Law Scholarships and Grants

Last updated: April 23, 2019

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.

UCLA Graduate Education Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 15, 2019

Several awards are available of up to $5,000 each, from which fees are paid, for graduate students in any field of study who are blind or who have a severe vision impairment. Proof of financial need via copy of DREAM Act Application (for California AB540 students).

The 2018 Reeves Law Group Annual Scholarship Award

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: December 15, 2019

For 2019, the Reeves Law Group is awarding a $5,000 scholarship to a deserving law student who authors a winning essay in our Seventh Annual Scholarship Essay Contest.

Simplr Artificial Intelligence and Technology Scholarship

Amount: $7,500

Deadline: December 31, 2019

Simplr is offering a $7,500 scholarship to the student that writes the best essay on Artificial Intelligence. Students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science, math, information technology (IT) or a law degree. Students studying under the DACA program are eligible.

Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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.

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Law Students Assoc. Scholarship - SW Law

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

Applicants must be attending Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. This scholarship will be awarded to a gay, lesbian, or bisexual student studying law.

Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholarships

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: March 15, 2020

The scholarship is intended for students entering or attending law school and demonstrate a commitment to developing a career in intellectual property law. The applicant must be US citizen and demonstrate merit and financial need before applying for the scholarship.

American Indian Law School Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 15, 2020

This scholarship is awarded to a first-year student of Harvard Law School. The scholarship covers tuition for the three-year course of study for one Native student. Must be an American Indian or Alaska Native who are enrolled tribal members, or who are lineal descendants of an enrolled parent or grandparent.

George H. Nofer Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 12, 2020

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.

NLEAFCF - Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: July 1, 2020

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.

Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 1, 2020

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.

Virginia and Frank Misselhorn Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 31, 2020

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

Christopher W. Keyser Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: July 31, 2020

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.