Financial Advice for Law Students
One of the biggest problems law graduates face is dealing with the burden of debt. The amount of debt you carry effects which area of law you can go into when you graduate. For many who want to work in the public interest, it is difficult to find jobs that will allow you to repay your debt. With careful financial planning, you can minimize your debt and maximize your chances of being financially able to work where you want to. Realistically assess how much you can expect to earn post-graduation and factor that into your decision making process, but don’t let it be the only deciding factor. Please see the LSAC's financial aid brochure here.
Before law school
- Consider spending time working in between college and law school. Now only will this help you reduce the amount you must borrow, but it will help you discern whether the legal field is right for you.
- Look into deferment options on undergraduate students loans
- Compare the financial aid packages you receive from law schools
- If interested in public interest law, look at what programs are available at the law schools you’re applying to. Some have loan cancellation programs or special fellowships to assist you. See also the Equal Justice Programs.
- Apply for outside scholarships
- Consider borrowing from relatives at lower interests rates than student loans
During law school
- Budget carefully. If you have trouble putting together a budget, seek assistance from the financial aid office at your law school. You can also use online budget planning worksheets to assist you.
- Minimize housing expenses. You might get a roommate, live with relatives, live in a room in a private house or in university housing, exchange services like babysitting or cleaning for part of your rent, or find off-campus housing through your law school’s housing office.
- Minimize food expenses. Plan meals in advance instead of impulse buying, use coupons, buy generic, and make your own meals instead of buying processed food.
- Minimize transportation costs. Car-pool with other law students, use public transportation, take advantage of student discounts, make reservations early, avoid owning a car.
- If you can, pay off the interest on your loans while you’re still in school.
- Make sure you control your credit card spending and pay the full balance each month.
- Apply for any debt cancellation programs available at your school.