Like many other professional degrees, law school is known to be very expensive but potentially lucrative. Lawyers are one of the highest paid professionals in the United States today. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average law student will graduate with over $140,000 in debt. This is where law school scholarships can come into play and help you get your JD (Juris Doctor). Read on to find out how to get scholarships and financial aid to fund law school!
Best Scholarships for Law Students in 2022
$1,000 New York Law Scholarship
Eligibility: Black law students in New York
Deadline: March 30, 2022
Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship
Eligibility: Open to students pursuing a career in law. Standardized test scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, volunteer activities, financial need, and essays are considered.
Deadline: April 1, 2022
Amount: $2,000 per year for four years
No-Essay WiseGeek Diversity in Law Scholarship
Eligibility: Prospective ethnic minority law students at all levels of study
Deadline: April 16, 2022
Eligibility: Law students who are committed to racial justice and entering their first or second year of full-time study at an accredited law school. Standardized test scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and volunteer activities are considered.
Deadline: May 1, 2022
Amount: $30,000 ($10,000 per year for 3 years)
Eligibility: Sophomores and residents of the State of Alabama
Deadline: June 3, 2022
When There Are Nine Scholarships Project (WTAN Scholarship)
Eligibility: Women with documented financial need that have been accepted into an ABA Accredited J.D. program
Deadline: June 15 of each year
Amount: $10,000 per academic year. Mentors are assigned to recipients to provide guidance and support throughout their legal studies and early career.
Other Scholarships for Law Students
The scholarships above are all specific to JD applicants, but there are other scholarships designed for graduate students in general. These graduate scholarships are definitely worth checking out if you are looking for new scholarship opportunities. You can also check out our general guide to graduate school financial aid opportunities.
How to Win Merit Scholarships for Law School
As mentioned above, most scholarships for law students are awarded by individual law schools. Here are some tips to make sure you’re competing for merit-based scholarships.
Prepare for your LSAT
The LSAT is the entrance exam administered by law schools in the United States. The LSAT carries a lot of weight in the law school admission and scholarship process. For context, the highest possible LSAT score is 180. If you’re planning on going to law school, it’s important to take the time to prepare for the LSAT and maybe even take a prep course to make sure you’re ready.
Choose the Right Law Schools
Not all law schools award a large number of scholarships. Therefore, it’s important that you choose the right law schools that give aid to a high percentage of students. These law schools provide strong financial aid programs ranging from partial scholarships to full tuition and awards that go beyond full tuition.
Our advice is to identify law schools where your LSAT score is close to the 75th percentile published by the law school. This gives you a good idea of the schools where you are a good candidate for the merit-based scholarships.
Also, you should take a close look at admission to graduate school and the placement of law graduates. This will help you evaluate how this particular JD program could be profitable for you. Remember that lawyers’ salaries are not equal. The average corporate attorney earns a much higher salary than a public defender. Keep this in mind when evaluating entry-level salary data points.
Don’t Forget Need-Based Aid
Merit scholarships are only part of law school funding. The other part of the equation is need-based financial aid, which includes need-based student loans and scholarships. For this reason, we encourage all law students to apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
This gives you access to federal student loans, which have more favorable terms and repayment options, as well as other types of grants like Pell Grants.
Take Advantage of In-State Tuition
There are more than 80 public law schools accredited by the American Bar Association. So there is a chance that one of your state universities has a law school. One of the advantages of public universities is that they offer reduced tuition to residents of their state!
In-State tuition for residents is a huge discount on tuition at many universities and colleges, so be sure to consider this. Some states also have reciprocal student agreements, so as an out-of-state student you may be eligible for in-state tuition.
School-Specific Legal Scholarships
Santa Clara Law School Dean’s Scholarship: Offers up to full tuition for one student. Automatic consideration when submitting an application
University of Minnesota Law Scholarships – Awarding up to full tuition to incoming students
University of Chicago David M. Rubenstein Scholarship – Offers up to 60 full scholarships at University of Chicago per year
University of Virginia Karsh-Dillard Scholarship – Awards up to full tuition for University of Virginia law students
Boston University Law School Dean’s Scholarship – Awards full scholarships to a select number of students
Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz Merit Scholarship – Full tuition plus $2,500 annual scholarship for select law students
Scalia Law Scholars Early Decision Program – Students entering George Mason Scalia Law School with an early decision may qualify for a full scholarship
University of Arizona Techlaw Scholarship – Law students with STEM backgrounds are eligible for full tuition plus a scholarship at the University of Arizona
University of Colorado Boulder Law Scholarships – The University of Colorado Boulder offers many scholarships for freshmen and full scholarships for promising trainees.
Frequently Asked Questions About Law School Scholarships
Is it difficult to get a scholarship to study law?
It isn’t uncommon for law schools to offer scholarships. In 2019, 73.3 percent of law students received some form of financial aid. However, this does not mean that obtaining financial aid for law school is easy. You need to look for opportunities and apply.
Law schools often offer scholarships in the form of fellowships. Many law students work for a law firm, an NGO or get a job as a research assistant during their studies. This makes law school more affordable and provides students with valuable work experience.
When Should You Apply For Law Scholarships?
It is never too early or too late to apply for a law school scholarship! If you plan to go straight to law school after college, you can look for opportunities during the summer before your senior year. This allows you to explore application possibilities and start working on your essays throughout the year.
But once the year has started, don’t stop applying! New possibilities are constantly opening up. So, to maximize your scholarship funds, be sure to regularly check back for new ones.
Does FAFSA Pay for Law School?
If you are applying for law school financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Law students are eligible for federal student loans through the FAFSA. However, they are not eligible for Pell grants. Although the FAFSA is useful for applying to law school, it does not provide you with direct federal funds. Your FAFSA qualifies you for student loans and institutional aid.
How Common is it to Get a full Ride for Law School?
Generally, full rides in education are very rare. However, there are several ways for students to get a law scholarship if they play their cards right. One of the best ways is to have an employer pay for you. As an option, you can for example consult the reimbursement of tuition fees. Other law schools offer students many opportunities to earn money, either through graduate internships or other paid opportunities.
Some law firms also work with universities to fund student education. For example, at Pritzker Law School at Northwestern, two law firms offer diversity scholarships.
Can you get a Pell Grant to pay for your law school education?
You can’t use a Pell Grant to pay for law school. Only college students are eligible for Pell grants. However, many institutions provide grants to prospective students. You should contact any law school that interests you to see if they offer specific scholarships.
Upcoming Law School Scholarships
ABA Legal Opportunities Scholarship Fund
Eligibility: Students who will be first-year law students
Opens: February 1, 2022
Amount: $15,000 over three years
American Bar Association Legal Opportunities Scholarship
Eligibility: Minority students entering law school in fall 2022
Opens: February 1, 2022
Amount: $15,000 (up to twenty prizes will be awarded)
Eligibility: Applicants who are or will be enrolled in a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and who have demonstrated interest in a legal career in public service and/or commitment to public service
Opens: June 15, 2022
Eligibility: United States citizens or permanent residents of Asian descent enrolled full-time as an 1L in a JD program at an ABA-licensed and accredited U.S. law school who have financial need. Applicants must intend to practice in the private sector in the New York metropolitan area upon graduation
Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Eligibility: Students from racial and ethnic minorities studying law
Opens: February 1, 2022
Amount: $15,000 (10 to 20 will be awarded)
Thomas F. Black Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Eligibility: Students entering their first year of law school and residents of the state of Rhode Island
Amount: $25,000 (two will be awarded)
Other scholarship categories to explore:
Top graduate school scholarships
Top scholarships for college students