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Top 9 Cheapest Law Schools in California for 2024

Most law schools in California are extremely expensive, and without financial aid, most students can’t afford to earn their law degree in the state.

That’s why we created this page containing some of California’s cheapest law schools for in-state, out-of-state, and international students in 2024.

There are four major things we had in mind while writing this article.

  • The school’s tuition.
  • Accreditation.
  • Its bar exam pass rates.
  • Its post-graduation employment rates.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Most Affordable Law Schools in California

Below are some of the most affordable law schools in California. These schools are ranked based on their tuition and fees.

1. University of La Verne College of Law

La Verne law school

Tuition: $30,280

The University of La Verne College of Law is one of the cheapest law schools in California, offering the Juris Doctor (JD) law degree. It is worth noting that La Verne College of Law is not accredited by ABA but is approved by the State Bar of California.

While it has a high bar exam pass rate of 73%, La Verne Law School is not recognized outside the state. However, this doesn’t stop them from enrolling over 400 students yearly and being one of the most affordable law schools in the state.

Also, La Verne Law does not offer full-tuition scholarships and grants. Less than 30% of its law students receive financial aid, and it has a 62% employment rate.

2. UC Berkeley School of Law

University of California Berkeley entrance sign

Tuition: $37,023.50

Since its creation in 1894, the University of California Berkeley School of Law has produced competent leaders in law, government, and society in the US and around the globe. Some include Edwin Meese, an ex-U.S. Attorney General, Pete Wilson, a former governor of Califonia, etc.

UC Berkeley School of Law is one of the best law institutions in the nation. It has an outstanding bar pass rate (95.5%) and a post-graduation employment rate (98%).

3. UC Hastings College of Law

UC Hastings law

Tuition: $47,031

Located in the heart of San Fransico is one of the cheapest law schools in California, the University of California Hastings College of Law. UC Hastings offers a 3-year law program in about seven different areas and has been fully accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1939.

It may interest you that UC Hastings Law School is one of the oldest law schools in the state. Also, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, is a notable alumnus of this institution.

4. Western State College of Law

Western state law

Tuition: $49,040

Founded in 1966, Western State College of Law at Westcliff University is one of the oldest and most affordable law schools in Orange County. Being a private ABA-approved law institution, most people expect it to be quite expensive.

Although WSU Law has an average bar exam pass rate of 58%, it is one of the most diverse law schools in the nation, with an 82% employment rate. This school is also accredited by the California State Committee of Bar Examiners (CSCBE), which makes its graduates eligible for the California Bar Examination.

5. Golden Gate University School of Law

Golden gate law

Tuition: $52,500

In downtown San Fransico, Golden Gate University School of Law is an ABA-accredited private law school. It provides a cutting-edge learning experience for students who wish to become professional lawyers without breaking the bank.

GGU School of Law was founded in 1901 to educate busy California residents at night. Today, the institution is one of the best law schools for adult learners in the US.

The school offers undergraduate and graduate law degrees and combined programs at an affordable cost. Although GGU Law has a below-average bar exam pass rate, the institution has a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment for students to succeed in their fields of study.

6. University of San Francisco Law School

San Francisco law school

Tuition: $54,100

University of San Francisco School of Law is a private law institution accredited by the ABA and part of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). It enrolls more than 140 students annually and has 6 JD certificate programs.

USF School of Law is among the best law institutions for minority students in the US and has a diverse community of students. The school has a high bar exam pass rate of about 81%.

7. UC Davis School of Law

UC Davis

Tuition: $54,919

Even though it’s the smallest law school in the University of California system, the UC Davis School of Law enrolls more than 600 students annually. Despite its above-average cost of attendance, the school is known for providing financial aid to eligible students.

Also, UC Davis Law School has a bar exam pass rate of almost 90% and an 85% employment rate. If you are a California resident or have strong ties to the state, applying to this public institution may be a good idea.

8. Southwestern Law School

Southwestern law school

Tuition: $58.392

Established in 1911, Southwestern Law School is an ABA-approved private law school near downtown Los Angeles. It enrolls over 9000 students annually and is affiliated with California State University, Northridge, a public university in the same city.

Approximately 85% of Southwestern Law graduates taking the California State Bar exam passed based on the 2020 results. Also, the school is a member of the North American Consortium on Legal Education and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

9. UCLA School of Law

Campus tour of Royce Hall

Tuition: $56,455

Since its inception in 1949, UCLA School of Law has provided exceptional legal education to students. It is among the top 15 law schools in the United States and one of the oldest & most funded law schools within the University of California system.

As a prestigious law institution, UCLA Law School is very competitive in admissions. The school has a bar exam pass rate and employment rate of 97% and 95%, respectively.

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How much does law school cost in California per year?

Public law schools in California have an average tuition of $49,910, while private California law schools have an average tuition of $56,587. These averages were calculated based on the state’s tuition of ABA (American Bar Association) accredited law schools.

While non-ABA-accredited law schools in California are cheaper than ABA law schools, most students want the best law education they can get. Also, you may want to be on the lookout for the bar exam pass rates.

If you are an in-state student planning to study law in California, you should budget $70k or more annually. Out-of-state students should budget around $80-90k per year depending on commuting or living off campus.

Cheap online law schools in California

Perhaps you are busy or want to earn your law degree while studying at your pace, so going online may be the perfect choice.

All you need is a good PC with a stable internet connection, and you are good to go. Below are some of the cheapest accredited online law schools in California.

  1. University of Southern California Gould Law School
  2. California School of Law
  3. Concord Law School at Purdue University Global
  4. Northwestern California University School of Law
  5. St. Francis Law School
  6. Cal Northern School of Law

I just wanted to inform you that most employers may not take you seriously with your online law degree. You might want to reconsider your options if you do this for the money.

All the institutions mentioned in this article are fully accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Hopefully, by now, you know which California law schools to add to your list regarding affordability. If you found this article helpful, you can support us by sharing it with others. Thanks 🙂

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