Funding for Pre-Law Students and Law School
The vast majority of aid comes directly from law schools in the form of merit scholarships. However, a few schools do award need-based scholarships. Keep in mind that the law school is the primary source of information regarding funding for a legal education. Many law schools provide lists of ‘Outside Scholarships’ on their websites.
Scholarships/Contests for Pre-Law Students
These opportunities may be of interest to students planning a law career.
- Harry S. Truman Scholarship
Merit-based awards to outstanding college juniors who intend to pursue careers in government or public service . Students receive a $30,000 scholarship to support any type of graduate program. Applicants need an excellent GPA and extracurricular record. University nomination required.
- Udall Scholarship
Merit-based scholarships to sophomores and juniors planning careers related to the environment. They seek to support future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields including law. Recipients receive $5,000 for tuition, room and board to support costs during college. Academics are important but they also look for community service. University nomination is required.
- Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans
This fellowship provides opportunities for New Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen field. A New American is (1) a resident alien, (2) a naturalized US citizen, or (3) the child of two parents who are both naturalized citizens. Awards are for two years (possibly three) in any field of study. The stipend is $25,000/year, plus up to $20,000 in tuition support. Applicants should have excellent grades and a record of academic and extracurricular achievement. College senior or first year graduate student can apply
- Federal Circuit Bar Association
The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) is a national organization including over 2,500 attorneys interested in all aspects of the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. One of the organization's missions is to assist law students in need of financial help. The FCBA's Charitable and Educational Fund offers economic assistance to law students who have a potential interest in legal issues that may arise at the Federal Circuit. Such assistance is provided in the form of several scholarships (listed on this website).
- United University Professions (UUP) College Scholarship
This one-time scholarship of $2,000 is awarded to SUNY undergraduates and graduates who demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence, social justice issues and labor ideals.
- Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest
This is an annual contest designed to challenge college students to analyze the urgent ethical issues confronting them today. Topics are suggested each year, but students are free to write about any topic as long as it pertains to ethics. First prize is $5,000, plus there are second and third prizes and two honorable mentions worth $500 each. Open to juniors and seniors. Deadline is early December.
Information on Financing Your Law School Education
- American Bar Association links to Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs)
These programs have emerged as a solution for relieving the debt burden of some law graduates. LRAPs provide loan repayment or forgiveness, lower interest rates on loans, or postponed payment of law school loans to graduates entering specific types of employment, usually law-related public interest jobs. There are various types of LRAPs, administered by law schools, state bar associations and foundations and federal and state governments, providing debt relief to some law graduates.
- Equal Justice Works Guide to Law Schools
Includes information on public interest scholarships at many different law schools.
- FinAid’s Financial Aid for Law School
- Law School Admission Council – Financing Law School
This site can give you answers to some basic questions you may be asking yourself: What does the process of securing financial aid involve? How is eligibility for financial aid determined? What goes into a financial aid package? What can I do ahead of time to improve my chances of getting financial aid?
- U.S. Department of Education – Federal Student Aid Options
Opportunities for Underrepresented Minority Students
- American Association of University Women – Selected Professions Fellowships
Awarded to women of color who intend to pursue a full-time course of study at accredited U.S. institutions in certain fields, the study of law (JD) is included among them. Funding for a JD is supplied for the third year of law school. Application is made during the second year.
- American Bar Association Advisory Council on Diversity
The Pipeline Diversity Directory provides scholarship and financial aid information for students of color.
- American Bar Association (ABA) Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
The purpose of the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund is to encourage racial and ethnic minority students to apply to and attend law school and to provide financial assistance to ensure that these students have the opportunity to attend law school for three years. Provides $15,000 in aid over a three year period.
- American Bar Association (ABA) Links for Minority Students
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Scholarship
The mission of the Institute is to provide critical financial assistance that will increase graduation rates among Latino students in higher education. Funding is provided to assist with tuition, room & board, books and other educational expenses.
- Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) - Financial Aid Resources
Click on "Applying to Law School," then "Financial Assistance." CLEO was founded as a non-profit project of the ABA Fund for Justice and Education to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. In 1998, Congress passed the Higher Education Amendments Act, creating the Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity Program, which they deemed be administered by CLEO.
- Donald W. Banner Diversity Scholarship for Law Students
This scholarship is part of Banner & Witcoff's commitment to fostering the development of intellectual property lawyers from diverse backgrounds. First year law students who meet the selection criteria and have entered into a JD program at an ABA-accredited law school in the United States are eligible to apply. Recipients of the Donald W. Banner Diversity Scholarship will receive $5,000 payable for the Fall semester of their second or third year of law school.
- Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Scholarship Information
The HNBA is committed to promoting education opportunities for diverse students enrolled in accredited law schools. Provides approximately $3,000 annual grant.
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund – Earl Warren Legal Training Program The program provides assistance to African-American law students dedicated to civil rights and public interest work.