13 Cheapest Law Schools in California in 2024

Cheapest Law Schools in California – If you’re looking for a good legal education, there are plenty of options. However, finding the cheapest law school can be challenging. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best law schools in California. We’ve looked at the tuition rates, the quality of the faculty, and the location of each school. We hope this list will help you find the right law school for you!

13 Cheapest Law Schools in California in 2022

Just because you’re a Californian doesn’t mean you have to pay high prices for legal education. There are many law schools in California that offer extremely low tuition rates. Here are some of the best law schools in California for students who want to get a legal degree at a fraction of the cost.

What is a Law School?

Law school is an important step in your career. It’s the first stop on your path to becoming a successful lawyer. After law school, you can begin practicing law or become a prosecutor. You can also go on to work as a judge, or even run for office. In order to be a successful lawyer, you need to pass the bar exam and get licensed as a lawyer.

A law school is an institution with a specialization of training students in matters regarding legal education. Furthermore, the education that is given to these individuals is to aid them to exercise authority within a certain jurisdiction.

Interestingly, some countries in the world have little or no demand for a law school program certificate before you can practice law while a lot of others demand it.

However, since we’re buttressing on California, it’s imperative you understand that you need to attend a law school in order to practice the profession.

How long does it take to study law?

Similarly, a lot of countries have the same time of frame in which law can be studied while on another hand, others disagree.

These time frames vary as some add the time spent on the diploma program while others capture time spent on the degree program plus law school.

In essence, the average time in which a student can study law inclusive of law school is 3-6 years.

How Do I Get into Law School?

You can get into law school when you pass the exams that will be taken after successful completion of your bachelor’s degree programs.

However, many institutions or countries will give you direct access to law school while others will give you the law school test as stated earlier.

Depending on your budget, you can get access to some of the cheapest law schools in California, New York and even in other countries.

Are there good and affordable law schools in California?

Certainly, there are a lot of good law schools in California which have a reputation of excellence.

Over time, they have been known to produce exceptional lawyers who have gone on to have fulfilling careers in law.

A host of these institutions have made our list of cheapest law schools in California while also ranking as one of the best law schools in the world.

How many law schools are in California?

There are about twenty law schools in California at the moment. However, one of the schools Whittier Law School which is now a college is shutting down this 2022.

Above all, the inability to keep up with the training and lack of incoming students are actually two of the strongest reasons why law schools shut down.

Conclusively, this brings the number down to nineteen law schools in California although new law schools are expected to spring forth in the coming years.

What is the Cost of Studying Law in California?

If you wish to study law in California you need a have a huge budget as most of the schools don’t come cheap. The level of training combined with practicality make them one of the exceptional law schools in the country.

However, you can take advantage of this article on the cheapest law schools in California so as to streamline your choice.

Consequently, if you wish to attend a law school in California you’ll be required to pay tuition between $20,000-$60,000 per year. On the contrary, you can avoid paying such tuition if you have a scholarship to your name which is available.

Are there scholarships to study law in California?

Considering the high cost of studying law in California, the government and private organization have intervened.

To this end, they have come up with a host of scholarships in which you can choose to help you study law.

You can get access to these opportunities when you click the button below.

Scholarship Link

Are there online law programs in California?

As expected, a host of schools carry out online programs for candidates interested in studying law.

These online programs enable students to set schedules which are suitable for them. In this way, they meet up with assignments and classes.

Therefore, some of the schools in California which run online law programs include;

  • University of Southern California
  • Pepperdine University

What are the Public law schools in California?

Many folks have a certain misconception about public law schools. In fact, most of them actually believe that public law schools are actually one of the cheapest law schools in California.

Conversely, it can’t be said to be true as our listing further proves. The one beautiful thing about public schools is their access to funding and opportunities.

Again, this doesn’t mean that they are way better than the private law schools, it just means they have an edge that they can advantage of whenever they wish.

13 Cheapest Law Schools in California

Below are the cheapest law schools in California. A lot of factors were taken into consideration to come up with this list, however, the primary factor remained the cost of tuition.

  • University of San Diego
  • University of California Hastings
  • Western State University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Chapman University
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • University of California Davis
  • Santa Clara University
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • Golden State University
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of La Verne College of Law
  • Standford University

13. University of San Diego

Tuition: $56,230 per year

University of San Diego is listed among the cheapest law schools in California founded in 1949. San Diego has grown to become one of the most respected Universities in California.

The school started as San Diego College for Women and San Diego University. The school has grown to comprise nine undergraduate and graduate schools, including the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and School of Law.

The institution has an enrolment strength of over 5,000 and an academic staff strength of close to 900 help keep up operations in the University.

San Diego University has a perfect climate for studying Law-through our clinics, advocacy programs, and externships, you’ll gain hands-on experience that builds your legal skills. The school features a comprehensive, innovative curriculum and specialized centers, providing unsurpassed opportunities for students to learn just about every area of the law.

At San Diego law school, students gain access to leading practitioners and judges in San Diego, who bring their practical skills and experience into your classes.

Overall, University of San Diego has been ranked between 801-1000 by QS Rankings, 126 by Washington Monthly, 85 by U.S News and World Report, and 140 by Forbes.

School Website

12. University of California Hastings

Tuition: $55,538 per year

This University is a public law school located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1878, by the first Chief Justice of California, it became one of the first law schools to be instituted in the United States.

This institution stands out as one of the affiliated law schools that doesn’t share a campus with other postgraduate and undergraduate programs run by the institution.

Despite being located in the Ugliest part of the most beautiful city, it has an enrolment number of over 900 and has enjoyed bar pass success rate of 76%.

The University of Hastings is managed by a nine-member Board of Directors who oversee the running of the school. Surprisingly, the Board exist independently and never report to the Regents of the University of California.

This institution offers a three year Juris Doctor program with a lot of concentration in criminal law, taxation, public interest, family, intellectual property law just to name a few.

Hastings takes part in the Concurrent Degree Program with U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Graduate School of Business. Therefore, upon completion of a four-year program, the student earns a Berkeley M.B.A. degree and a J.D. degree from UC Hastings College of the Law.

This University is ranked the 62nd best law school to study in as they continue to improve year to year.

School Website

11. University of California Berkeley

Tuition: $55,345.50 per year

Founded in 1868, the University of California is a public university and stands as the flagship for ten campuses.

Berkeley’s total enrollment stands 42,519: 30,853 undergraduate and 11,666 graduate students, with women accounting for 52.6% of undergraduates and 46.4% of graduate and professional students.

However, to get admitted into UC Berkeley, you must pass an entry-level writing requirement before enrollment (typically fulfilled by minimum scores on standardized admissions exams such as the SAT or ACT). In addition, you must complete coursework on “American History and Institutions” before or after enrollment by taking an introductory class.

Finally, you’ll need to pass an “American Cultures Breadth” class at Berkeley, as well as requirements for reading and composition and specific requirements declared by the department and school.

Berkeley alumni, faculty members and researchers have together won 107 Nobel laureates, 25 Turing Award winners, and 14 Fields Medalists. Furthermore, they have also won 19 Wolf Prizes, 45 MacArthur Fellowships,[13] 20 Academy Awards, 19 Pulitzer Prizes, and 207 Olympic medals (117 gold, 51 silver and 39 bronze).

University of California Berkeley ranks 5th internationally in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 28th in the QS World University Rankings, 13th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 4th in the U.S. News & World Report Global University Rankings. This ranking makes it a big part of our list on the cheapest law schools in California.

School Website

10. Chapman University

Tuition: $54, 540 per year

Chapman University is a private university located in Orange, California. It was established in 1861 and has Daniele C. Struppa as the President.

Chapman University possesses 110 areas of study (49 majors and 61 minors), and encompasses ten schools and colleges:

  • Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
  • Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Argyros School of Business and Economics
  • School of Communication, Schmid College of Science and Technology
  • College of Performing Arts
  • Dale E. Fowler School of Law
  • College of Educational Studies, the School of Pharmacy
  • Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

However, the Chapman University School of Law is located in Kennedy Hall. Law degrees offered include the Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees in various specialities.

It was ranked 125th for the very first time by the National Universities Group. Subsequently, it has ranked 5th among Master’s level universities in the Western region, while nationally the business school was ranked tied for 85th, the education school tied for 143rd, and the law school tied for 132nd.

School Website

9. University of California Los Angeles

Tuition: $54,052.30 per year

The University is a public research university in Los Angeles. established in 1919, it is one of the oldest of the campuses in Southern California.

To further show their credibility, the institution boasts of a graduation rate of 91% and an acceptance rate of 18%.

The University of California, Los Angeles is sectioned into six undergraduate colleges, seven professional schools, and four professional health science schools. The undergraduate colleges are the College of Letters and Science; Samueli School of Engineering; School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; School of Theater, Film and Television; and School of Nursing.

Admission rates vary in this institution because of certain laws that restrict admission. However, this institution boasts of having one of the best colleges and the affordable tuition makes it one of the cheapest law schools in California.

Times Higher Education ranked the school 15th in the world for academics, No.1 US Public University for academics, and 13th in the world for reputation. it ranked 14th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings.

School Website

8. University of California Davis

Tuition: $53,220 per year

This University is a public research university adjacent to Davis, California. It has the third-largest enrollment in the system after UCLA and UC Berkeley.

The law school of the University has been recognized as one of the exceptional schools and is regarded as one of the cheapest law schools in California.

An acceptance rate of 42% increases your chances of getting admitted although you’ll have to meet the requirements stated by the institution.

However, U.S. News & World Report ranked UC Davis the 11th-best public university in the United States, 39th nationally, and 60th globally. Washington Monthly ranked UC Davis 11th in its 2021 National University ranking, based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

School Website

7. Santa Clara University

Tuition: $52,528 per year

This is a private Jesuit University founded in 1851. Santa Clara University is the oldest operating institution of higher learning in California and the west coast of the United States and has remained in its original location for 168 years.

Santa Clara University offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees through its six colleges, the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and Counseling Psychology, Leavey School of Business, School of Engineering, Jesuit School of Theology, and School of Law.

The law school offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree. It also offers several double degree programs, including J.D./Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) and J.D./Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS), offered in conjunction with Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, ranked 10th in graduate programs on the U.S. News & World Report graduate schools rankings.

A graduation rate of 85% and an acceptance rate of 48% makes it easy to get admitted into the law school.

School Website

6. Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Tuition: $51,000 per year

Established in 1969, Thomas Jefferson School of Law is a private law school located in San Diego, California. This school accredited by the American Bar Association but there have been threats to remove it.

Sadly, the School of Law is not ranked in National Jurist’s rankings of the top 80 law schools in the United States. Furthermore, the bar pass rate was 25% for first-time takers and 10% for repeat takers.

The law school offers Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Science of Law (M.S.L) and JSD “Doctor of Laws or Juridical Science” degrees

School Website

5. Golden State University

Tuition: $51,000 per year.

This private, non-profit, nonsectarian university located in San Francisco, California was founded in 1901. The law school is one of the professional graduate schools of Golden Gate University.

Therefore, it is located in downtown San Francisco, California and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association.

Golden State University offers a first degree in law (J.D.) and first graduate degrees in law (L.L.M., and doctoral S.J.D.) programs in intellectual property, environmental law, taxation, U.S. legal studies and international law.

In addition, students also may get combined degrees: J.D./M.B.A. with Golden Gate University’s Ageno School of Business or J.D./Ph.D. with Palo Alto University.

An interesting 34% of Golden Gate graduates passed the bar exam on their first trial which shows the level of training instilled and yet it stands as one of the cheapest law colleges in California.

The law school of Golden State University received an “A” in The National Jurist 2016 rankings in the “Most Diverse” and “Best for Practical Training” categories. The school’s Environmental Law Program was ranked in 2012 by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 25 programs in the nation.

School Website

4. University of San Francisco

Tuition: $50,770 per year

The University is located between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Golden Gate Park. USC records a graduation rate of 70% and an acceptance rate of 71%. For this cause, it ranks as one of the universities with a high acceptance rate.

They offer more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs on its main Hilltop Campus. USF also offers programs at several additional campuses.

USF was ranked tied for 97th overall by U.S. News & World Report, tied for 63rd “Best College for Veterans”, and 67th in “Best Value” in the National University category in 2021.

School Website

3. Western State University

Tuition: $42,860 per year

Western University is a public university established in 1901 that offers a full complement of degrees in the technical fields of computer science and engineering.

An admission rate of 92% and a graduation of 36% make it one of the cheapest law schools in California where you can easily admitted to study.

They offer over 100 undergraduate areas of study and seven graduate areas of study including law and engineering.

U.S. News & World Report placed this school in three categories for 2021: Regional Universities West, Top Performers in Social Mobility, and regional Top Public Schools. Forbes designated Western Colorado University as one of the top 100 institutions.

Western has also appeared on Forbes lists in the past years. Elevation Outdoors magazine named Western the “Top Adventure School in the West” for the third time. LendEDU lists Western as having among the lowest student-debt rates in the nation.

School Website

2. University of La Verne College of Law

Tuition: $30,280 per year

This is an accredited law school founded in 1970 and located in Ontario, Canada.

University of La Verne College of Law offers the Juris Doctor (JD) law degree. The program requires 88 credits which can be completed on a full-time basis over 3 years or on a part-time basis over 4 years.

The school also offers two dual degree programs in conjunction with the University of La Verne College of Business and Public Management, the Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA) and Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration (JD/MPA).

Unfortunately, the school is “unranked” in the U.S. News & World Report, “Best Law Schools” report.

School Website

1. Standford University

Tuition: $20,725 per year

Standford University is a private research university in Stanford, California. The school is known for its academic achievements, wealth, close proximity to Silicon Valley.

This University holds the top spot in our list of cheapest law schools in California. However, this doesn’t equate to a bad system but an added encouragement for students who wish to study.

Although the acceptance rate is as low as 5%, the graduation rate spikes at 95%. The university is organized around three traditional schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate and graduate level and four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education and business.

Very importantly, Stanford ranks high and often first in many domestic college ranking measures, leading Slate to dub Stanford in 2014 as “the Harvard of the 21st century,” and The New York Times in the same year to conclude that “Stanford University has become America’s ‘it’ school, by measures that Harvard once dominated.

School Website


These law schools in California carry promise in refining crude students into competent lawyers. As much as they can be cheap, they also are credible institutions that are known and recognized. The majority of the work lies with you as the individual as hard work is imperative to success.

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