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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

Please note:

The Earl Warren Scholarship application process for  the 2015-2016 academic year will begin on

March 9, 2015

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 social justice reveals outstanding potential for training as civil rights and public interest attorneys. Preference is generally given to law students entering their first year of full-time legal study at an accredited law school.


Warren Scholarships are awarded to law school applicants with exceptional academic records who are actively engaged with civil rights and public interest work.  Applicants for Warren Scholarships must be able to demonstrate a well-defined interest in civil rights through their academic records and personal essays.

Warren Scholarship recipients must be of excellent character and must have a verifiable record of community and school involvement that reveals a clear capacity to work well in diverse settings. Moreover, s/he must provide strong recommendations from teachers, community representatives, or employers.

To apply for a Warren Scholarship, applicants must be college graduates. Law students already enrolled in law school are ineligible to apply.

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Successful applicants must be planning to attend a three-year, full time law program at an accredited law school in the United States for the upcoming academic year.

How to Apply

Beginning March 9, our fillable PDF application will be available for download for the academic year.  Please note applicants may type directly onto the Warren Scholarship application form, save their information on that form and edit it as they see fit. Warren applications should not be filled in by hand. If you are unable to download the application, please send a note of inquiry to the scholarship programs at or by writing to:

The Earl Warren Legal Training Program
c/o NAACP LDF Scholarship Programs
40 Rector Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10006

You must include an email address with your note. 

Applicants are expected to give considerable care to the preparation of their application, including their essays and supporting documents. They should remember the following:

  • Applications that are incomplete, late or do not otherwise conform to instructions, will not be reviewed.
  • Applications and supporting materials must be received (postmarked) by June 30.
  • Final decisions on applications are not usually made before August 31 each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the application deadline for the Earl Warren Scholarship?
    Applications must be returned (or post-marked) by June 1. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Are essays required as a part of the Lehman and Warren applications?
    Yes. Both the Lehman Scholarship and the Earl Warren Scholarship require two essays of approximately 500 words each. You may pick two of four essay topics. Keep in mind that the essays provide you with an opportunity to tell us something about yourself that cannot be determined from your academic record and recommendations.
  • Who can write my letters of recommendation?
    We ask for three letters of recommendation and ask that at least one be from a professor, teacher, principal or high school guidance counselor. You may also provide letters of recommendation from an employer, clergy member, coach, or mentor. We do not accept letters of recommendations from friends or family.
  • 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 2015-2016 academic year will be available for download beginning March 9.
  • May I request an application by phone or e-mail?
    Yes, you may request an application by email by sending a request to option is only available if an applicant is completely unable to download the application available on this website. In such rare events, applications will be sent to the applicant as a fillable PDF to the email address of his or her choice.
  • May I fax or email my application to LDF?
  • I am currently a first year in law school or am planning to transfer to a different program. May I still apply for a Warren Scholarship?
    No. Warren Scholarships are only available to students applying to law school for the first time.
  • How/when are awardees notified? Will I be notified if I don’t receive an award?
    Applicants for the Earl Warren Scholarship will be notified by mail by August 31. You will be notified regardless of the ultimate decision on your application.
  • 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 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 three-year law schools on a full time basis. Any other programs or types of study will make an applicant ineligible to receive or apply for a Warren Scholarship.
  • What is the amount of an average Warren scholarship award? Is the award renewable for each year that I am in school?
    Generally, Warren Scholarships provide $3,000 annual grants. All awards may be renewed for each year of law school provided the student continues full-time study, remains in good academic standing with his or her law school, and fulfills all other program requirements.
  • I am over 21 years-old and my parents are not contributing any financial support towards funding my education. Do I still need to fill in their financial contribution information on my application?
    No. If you are over 21 years of age and/or if you are certain that your parents will not be contributing financially to your higher education costs, whether undergraduate or law school, you do not need to fill in the parental contribution section.