Average Cost of Law School [2022]: Tuition + Expenses (2023)

Report Highlights. The price of law school is on the rise, with the average total tuition increasing by $1,065 per year.

  • The average total cost of law school is $205,744.
  • The average total cost of tuition alone for law school is $137,533, or $45,844 per year.
  • Living expenses on average total out at $68,211, or $22,737 per year.

Related reports include Average Cost of Medical School | Average Cost of a Master’s Degree | | Average Cost of a Doctorate Degree | Average Cost of Community College

Cost by Year

Since 2005 the cost of tuition has risen on average by $5,326 every 5 years. Historical data since the 1970’s shows tuition has increased at all ABA-accredited law schools. Some experts attribute the rise in tuition to declines in student-faculty ratios, raises in faculty salaries, the development of legal clinics for practical education, the growth of administrative staff rosters, and expansive school construction projects.

  • On its current trend, the average yearly cost of tuition will be $51,170 for the 2020 to 2021 school year.
  • From 2021 to 2022, the average yearly cost of tuition is projected to be $56,496.
  • From 1997 to 2015, the rate of tuition at Minnesota Law School rose from $11,890 to $35,000.
  • From 1997 to 2015, the rate of tuition at Ohio State Law School rose from $5,860 to $27,800.

Average Cost of Law School [2022]: Tuition + Expenses (1)

Cost by School

Similarly to other fields of study, public schools on average end up being cheaper for tuition than private schools by roughly $21,126. Within the traditional 3 year study, the tuition gap between public and private school increases to $63,378.

  • The most expensive law school tuition wise is Columbia University at $72,360 a year.
  • The least expensive law school tuition wise is Inter American University at $15,510 a year.
  • The most expensive law school due to annual living expenses is Stanford University at $39,177 a year.
  • The least expensive law school due to annual living expenses is University of North Dakota at $9,444 a year.
  • The table below does not take into account the cost differences of out-of-state or in-state expenses.
List of Schools
NameAnnual Tuition CostAnnual Living Expenses
Albany Law School$49,814$16,338
American University$57,836$26,032
Appalachian School of Law$36,500$19,800
Arizona State University$47,302$22,714
Ave Maria School of Law$43,206$23,834
Barry University$37,430$27,400
Baylor University$64,512$20,334
Belmont University$46,220$26,425
Boston College$57,150$22,488
Boston University$56,982$20,026
Brigham Young University$26,900$21,912
Brooklyn Law School$61,996$26,675
California Western School of Law$54,310$25,520
Campbell University$43,370$26,620
Capital University$37,920$18,504
Cardozo-Yeshiva University$62,408$28,664
Case Western Reserve University$53,674$25,244
Catholic University of America$52,400$31,484
Chapman University$54,718$33,849
Charleston School of Law$42,134$23,946
Chicago-Kent College of Law$48,650$22,305
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law$29,464$19,988
Columbia University$72,360$25,447
Concordia University School of Law$30,343$16,034
Cornell University$67,833$23,524
Creighton University$41,554$24,505
CUNY$26,204$22,562
DePaul University$49,166$23,132
Drake University$42,624$22,527
Drexel University$45,500$23,474
Duke University$67,398$22,905
Duquesne University$47,080$16,788
Elon Law School$38,000$29,100
Emory University$59,062$24,748
Faulkner University$39,370$28,000
Florida A&M University$33,146$28,296
Florida Coastal School of Law$39,900$23,122
Florida International University$35,298$27,086
Florida State University$40,706$16,750
Fordham University$62,652$28,586
George Mason University$40,742$27,466
George Washington University$63,204$27,550
Georgetown University$64,548$29,952
Georgia State University$37,618$22,991
Golden Gate University$51,500$29,850
Gonzaga University$42,755$20,737
Harvard University$67,080$32,119
Hofstra University$60,970$28,893
Howard University$35,244$33,049
Indiana University – Bloomington$56,872$22,268
Indiana University – Indianapolis$49,857$19,930
Inter American University$15,510$21,956
John Marshall Law School – Atlanta$44,830$29,271
Lewis and Clark College$48,222$28,100
Liberty University$37,922$24,634
Lincoln Memorial University$37,700$21,850
Louisiana State University$39,110$23,940
Loyola Marymount University$59,340$32,800
Loyola University Chicago$50,348$24,395
Loyola University New Orleans$45,156$22,866
Marquette University$47,550$19,400
Mercer University$39,484$19,180
Michigan State University$45,676$18,982
Mississippi College$35,520$23,025
Mitchell Hamline School of Law$45,806$19,450
New England School of Law$51,048$24,891
New York Law School$54,382$23,759
New York University$68,934$30,924
North Carolina Central University$38,868$20,337
Northeastern University$53,040$19,500
Northern Illinois University$22,170$21,962
Northern Kentucky University$36,186$14,020
Northwestern University$67,106$23,364
Nova Southeastern University$42,892$30,439
Ohio Northern University$30,200$15,728
Ohio State University$46,835$20,144
Oklahoma City University$35,630$14,340
Pace University$49,458$25,302
Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson Law$53,212$21,276
Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Law$50,980$23,768
Pepperdine University$57,560$27,800
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico$16,696$19,206
Quinnipiac University$50,440$22,036
Regent University$38,260$24,580
Roger Williams University$38,604$17,500
Rutgers University$45,900$27,924
Samford University$41,338$17,834
Santa Clara University$52,528$28,956
Seattle University$48,518$27,154
Seton Hall University$55,788$22,562
South Texas College of Law Houston$34,050$21,900
Southern Illinois University$31,516$18,363
Southern Methodist University$55,808$26,100
Southern University Law Center$31,610$21,300
Southwestern Law School$55,716$30,755
St. John’s University$61,550$24,267
St. Louis University$43,194$21,244
St. Mary’s University$38,510$20,064
St. Thomas University – Florida$42,190$29,490
Stanford University$64,554$39,177
Stetson University$44,964$17,850
Suffolk University$51,438$24,585
SUNY Buffalo$32,370$18,464
Syracuse University$53,638$20,362
Temple University$42,488$22,482
Texas A&M$39,250$29,784
Texas Southern University$29,454$20,818
Texas Tech University$38,664$15,392
Thomas Jefferson School of Law$52,800$26,660
Touro College$51,280$24,602
Tulane University$58,610$23,606
University of Akron$27,252$22,404
University of Alabama$44,010$19,686
University of Arizona$30,334$21,350
University of Arkansas – Fayetteville$35,410$17,524
University of Arkansas – Little Rock$32,711$15,980
University of Baltimore$47,958$23,500
University of California – Berkeley$55,346$31,244
University of California – Davis$58,560$23,702
University of California – Hastings$51,474$26,508
University of California – Irvine$53,550$32,650
University of California – Los Angeles$54,052$29,770
University of Chicago$67,899$29,436
University of Cincinnati$29,010$17,768
University of Colorado$38,714$20,546
University of Connecticut$62,330$19,262
University of Dayton$35,421$17,500
University of Denver$53,254$19,790
University of Detroit Mercy$45,010$25,706
University of Florida$38,038$19,390
University of Georgia$38,652$18,896
University of Hawaii$47,360$21,214
University of Houston$48,434$19,970
University of Idaho$41,496$16,958
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law$51,616$21,650
University of Illinois$48,146$20,017
University of Iowa$47,766$16,544
University of Kansas$30,738$17,184
University of Kentucky$50,352$18,778
University of La Verne$32,828$30,812
University of Louisville$41,944$19,930
University of Maine$36,104$14,956
University of Maryland$52,302$24,610
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth$38,368$26,668
University of Memphis$32,112$18,579
University of Miami$54,134$28,682
University of Michigan$64,944$20,920
University of Minnesota$54,868$18,870
University of Mississippi$37,036$18,870
University of Missouri – Columbia$40,720$17,284
University of Missouri – Kansas City$36,526$15,574
University of Montana$34,646$16,984
University of Nebraska$38,396$17,910
University of Nevada – Las Vegas$38,944$24,874
University of New Hampshire$44,306$20,915
University of New Mexico$38,242$17,070
University of North Carolina$41,626$25,368
University of North Dakota$44,812$9,444
University of North Texas Dallas College of Law$31,685$18,037
University of Notre Dame$61,220$20,650
University of Oklahoma$33,338$22,500
University of Oregon$47,102$16,776
University of Pennsylvania$67,998$26,340
University of Pittsburgh$45,886$19,142
University of Puerto Rico$22,900$19,306
University of Richmond$46,400$17,750
University of San Diego$57,192$25,355
University of San Francisco$50,770$29,537
University of South Carolina$55,480$19,421
University of South Dakota$50,420$15,924
University of Southern California$67,192$27,072
University of St. Thomas – Minneapolis$42,738$21,000
University of Tennessee$38,842$20,492
University of Texas$54,096$20,936
University of The District of Columbia$26,266$29,200
University of the Pacific$53,864$25,806
University of Toledo$33,916$18,246
University of Tulsa$26,028$21,150
University of Utah$38,178$20,820
University of Virginia$66,200$19,786
University of Washington$48,588$21,492
University of Wisconsin$44,384$21,745
University of Wyoming$31,078$17,060
Vanderbilt University$60,750$26,504
Vermont Law School$49,414$26,184
Villanova University$47,916$22,732
Wake Forest University$47,352$21,208
Washburn University$35,334$17,032
Washington and Lee University$51,392$19,125
Washington University in St Louis$59,460$24,194
Wayne State University$37,008$22,527
West Virginia University$40,248$15,370
Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School$52,580$18,314
Western New England University School of Law$45,338$20,286
Western State University$43,350$33,776
Widener University – Delaware$48,930$22,069
Widener University – Pennsylvania$47,310$22,308
Willamette University$45,920$19,898
William and Mary$44,000$20,722
Yale University$66,128$22,465

Alternative Degrees

The Juris Doctorate (J.D.) is the traditional 3 year degree. In order to be eligible to take the bar exam and become an attorney, a student needs a Juris Doctorate. Alternative degrees exist for those seeking to work in the legal field but not become lawyers themselves. These alternative degrees to a J.D. typically have shorter and cheaper programs.

  • Alternative degrees may include but are not limited to a J.M. Juris Master or a M.L.S. Master of Legal Studies.
  • A J.M. typically lasts 1 to 2 years and may cost anywhere from $12,000 to $34,000 for total tuition.
  • A J.M. from Florida International University is a one year program that costs $24,726.30 for tuition.
  • A J.M. from Liberty University School of Law costs $16,950 in tuition for the whole program.
  • Many M.L.S. degrees are online, and can be completed within a year and a half.
  • The University of Oklahoma’s M.L.S. degrees typically cost $16,678 for residents and $29,392 for non-residents.
  • Seattle University School of Law M.L.S. degree costs $33,780 with no price differentiation between residents and non-residents.

Financial Aid Trends

One form of financial aid for law students are conditional scholarships. Conditional scholarships are awarded to students on the basis that they maintain a good grade point average or class standing. Conditional scholarships have decreased in popularity over the years, and the students who do have them have become less likely to lose them.

  • From 2011 to 2012 roughly 61.4% of law schools had conditional scholarships.
  • From 2019 to 2020 roughly 42.6% of law schools had conditional scholarships.
  • 36.1% of law students lost their conditional scholarships from 2011 to 2012.
  • 9.8% of law students lost their conditional scholarships from 2019 to 2020.
  • From 2011 to 2012 the average grant aid for law school was $4,760.
  • During that same school year, public school students received $3,350 in grant aid.
  • During that same school year, private school students received $5,340 in grant aid.
  • In 2018, 6% of law school students received institutional grants paying the full cost of their tuition.
  • In 2018, 29% of law school students received institutional grants paying off at least half the cost of their tuition.

Average Cost of Law School [2022]: Tuition + Expenses (2)

Additional Costs

At the end of law school a student receives their Juris Doctorate. In order to be able to practice law, the graduates must take a bar exam in order to receive their license. Each bar exam is generally administered and regulated by that state’s supreme court.

  • The average cost of a bar exam ranges from $200 to $1,500 depending on the state.
  • Using a laptop to take the bar exam is roughly $100 to $150.
  • An out-of-state attorney seeking to practice law in a new state can expect to pay over $1,200 to take a new bar exam.
  • A law degree can sometimes impede a candidate’s job search for non-legal jobs.
  • A law school application fee costs roughly $80.
  • The average applicant applies to 6 or 7 law schools totaling $480 to $560 in application fees.
  • 30.4% of lawyers in a 2016 survey cited lack of money as a barrier to seeking help for mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • 71% of law school graduates took out loans in 2016 and acquired debt
  • The average cumulative amount borrowed in 2016 was $125,100.

Sources

  1. Law School Admission Council, Paying For Law School: A Preliminary Guide
  2. Law School Transparency Data Dashboard: Law School Costs
  3. LawyerEdu.org: How Long is Law School?
  4. American Bar Association (ABA), Disparities in Student Loans: How Did We Get Here and What Can We Do?
  5. American Bar Association (ABA): Post-J.D. & Non-J.D. Overview of Other than J.D. Programs
  6. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Trends in Student Loan Debt for Graduate School Completers
  7. AccessLex Legal Education Data Deck
  8. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Lawyer
  9. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, The Crisis of the American Law School
  10. ABA, Profile of the Legal Profession
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 10/01/2022

Views: 6635

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.