ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund


Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund





About the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship

The mission of the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund is to encourage racial and ethnic minority students to apply to law school and to provide financial assistance to ensure that these students have the opportunity to attend law school for three years.


The ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund will award $5,000 of financial assistance annually to each scholarship recipient attending an ABA-accredited law school.  An award made to an entering first-year student may be renewable for two additional years, resulting in financial assistance totaling $15,000 during his or her time in law school.  Although each recipient will need to

reapply for the scholarship in his or her second and third year, the expectation is that the scholarship will be renewed each year if satisfactory performance in law school has been achieved, the student is otherwise eligible, and funding is available.


In addition to whether the applicant is a member of a racial and/or ethnic minority that has been underrepresented in the legal profession, the applicant’s financial need; personal, family, and educational background; personal statement; and participation in community service activities will be considered in selecting the recipients of the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarships.  It is important for every applicant to complete all portions of the application.  Financial information for the applicant and his or her parents is required to evaluate the applicant’s financial need.  A committee of ABA members will select the recipients.  The decisions of the committee are final.


Requirements for Eligibility

To be eligible to receive an ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship, an applicant must meet all of the following requirements:


  1. The applicant must be an entering, first-year law student in academic year 2018.
  2. Only students beginning law school in this academic year will be eligible for a scholarship. Law students who have completed one or more semesters or years of law school are not eligible.
  3. Applicants who are part-time law students also must be starting law school in this academic year to be eligible.
  4. At the time of submission of the application, the applicant must have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 grading scale) at his or her undergraduate institution. If the applicant has not completed his or her undergraduate degree at the time the application is submitted, he or she must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 (on a 4.0 grading scale) as of the most recent completed semester.
  5. The applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America. Students who are citizens and residents of a foreign country, even if they plan to attend law school in the United States, are not eligible to apply.
  6. Before receiving scholarship funds, recipients will be required to demonstrate admission to and plans to enroll at an ABA-accredited law school. Because of the deadline for submitting applications the applicant will have applied to law schools, but may not yet have been admitted to law school.  If the applicant is selected to receive an ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship, he or she will be required to demonstrate admission to and plans to enroll at an ABA-accredited law school before receiving scholarship funds.  Students who do not enroll or who leave law school after being admitted will be required to return all or a proportional amount of scholarship funds.










Please do not include this page as part of your application.




Instructions for Completing Scholarship Application

To apply please provide the following information:


  1. Application Form. Each applicant must complete the attached application form.  Parents’ financial information is required for every scholarship applicant regardless of the student’s age, marital status, length of self-emancipation or family responsibilities.  If special circumstances exist which prevent you from providing financial information for your parents, please explain those circumstances in a separate statement.  If your parents are separated or divorced, we will require information from both biological parents.  Parents may complete separate applications, and all information will be kept confidential.


To complete the application, you must attach copies of federal income tax forms for yourself and your parents.  If you have completed your federal income tax return, please attach a copy to the application.  Because the application will be submitted before the April tax deadline, you may submit copies of your previous year tax forms if you have not completed tax forms currently due.  Please indicate in the appropriate section of the application if you or your parents are not required to complete federal income tax forms.  Each applicant is responsible for notifying the ABA Fund for Justice and Education in writing of any changes that may have an effect on their financial status.


  1. Personal statement. Please limit your personal statement to 1,000 words and use only one side of the paper. Font size must be at least 11 points.    Your personal statement is your opportunity to include information that the application form does not convey and that you feel will assist us in reaching a thoughtful decision on your application.  Examples of such information include a description of your personal strengths, your contributions through community service, a description of any special or unusual circumstances that may have affected your academic performance, or your personal and family history of educational or socio-economic disadvantage.  While this list is not all-inclusive, we offer it for you to consider the types of information that may be useful in evaluating your application.


  1. Each applicant must submit a copy of his or her transcript from his or her undergraduate institution.  If you are selected to receive a scholarship, you will be required to submit an official copy of the transcript before receiving scholarship funds.


  1. Each applicant must submit two recommendations, at least one of which should be from a professor.  If you have been out of school for a number of years and have difficulty finding an academic recommender, please substitute letters from employers and/or others who have worked closely with you.  No more than four recommendations will be considered.  Recommendation letters are particularly useful when the writer provides substantive, comparative information about the applicant’s abilities, activities and personal qualities, including specific examples that illustrate these attributes.   Recommenders may forward the recommendation to include in the package or may send separate to the email box below with the subject line:   Recommendation for (applicant’s name).


  1. Release form.  Please make sure that you sign the release form.


  1. Additional information.  Please do not send any collateral materials such as photos, articles, resumes, etc. outside of those required above. 



Application deadline:  April 6, 2018

Send completed applications to legalosf@americanbar.org

Mailed or faxed applications will not be accepted

For additional information, please refer to our website at: http://www.ambar.org/ABALOS



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