We believe that law school is an exciting and enriching experience. It trains students for a variety of careers, and develops their capacities to contribute to the world as citizens and members of the human community. We are proud that the vast majority of students who have chosen Santa Clara Law are happy they did.
Attending law school is a big decision. So there are some things you should think about before enrolling, whether at Santa Clara or elsewhere:
Law school is expensive; you can find our current tuition information here. Of course, it is important to realize that law school is unlike most purchasing decisions: it is a long-term investment in your future, which is apt to pay substantial dividends over the rest of your lifetime. Still, many law students graduate with substantial debt loads, some exceeding $150,000.
The federal government offers income-driven repayment plans, which can make repayment more affordable; you can learn about those plans here.
You should also realize that there are some additional costs associated with becoming a licensed attorney (such as fees to take the bar exam). You should carefully consider the expense, as well as the debt you may be required to assume, in evaluating the benefits of a law degree.
Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can defray the cost of law school, often substantially. But most scholarships—including many that we offer—come with conditions. (For example, our Emery Merit Scholarships require recipients to maintain a 3.00 GPA.)
The majority of recipients meet these conditions. But many do not, and thus lose their scholarship assistance.
The ABA requires law schools to report information on their conditional scholarships, which you can find on each school’s web site. Our information is here. If you receive a scholarship offer from any school, you should be sure you fully understand the terms and conditions.
3. Bar Passage
We have designed Santa Clara’s academic program to maximize our students’ chances of passing the bar exam. And we are proud that our graduates have fared well recently. Our graduating class of 2015 had a first-time pass rate on the California Bar Exam of 69.7%, exceeding the average for first-time takers graduating from ABA-accredited law schools in California.
Still, a substantial number of graduates, even from highly ranked schools, do not pass the California bar exam, at least on their first try. Some have difficulty after multiple attempts (especially those with lower LSAT scores).
Every school publishes its recent bar passage statistics on its web site; ours are here. You should examine these figures for each school you are considering.
Needless to say, a J.D. degree does not promise a high-paying job at a top-tier law firm. The employment market for legal services dipped during the Great Recession, and it has yet to fully recover.
Most of our graduates land jobs, but there are no guarantees. Every law school is required to publish detailed employment statistics for its recent graduates; ours are here. As with the information on bar passage, you should examine these numbers carefully for each school you are thinking about.
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Again, we think law school can be a terrific investment in your future, and we would love for you to join us at Santa Clara Law—so long as it is the right choice for you. As an institution, our ultimate aim is to advance the welfare of society through the transmission of legal knowledge. That goal is ill served if you would be happier elsewhere, or not in law school at all.
We urge you to weigh these factors carefully, so as to reach a well-considered decision. And please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.