Law school – it takes a while to get through it and it’s very expensive. Although there are many people attending law school, there is an obvious lack of women participating in law programs. This may be directly tied to inequalities in pay and the perception of women attorneys, but law scholarships can make a difference for women in the field.
Women are an underrepresented demographic across the board as it relates to profession and income. With pay gaps still an issue for women, those wanting to attend law school may view this as a daunting task that could cripple them financially. Women and minorities seeking access to law school still have a long way to go, with 10% of students being Asian American, 9% Hispanic, and 6% black at the nation’s top 30 law schools.
Although underrepresented, this presents a huge opportunity. There are numerous scholarships available for women minorities specific to their race and gender that can assist in closing the gap between women and the legal profession. There are many scholarships for women in law school that help them continue to keep going and keep up with their outside obligations like a job or family.
Moving the Needle Forward
Organizations are starting to realize that scholarships for female law students are sorely needed, with more support for these types of scholarships being thrown their way. There are many law schools that have programs catering to individuals who commit to working in the public sector once they graduate, which will give them a full ride.
Law school is expensive, with different timelines based on the area of expertise. Even if the school is considered affordable, most people end up paying at least in the ballpark of five figures for tuition per year without factoring in living expenses. Scholarships for female law students can help allay those costs by providing a financial cushion, so women want to attend law school.
While many people haven’t considered these options, there are quite a few scholarships for female students from organizations and the school itself. Women’s representation in the legal field is sorely needed for diversity and equity. Although law firms are pooling resources into gender-diversity initiatives, a 2019 survey by the American Bar Association indicates there is still a huge imbalance, causing female lawyers to leave the profession at a higher rate than men.
In the 2020 NALP Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms, it indicates that progress is being made incrementally at major U.S. law firms and women are still widely underrepresented. Despite the growth, Black and Latina women represent less than 1% of all partners in all U.S. law firms.
The Hope in Scholarship
With scholarships for women in law school continuing to grow, there is an indication that institutions and those in the legal profession understand and want to alleviate this vast underrepresentation. By offering scholarships that take a huge financial burden off women, they can pursue a career in law without having to circumvent the process or doing something different while paying for law school. Part-time programs stagnate women attempting to complete law school, especially if they have families to look after. A scholarship can be the saving grace that turns the no into a yes without reservation or doubt.
For individuals who do not have other obligations but worry about being faced with astronomical bills in law school, a scholarship would significantly help in increasing representation in law. Being able to focus primarily on studies without worrying about how the bills will get paid or whether they will have enough money to pay for books can help steer other women toward getting their law degree to start practicing law.
Types of scholarships for female law students
There are tons of scholarships available for female law students from universities and outside organizations. Some of the outside scholarships for female law students include:
- Mide Eidson Scholarship by the AAJ Women Trial Lawyers Caucus
- Career Development Grants from the AAUW
- Selected Professions Fellowship by the AAUW Educational Foundation
- Bernadine Johnson Marshall-Martha Bell Scholarship
- AAJ Law Student Scholarship/Elaine Osborne Jacobson Award
- Marilynne Graboys Wool Scholarship
- Rachel Krevans Scholarship
There are also scholarships available from the different municipality lawyers’ associations. By networking with these associations, women can find money that will help them attend law school. Speaking to a counselor is the first step in determining if a scholarship will work to their benefit. With the industry in a state of influx, providing scholarships for women in law school can help them keep moving forward to make their mark within the legal industry.