Attending law school is both intellectually difficult as well as financially challenging. Most full-time students will not have the time to work while obtaining a law degree, so scholarships are an important part of contributing to tuition costs without adding onto student loans. Law school scholarships may be based on several factors but generally grade levels and test scores, demonstration of leadership, excellent written and spoken communication as well as financial need are the major factors considered in law school scholarships.
Depending on the type of scholarship there may be one larger lump sum or several smaller scholarships. In addition, there are also different application procedures, cut-off dates for applications and requirements of each application. Scholarships, such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund are offered once a year but can be up to $5,000. The MALDEF scholarships are specifically for those students that are currently enrolled in a law degree program.
Law schools generally offer their own scholarships designed specifically for their programs. Usually these scholarships are renewable provided the law student maintains a minimum GPA, is able to demonstrate a financial need for support to complete their education, and has some community or work experience. In some cases, students with scholarships may also be required to complete specific classes or support community law initiatives through accepting the scholarship. One prominent law school that offers scholarships on its website for internal and outside scholarships is Yale Law School.
The American Bar Association offers scholarships up to $15,000 per year per student and details can be found through the Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund. This site also lists several other scholarships including specialized scholarships for minorities and women entering into law school on a full or part-time basis. Another law school scholarship program for minority students is the Foley & Lardner Minority Scholarship Program, with the award of $5,000. This scholarship is restricted to minority students attending specified schools and is not open to other students attending non-recognized law programs.
The Federal Circuit Bar Association offers a series of scholarships for various academic and legal accomplishments. Some awards are designed specifically for women or minority students but many are open to any qualifying law student that meets all the criteria of the scholarship.