Financing Law School

Attending law school is extremely expensive. Tuition at a private law school, plus living expenses and books, can run well over $60,000 per year. 

Only a small percentage of students can afford to pay this amount of money as they go through three years of law school. Most students have to borrow substantially to finance their law school education.

The average debt for graduating law students is on the order of $100,000; for students at many schools, it approaches $150,000. These figures do not include debt from undergraduate schools.

Given these numbers, it’s critical that you do two things:

  • Before deciding to attend law school, carefully consider whether it’s a good investment for you.
  • If you do decide to attend law school, make a solid plan for how you’ll finance your education.

Increasingly, law schools are offering merit-based scholarships, which are largely determined based on your GPA and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and how they compare to the school’s median scores. It’s very important for you to research how scholarships are awarded at law schools, how they are renewed over the course of the three years of school, and what your total cost of attendance will be when factoring in scholarships and living expenses.

AccessLex is an organization dedicated to equity and access in legal education, and they offer a number of free resources on financing legal education, including webinars, worksheets and individual coaching. Learn more about their MAX Pre-Law resources.

Scholarship amounts are often given at the time of admission decision, and increasingly they can be a point of negotiation with a school. Attend a pre-law advising appointment to discuss how to handle merit-based scholarship negotiation for each individual circumstance.