Supporting the Nation's Judicial System & the Public it Serves


Request For Concept Papers: Self-Represented Litigation In The State Courts

SJI is accepting concept papers to address self-represented litigation in the state courts – one of SJI’s new Priority Investment Areas. SJI is seeking to fund project(s) that are innovative and national or statewide in scope, and will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the state courts in addressing this critical issue. Some examples include (but are not limited to) unique approaches to maximizing court self-help centers and court-based volunteer attorney programs, and application of technology solutions to improve access for self-represented litigants and the state courts.

Applicants must follow the guidelines.

Concept papers will be reviewed and the SJI Board will decide which potential project(s) merit further exploration and possible funding. Concept papers must adhere to the guidelines below and address issues of content specified in this request. In addition, SJI may have additional requirements should the project(s) be funded. SJI’s Grant Guideline will govern any award(s). The project(s) will be funded as a Strategic Initiatives Grant (SIG).

Concept papers are due to SJI via mail by February 15, 2012. Submit one original and two hard copies. The Board will make final decisions on award(s) by the end of April 2012.

If you have questions regarding this solicitation, please email or call 571-313-8843.


Concept papers must not exceed more than 2 pages in length. All papers should be on official letterhead, structured according to the four sections below.

Section I: Organization Information

Provide the following information about your organization in narrative form:

  • Name of organization and mission;
  • Services provided and target population;
  • Current organizational budget;
  • Tax Status (nonprofit, government agency, etc.); and
  • Any work performed in the past 5 years in partnership, or on a contract basis with the state courts.

Section II: Project Description

Provide the following information about your proposed project in narrative form:

  • Summarize in not more than one page your project; include its goals, target population, your capacity to provide the services, etc.;
  • Specify whether this project has national, state, and/or local significance, and to what extent this project could be replicated;
  • Identify any state court support specific to this project that has already been secured;
  • List your measurable outcomes and briefly describe how you will evaluate impact;

Section III: Budget Information

In narrative form, provide information specific to only this proposed project:

  • Dollar amount requested from SJI and number of months required for this project;
  • Total cost of the project (if different from requested amount);
  • Specify when your most recent audit was performed and if there were any findings.

Section IV: Contact Information and Authorization

Provide the following information as part of the overall concept paper:

Contact Information for Project Lead:

  • Full Name, Title
  • Phone and Fax Numbers
  • Mailing Address
  • E-mail Address
  • Organizational Website

SJI may seek additional information during the concept review process. It is important that the P.O.C. for the proposed project be available to respond in a timely manner.