As scholarships and grants do not have to be paid back, you should look into every possibility to finance your legal education via this funding.
The law schools themselves usually endow their own scholarship programs, with funds from alumni, private, and corporate donations. Many grants are made available by the state in which the law school is located. The great majority of scholarships and grants are need-based. There are, however, a handful of merit-based scholarships available. These are not only hard to find but are also extremely competitive.
Often, scholarships and grants are used to attract outstanding students, minority students, non-traditional students, and disadvantaged students. The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools lists a number of sources to research private scholarship listings. Also a number of catalogue-type reference materials on scholarships and grants are on file in the Career Services Library.
Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)
CLEO is a federally funded program that provides fellowships for law students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The program awards tuition and a stipend to 200 students a year. The program requires CLEO fellows to participate in a training program for law students by taking courses the summer before they begin their law school careers. The summer institute introduces students to the law school environment and builds a foundation for legal writing. It is hoped that such background training will contribute to the academic success of CLEO graduates while in law school. For more information, write CLEO at 1420 N Street, N.W., Terrace One, Washington, D.C. 20005, or call 1-202-785-4840.