New Scholarship Program to Train the Next Generation of Civil Rights Attorneys

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. has launched the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP), an educational and training opportunity that aims to produce the next generation of civil rights attorneys to serve Black communities in the South.

Over the next two decades, the MMSP aims to support the education and training of 50 aspiring civil rights lawyers. The program will afford participants:

  • a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, board, and incidentals — to ease the debt burden that can prevent future lawyers from pursuing a career in racial justice;
  • summer internships to begin their training as civil rights lawyers early in their law school careers;
  • a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national or regional civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South — to provide unprecedented access to professional development and skills-building, training and preparation; and
  • access to special trainings sponsored by LDF and the National Academy of Sciences.

In return, Marshall-Motley Scholars will commit to practicing civil rights law in pursuit of racial justice in the South for at least eight years following the conclusion of their fellowship. Students beginning law school in the 2021 academic year are eligible to apply.

“For 80 years, LDF has been at the forefront of developing and supporting many of our nation’s legendary civil rights lawyers and leaders. The Marshall-Motley Scholars Program is the next phase of our commitment to identify and invest in a new generation of brilliant minds who have a deep personal desire to bring about racial justice in the South,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s president and director-counsel.

Ifill graduated from Vassar College in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She earned a juris doctorate from New York University School of Law in 1987. Before being named president and director-counsel of the LDF, Ifill served on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore for 20 years.

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