Thanks to the numerous paralegal studies scholarships offered across America, starting a legal career doesn't have to be expensive or include a trip to law school.
Paralegals are involved in researching regulations, drafting legal documents, gathering evidence, writing legal reports for trials, investigating case facts, getting affidavits, and calling on witnesses. In short, paralegals stand behind every great lawyer to assist in nearly every facet of the profession.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts rapid employment growth of 17%, it's clear that demand for paralegals is leaps and bounds above that of lawyers to help increase the efficiency of legal services.
If you're interested in working as a paralegal at a law firm, government agency, or corporate legal department, below are 20 great scholarships available to help you reach your goals in law.
1. Camille Stell Annual Scholarship
Deadline: February 28th
In honor of a devoted paralegal who served on the Paralegal Program Advisory Board for over a decade and taught at the Meredith College Paralegal Program until 2004, the Camille Stell Annual Scholarship is presented annually for $500 by the Raleigh-Wake Paralegal Association (RWPA) in North Carolina. Qualified applicants must be currently enrolled in a recognized paralegal training program in Wake County, have good academic standing, demonstrate financial need, and show outstanding potential for success in the paralegal profession. Students will be required to submit an essay describing how their views of the American legal system have changed since beginning paralegal training.
2. Console & Hollawell Legal Scholarship
Deadline: July 15th
As a personal injury law firm that has been assisting local accident victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1994, Console & Hollawell gives back annually by providing the $1,000 Legal Scholarship to graduating high school seniors accepted into a law-related degree program for paralegal studies, legal assisting, or pre-law. Eligible applicants must be completing their high school diploma or GED, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and have U.S. citizenship. Applications must be accompanied by an unofficial transcript, proof of enrollment, and a short 600-word essay discussing how candidates will impact the future legal society.
3. Cornelia A. Bregman Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Through the Capital Region Women's Network, the Cornelia A. Bregman Memorial Scholarship is available annually for $2,000 to women 25 years of age or older who are returning to school to earn an academic, technical, or vocational degree in education, healthcare, nursing, paralegal studies, or administrative services. Applicants must be permanent residents of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Washington, Greene, Schoharie, Saratoga, or Columbia counties in New York State. Recipients will be chosen based on their future career goals, likelihood of achieving those goals, financial circumstances, challenges, and need for professional training.
Cornelia A. Bregman Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 391
Delmar, NY 12054
4. Dallas Area Paralegal Association Scholarship
Deadline: November 10th
In collaboration with the Community Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Area Paralegal Association offers an annual scholarship for $500 to $1,000 to students actively enrolled in an associate, baccalaureate, or post-baccalaureate paralegal education program at a college approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Qualified candidates must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, attend school within the Dallas/Fort Worth region, exhibit financial need, and have not been convicted of a felony. Students must submit two letters of recommendation attesting to their work ethic, a current transcript, and a 750-word essay explaining how the U.S. Constitution is relevant today.
5. Elizabeth Root Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: October 25th
Within the Orange County Paralegal Association (OCPA), the Elizabeth Root Memorial Scholarship is granted each year for $500 to two paralegal students or current non-working paralegals who need financial support for pursuing paralegal education, seminars, meetings, memberships, or certification fees. Eligible applicants must have current OCPA membership, have taken four or more units applicable to a paralegal certificate, and show good writing skills. For consideration, candidates must submit an application form with an essay identifying five characteristics a paralegal should have and demonstrating how they possess these traits.
6. Florence E. Jenkins Memorial Online School Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
In memory of the energetic and compassionate co-founder of the former New York Paralegal School, the Florence E. Jenkins Memorial Online School Scholarship is awarded annually to provide full tuition to ten students interested in attending its programs. Eligible candidates must regularly attend church or religious devotional services, be at least 17 years old, have financial need with a combined family income under $45,000, have graduated with a high school diploma or GED, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, meet New York Paralegal entrance requirements, and demonstrate sufficient personal qualities for being a paralegal.
7. Joan M. Weldon Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: June 6th
In the amount of $1,000 annually, the Joan M. Weldon Memorial Scholarship is distributed by the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals (PAP) to honor an active member who worked as a paralegal for Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley before losing her fight with ovarian cancer on Christmas Day in 1994. Eligible applicants must be currently enrolled in a paralegal studies program within the Delaware Valley area, show academic excellence with a minimum GPA of 3.0, be actively involved in community service, and participate in PAP activities. Candidates are required to write a maximum three-page essay discussing their future in the legal field.
8. Joy King Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: February 27th
Sponsored by the Cleveland Association of Paralegals (CAP), the Joy King Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year for $500 to full-time and part-time students who are currently pursuing paralegal education programs within the local Cleveland metropolitan area. Qualified applicants must possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or above, but they don't need to be enrolled in an APA-approved paralegal program. Along with the application, students are asked to submit four short essays addressing what prompted them to choose paralegal studies, their areas of interest in law, professional influences, and the importance of NFPA's Code of Ethics.
9. Lambda Epsilon Chi Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 27th
As part of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), the Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) Scholarship Program is hosted each year to provide five $500 awards to students who are currently registered for full-time or part-time study in an approved paralegal training program in the United States. To qualify, applicants must attend an institution with an active LEX chapter, be in good academic standing, and write a 750-word essay providing a reasoned analysis based on legal precedent for an assigned court case. Winning recipients will have their research essays published within The Paralegal Educator.
Lambda Epsilon Chi Scholarship Program
19 Mantua Road
Mt. Royal, NJ 08061
10. Lawassa B. Jones Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: October 15th
Established by the Tennessee Paralegal Association, the Lawassa B. Jones Memorial Scholarship is designed to provide $500 annually in honor of the TPA founding member who lost her battle with cancer in 1993. Eligible candidates must be currently matriculated undergraduate students, be pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree, have a declared major in paralegal studies or legal assistant studies, attend an accredited institution within Tennessee, and demonstrate academic excellence. Along with the application, students must submit a letter of personal recommendation, a letter of scholastic recommendation, an official transcript, and a short personal statement outlining why they've chosen to become paralegals.
11. Legal Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
Deadline: October 1st
As a leading paralegal career information website, Paralegal411.org has created the Legal Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship to grant $1,000 each year to deserving college students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or certificate with a major in pre-law, paralegal studies, legal assistant studies, or criminal justice. Qualified candidates must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, be attending an accredited U.S. college or university, and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Applicants will be judged based on the quality, creativity, and thoughtfulness of their 300-word essay discussing how legal professionals make positive differences in their communities.
12. Margaret H. Lewis Scholarship
Deadline: October 3rd
In honor of one of its founding members who worked in bankruptcy law for Henrico County Attorney's Office for over two decades, the Margaret H. Lewis Scholarship is administered through the Local Government Paralegal Association of Virginia (LGPA) each year for $1,000. Eligible recipients must be enrolled in an ABA-approved legal assistant or paralegal studies program, attend an accredited post-secondary institution within Virginia, attain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, be Virginia residents, and be deemed ineligible for full tuition reimbursement from their employer. Along with the completed application, candidates should submit a current transcript and one letter of recommendation.
13. Nancy McLaughlin Scholarship
Deadline: January 29th
Created in memory of a legal assistant at the Law Offices of William Schmidt for 12 years who served as the President of CAPA before her death in 2000, the Nancy McLaughlin Scholarship is awarded each year through the Capital Area Paralegal Association to paralegal student members in good standing. Candidates will submit a two-page essay focused on explaining why they've chosen the paralegal profession and their overall career goals in law. Recipients can use the $250 award to attend the Texas Advanced Paralegal Seminar (TAPS), cover the Certified Paralegal testing fee, or reduce tuition costs of a paralegal training program in Texas.
14. NFPA Thomson Reuters Scholarship
Deadline: July 1st
Administered through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the Thomson Reuters Scholarship is presented for up to $3,500 annually to currently enrolled college students who are pursuing a certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies from an accredited U.S. higher learning institution. For consideration, application packets must include a current official transcript showing a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, a letter of recommendation from the director of the paralegal training program, and a maximum four-page essay describing pro bono projects for which the paralegal students could volunteer.
15. Paula Grady Memorial Education Award
Deadline: July 1st
Each year, the Iowa Association of Legal Assistants and Paralegals (IALAP) recognizes the importance of higher education by presenting the Paula Grady Memorial Education Award for $500 to two deserving students pursuing an associates, bachelor's, or master's degree related to legal assisting and paralegal studies. Eligible applicants must be residents of Iowa, attend an accredited in-state college or university, show an interest in pursuing certification through the CLA/PACE exam, be actively involved in IALAP student membership activities, and be in good academic standing. Recipients will be given the cash award after providing an invoice for their tuition, academic fee, or textbook costs.
16. Reiff and Bily Legal Scholarship
Deadline: July 1st
As a Philadelphia law firm of personal injury lawyers since 1979, Reiff and Bily proudly offers a Legal Scholarship each year to supply $1,000 to college students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in pre-law or paralegal studies for a rewarding career in the legal field. All applicants must be citizens of the United States, be enrolled full-time in an accredited institution, and carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Applications must be submitted electronically or via mail with a valid transcript, proof of enrollment, and a 650-word personal essay describing candidates' hopes for eventual employment in law.
Reiff and Bily Legal Scholarship
1125 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
17. Rochelle Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 10th
In memory of Carol Rochelle, the founding member of the Louisiana State Paralegal Association (LSPA) in 1989 who was tragically killed in an automobile accident outside Alexandria prior to its first annual meeting, the Rochelle Scholarship is granted each year for $500. Eligible applicants must be currently enrolled in an institutionally accredited paralegal studies program in Louisiana, be earning at least an associate's degree, complete at least six credits per term, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and plan on a future career as a paralegal. Recipients also are given free membership for one year and free tuition to all LSPA education workshops.
18. Shirley Chisholm Service Scholarship
Deadline: May 15th
Named in honor of a social activist who became the first black congresswoman, represented the New York State in the House for seven terms, and was the first African American woman to make a bid to become President, the Shirley Chisholm Service Scholarship is awarded annually for $500 through The Paralegal Manager, Inc. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in an ABA-accredited paralegal studies program, attend a higher learning institution within Texas, and demonstrate outstanding service to the community via volunteer work and/or pro bono efforts. In addition, there is a Shirley Chisholm Leadership Tuition Reimbursement Scholarship available for Texas paralegal graduates who show outstanding leadership in the profession.
Shirley Chisholm Service Scholarship
3901 Arlington Highlands Blvd.
Arlington, TX 76018
19. Vermont Paralegal Organization Scholarship
Deadline: March 6th
In partnership with the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC), the Vermont Paralegal Organization (VPO) offers a scholarship each year for up to $1,500 to promising young college students pursuing paralegal or legal assistant studies for promoting excellence within the paralegal profession. Eligible applicants must attend an ABA-approved program, be enrolled at least part-time in an accredited Vermont institution, exhibit financial need, show good academic achievement with a GPA over 3.0, and be planning a paralegal career. Recipients will also receive a complimentary one-year student membership from VPO and a 20% discount on all webinar programs offered by Lorman Education Services.
Vermont Paralegal Organization Scholarship
P.O. Box 5755
Burlington, VT 05402
20. Warner, Norcross & Judd Minority Scholarships
Deadline: April 1st
As one of the largest and most successful law firms in Michigan, Warner, Norcross & Judd has partnered up with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation (GRCF) to host an annual Minority Scholarship Program that awards $5,000 to law school students, $2,000 to paralegal or legal assistant students, and $1,000 to legal secretarial students. Eligible candidates must be Michigan residents, be attending an ABA-approved program in the United States, represent a racial or ethnic minority group, exhibit financial need, maintain full-time enrollment status, have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, and be pursuing any career in the legal services field.
Earning a degree in paralegal studies is the perfect approach for all individuals interested in taking on a high degree of legal responsibility by providing crucial assistance to lawyers battling on court cases. Since the cost of earning a paralegal degree won't likely fall anytime soon, it's important that you find numerous sources of financial aid to cover tuition costs along the way. That's why you should consider applying to one or more of these great paralegal studies scholarships to fund your training for this exciting legal profession.