Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Robert M. Helfend is offering a $500 scholarship to one undergraduate or law school student in the United States.

Robert attended the University of California-Berkeley as an undergraduate and completed his law degree at the Pepperdine University School of Law. He has practiced as a criminal defense attorney exclusively since 1984, representing a range of clients in more than three decades in the courtroom, and he values the selflessness, hard work and dedication it requires to pursue a career in criminal defense. He would like to reward students pursuing a career in criminal defense.

The scholarship is based on an essay, which should be no longer than 600 words.


Only those that follow all requirements listed below will be considered. To be eligible for the Robert M. Helfend Law School Scholarship, applicants must be currently enrolled in law school or currently enrolled in their undergraduate with the intent to pursue law school post graduation. Only full-time students are eligible to receive the Robert M. Helfend Law School Scholarship. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Only applications received by February 15, 2022 with submitted documents will be reviewed. The winner will be notified by email the following month.

To Apply:

Submit via email to rmh.scholarship@gmail.com with the following requirements.

Your email subject line must read: “Your Name – Scholarship Application”

1)      Cover Letter (w/Name, Email, Phone, etc)

  • Where are you enrolled?
  • Planned year of graduation
  • Undergraduate degree earned (if applicable)

2)      Proof of Enrollment (Choose One) 

  • Proof of Law School Enrollment or
  • Proof of Undergraduate Studies Enrollment with written explanation/intent of law school post graduation.

3)      400-600 Word Essay 

Choose one from the following topics below:

  • Representing underserved communities in the criminal justice system
  • Equal protection under the law in modern day practice
  • State vs Federal Law: Is marijuana illegal?

Selection Process:

All entries received by the scholarship deadline will be reviewed by our selection committee.  Each committee member will then choose their favorite entry to be placed on the voting ballot.  Once the ballot is created each committee member can campaign and discuss with their fellow selection committee members on behalf of their favorite entry.  At which point any selection committee member can call for a vote and at that time each selection committee member will cast their vote for their favorite.  The winning entry will then be reviewed by Robert Helfend who can then choose to either reward the winning vote the Helfend Scholarship, or review the top 3 voted entries and assign one of the top 3 the Helfend Scholarship.

2021 Winner

Congratulations to University of San Diego 3L student Rolaine Castro, the 2021 winner of the Robert M. Helfend Criminal Defense Scholarship.

2020 Winner

Congratulations to Buffalo Law 3L student Natalia Marte, who is the 2020 winner of the Robert M. Helfend Criminal Defense Scholarship!

2019 Winner

Congratulations to Harvard Law 1L student Kiah Duggins, who is the 2019 winner of the Robert M. Helfend Criminal Defense Scholarship!  We wish you the best of luck on your upcoming studies.