Marshall Motley Scholarship in Law for Undergraduates

The Marshall Motley Scholarship is an initiative that aims to develop a highly trained cadre of racial justice attorneys dedicated to working in the United States’ Southern area. Participants who are chosen will be eligible for several perks, including full scholarships and internship opportunities.

The scholarship program, recently founded by the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF), is named after civil rights icons Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley. Its goal is to pave the road for leadership, self-sufficiency, and socioeconomic advancement.

If you are a law undergraduate in the South who profoundly cares about racial justice, this is the scholarship for you. Learn more about the requirements, application, and timeline of the Marshall Motley Scholarship in this handy guide.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Marshall Motley Scholarship
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About Marshall Motley Scholarship

The Marshall Motley Scholarship is a ground-breaking commitment to training the next generation of civil rights attorneys in the South to offer unrivaled legal representation. It aims to eliminate the racial and financial hurdles that commonly dissuade students from pursuing careers as civil rights attorneys.

In the South, where most Black Americans live, the program also strives to assist and train the next generation of civil rights lawyers.

Additionally, it is dedicated to finding and investing in the next generation of aspiring attorneys passionate about racial justice in the South and considers this work a personal and professional vocation.

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The scholarship program will invest over the next several years in forming a corps of fifty civil rights attorneys who will advocate on behalf of Black communities in the South, seeking racial justice and equity.

Upon receiving the scholarships, qualifying candidates will commit a total of 13 years to the program, including:

  • Three years as a full-time law student
  • Two years in a post-law school fellowship
  • Eight years practicing civil rights law in the pursuit of racial justice in the southern United States

Program Benefits

Candidates who meet the eligibility requirements will receive:

  • A full law school scholarship for tuition, room, and board, and incidentals to alleviate the debt burden that can prevent them from pursuing a career as a civil rights lawyer;
  • Summer internships with national and regional civil rights organizations with offices in the South focused on racial justice to jumpstart training in civil rights law;
  • Two-year postgraduate fellowship at civil rights law organizations in the South, fighting to achieve racial justice; and
  • Access to exceptional pieces of training sponsored by LDF and the National Academy of Sciences.

Marshall Motley Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to participate in the scholarship program, you must:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university no later than September 2021
  2. Be admitted, or expect to be accepted, to an ABA-accredited law school as a first-year, full-time law student to begin in the fall of 2021
  3. Be eligible to work in the United States
  4. Intend to pursue a career in Civil Rights law and, if awarded, will work full-time in pursuit of racial justice in a southern state for eight years immediately following the fellowship portion of the Marshall Motley Scholarship
  5. Be able to describe in their application their 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
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You don’t need to designate the law school you will be attending at the time of application. In fact, you may not be admitted to law school at the time you submit your application.

However, suppose you are selected to participate in the program. In that case, you are required to demonstrate admission and plans to enroll at an ABA-accredited law school before receiving any program funds.

Marshall Motley Scholarship Application

The selection process begins with the online application. You need to complete the application by including the following documents:

  1. Contact information
  2. Demographic information
  3. A personal statement of up to 1500 words describing the uniqueness of your character, your background, experiences, accomplishments, and interests
  4. An essay of up to 1500 words that articulates your understanding and passion for racial justice
  5. Transcripts
  6. Resume
  7. LSAT/GRE report
  8. Three letters of recommendation
  9. Written answers of two short questions up to 500 words
  10. Videos of up to three minutes addressing the given prompt

Next, you will be invited for an interview if you successfully pass the first phase. At this point, no additional material is required. However, note that the interview is one of the most critical aspects of the Marshall Motley Scholarship selection process.

Each finalist will interview with a panel of former and current LDF attorneys, leading civil rights attorneys, and leaders in the legal profession. Ideally, each finalist will be interviewed personally at one of the LDF offices. However, if necessary, LDF will conduct the interviews virtually.

Closing Date

Submit your application no later than 11:59 pm in the time where you are located on February 11th. The Marshall Motley Scholarship application window opens every November 1st. You will be invited for an interview in March if you are shortlisted as the finalist. The final decision will be announced in April.

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Contact Details

If you have additional questions regarding the program and the application procedure, please send your inquiry to However, you may want to read the frequently asked questions regarding the Marshall Motley Scholarship on this page first before submitting your email.

Marshall Motley Scholarship Official Website

Apply to or learn more about the Marshall Motley Scholarship at

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