Free Law School Degree for aspiring civil rights attorneys


"Free" and "law degree" may not seem like they go together but they can and do. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is offering a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, and board for students planning to become civil rights lawyers.

The scholarship also includes a summer internship with national or regional civil rights organizations in the South focused on racial justice to guide training in civil rights law, a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a civil rights law organization in the South, an access to special training provided by the Legal Defense Fund and the National Academy of Sciences.

What is the NAACP legal defense fund?

The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation's original and most significant law firm dedicated to civil and human rights. It was established in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice. LDF was created during a period when the country's desire for equality and fair treatment under the law was hindered by extensive state-sponsored racial discrimination. Throughout its history, LDF has had a transformative purpose: to bring about racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university no later than September of the applying year .
  • Be admitted, or expect to be admitted, to an ABA-accredited law school as a first-year, full-time law student to begin in the fall of 2021.
  • Eligibility is limited to students beginning law school in fall of applying year.
  • Applicants do not need to designate the law school they will be attending at the time of application. All applicants that are selected are required to demonstrate admission and plans to enroll at an ABA-accredited law school prior to receiving any program funds.
  • Be eligible to work in the United States.
  • Intend to pursue a career in Civil Rights law and willing to work full-time in pursuit of racial justice in the South for 8 years immediately following the fellowship.
  • Demonstrate a sustained personal engagement in Civil Rights and racial justice in one or more of the following areas:
  • Work/Internship
  • Academic/Coursework
  • Campus Organizations
  • Community-based Organizations
  • Volunteer
  • Research

How to apply

Application Materials:

  • Personal Statement
  • Two essays
  • Undergraduate Transcript(s)
  • Résumé
  • LSAT Score or GRE Score Report
  • Three Letters of Recommendation

This scholarship opportunity will be offered for the next five years and 50 future civil rights attorneys will benefit from this generous scholarship opportunity.

The scholarship process and selection timeline:

January - Application Opens

February - Application Deadline

February/March - Phase 1 Review and Semifinalists Selected

End of March - Phase 2 Materials Due (Semifinalists)

March/April - Phase 2 Review and Finalists Selected

April/May - Finalist Interviews

Early May - Scholars Announced

This article was originally published February 25th, 2021 on

An HBCU student with scholarship application