Law school tuition for three years of law school can be as high as $150,000 depending on the school you attend. Remember that this cost is ONLY tuition; the full cost of law school additionally includes rent, books, food, etc. Further, this is just the cost of law school and not the cost of becoming a licensed attorney. To prepare for law school you have to research the cost of law school and have a plan. The below lists some of the expenses you will have to consider in becoming a lawyer who is licensed to practice:
Law School Application fees
LSAT Prep Course
LSAT testing fees
Law School Tuition
Living expenses for three years
Loss of opportunity costs (three years of lost work, when you could have been generating an active income)
Bar preparation course
Bar Exam Fees
Law school tuition plus the full cost of becoming a lawyer can be expensive unless you have a thorough understanding of the costs associated with the entire process and a plan to minimize same. Make an excel sheet of the above estimated costs. Contact the schools you are considering because they will have some of the figures for the above. Better yet, send them a letter requesting estimates for the above and then follow up 10 days later with a phone call and ask them all of specific questions pertaining to their particular law school.
One important option for minimizing the cost of law school is to attend a school with lower school tuition. Private law schools do not offer in-state resident tuition, but if you attend a state university law school, you will save a significant sum of money. It may not be the school of your first choice, but you must consider your own finances. If you will be incurring a significant amount of debt (through a federal student loan program or private loan) then it would most likely be wiser to attend the state university as the lower law school tuition will have a significant impact on the money that you have to pay back after law school.
Do not forget that if you require a student loan to attend law school you will not only have to pay back the principal amount that you borrow, but you will also have to pay interest on that loan. Further, if it is a private loan your interest rate will be much higher. The more you borrow and the higher your loan interest rate the more money will have to come out of your pay check when you actually start working in a legal career.
Do not let the above dissuade you from law school. There are many ways to not only finance law school but reduce the total cost. The law is a noble pursuit and can be very satisfying, but you have to prepare for law school and POSITION YOURSELF IN A LEGAL FIELD THAT MATCHES YOUR PERSONALITY, AND YOU KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT COMMITTING YOURSELF TO LAW SCHOOL. The only way to do that is arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.
In fact this should motivate you to actually attend law school because there are strategies to minimize the cost of law school so long as you properly plan and prepare for law school.
So in summary:
Do not be blinded by the name of the school: If your first choice is an expensive private law school (non-ivy) and your second choice is an in-state law school with much lower law school tuition, seriously consider the state school. Your education will be practically the same, and as long as you pass the bar, you will be on equal footing with every other new lawyer.
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