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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

July 15, 2015

The application for the 2015 - 2016 Earl Warren award is now closed.

Applications for the 2016 - 2017 academic year will be available on November 30, 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.

LDF's Earl Warren Scholarship awards are $10,000 per year for three years (as long as scholars remain in good academic standing) 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. The deadline for applications have been extended from June 30,2015 to July 15, 2015. Final decisions are made by the end of August 2015 whereupon all applicants will be notified of their status. 


  • U. S. Citizen
  • College graduate or enrolled in final year of college/university
  • Record of academic achievement 
  • Demonstrated and an ongoing commitment to racial justice

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 send 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 Applcation Form
  • Copy of acceptance letter to law school
  • 2 recommendation letters
  • 1 essay
  • Copy of transcript from current school (finalists will be required to submit an official transcript when notified)
  • Copy of LSAT score
  • Résumé
  • Personal statement

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • 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.
  • 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 email 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.