After you graduate law school and begin your legal career, you can expect to make an average salary exceeding $120,000 per year. However, before you get to this point, you will likely leave school with more than $150,000 of student debt. Yet should you want to avoid this fate, you may be able to do so by exploring various ways in which you can pay for your legal education. Contrary to what many law students believe, there are ways to pay for schools that does not necessarily involve loans, though these are of course an option. If you’ve been trying to decide how you can pay for your legal education, here are some ways to make it happen.
Grants and Scholarships
If you are hoping to get free money for your tuition and fees, look to various grants and scholarships that are available to law students. These are offered by schools as well as private organizations such as the American Intellectual Property Law Education Foundation, which offers $10,000 scholarships to students who plan to specialize in intellectual property law.
Though you will undoubtedly be busy with your law school studies, you may still be able to find yourself a part-time job to help defray expenses. While you could do such flexible jobs as driving for Uber or other similar services, you may want to instead pursue part-time jobs that will give you valuable related legal experience. If this is your preference, look to such opportunities as working as a paralegal, law clerk at a firm, or even being an assistant to one of your professors.
Federal and Private Student Loans
Finally, if you have had no luck with the above-mentioned options, you may have little choice but to pursue federal and private student loans. If you do, always make federal student loans your top priority. Along with offering much lower interest rates than private loans, they also let you qualify for such things as flexible repayment options or even loan forgiveness. Should you need to take out private student loans, always remember that not only will these not offer loan forgiveness options, but they may also require you to start paying back the loan while you are still in school, putting even more pressure on you at a critical time in your studies.
No matter how you ultimately wind up paying for law school, don’t forget there will be other expenses you will need to pay for before starting your legal career. These will include the bar exam, which depending on the state in which you live can cost from just over $100 to as much as $1,500. Also, many students usually take a prep course prior to the bar exam, which can cost as little as $500 to well over $4,000.
Though getting through and paying for law school can be difficult, you will have many opportunities to obtain the money you’ll need to finish your education and pursue your dream of becoming a lawyer.