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How Do I Pay for Law School

It isn't easy, but it can be done!
Apr 2, 2023

Table of Contents

  1. How you will pay for law school is dependent on a few factors
  2. Determine how much it will cost you
  3. Things to keep in mind when borrowing for law school
  4. Related Articles

How you will pay for law school is dependent on a few factors like: 

  1. How much you have in savings and plan to put towards school.
  2. How much help you will get from your family. This might be in the form of direct support like cash, rent payment, a place to live, tuition support, hugs, or whatever. Or more indirect support, like cosigning on a loan.
  3. Your credit score and credit history
  4. The financial aid policies at the school you are going to 
  5. Scholarships you can receive from the school you attend, or outside organizations

When it comes down to it, in order to pay for law school you have to determine how much it will cost you: 

  1. Figure out the cost of attendance at your school after you subtract financial aid and/or scholarships
  2. Determine how much money you (or family members) are going to pay out of pocket directly towards tuition 
  3. Determine how much money you have in savings that you want to use for things like rent and food. Also consider any ongoing support your family might provide.
  4. Finally once you take the estimated cost of attendance and subtract out the above, then you are left with how much money you will have to borrow each year. 

Things to keep in mind when borrowing for law school. 

First, some good news, if you plan to do a private sector (or a very very rare paying public interest) internship during your 1L or 2L summer, then you will make some money which can help pay tuition or living expenses. Unfortunately, some schools will reduce need-based financial aid if you make money over the summer (or during the school year) so be sure to check with schools if you are comparing them based on cost. 

Next, a recommendation. Budgeting is the worst, and it is also super important. Tuition, rent, gas, Netflix, coffee, healthcare, school health fee (which seems like a scam since you also pay for insurance), books, supplies, food, coffee, fun with friends, coffee, parking, coffee. It all adds up. It’s manageable and you can (probably) get a loan to cover most of it, but loans are expensive and you have to pay them back, so the less you borrow the better.  

Finally, a friendly warning. Law school is long (at least 3 years) and expensive, interest is the worst, and lawyers don’t automatically make a lot of money after they graduate. Schools rarely (I’ve yet to see it anywhere) report the cost of attendance for all three years in one place; probably because $90,000 is scary, but not as scary as $270,000, and they want you to attend and pay them money. Since these numbers are big, it is important to plan for the 10 years after law school, or at least take a few minutes to think about it. To learn more about law school loans you can check out our toolshereor one of our articles about choosing the right loans like this one.

Related Articles

  1. How should I Choose a Student Loan?
  2. Oddly specific questions you might be asking when borrowing for law school.
  3. Is Law School Worth It?
  4. How Do I Pay For Law School?
  5. How Much do Lawyers Make?
  6. Preparing for Law School
  7. How should I Choose a Student Loan?
  8. What is an Origination Fee ? Plus Other Terms you Should Know when Borrowing for Law School?
Windsor MIT '22, Harvard College Advisor

I am the half of LSD that didn't take the LSAT, or go to law school (Sorry about that). But I did go to MIT business school while surrounded by law students and lawyers, so I am somewhat qualified to talk about the intricacies of law school apps and finances.

Windsor (the dog) didn't write this but he WAS a Resident Tutor and career advisor at Harvard College with me, so deserves some credit.

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A at McKinney, waiting on Maurer. Do I R&R with games gone or go to McKinney and hope to transfer. 156, 3.4, nURM
21:40
If you're up for retaking that's probably the advice you'll mostly get
I'd really rather not take another year
[] ararara
21:44
@KnowledgeableRitzyWasp: GO!
GreasyWorkablePotato
21:47
sup with columbia gotdamn
21:47
Yeah don't go somewhere you want to transfer away from. Grades may or may not work out, transfers may or may not materialize, and aid may or may not be sufficient.
I still havent put down my nd one ah
im like rly scared to deposit at ND because it feels binding
pug
22:13
come to UT with me caterpillar forget nd
tablenapkin
22:33
does anyone have experience with applying as an indigenous international applicant
Ijustwannagetinman
22:40
Guys I just realized in my last LOCi to UCLA
Ijustwannagetinman
22:41
I listed a professor who posted on one of his blogs that he is leaving at the end of June in 2024
Ijustwannagetinman
22:41
but I didn't know that he posted that it was in ONE blog it wasn't on the UCLA website
Ijustwannagetinman
22:41
I didn't list him in my second LOCi he's just literally one of my favorite authors so I wrote about him is this devastating that I listed him??
22:49
i think ur okay i dont think they would expect u to know let alone know themselves
22:51
This is a risk of talking about specific professors (and my school's careers in law folks advised me against doing so in Why ___ essays for that reason) but I doubt they're going to gauge your entire interest in the school based on this
22:52
Ironically, you'll probably benefit if your reader is a bit cynical and assumes the "one of my favorite authors" bit is laying it on thick, but this person leaving is not actually a dealbreaker
22:52
(Which it does not sound like it is)
22:57
during my cycle (2020-21) I mentioned professors in many of my apps
22:58
I outperformed my numbers so I don't think its that bad of a tactic
22:58
I think you just need to sound credible
Ijustwannagetinman
23:15
I didn’t say he was one of my favorite authors I just cited UCLA’s first amendment center and said “led by professor volohk”
Ijustwannagetinman
23:15
But he’s leaving soon
Ijustwannagetinman
23:15
He happens to be one of my favorite authors, but I didn’t say that in the essay
Ijustwannagetinman
23:16
I just wanna go to UCLA so bad it makes my heart ache
QuixoticPowerfulAlligator
23:18
how do transfers adjust socially typically
0:43
i know undergrad typically doesnt matter, but is there an exception for if your undergrad is also the law school?
0:43
i ask as a current community college student hoping to transfer to ucla undergrad, then ucla law
3:04
anyone else get an error email from TAMU
kineticsand
5:59
Go to the school that will pay for you to go. To do otherwise is a life altering error in judgment.
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