August 28, 2017

How to Find Law School Scholarships

If you're concerned about law school student loans, law school debt, or how to pay for law school, I'm here to help! Here's 4 different places to look for to find a law school scholarship. Even if you don't have the highest GPA or LSAT score, you can still find a scholarship for law school! I have information on scholarships from law schools, local Bar association scholarships, ABA scholarships, and a scholarship match service. Plus, I have three free scholarship binder printables! |

This weekend Ry and I watched the movie 21 and if you've never seen it, it's basically about a guy who got in to Harvard Med but can't afford it so he counts cards to pay for school. What really got to me though, is that the whole movie is all about how smart this guy is and how he gets good grades and professors love him and yada yada. So when he didn't win a full ride scholarship I was practically yelling at the TV about how he could still get other scholarships to at least help him pay for it! I think it would be such a shame for someone to put their legal career on hold because of money, so here's how you can get some free cash money for school.

Your school

Even if your acceptance letter didn't include a scholarship, don't give up! My 1L year a bunch of us were talking about how we all got at least $1,000 a semester scholarship from my school when one girl mentioned that she didn't get any scholarship. After we all shared our GPA/LSAT scores, she told us that she had the same as us! We hyped her up and she went in and talked to our school's financial aid advisor and got her $1,000 too!

Even if you don't want to be a litigator, you still will need to get good at negotiating and this is the perfect excuse to practice. It probably did help that she could go in there and point out that her application was about the same as X, Y, and Z, but you should still at least try even if you don't have this information to back you up. I mean ya never know so it's worth it to at least try. And any semester after your grades improve, go back and see if you have earned yourself a liiiitle bit more. Even if you get a measly $100, everything helps! 

Here's two articles on negotiating law school scholarships— Law School Advice and Pre Law Guru

Bar Associations

I actually just got $2,000 from the Bar association that's closest to my hometown. Writing the application was also super easy because I could just take a little bit from my personal statement about who I am, a little bit from my clinic application about my personal goals in the legal field, and a little bit from my externship application bragging about myself. Then all I had to do was give a good way that I'd use the money, which for me was relocating to Dallas for my externship but you could just as easily mention casebooks since everyone knows how expensive that is.

You also might look into the Bar association for whatever city your law school is located or if you have a job lined up in another city, you could try their Bar, too! Just make sure that within a week of receiving the check, you write them a personalized thank you letter. Remind them again of who you are and how much their support means to you. Definitely don't forget to do this and for sure don't make it sound generic or half-assed because if you get in these people's good graces, you might be able to network your way to a job!

Here's two ways to find national Bar association law school scholarships— ABA and ABA law student division 

Local scholarships 

Every now and then (especially in the Spring) my school's daily email will have an announcement about a local scholarship to apply to. Some of these are by alumni, some are from different Bar associations (Women's Bar, Criminal Bar), and some are in memory of a student who passed. The application for these are usually not too much effort and again just want you to have decent grades and a paper telling them who you are and how you can benefit from the money. 

Even if a thank-you note isn't required, it's best to go ahead and send them. You can type them, but a hand-written note is always a nice touch. My grandma actually got me these thank you cards and I get a lot of use out of them! I love that they're nicer than just store-bought cards and show that I put a little effort into genuinely thanking them. These are also handy to use for writing thank-you's after an interview, too.

Here's three lists of local law school scholarships— US News and Yale and LendEDU

Scholarship match service

My school suggested that we use FastWeb scholarship matching. What you do is give them information about yourself and it gives you a list of scholarships that you could apply for. For example, since I'm a girl I would get matched with scholarships for women. It also matches by location so I would get matched with scholarships for Texans. You get the picture. It's just a way to keep you from having to just go through tons of Google pages.

Make a scholarship binder

If you're applying for lots of scholarships, it's super important that you have a system to keep yourself organized so that you don't end up missing deadlines or accidentally send the wrong application to the wrong scholarship organization. I recommend getting a 3 ring binder to keep all your paperwork in. Get some page dividers and make sections for important information, the applications themselves, the essays, recommendation letters, copies of your transcript, and your resumé. 

I also made you some printables to keep all of your scholarships organized! The first one is a scholarship checklist so you can keep track of what you have and haven't applied to. The next is a monthly scholarship tracker so you can mark what scholarships are due when. The last one is a weekly scholarship tracker so you can check off your scholarship progress.