Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholarships

Scholarship Value: $100,000
Awards Available: 20

The Root-Tilden-Kern Program is the nation’s premier public service scholarship. Established in 1951, the scholarship has an impressive history; and scholarship alumni are some of the most powerful public service attorneys at work today. The program covers full tuition, without regard to financial need, for three years of law school for outstanding students who promise to pursue public service.

Each year 20 scholars are selected based on three criteria: commitment to public service, academic excellence, and potential for leadership. In addition to full tuition, scholars participate in a program that nurtures future public service leaders by providing unique educational, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

The program defines public service broadly: encompassing policy and legal positions with government, non-profit organizations, academia, social entrepreneurship, community development, and law firms whose primary mission is serving the public interest.

How to Apply

Applicants are invited to apply for all of the public service scholarships that fit their interests and goals. Deferring students must reapply for scholarships in the spring preceding enrollment.

In addition to completing all of the JD application online, scholarship applicants must:

  • Submit at least one additional letter of recommendation that addresses your commitment to public service.  If one of your two letters of recommendation directly addresses your public service commitment, you may choose not to submit a third letter of recommendation.
  • Supplement your admissions personal statement with a short public service essay not to exceed 750 words. Discuss your public service commitment and goals and the factors that have most significantly influenced them, or any other aspects you consider relevant to your qualification for the scholarship(s).
  • Read and acknowledge the appropriate statements in the Scholarship Programs Section 11 of the JD application. Here, you can choose to apply to one or more of the scholarships.
  • Attach your public service essay to your JD application. Please clearly identify your scholarship essay. If you are admitted to the Law School, your entire admissions application will be submitted to and reviewed by the Root-Tilden-Kern Selection Committee.
  • The priority deadline for all programmatic scholarships is December 1, and all scholarship applications must be submitted no later than January 1. Those who are selected for interviews will be notified between February and mid-March. Interviews will be conducted in March or April 2024. Scholarship offers will be made shortly after the interviews. Finalists will be expected to respond within three days to these offers. Applicants therefore should plan to attend other schools’ admitted student days, and gather whatever other information they need, in order to make a decision about the scholarship within three days of receiving an offer.
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