As a law firm providing financial solutions for clients across three states, all of the lawyers at the affiliated Bond and Botes law offices see the real and lasting consequences when people take on too much debt. It is especially difficult when young adults get trapped and cannot recover educational expenses because of a tight job market. With this in mind, the lawyers at Bond and Botes have established a scholarship for first-year law students. Our intent is to help students who have already been accepted to law school and are now facing the financial realities of getting a law degree.
The $2,000 Financial Hardship Scholarship is open to any U.S. citizen attending the first year of law school this fall, with an undergraduate cumulative GPA at or above 3.0. Applicants are asked to submit a short essay describing how they have overcome financial difficulties in their lives.
The application submission deadline is July 16th, and a copy of an acceptance letter from an accredited U.S. Law School must accompany the application. The scholarship will be awarded in mid-August, with payment made directly to the student’s school, to be applied to tuition.
Students are often unaware of the strict obligations connected to education loans. Even with deferment and forbearance programs available, many find their debt continues to grow as interest accumulates – long after a degree is earned. After a default, lenders have options such as wage garnishment, a collection lawsuit, seizing tax refunds and even taking a percentage of disability payments. Default will also cause chaos to a student’s credit report. Student loans are also very difficult to discharge in a bankruptcy action, requiring a demonstration of financial hardship beyond the norm.
According to the American Bar Association, a law degree costs (including living expenses) more than $70,000 (public universities) with many students paying $100,000 or more. This is a hurdle students need to evaluate when deciding on a career in law or looking for other options. For low income or financially strapped students (who may already have substantial undergraduate debt), these numbers are shockingly high – and with no guarantee of getting even a mid-level position as a practicing attorney, the risk may seem too great.
At the affiliated law offices of Bond and Botes, we hope to both encourage and support good students on the path to becoming good lawyers. Our scholarship is meant to contribute to the winning student’s larger financial strategy and help overcome the economic barriers to an education in law. This is not an abstraction for us – since our founding in 1990, we have grown to fifteen attorneys practicing in three states, with graduates as recent as three years ago. Our success has been predicted on enthusiastic, well-trained and experienced lawyers joining the firm, and the future of law depends on the next generation of high quality graduates.
Download the full Financial Hardship Scholarship application and requirements below.
Application submissions, questions, and media inquiries can be directed to
Bond & Botes, PC
600 University Park Place, Suite 510
Birmingham, AL 35209