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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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CamoCat
14:22
Congrats!! Go get some ice cream!
Dear Waitlist, I am overjoyed to hear the incredible news! All of your hard work, perseverance, and dedication have finally paid off. This is a monumental achievement, and I couldn't be prouder of you. Your journey through the uncertainty and challenges has only highlighted your strength and determination. This moment is just the beginning of your long and unwritten success story. Every step you've taken has led you to this point, and now, your path forward is filled with endless possibilities and opportunities. Your time in purgatory is no longer; you have emerged stronger and more resilient than ever. -glove
@GloveDontSplitUMustAcquit: yo whats up
im on pace to be temple bound the way my pt's have been homie
@GloveDontSplitUMustAcquit: ty so much! that means a lot, so excited! manifesting waitlist movement for all of you <3
@GloveDontSplitUMustAcquit:
pookiebear
14:40
uga A
[] ararara
14:41
Go Dawgs and congratulations absolutely everybody!
Sounds good glove. I think they give really good aid usually
do we think they'll be any waitlist movement today
ChiefComplexHammerHead
15:08
What school(s) are u hoping for? @splitterus
stanford NYU and Columbia (umich too but I dont their will be movement)
super stressed ab it
woooo waitlist! congrats
manifestmoreadmissions
16:16
oh yay congrats!
trees1234567
17:48
dang hell woods getting off 2 WLs
manifestmoreadmissions
18:39
looks like he got a little $ at gulc though so i feel like it might be a tough decision
i’m betting he goes to northwestern he kinda hates gulc
20:41
Hang on - either the person asking about "NU vs Gtown when GULC is $45K cheaper?" yesterday was HellWoods (understandable tbh, people have all kinds of reactions to the handle atp) or this is memeing abt the other user
could you imagine if it’s was incognito hell
manifestmoreadmissions
20:52
after hell kinda got quiet and deleted his reddit i have seen a few accounts here that im pretty sure are Hell alts
manifestmoreadmissions
20:53
but they're usually civil and i can never be 100% sure so i just let it ride
mmm hell is amongus
cheering for you hell, glad it turned out well for you
[] ararara
21:18
Haven’t clicked their profile lately but they might not be done. Cycle isn’t over yet. I know users with the same stats who each got 1 T 14 school last cycle. This is huge.
[] ararara
21:19
@hellwoods if you see this, none our legal goals come complete with eternal life and dancing shoes. Think about your purpose if you don’t have one. Congrats.
[] ararara
21:19
None of our*
Judge Holden?
14:01
Has anyone else tried to email lsd.law and see the addresses were not valid?
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