The average cost of earning a law school degree continues to grow increasingly expensive. Every year since 2005, the cost of tuition has increased by more than $5,000, according to the Education Data Initiative. The expense of tuition alone is about $137,970. When you factor in living expenses, that price tag rises to $206,180.

Many students turn to student loans to cover the cost of law school, but there are plenty of options for free money to consider before going down that route. Scholarships are available for every level of college, including law school. Here are some of the best ones.

Top law school scholarships for 2023

When searching for law school scholarships, look for those that suit your interests, background and financial picture. The list below is not exhaustive, but it is a good place to start your search.

1. Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholarship

The Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholarship, offered by the Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in IP Law, is designed for students in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups attending an ABA-accredited law school. The scholarship is specifically for students interested in exploring a career in patent law.

Amount: $10,000 per year for up to three years

Deadline: March 31, 2023

Apply here:

2. Mike Eidson Law Student Scholarship

The Mike Eidson Scholarship is for female law school students in their third (or qualifying fourth) year. You’ll need to prove your commitment as a trial lawyer and dedication to upholding the principles of the Constitution. Applicants must also be a student member of the American Association for Justice.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May 1, 2023 (application opens February 1, 2023 )

Apply here:

3. Richard D. Hailey Law Student Scholarship

The American Association of Justice awards the Richard D. Hailey Law Student Scholarship to a minority law school student in their first, second or third year of law school. To apply, you’ll need to include a resume, up to three recommendations, a completed form that verifies your status and an essay of up to 500 words detailing your interest in trial advocacy. You’ll also need to demonstrate financial need and be an AAJ law student member.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May 1, 2023 (application opens February 1, 2023)

Apply here:

4. Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation Scholarship

While not strictly a law school scholarship, the Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation Scholarship can cover the cost of taking the Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland or Pennsylvania bar exam. Applicants must be African-American female law students committed to a career as a prosecutor. Applicants can also win a monetary award if they get a job as a prosecutor in certain states.

Amount: Typically $3,000 to $5,000

Deadline: March 31, 2023

Apply here:

5. Emery Reddy Legal Studies Scholarship

The Emery Reddy Legal Studies Scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a degree in legal studies at an accredited U.S. college or university. To apply, students must submit an essay of 400 to 600 words detailing why they’re interested in the study of law. Additional requirements include being a U.S. citizen and currently enrolled or recently accepted to an accredited U.S. law school, college, or university.

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: 2023 deadline not yet announced

Apply here:

How to get a law school scholarship

After completing the competitive process of applying to law school, enduring another application process may seem daunting. However, there are many options available for law school scholarships, and applying for them doesn’t have to be scary. When applying for law school scholarships, follow these steps:

  • Check for institutional scholarships. Most law schools have scholarships. Check with your law school first to find out what scholarship options it may have available.
  • Use scholarship search engines. Many private organizations offer scholarships that cater to certain demographics or interests. Make a list of your characteristics and interests and look for the scholarships that intersect with those qualities. Scholarship search engines are a great place to sift through scholarships that fit your profile.
  • Follow application requirements carefully. Once you find scholarships that you want to apply for, read all application requirements in detail and ensure that your application follows all of the directions and specific prompts. It may be helpful to have a friend or family member look over the requirements and your application to verify.
  • Reuse application essays when you can. While you want your essays to be specific to each place you apply, you can use past essays as a starting point for future essays. If you are going to reuse an essay, tweaking a few things to make it work for a similar prompt can help you give it a unique touch without having to start from scratch.

Additional ways to pay for law school

While some scholarships are available just for law school, they can get highly competitive, which means that you may not win in a crowded pool. There are other ways to pay for law school, including:

  • Broader scholarships: Instead of limiting your scholarship scope to law school-specific scholarships, broaden your search to include many facets of your life, including race, nationality, background, sexual orientation or other features. Don’t be afraid to use your differences to your advantage.
  • School aid: Some law schools offer grants to students with financial needs to help offset the cost. While national scholarships tend to have high awards, remember to look within your school for extra help. Also, consider local scholarships and grants from within your community. Many organizations are looking for ways to help students.

Law school loans: Both federal and private student loans are available to graduate students who need to pay for school. While student loans require you to repay what you’ve borrowed, they’re a great way to cover costs that free money doesn’t. Apply for federal loans first to get the lowest interest rates and friendliest repayment terms. Then look to private student loans if you have a funding gap left over.