Law Students

Utilize Scholarship Options to Pay for Law School
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Summary: Don’t just give up and borrow student loans to pay for your schooling, find scholarships that you can apply for to help offset the cost.

There are several options to pay for law school besides just student loans. Generally, students only take out student loans or borrow money from family, when that is an option, but using scholarships is a great way to bring the cost of a legal education down. U.S. News lays out the options and resources that law schools


Most law schools offer merit scholarships. New York University School of Law provides the Furman Academic Scholars Program scholarships for students interested in teaching and Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholarships for students interested in public service.

At the University of Texas-Austin School of Law has a range of need- and merit-based scholarships like the Equal Justice Scholarship for students with the goal of working with low-income individuals or groups after graduation. Duke Law School offers the Mordecai Scholarship, which is a full-tuition award given to four to eight students each year. Whichever law school you are considering, research what kinds of scholarships the school offers.

There are other scholarships besides the ones that law schools offer for need- and merit-based students. With the cost of law school being a big obstacle, fully assessing the options for funding is critical for students. Often, these other scholarships will be for smaller amounts but every little bit adds up to make a big difference in the end. There are numerous websites out there that can be used to find scholarships and apply to them when the criteria match your qualifications, including, Discover Law, ScholarshipsOwl, and more.

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Private and nonprofit organizations are some of those that offer up scholarships and grants. This includes the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, UpCounsel, BARBRI, and the Federal Communications Bar Association Foundation.

The American Bar Association directs students to their various ABA specialty entities. For example, the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund gives $15,000 to 20 incoming diverse students over the course of their three years of school. The Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association offers $10,000 to diverse first-year students.

Law firms, especially the larger ones, are also known to offer grants to law students. Usually, when law firms give out these grants to a student or students, they are then expected to work for the firm during the summer or in a part-time role during the school year. This can be especially valuable because of the experience gained as well as prospects for a job after graduation and networking opportunities. Most organizations will consider financial need first but academic credentials and diversity are important factors as well for law firms. Some law firms offer scholarships that are directed to students at specific law schools.

Another place to find scholarships are country and state-specific organizations. Residence will be a big factor in eligibility but it’s a great place to turn. The Rhode Island Bar Foundation’s Thomas F. Black, Jr. Memorial Scholarship gives $20,000 to first-year full-time law students who are also Rhode Island residents. Alabama has a scholarship called the Cabaniss Johnston Scholarship worth $5,000 for second-year Alabama resident law students.

For the country-specific scholarships, options include the Serbian Bar Association of America, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Vietnamese American Bar Association, and more. For new members of the country, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans goes to 30 new Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants pursuing graduate programs. The recipients are given up to $25,000 in stipends and up to 50 percent of tuition and fees for one to two years.

Do you think applying for scholarships is worth the time? How many should a student aim to apply for? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about paying for law school, read these articles:



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