Last updated: February 08, 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. 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.
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.

Arnold W. Fritz Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

This scholarship supports students of Ohio pursuing a degree in environmental law and conservation. Students will be selected based on their essay submission, and a GPA requirement of 2.5 or higher. Demonstration of dedication to the environment are preferred.

Arthur Lockwood Beneventi Law Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: February 15, 2018

Concentration: All

This scholarship is a one-time award for students enrolled in an accredited law school. Must have a minimum 3.25 GPA to qualify.

Arthur T. Ueoka Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

Ayo and Iken Family Law Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: October 1, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

BECA, Inc. Edna R. Anthony Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 5, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

Candidates must be enrolled as a high school senior with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students attending a HBC or plan to study journalism, nursing, or criminal justice are preferred.

Bill and Anne Shepherd Legal Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: March 31, 2018

Concentration: Political Science

To be eligible for this award, students must be committed to equal rights for LGBTQ individuals, and be enrolled at an accredited law program. Students must demonstrate leadership potential and the intent to practice law to promote LGBTQ rights.

Black Wynn Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: February 23, 2018

Concentration: All

Students accepted into an ABA accredited law program are eligible for this award. Students will be reviewed by their essay submission.

Boren Scholarships

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: February 8, 2018

Concentration: All

These scholarships awards highly motivated students hoping to study abroad during their undergraduate program. Students interested in less commonly taught languages are preferred.

Boston Immigration Law Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

Brian Terry Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

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.

Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 6, 2018

Concentration: Political Science

High school seniors who are enrolled in a university in Delaware are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Must be a legal resident of Delaware, and rank in the upper half of their class to be considered. Preference will be given to students with political science majors.

Christopher W. Keyser Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

COAG Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 1, 2018

Concentration: Political Science

The COAG Scholarship is open to Georgia high school seniors and full-time undergraduate students. Students must be seeking an undergraduate degree in political science or pre-law to be considered.

CSUB Honorable Len McGillivray Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 8, 2018

Concentration: All

First-time freshman majoring in pre-law and enrolled full-time are eligible for this award. Must have a GPA of 3.5 and demonstrate financial need to be considered.

Earl Warren Scholarship

Amount: up to $10,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

Eula Mae Jett Scholarship Program

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: April 1, 2018

Concentration: All

High school seniors and undergraduate students pursuing a law degree of any specialization are encouraged to apply for this award. Students must be legal residents of California to apply.

FCBA Association Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 15, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

Students studying criminal law at a university accredited by the ABA are eligible for this award. Students will be chosen based on their financial need, and interest in the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

FCBA Judicial Scholarships

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: April 15, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

Students studying criminal law at a university accredited by the ABA are eligible for this award. Students will be chosen based on their financial need, and interest in the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

George H. Nofer Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 21, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

George Hutchinson Writing Competition

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: April 15, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

This writing competition is open nationally to students interested in the Federal Circuit jurisdiction. The Federal Circuit Bar Association reviews these essays to decide on a winner that will win a cash prize and their essay published.

Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: March 31, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

This scholarship is awarded to students studying environmental law, enrolled in an accredited graduate program in North America. Students must demonstrate strong academics and interest in preserving wildlife.

Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Concentration: All

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.

Horizons Scholarship

Amount: $3,500

Deadline: May 12, 2018

Concentration: Political Science

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.

Jeanette R. Wolman Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Concentration: All

Maryland students are eligible for this award if they are attending a four year college or university in a pre-law or social work major. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students interested in child advocacy are preferred.

John Hudson Savage Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: March 3, 2018

Concentration: All

Students residing in Vermont are eligible for this non-renewable scholarship. Students will be chosen based on their academic performance and community involvement.

Judge Gary R. McDonald Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 15, 2018

Concentration: All

This scholarship is available for students involved in law-related degree programs. Open to high school seniors and college students with a 2.5 GPA or higher. Financial need will be considered.

Kelly Law Team Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: February 22, 2018

Concentration: All

This award is open to citizens of the U.S. who are enrolled in a U.S. law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Students interested in pro bono work and community involvement will be considered.

Kevin W. Scott Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 15, 2018

Concentration: All

Michigan-area students enrolled full-time at an undergraduate university studying pre-law are eligible for this scholarship. Must have a GPA over 3.2 and demonstrate strong academics, community service, and financial need.

Law Student Assistance Fund

Amount: $3,500

Deadline: June 1, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

Lim, Ruger & Kim Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: September 1, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

Lincoln Legal Professionals Association Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 14, 2018

Concentration: All

This award will honor one Nebraska high school senior with strong academics, community activities, and GPA of 3.0 or higher with an interest in pursuing a law degree.

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Scholarship 2018

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

Louis-Edward Nicklies Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 28, 2018

Concentration: All

Students who have graduated high school in Kentucky and have been accepted by a school within the same state are eligible for this award. Students must be enrolled full-time, and demonstrate financial need to be considered.

MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 17, 2019

Concentration: All

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.

Marin County Bar Association Legal Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

Mark Beaumont Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 30, 2018

Concentration: All

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

MCCA Lloyd M. Johnson Jr. Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: June 15, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

My Alarm Center Student Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

National Tax Law Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 6, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

NDS Kildee Undergraduate Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 15, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

The National Dairy Shrine scholarships are awarded to students attending colleges in the U.S. with interest in the dairy and/or agricultural-related fields. Students will be reviewed based on their academic standing, leadership, and future plans.

NLEAFCF - Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

Otto M. Stanfield Law Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 15, 2018

Concentration: All

This opportunity is open to Unitarian Universalists students pursuing a law degree at the graduate level. Students in a pre-law or political science program are not eligible.

Out to Protect Scholarship

Amount: $750

Deadline: May 25, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

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.

Richard D. Wiegers Scholarship for Undergraduate Students

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 1, 2018

Concentration: All

The selection committee for this scholarship review students scholastic achievement, economic need, intended course of study, career goals, and recommendation.

Samuel Huntington Public Service Award

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: January 18, 2019

Concentration: All

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.

Serbian Bar Association of America Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 20, 2018

Concentration: All

Applicants for this award must submit a resume, transcript, and essay prompts to be considered for this award. All students of Serbian birth or ancestry enrolled in a law program in the U.S. are eligible.

SUEZ Corporate Scholars Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 31, 2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

The HCBF Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 29, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

The IHS PhD Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: March 1,2018

Concentration: Political Science

Students enrolled in an advanced degree program in environmental law or policy are eligible for this award. Students particularly interested in humane studies, market-based approaches, and legal/political development are preferred.

The Mimi Deatherage Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 15, 2018

Concentration: All

Female Southern California high school seniors enrolled in a full-time law program in the U.S. are eligible for this award. Must have a GPA of 3.2 or higher to apply. Students who play golf are preferred.

The Theodore Tannenwald Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship

Amount: up to $5,000

Deadline: July 6,2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

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.

Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc. Founders Fund Scholarship

Amount: $3,500

Deadline: April 1,2018

Concentration: Public Interest Law

Applicants must be entering their first or second year in a graduate or undergraduate law program. Must demonstrate excellence in environmental studies and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Thomas Burkhart Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 15, 2018

Concentration: All

High school seniors enrolled in a Michigan university pursuing an undergraduate degree program in law are eligible. Must demonstrate strong essay-writing ability, financial need, and academic excellence.

TKE Educational Foundation Harry J. Donnelly Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 15,2018

Concentration: All

The TKE Educational Foundation leadership and scholarship awards are for the benefit of active members of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 to be considered, as well as demonstrate excellent academics and leadership.

TMCF/AFSCME Union Scholarship

Amount: $6,300

Deadline: February 28, 2018

Concentration: Political Science

This needs-based scholarship is awarded to students on behalf of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Students who are sophomores and above with a 2.5 GPA and demonstrated interest in social and economic justice are eligible for this award.

Virginia and Frank Misselhorn Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 31,2018

Concentration: Political Science

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

Virginia Sheriff’s Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Concentration: Criminal Law

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

West Texas Paralegal Association Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Concentration: All

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.

WIFLE Scholarship Program

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: May 2,2018

Concentration: Political Science

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.

William “Bud” Clark Foster Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Concentration: Public Interest Law

This scholarship honors one student dedicated to law who can demonstrate high moral and ethical values, dedication to pre-law or a public interest law degree, and high attendance. Applicant must maintain a 3.5 GPA and be a citizen of the U.S. to apply.

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