Last updated: March 19, 2018

The American Bar Association (ABA) reveals trends in their active attorney demographics survey suggesting major shifts in the demographic landscape for legal professionals on a national scale. Since 2007, the population of caucasian and male active attorneys has decreased by 5.4 percent. On the other hand, national female representation has increased by over 5 percent, and collective minority rates have been steadily growing as well. This demonstration of diversity within the legal profession is only one of the many indicators of the growing opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career with law.

If you’re a student interested in majoring in political science, criminal justice, public interest law, environmental law, business law, or pre-law studies, the educational foundation that these undergraduate degrees provide will create the foundation you need to become a practicing attorney. Explore our guide to learn more about how you can prepare for a career in law and use our interactive scholarship tool find political science, pre-law and law school scholarships to help fund your degree.

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, exemplifies how studying law can not only prepare you for ample career opportunities, but also help positively change lives. As a Harvard Law student turned community organizer in Chicago, he used his law degree to support his career in politics, which led him to hold the office of the President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

“And the good news is, you’re ready. And when your journey seems too hard, and when you run into a chorus of cynics who tell you that you’re being foolish to keep believing or that you can’t do something, or that you should just give up, or you should just settle — you might say to yourself a little phrase that I’ve found handy these last eight years: Yes, we can.”
Barack Obama, Former President of the United States

The path to becoming a practicing lawyer is very expansive, with plenty of time to discover concentrations and expertise where you could add value to a variety of different professional fields. However, the journey to the classroom all starts in the same place: acceptance into an accredited law degree program, and the support to get you there.

How to Qualify to be a Lawyer

1

Pass the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is a mandatory test for prospective law school candidates to assess reading, logical, and verbal reasoning proficiencies specifically as it pertains to pursuing a law degree.

 
2

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for admission to law school. The ABA notes that undergraduate students gain admission to law school from nearly every area of study, ranging from political science, English, economics, business, and journalism.

 
3

Earn a Juris Doctor Degree (JD)

A JD is the nationally recognized degree for practicing law in the United States. There are many specialties within legal practice and students can select a concentration program in public interest, environmental, criminal, or property.

 
4

Pass the Bar Exam

Most states require lawyers to graduate from an ABA-approved law school and pass the state bar examination prior to qualifying in that state. The bar exam is commonly a two-day process.

 
 

Types of Law Concentrations

 

Public Interest: Lawyers can specialize in fields relating to organizations of all sizes, as well as government agencies at all levels. Environmental, Business, Estate, Family, and Personal Injury lawyers are considered public interest lawyers.

 
 

Criminal: Lawyers who specialize in criminal law and represent clients in criminal cases are considered criminal lawyers. Students who major in criminal justice and law prepare for careers in the criminal law field.

 
 

Political Science: Deals with systems of government, and the analysis of political activity and behavior. Students majoring in political science graduate to work in government, journalism, law, business, and teaching.

 
 

Resources for Lawyers

National Archives Legal Resources

The Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) offers links to law and legal information, federal law, court opinions, treaties, legal dictionaries and journals, and copyright information.

Student Loan Repayment Information

The ABA offers this resource for student loan repayment and forgiveness through the U.S. department of education.

Bar Admissions Information

The ABA offers a detailed overview of the bar exam, test information and preparation, and a comprehensive guide to bar admission requirements.

LawLink

The first and largest social network for law professionals. Network within hundreds of specialized law groups and forums, whether you’re a student, attorney, or law professional.

Google Scholar

Search through case law with this free and easy database, similar to LexisNexis and WestLaw but without the need for an institution-approved login.

Legal Information Institute

Hosted by Cornell University, this not-for-profit database allows students to search for statutes and published law online for free.

 
 

How to Pay for College

1

Scholarships

There are hundreds of scholarships for pre-law and law school students, which are awarded by local organizations, private companies, societies and more.

 
2

Grants

Grants don’t need to be paid back and are based on your financial circumstances. They are usually funded by the federal government, your state or college.

 
3

Fellowships

While scholarships usually fund tuition, fellowships typically cover graduate study, research projects and abroad experiences without needing to be paid back.

 
4

Student Loans

You can borrow money from the government or a bank, but it needs to be paid back with interest. The federal government offers many loan options—fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for financial aid. If you need help, use our interactive guide to learn how to answer every question.

 
5

Federal Work-Study Program

Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.

 
 

If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.

Scholarship Application Preparation

Not all scholarships are based off of your GPA, but most need to verify your high school education to qualify. Try to get certified copies of your transcript early, so you have plenty of time to meet the deadline.
Although there are scholarship opportunities that aren’t merit-based, it’s valuable to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests in case it’s a scholarship qualification.
Your scholarship essay is what will bring attention to your application out of the pool of applicants. That’s why it’s important to craft a stand out piece that attests to your experience, adheres to the scholarship guidelines and most importantly, highlights your true personality.
Letters of recommendation are a true judgement of your character—something that can’t be revealed through your test scores or transcript. Reach out to former teachers, counselors or bosses, so that they can speak to your qualifications. You may also want to provide them with a resume that outlines your achievements and goals as well.
 

Law Scholarships

Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to sort by concentration, award amount and if you qualify for need-based aid.

George H. Nofer Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 21, 2018

Applicants for this award must be diagnosed prior to their fourth birthday of pre-lingual hearing loss using spoken language as their primary mode of communication. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited law program in public policy or administration to qualify.

The HCBF Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 29, 2018

The Hudson County Bar Foundation Scholarship Fund is a long-standing program that offers financial assistance to students demonstrating financial need, and strong academics. Students must be actively pursuing a law degree to qualify.

Boston Immigration Law Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Minority students born in the U.S. who are currently enrolled post-high school are eligible to submit an original essay detailing your parents immigration to the U.S. Students will be chosen based on quality of writing, and their story.

Virginia Sheriff’s Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Students must be permanent residents in Virginia to apply for this scholarship. Must be pursuing a degree in criminal justice to be considered.

Earl Warren Scholarship

Amount: up to $10,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

This renewable scholarship opportunity is for scholars in need of financial assistance, and for students seeking internship and networking opportunities. Must be a U.S. citizen with a record of academic achievement, enrolled in their final year of college or a first year law student. Must demonstrate ongoing commitment to racial justice.

WIFLE Scholarship Program

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: May 2, 2018

Women attending an accredited university full-time are eligible for this award. Must have completed at least one year of academic work in social sciences or criminal justice to be considered, as well as a GPA over 3.0.

Horizons Scholarship

Amount: $3,500

Deadline: May 12, 2018

Student residents in the state of Michigan enrolled at the junior level or above are eligible for this award. Must have a GPA of 3.25 or higher, financial need, and interest in national security or defense.

Out to Protect Scholarship

Amount: $750

Deadline: May 25, 2018

Students studying criminal law enforcement and who identify as LGBTQ are eligible for this award. Must demonstrate positive role-model ability and potential for success post-graduation to apply.

Brian Terry Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Brian Terry Scholars must be intending to study criminal justice or related fields of study. Students will be evaluated on a first-come first-serve basis.

MCCA Lloyd M. Johnson Jr. Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: June 15, 2018

The Minority Corporate Counsel Association awards one student this non-renewable scholarship to a student in their first year of law school. Students can register on the scholarship website to learn more about specific eligibility requirements.

Mark Beaumont Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 30, 2018

This scholarship supports students pursuing careers in law, business, marketing, and interactive entertainment. Must have a GPA of 3.3 to be considered.

My Alarm Center Student Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Students must be studying law enforcement, law, criminal justice or related fields to apply for this award. Students must be a high school senior, freshman, or sophomore to apply.

NLEAFCF - Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: July 1, 2018

This annual scholarship is awarded to a child of a law enforcement or firefighter who has been injured or died in the line of duty. Awards are based on financial need and academic achievement. Students must reside in the New York metro area to be considered.

West Texas Paralegal Association Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: July 1, 2018

This scholarships is intended for students pursuing a degree in a paralegal program. This award will be given to students residing in Texas who are enrolled in at least 6 credit hours.

Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Any U.S. resident that has been accepted to an accredited university can apply. Applicants are asked to answer questions on immigration for a chance to win.

The Theodore Tannenwald Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship

Amount: up to $5,000

Deadline: July 6, 2018

The best three essay submissions will be awarded scholarships through the Foundation for Excellence in Taxes and The American College of Tax Counsel. Must be a part-time or full-time law student to enter. Papers may be on any federal or state-related topic.

Christopher W. Keyser Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Students enrolled in a four-year university studying law in the U.S. are eligible for this award. Students graduating in the spring should not apply.

Virginia and Frank Misselhorn Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Students pursuing scholastic study in fields related to alliance building, counterintelligence, and national security studies are eligible for this memorial scholarship.

National Tax Law Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 6, 2018

This award is for a second or third year U.S. law student with a demonstrated interest in tax law. Students are asked to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, or internship experience demonstrating education in tax law.

Lim, Ruger & Kim Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: September 1, 2018

One student will be awarded with this scholarship based on their schools accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA) or AALS. Applicants will be reviewed based on their interest in pro bono, public interest and/or public legal service work, financial need, leadership potential, and affiliation with the Asian Pacific American community.

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Scholarship 2018

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Minority students born in the U.S. who are currently enrolled post-high school are eligible to submit an original essay detailing your parents immigration to the U.S. Students will be chosen based on quality of writing, and their story.

Arthur T. Ueoka Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Students, or soon-to-be law students are eligible for this award if located in, or demonstrate significant ties to Maui County. Financial need will be considered.

Marin County Bar Association Legal Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: September 30, 2018

This scholarship supports law students with an interest in giving back to the local community. Students must reside in Northern California in their second year of law school to apply.

Ayo and Iken Family Law Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: October 1, 2018

Students interested in public interest law especially family law are eligible for this scholarship. Students must be attending an ABA accredited law school in the U.S., and show academic progress toward a J.D.

SUEZ Corporate Scholars Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 31, 2018

Students attending four-year accredited universities in their sophomore year and above are applicable for this award. Must have a GPA of 3.0 to be considered, majoring in one of the eligible degree programs as listed on the scholarship website.

MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 17, 2019

The MALDEF scholarship is open to all law students enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. law school. Applicants will be selected based on their academic and extracurricular achievements, and financial need.

Samuel Huntington Public Service Award

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: January 18, 2019

College seniors enrolled in a law program are eligible for this award. This award provides the opportunity to pursue one year of public service anywhere in the world.

Law Student Assistance Fund

Amount: $3,500

Deadline: May 21, 2108

Students are eligible for this award regardless of their age, grade-level, or law degree program. Award winners will be selected based on financial need, and application to determine eligibility. This scholarship gives preferential consideration to applicants that are married and have children and those who indicate a desire for the general practice of law in a rural or county-seat setting.

Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Students ranking in the top third of their class on an annual basis in Texas and Oklahoma are encouraged to apply for this award. The selection committee will review academic performance, civic engagement, and leadership abilities.