the non-mentoring members of the Joint LWI-ALWD Scholarship Committee.  Personal information will be removed from the application before voters see it. 

The non-mentoring committee members will rank and rate the applications. First, they will  consider whether the applications meet the following requirements:

  • Is the proposed work related to Legal Writing?
  • Is the scope of the project realistic?
  • Is the work likely to be published?

In addition, the non-mentoring committee members will consider the following:

  • Is the proposal well thought-out and well written?
  • Are there appropriate research sources?
  • Is the topic interesting and will it appeal to targeted readers?
  • Is the topic one that has previously been covered in the relevant literature?  If so, does the proposed work add something substantive to the discussion?
  • Are the research methods (empirical research, multi-disciplinary research, statistical analysis, traditional legal research) chosen likely to result in a good quality written product?

Once the voters have scored and ranked the anonymous applications and have made their recommendations, the Joint Scholarship Committee will forward those recommendations to the LWI and ALWD Boards of Directors who make the final grant decisions. The Boards will, at the time they make their selections, have access to the information on the application forms in order to balance substantive review of the projects with due consideration for need (as reflected by eligibility for research grants at one’s own institution). 

Whether a person is eligible for funding from their own school is a significant factor for the Boards to weigh when awarding the grants. If a successful grant winner receives funding from another source after receiving a grant, the grant will be reduced by the amount of that funding. Recipients, however, may continue to publicize their status as a grant recipient in CVs or other documents.

  1. Selection date and grant disbursement: The committee will announce recipients of the research grants by May 3, 2021. At the time of selection, 40% of the research-grant award will be paid to each grant recipient. The grant recipient will receive the remaining 60% of the award when the article has been accepted for publication.  Grant recipients should submit the completed article to the Joint LWI-ALWD Scholarship Committee along with a copy of the acceptance for publication.
  1. Mentors: At the time that the awards are announced, each grant recipient will be assigned a mentor by the Joint Scholarship Committee. This mentor, chosen based upon the topic of the proposed scholarly work or any other criteria mutually agreed upon by the applicant and the Committee, will provide the recipient with guidance and assistance in developing the project through to completion and placing it for publication. 
  1. Formalities: Grant winners should thank both LWI & ALWD for the grant in the footnotes of the article. Recipients of the LexisNexis funding should thank that organization.
  1. Publication rights: Grant winners should negotiate permission from the publisher to post the article on the LWI & ALWD websites.  This requirement can be waived if it would prevent placing the article in a well-regarded publication or require that the author purchase rights. 
  1. Reporting requirement: Every June 1 and December 1, until the grant recipient publishes the article, the grant recipient will submit a written progress report to the Co-Chairs of the Joint LWI-ALWD Scholarship Grant Committee. 
  1. Time limit for completing the article: The time limit for completing the article for which the recipient is awarded a scholarship grant is 24 months. Completed, for the purposes of the grant, means that the article has been accepted for publication.

Adapted from an announcement from LWI and ALWD.



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