Scholarship Guidelines

LGBT Public Interest Scholarship Program

Accepting Applications through April 30, 2021


The American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), as one of the four ABA Goal III Entities, leads the Association’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the Association, the legal profession and society. Created in 2007, the SOGI Commission consists of 11 commissioners and 1 chair who together decide the programs, policies and activities that will be pursued by the Commission. In the interest of promoting full diversity and inclusion, the SOGI Commission consists of a mix of LGBTQ and Heterosexual members of the legal profession.

The mission of the SOGI Commission is to secure full and equal treatment in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.


In 2019, the SOGI Commission announced the inauguration of the ABA SOGI LGBT Scholarship Program, which is aimed  at recent law students and/or law school graduates studying for the Bar who are either LGBTQ or who will be working in the LGBTQ space doing public interest work which may include, but not be limited to, working for Community Based Organizations (“CBO’s”); Non- Governmental Organizations (“NGO’s); policy work in a governmental and/or non-governmental setting; doing academic research, teaching or the like; or any other type of program that helps to promote and protect the Rule of Law and the civil and human rights of LGBTQ persons.

The Scholarship will provide financial support to a first, second or third year law student, or recent law graduate to enable the student or recent law graduate to work in the LGBT public interest arena for the Summer/Fall of 2021.

One or more scholarships of up to $5000 each will be awarded annually, subject to the availability of funds and the recommendation of the commission’s Scholarship Committee. The objective is to award the first scholarship(s) in time for the recipient(s) to utilize the funds during Summer/Fall 2021.



To be eligible, the applicant must (i) be either a first, second or third year law student in good standing in an ABA accredited law school, or a recent law graduate from an ABA accredited law school still studying for the Bar Exam. (ii) have secured an internship or job for Summer 2021 (which can extend beyond the Summer) and/or the Fall of 2021 with a public interest organization engaged in legal or policy work with a direct impact on LGBTQ individuals.

Applicants will be evaluated on the strength of their complete application and supporting materials, academic record, and demonstrated commitment to improve the legal and social standing of the LGBTQ community, including LGBTQ individuals. Every effort will be made to award two scholarships and to reflect diversity in the award recipients. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Application Process

The application process will be done online.

  1. Complete online application: 
         - Application form here.
  2. Current Resume
  3. Law School Transcript
  4. Personal Statement not exceeding 500 words
  5. Two letters of Recommendation
  6. Submit items # 2-6 via to the SOGI email.
For inquiries, email Director Skip Harsch: 

Support our LGBT Scholars

The scholarship program will help law students to pursue the promoting civil and human rights of LGBTQ persons and help  secure full and equal treatment in the legal profession and justice system.


Your charitable gift is guaranteed to make a positive difference for LGBT law students and diversifying the legal profession.

Make a charitable gift to the SOGI LGBT Scholarship Fund.