Will Law Firms Pay for Law School?

Anyone that has looked into attending law school has probably seen some of the astronomical pricing associated with attendance. Law school tuition has risen substantially over the past decade with no end in sight. Considering that so many law students graduate with six-figure debt I can’t blame students for searching for alternatives to pay for law school. One of those potential alternatives is the possibility that a law firm will pay for your tuition.

The answer in the vast majority of cases is no, law firms will not pay for your law school tuition. There are simply too many law students with high grades interested in private firm work for a law firm to offer such an expensive incentive to work there.

That being said there are some limited exceptions where law firms and the armed forces will pay tuition reimbursement, and in extremely rare cases some firms will pay for law school.

Which firms will pay for law school tuition?

I only know of a single law firm that will pay for your entire law school tuition but there are very specific limitations that eliminate the vast majority of law students. The firm is Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, and it offers 100% reimbursement for its student associates if you meet the firm’s billable hour requirement, you keep your grades at a “B” or higher, and you must have a scientific or engineering degree. That last requirement knocks out most law students, few law students hold a STEM degree and that is why some firms offer special incentives to recruit them.

The fact that I could not find any other firm that offers such a generous tuition reimbursement does not mean that none exists. In fact, I have been told that several other large firms have similar tuition reimbursement programs for high performing law students with STEM degrees. In addition, I know of many large firms that offer monetary goodies to STEM majors with high law school grades that agree to join their firms as patent attorneys.

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Will the armed forces pay for your law degree?

It depends, generally no, the armed forces does not recruit law students with offers to pay down their student loans. However, the military does have a program called the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) which presents an excellent opportunity to commissioned officers in the military.

If you are a current commissioned officer on active duty, you may apply through the FLEP to attend law school at the government’s expense. The program is very selective, only 25 active-duty officers in each branch are selected every year, and generally, those selected must attend an in-state law school. In addition, you generally need several years of commissioned service in the military to be competitive for the program.

Are there any other options besides student loans?

law student loans

The reality is that there are very few firms offering tuition assistance to new attorneys, and those offerings are extremely competitive. Unfortunately, the vast majority of law students are forced to shoulder high student debt in order to pay for law school.

The truth is that the vast majority of us don’t have a chance that a law firm will pay/reimburse our law school tuition. But luckily there are other options besides going into six-figure debt to obtain a law degree.

A realistic option is to have a large portion of your tuition paid in merit scholarships. The best way to obtain a merit scholarship is to obtain good grades in undergrad and earn a high score on the LSAT. Easier said than done I know, but this is a far more realistic option than getting a firm to pay for your tuition.

Take your LSAT preparation seriously because the higher the score you receive the better the chance you will have at obtaining a significant merit-based scholarship.

You can check out a detailed article on LSAT preparation here.

There are also a number of diversity based scholarships available, if you consider yourself a diverse student you should check out some of these scholarships that may be applicable to you. Diversity scholarships can be extremely competitive and most of them require essays of varying lengths, but your effort will be well worth it if you are selected.

Another thing to consider in your quest to reduce law school tuition is attending an in-state school. Private law schools on average are far more expensive than in-state public universities. You can save a lot of money by staying in-state. The average private law school tuition is approaching $50,000 a year, with some schools like Columbia and NYU charging $70,000 a year! The average public law school tuition is just under $30,000 a year, that is a tremendous cost-saving!


Free law school is every law student’s dream, especially in the current legal environment where it is common for law students to graduate with six-figure debt. It’s highly unlikely that a law firm is going to dish out the money to heavily subsidize your education, but that does not mean that you have to take out a massive amount of student loans. Study hard, apply for diversity scholarships, and consider attending an in-state law school and your tuition bill will be vastly reduced!

You can check out a detailed article on managing law student loans here.

Stephen Metellus

I am a 3L law student in Washington D.C and owner of theartoflawschool.com! I started law school with a lot of hopes and expectations, and it has certainly been a wild ride from the start! My goal is writing articles that help you in navigating through law school.

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