Top Law School Scholarships in 2021
Law school, like many other professional degrees, is known for being extremely expensive, but potentially lucrative. Lawyers are among the highest paid professionals. However, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average law student will graduate with over $140,000 of debt. This is where law school scholarships can come into play and help you pay for your J.D.!
Jump ahead to:
- How to win law school merit scholarships
- Top law school scholarships in 2021
- Summary of law school scholarships
- Expired scholarships
Keep on reading to learn about how you can get scholarships and financial aid to pay for law school!
How to win law school merit scholarships
As we mentioned, the majority of scholarships for law school students will be awarded by individual law schools. Here are some tips to ensure that you will be in the running for merit scholarship opportunities.
Jump ahead: Top Law School Scholarships
Prep for your LSAT
The LSAT is the entrance exam that law schools use in the United States. In both the law school admissions and scholarship process, the LSAT carries a lot of weight. For context, the top score possible on the LSAT is a 180.
As you are thinking about law school, you will absolutely want to spend time prepping for the LSAT and may even want to take a prep course to ensure that you are ready.
Pick the right law schools
Not all law schools award a large number of scholarships, Therefore, it is important for you to pick the right law schools that award a high percentage of students with aid. These law schools award strong financial aid packages ranging from partial scholarships to full tuition to awards that are above and beyond full tuition.
Our advice is to identify law schools where your LSAT score is about the published 75th percentile at the law school. This will give you a good idea of the schools where you are a strong candidate for merit scholarships.
You should also take a close look at the post-graduate earnings and job placement for alumni of the law school. This will help you assess how this particular JD program might pay off for you. Remember, salaries for lawyers are not alike. The average corporate lawyer is going to be taking home a much bigger paycheck than a public defender. Keep this in mind when assessing data points around starting salaries.
Don’t forget about need-based aid
Merit scholarships are only part of the equation of paying for law school. The other part of the equation is need based financial aid, which includes need based grants and student loans. This is why we recommend that every law school student applies for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.
Take advantage of in-state tuition
There are over 80 public law schools that are approved by the American Bar Association, so chances are that one of your state universities has a law school.
One of the great things about public universities is that they offer discounted tuition for residents of their state! Take a look at some of these examples to see how residents save money:
|Law School||In-state Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition|
|U of Alabama||$23,610||$43,060|
|U of Connecticut||$30,354||$61,396|
|U of Kansas||$22,769||$28,804|
|U of North Carolina||$24,480||$41,626|
|U of Texas||$36,429||$54,096|
Tuition rates are for the 2020-2021 academic year
In-state tuition for residents represents a large tuition discount at many colleges and universities, so this is something that you should absolutely consider.
Some states will also have tuition reciprocity agreements, so you may be able to qualify for in-state tuition as an out-of-state student.
Top scholarships for law school students in 2021
- Eligibility: Students who will be first year law students
- Amount: $15,000 over three years
- Deadline: May 1st (the application opens in March)
American Bar Association Legal Opportunity Scholarship (Applications open on February 1, 2021)
- Eligibility: Minority students entering law school in the Fall 2021
- Amount: $$15,000 (up to twenty awards given out)
- Deadline: TBD (usually May 1)
- Eligibility: Students who are second year law students and residents of the state of Alabama
- Amount: $5,000
- Deadline: June 4, 2021
- Eligibility: Law students committed to racial justice who are entering their first or second year of full-time legal study at an accredited law school. GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, volunteer activities, and personal essays are all considered
- Amount: $30,000 ($10,000 per year for three years)
- Deadline: May 1, 2021
- Eligibility: Open to undergraduates planning on a career in law. GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, financial need, volunteer activities, and essays are all considered
- Amount: $2,000 per year for four years
- Deadline: April 1, 2021
- Eligibility: Students who are entering their first year of law school and residents of the state of Rhode Island
- Amount: $25,000 (two are awarded)
- Deadline: March 31, 2021
Other scholarships for J.D. candidates
The above scholarships are all specific for J.D. candidates, but there are other scholarships that are for graduate students in general. These graduate school scholarships are definitely worth checking out as you search for new scholarship opportunities
Summary of top law school scholarships:
- ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
- American Bar Association Legal Opportunity Scholarship
- Cabaniss Johnston Scholarship
- Earl Warren Scholarship
- Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship
- Thomas F. Black Jr. Memorial Scholarship
- Eligibility: Open to first-gen college students from minority backgrounds who plan on attending law school
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: December 31, 2020
- Eligibility: U.S. citizens or permanent residents of Asian descent who are enrolled full-time as a 1L in a J.D. program at an ABA-accredited and approved law school in the U.S. with financial need. Applicants must intend to practice in the private sector in the New York City metropolitan area following graduation
- Amount: $15,000
- Deadline: December 31, 2020
- Eligibility: Aspiring law school students of a racial minority at any level of study
- Amount: $500
- Deadline: December 31, 2020