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About the Program

The Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP or the Program) is an innovative scholarship program designed to produce a highly skilled cadre of racial justice attorneys committed to working in the Southern region of the United States.

The MMSP will afford Program participants:

(1) a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, board and incidentals—to alleviate the debt burden that can prevent future lawyers from pursuing a career in racial justice;

(2) summer internships at the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and at peer organizations to begin their training as civil rights lawyers early in their law school careers;

(3) a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national, regional, or local civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South—to provide unprecedented access to educational advancement and skill-building, training, and preparation; and

(4) access to special LDF trainings.

In return, Program participants commit to practice civil rights law in pursuit of racial justice in the South for eight years following the conclusion of their fellowship.

Application Deadline

February 23, 2021 at 5 PM EST

For those currently experiencing technical difficulties due to the winter storm conditions and power outages in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you, or your letter writers, are having issues submitting your application materials.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to participate in the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP), applicants 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 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 2021. Law students who have completed one or more semesters of law school or who intend to defer enrollment are not eligible.
  • Part-time law students are not eligible.
  • Applicants do not need to designate the law school they will be attending at the time of application. Many applicants may not be admitted to law school at the time they submit their MMSP application. However, all applicants that are selected to participate in the MMSP are required to demonstrate admission and plans to enroll at an ABA-accredited law school prior to receiving any program funds.
  1. Be eligible to work in the United States.
  2. 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 a period of 8 years immediately following the fellowship portion of the MMSP.
  3. 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

Application Materials

Click here for instructions regarding the content and format of application materials and how to apply online.

A complete application package should be completed online  and will include the following components:
  1. Contact and Demographic Information 
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Essays (2)
  4. Undergraduate Transcript(s)
  5. Résumé
  6. LSAT Score or GRE Score Report
  7. Letters of Recommendation (3)

Review Process and Selection Timeline

January 18, 2021 - Application Opens
February 23, 2021 - Application Deadline (5 PM EST)
February/March - Phase 1 Review and Semifinalists Selected
March/April - Phase 2 Review and Finalists Selected
April/May - Finalist Interviews
- Scholars Announced 


Please send inquiries regarding the online application to or call 202-334-3478. For browser compatibility questions, please see this webpage. Program questions should be directed to