What Law School Scholarships are Available?

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A person considering law school recently asked:

What law school scholarships are available?

This person was concerned about her ability to pay the cost of law school. Here was my answer:

Of course, you can get law school loans to help defray the cost of law school. That’s how most law students pay for law school. Setting loans aside, law school scholarships are available to some students to help cover the cost of law school and reduce the overall size of your potential law school debt.

There are three types of scholarships: academic based, need based, and miscellaneous independent scholarships.

Academic based scholarships

Generally, law schools will offer you an academic scholarship when they extend to you an offer to attend (after you have submitted your application).� These scholarships are normally based on your LSAT score and GPA. Law schools report the average LSAT scores and GPA of admitted students, so they extend scholarships to students who would improve the school’s average. Thus, a school with a low average will be more likely to extend a scholarship to a student with a high LSAT score.

Need based scholarships

Generally, law schools will award need based scholarships after students are accepted for admission. Schools handle need based scholarships differently, so for need based scholarships, contact your school after you are accepted for admission.

Independent scholarships

In addition to the scholarships offered by law schools, some organizations and individuals offer law school scholarships. These are often available for one or a few students who meet a special criteria. A key criterion might be something like

  • a specific ethinic background
  • membership in the organization offering the scholarship
  • experience in a specific profession (e.g. teaching or medicine)
  • a family member who works at the company offering the scholarship

Independent scholarships might be coordinated though the law school’s admissions, student loan, or scholarship office. Generally, these are scholarships offered by alumni of the school. Often these are posted on an internal law school website. Talk to the office in your law school that handles scholarships for to find out what scholarships are available.

Whatever you do, I don’t recommend paying an online service to find scholarships for you; many of these services produce worthless information and waste your time and money.

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