A bar review course costs $1,500 to $3,000, at the time of publication, depending upon which company test takers use and the state in which they're taking the bar. Due to the time demands, it is best not to be employed while studying for the bar. Thus, for several weeks, those sitting for the bar may have no income. Factor in the cost to sit for the exam and to apply for a license to practice law in any particular state, and the cost of becoming a lawyer can be steep. Test takers need to offset costs by seeking assistance to finance the bar review course.
Apply to Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae is a source for loans for students taking bar review courses. Borrowers can use the money for the cost of the bar review course as well as living expenses while they spend the summer studying, up to $15,000 at the time of publication. Repayments can be deferred until nine months after graduating from law school. To be eligible, borrowers must be enrolled in law school or have recently graduated from law school. To apply, interested borrowers should download the application from Sallie Mae's website, complete it and either upload it electronically or submit it via regular mail.
Become a Student Representative
BarBri and Kaplan PMBR are two major providers of the comprehensive bar review course. Most law students become familiar with these companies from the first day they arrive on a law school's campus, because student representatives set up information tables or post contact fliers on bulletin boards around the school. The representatives work to convince other students to pay for the course in full to lock in the ever-increasing rate, or to set up a payment plan. The student representatives also solicit new student representatives. The main perk of being a BarBri or PMBR representative is that by meeting certain goals for signing up students to take the course, the rep can earn a free class. Students interested in becoming a BarBri or PMBR representative should contact the representative at their school for more information.
BarBri Tuition Scholarship
BarBri created the Tuition Assistance Program designed to help supplement bar review tuition for graduating students. Through this platform, donors can pay for all or a portion of the costs for students to take a bar review course. Donors can set qualifications for these grants. For example, LexisNexis & Morrison Foerster have provided funds through the program for select New York University students. To be eligible for the funds, students must be interested in taking BARBRI review course and have indicated an desire to work in the public interest sector upon graduation. Other donors may have different eligibility requirements. Contact the law school's financial office for details concerning program availability and eligibility.
Seek Help From Big Firms
Many students hired directly out of law school by major law firms have successfully negotiated the cost of the bar study course in their compensation package. Major firms tend to have large hiring budgets and can afford such expenses. Some firms even provide living expenses in addition to the cost of the course. When it comes to negotiations those expenses, Stephanie Mitchell of Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., suggests, "Assume all things are negotiable." Don't be afraid to ask for what you need.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Dannelle F. Walker is an education lawyer and policy maker. Her areas of expertise include teacher liability, educator ethics, and school operations. She holds a JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law.