Making the decision to attend law school is a considerable educational investment in your future, and as such, it can be an expensive venture. The cost of law school varies based on where you choose to study—both the program and on whether the institution you choose to attend is public or private. Read on to learn the average costs you can expect for a typical three-year Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.
Private Law School Cost
Tuition rates will vary based on the prestige of the institution you choose to attend. In general, tuition at a private institution’s law school will be more expensive. The average annual cost of tuition and fees at a private school totals $49,548.1 Over a period of three years, the standard time it takes to complete a J.D., the total cost comes to around $148,644. Also keep in mind that the price of books, food, housing if you choose to live on campus are not typically factored into these estimates.
Public Law School Cost
For public law schools, the cost for in-state tuition is on average $28,264, but jumps to $41,726 for out-of-state students.1 For students choosing to attend a public law school at an in-state tuition rate, the cost over the three year period of the program still comes out to about $84,792. Again, the costs for books and room and board still needs to be taken into consideration.
Minimizing Debt from Law School Costs
Looking at the potential total bill for law school does not need to be all doom and gloom. We will discuss the salary benefits of obtaining a law degree in a moment, but there are ways to minimize the debt you incur before you don your cloak and gown at your law school graduation.
Some schools offer discounts to applicants that have outstanding academic credentials, especially those who do well on the LSAT. Performing well on the LSAT can lead to scholarship money to help bring down law school costs. Other factors for winning scholarships are a strong personal statement, stellar resume or a stunning undergraduate GPA.4
Choosing to attend law school part time in order to continue working at another job is also a good option for minimizing debt. Additionally, you can find solid online law programs that will save you on room and board costs. These programs also offer flexibility that will allow you to continue working at a current job if you so choose.
Overall, to minimize your debt, it is best not to take out a larger loan than you need. But that is just good advice for life in general. Your investment in law school is meant to help you get ahead in your career, not hold you back.
Is the Cost of Law School Worth It?
Deciding to attend law school, like any post-secondary educational venture, comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. Will the outcomes of obtaining a legal education be worth the cost? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2020 median salary for lawyers was $126,930 per year.2 It is also projected that employment for lawyers will grow nine percent through 2030, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for lawyers is not going away.
Depending on the type of law you choose to practice, there may be ways to find assistance in paying back your loans. For example, those who go into public service can look into Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs).3
The focus and locations of your law practice will impact your earnings, as well as how long you have worked in the field. As a new law graduate, you can expect to make anywhere from $50,000 to $190,000 on the high end, with the median salary for 2019 law graduates working in the private sector being $77,500.4 The public sector salaries for new graduates can be considerably lower. However, no matter what path you choose to take in terms of your legal career, attending law school is the first step to moving toward the type of earnings and meaningful work you desire.
An Affordable Online Legal Education
Tulane University Law School is proud to offer Master of Jurisprudence degrees and professional certificates across four areas of legal expertise—Labor and employment law, energy law, environmental law and Title IX regulations—delivered online and backed by the reputation of the 12th oldest law school in the U.S. Our affordable online programs allow you to work and live anywhere, saving you on the costs of relocating and the room and board expenses that come with living on campus.
The total annual estimated cost for our programs is $34,500. You can find a breakdown of the credit costs and any fees associated with the programs here. We also offer financial aid resources to assist you in financing this educational investment in your future. Check out our financial aid FAQs or reach out to a member of our admissions team to get your questions on financial aid and tuition answered.
- Retrieved October 13, 2021, collegeavestudentloans.com/blog/how-much-does-law-school-cost-average-law-degree-tuition-costs/
- Retrieved October 13, 2021, from bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm
- Retrieved October 13, 2021, from nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/law-school-costs
- Retrieved October 13, 2021, from usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/law-school-cost-starting-salary