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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

Earl Warren Scholarship

May 1, 2018

The application period for the 2018 - 2019 Earl Warren Scholarship is now closed.

The Earl Warren Scholarship is named for the Honorable Earl Warren, the 14th Chief Justice of the United States and former Governor of California whose stewardship of the Warren Court helped end school segregation and transform America’s legal landscape.

In honor of his memory, the Earl Warren Scholarship is awarded annually to rising law students whose commitment to racial justice reveals outstanding potential for training as civil rights and public interest attorneys. Eligible law students include those entering their first or second year of full-time legal study at an accredited law school.

LDF's Earl Warren Scholarship awards are $10,000 per year for three years (as long as scholars remain in good academic standing and continue to meet the scholarship criteria) for a total of $30,000. In addition to financial assistance, Earl Warren scholars are given two unique opportunities: (1) an LDF internship, externship, or guided research project—competitive positions that are sought out by dozens of students every year, and (2) an invitation to LDF’s Civil Rights Training Institute, an invitation-only annual civil rights conference that brings together civil rights advocates, scholars, and attorneys to discuss strategies and to network.  Final decisions are made by the first week of August. All applicants will be notified of their status. 


  • U. S. Citizen
  • College graduate; enrolled in final year of college/university, or first year law student
  • Record of academic achievement 
  • Demonstrated and ongoing commitment to racial justice and civil rights

How to Apply

IMPORTANT: We are accepting applications in email form ONLY. All nine items listed on the checklist must be attached in PDF format to one email and sent to with the heading: Earl Warren Scholarship - Last name, First name. If you need additional space in the application form, please attach a separate typed page. Applications sent to LDF in paper form or fax will NOT be accepted.

Scholarship Application Checklist - Your application must contain all nine items listed below

  • Completed Scholarship Application Form
  • Copy of acceptance letter to law school
  • 2 recommendation letters
  • Résumé
  • Copy of transcript from current college/university (finalists will be required to submit an official transcript)
  • 1 essay
  • 1 personal statement
  • Copy of LSAT score
  • Copy of your Student Aid Report [FAFSA]
  • Finalists will be required to submit a head and shoulder photograph [Passport Size] when notified

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • When is the application deadline for the Earl Warren Scholarship?
    Applications must be EMAILED by May 1, 2018. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Is there a minimum LSAT or GPA requirement to receive an Earl Warren Scholarship?
    There is no minimum test score or GPA requirement. Candidates are judged holistically and by the full sum of their achievements and contributions. Any application review will take into account a candidate’s GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, volunteer activities and personal essays; however, no single component of an application will determine a scholarship award.
  • May I apply online?
    No. You must download a “fillable” PDF application to your computer and fill in the information by typing directly onto the form. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
  • Am I eligible for a scholarship if I am not a U.S. citizen?
  • May I download an application from this website?
    Yes. Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will be available for download beginning Nov. 30.
  • May I request an application by phone or e-mail?
    Yes, you may request an application by sending a request to scholarships@naacpldf.orgThis option is only available if an applicant is unable to download the application available on this website.
  • How/when are awardees notified? Will I be notified if I don’t receive an award?
    All applicants of the Earl Warren Scholarship will be notified by the middle of August whether they do or do not receive a scholarship.
  • May I apply for a Warren Scholarship if I am not attending a law school located in the United States?
    No. Warren scholarships are only available to students who will be attending accredited law schools in the United States.
  • I will be attending an unaccredited law school next year. May I apply for a Warren Scholarship?
    No. Warren Scholarships are only available to students who will be attending accredited three-year law schools on a full time basis.