The average cost of law school including tuition and living expenses is $206,178. Those costs are on top of an average student loan debt of $80,000 or more. The average cost of law school is more than double that of the median salary of a new lawyer.
The high cost of law school has many students pondering whether it is worth it, especially when there is no guarantee that they will be able to find employment in the legal industry after graduation. The answer is complicated.
Many students are able to mitigate the cost of law school through scholarships and grants. The Law School Admission Council, American Bar Association and search tools like FastWeb can help students find scholarships for law school. In addition, students can also seek federal grants and work-study programs. Finally, some students can apply for student loans that offer relatively low interest rates and flexible repayment plans or loan forgiveness options.
Matt Leichter runs The Law School Tuition Bubble, a website that archives and chronicles the deteriorating legal education system and calls for reforms. He says that many top law schools could implement tuition-free law school if they were willing to ask students to commit to paying back their loan at a later date, much the way computer bootcamps use income share agreements (ISAs) as their financing model.
Similarly, some employers offer “front end” tuition assistance for employees pursuing degrees in business or management. But tuition support for law school is not as common. That is why Kafafian, Schrage and their colleagues at Flywheel are looking for ways to make this possible for future law graduates. Law Tuition