The National Criminal Defense College has been engaged in the highest level of skills-based training in the country for thirty-five years. Our incredibly gifted faculty selflessly shares their ideas, experiences and feedback with every participant who steps through our doors.

We dream of a day when every defender can attend the Trial Practice Institute no matter their financial circumstances.  That day has not yet come but we have many scholarship opportunities for those in need of financial support.

Follow these simple steps:

1.  Determine whether your state has an Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (ACDL) scholarship, or some other scholarship program, and apply.  See the list of scholarships available per state here.

2. If appropriate, consider applying for any of the following scholarships via the TPI Application:

  • Deryl Dantzler Scholarship: If you have a unique and compelling story about why you want to attend TPI
  • Ramon Alvarado Memorial Scholarship: For Asian or LatinX applicants
  • ACTL Scholarship: If you are experiencing difficult financial circumstances
  • Carl Maxey Scholarship: For members of the Black Public Defenders Association

National Criminal Defense College is privileged to partner with a number of other organizations to provide scholarships for Trial Practice Institute Participants. 

Deryl Dantzler Fund

The Deryl Dantzler Fund was established in 2016 as a way to honor the vision and leadership of NCDC’s legendary founder, Deryl Dantzler. Selected applicants are awarded full tuition and housing costs to attend the annual Deryl Dantzler Trial Practice Institute. The award is very prestigious.

American College of Trial Lawyers

The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) provides a generous donation which enables NCDC to grant scholarships to Trial Practice Institute applicants who demonstrate a financial need and an outstanding commitment to criminal defense.  This scholarship is administered directly by NCDC.

The Carl Maxey Scholarship

This scholarship will be awarded to a member of the Black Public Defender Association. It will be funded by the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho in honor of the life and work of Carl Maxey, a legendary civil rights attorney in Spokane, Washington. The scholarship is administered by NCDC and will pay full tuition, accommodations and travel expenses for the recipient.



The Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association awards two full tuition and housing scholarships to selected ACDLA member applicants.  


The Al Horn Scholarship from the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (honoring the late Al Horn, a founding member of GACDL) awards scholarships to GACDL members each year who are graduates of GACDL’s Bill Daniel Trial Advocacy Program.


The Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers funds two full tuition and housing scholarships for two participants from Kansas chosen by the organization.


Camille Gravel Scholarship Fund – Scholarship founded in honor of the late political and legal giant Camille Gravel out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Administered in cooperation with the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  Certain eligibility requirements apply.


The Committee for Public Counsel funds multiple selected lawyers who provide indigent defense in Massachusetts.  

Essex County Bar Advocates funds two selected lawyers from their ranks to attend the Trial Practice Institute.


Fiedler Fund of Nebraska (in honor of the late Don Fiedler, a longtime NCDC faculty member and lion of the bar):  Eligible participants are selected each year and fully funded for all expenses to attend the Trial Practice Institute.

Learn more about Don Fiedler at the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association site. 

Donate to the Don Fiedler Scholarship Fund here. 


The Leroy Arrascada Memorial Scholarship is funded by donations from attorneys in the Washoe County Public Defender. It covers tuition and housing expenses for selected attorneys from the Washoe County Public Defender. The scholarship is named in honor of the late Leroy Arrascada, a former President of the Washoe County Bar Association, one of the founding members of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, and a true gentleman of the profession.

Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice awards a full tuition and housing scholarship to a Nevada attorney.

New York

The Jack T. Litman Twelve Angry Men Scholarship (sponsored by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) covers tuition annually for one Trial Practice Institute attendee. The Scholarship is funded by monies raised by the Association’s production of Twelve Angry Men which was performed by Martin B. Adelman, William I. Aronwald, Robert Fogelnest, Lawrence S. Goldman, Jack Hoffinger, Michael Kennedy, the late Gerald Labush, the late Jack T. Litman, Robert Morvillo, Gustave Newman, Murray Richman and Luther C. Williams, Jr. The scholarship is named in honor of the late Jack T. Litman, a lifetime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers known for his tireless commitment to justice and teaching other lawyers the art of advocacy.


Friends to the Indigent in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a privately funded scholarship started by TPI alumni in Cincinnati, Ohio.  They found the experience so impactful that they wanted to “pay it forward.”  The scholarship is awarded to both private and public defense counsel.  Private defense counsel are not only provided with tuition and housing, but also receive a stipend to offset lost earnings during the program.


Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association,  Provides $500 tuition credit to members of the organization. 

Pennsylvania (Dauphin County)

Robert N. Tarman Memorial Scholarship:  Awarded by the Dauphin County Bar Association in honor of the late Robert N. Tarman, a long time public defender and public advocate from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Harrisburg). It covers full tuition and housing expenses for a Dauphin County lawyer.

Rhode Island

The William Reilly Scholarship – The Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Association William Reilly Scholarship funds tuition, housing and travel expenses for two Rhode Island lawyers selected to attend the Trial Practice Institute. The scholarship is named to honor the late William Reilly, Sr., the longtime Chief Public Defender for Rhode Island called one of Rhode Island’s most respected advocates for the poor.


The Matt Harnett Scholarship – The Vermont Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers funds one or more of its members to attend the Trial Practice Institute in honor of Matt Harnett who passed away in 2012. Matt was an active and long-term member of VTACDL remembered as a zealous advocate for his clients and one of the best trial lawyers in Vermont.   

Virginia (Alexandria)

The Alexandria Group – A group of Trial Practice Institute alumni from the Alexandria, Virginia Public Defender’s Office pool resources to enable other public defenders from their office to attend the Trial Practice Institute.


The Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers sponsors full tuition and housing expenses for one or more of its members.

The Judy Clarke Public Service Scholarship and the John Adams Memorial Scholarship (created by the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington & Idaho) awards a full tuition and housing scholarship to a CJA panel attorney and a public defender from their district. Judy Clarke is a nationally renowned attorney who represents defendants charged in some of the most challenging cases. She was one of the original board members of the National Criminal Defense College. The late John Adams served as the Kootenai County (Idaho) Public Defender’s Office for over twenty years.


Robin Shellow Memorial Scholarship Fund of Wisconsin: Awarded to a public defender from Wisconsin. Covers up to full tuition and housing expenses. Funded by private donations. Robin Shellow was the youngest daughter of founding NCDC Board member James Shellow. She was an attorney in private practice Milwaukee Wisconsin who died in 2021.  An article about Robin can be found here.


“You folks not only taught skills, but you have imparted great confidence. I can’t thank you enough.”