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California is one of the most expensive states to live in, which is why many students struggle to live wealthy lives while in college. The same is true for law students, who must pay a large sum of money to complete their studies and pass their bar exams.

In California, there are two types of law schools: accredited law schools and unaccredited law schools. Some schools are more affordable than others, but because so many people want to get in and try their luck and skills studying law, acceptance rates are relatively low in comparison to other states.

Most law schools in California provide an excellent education for students who want to practice law in the future. Educators and professors are the most distinguished members of the legal profession, providing in-depth education and knowledge as well as hands-on experience examples.

After all, given the Golden State's high standard of living, Silicon Valley and all the celebrities drive up prices, and education costs are exorbitant. Nonetheless, there are still some good options for students who want to study on a budget.

If you are looking for a law school but do not have a large education budget and student loans are not an option, we have compiled a list of the cheapest law schools in California that will not break the bank.

Continue reading to learn more about tuition and other conditions such as bar exam passing rates and acceptance rates.

Top 10 Cheapest Schools For Law in California Today

1. University of La Verne College of Law

Tuition: $37,760


Top 10  Law Schools With Lowest Tuition Costs in California 2023/2024
University of La Verne College of Law

One of California's least expensive law schools, the University of La Verne College of Law grants the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. It's important to remember that although the State Bar of California has approved La Verne College of Law, the ABA does not accredit the institution.

Despite having a 73% bar exam pass rate, La Verne Law School is not well-known outside of California. Despite this, they continue to be one of the most reasonably priced law schools in the state and enroll over 400 students each year.

La Verne Law does not provide full-tuition grants or scholarships, either. Its employment rate is 62%, and less than 30% of its law students receive financial aid.

The College of Law trains students to advance community justice and access to legal services by teaching legal practice in a cutting-edge, team-based environment. Few occupations have the power to change communities, cities, and entire regions as decisively as the law.

2. Western State College of Law

Tuition: $44,580


Top 10  Law Schools With Lowest Tuition Costs in California 2023/2024
Western State College of Law

Founded in 1966, Western State College of Law is the oldest law school in Orange County, Southern California, and is a fully ABA approved for-profit, private law school.

Noted for small classes and personal attention from an accessible faculty focused on student success, Western State maintains bar pass rates consistently in the top half of California’s ABA law schools.

Western State’s 11,000+ alumni are well represented across public and private sector legal practice areas, including 150 California judges and about 15% of Orange County’s Deputy Public Defenders and District Attorneys.

Exposure to real world legal settings, practical experience, and invaluable contacts with alumni practitioners—all will assist you in the transition to the job market and throughout your professional career.

Although WSU law has an average bar exam pass rate of 58%, it is one of the most perse 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.

3. UC Hastings College of Law

Tuition: $46,034

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Top 10  Law Schools With Lowest Tuition Costs in California 2023/2024
UC Hastings College of Law

UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings) stands at the intersection of law, entrepreneurialism, innovation and social justice, preparing the next generation of leaders and change-makers.

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 7 different areas and is 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 State, Kamala Harris, is a notable alumnus of this institution.

4. Golden Gate University School of Law (GGU)

Tuition: $50,750


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 provide law education to 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 perse, inclusive, and supportive environment for students to succeed in their fields of study.

At GGU, you earn a deep understanding of legal subjects that matter – and matter to you. Simultaneously, you gain credentials, meet connections, and master the legal minutiae that make you invaluable to potential employers.

Distance Education doesn’t have to be disconnected. Their nationally-recognized faculty strives to provide everything you need to succeed, from enrollment until passing the bar examination, through comprehensive academic support programming. The GGU Alumni Network is diverse, prolific, and happy to help. Alumni now work at Google, Meta, the U.S. Department of Labor, and more.

Students admitted to the JD Flex program receive immediate consideration for a full, half, or partial scholarship; fellowships; and additional scholarship opportunities later

Customizable career tracks: Social Justice & Public Interest, and Intellectual Property Law

Outstanding diversity: GGU received an A+ rating in diversity from National Jurist, and is recognized by US News and World Report as one of the most diverse law schools in the country

5. University of San Francisco Law School

Tuition: $52,580


Top 10  Law Schools With Lowest Tuition Costs in California 2023/2024
University of San Francisco School of Law

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 perse community of students. The school has a high bar exam pass rate of about 81%.

The University of San Francisco was established in 1855 by the Jesuit Fathers as San Francisco's first institution of higher learning.

The university has grown from a one-room school house to become San Francisco's largest independent university. The USF School of Law, established in 1912, has demonstrated a corresponding growth. Today there are more than 500 students enrolled in the law school and approximately 135 students receive the Juris Doctor degree from USF each year.

Throughout its history, the USF School of Law has prepared students for law careers in a community which boasts one of the finest legal traditions in America. Graduates have distinguished themselves in private practice and as attorneys in city, county, state and federal offices. Many of our alums have become members of both the state and federal judiciaries, including justices of the California Supreme Court, as well as prominent members of local, state, and federal legislative bodies.

6. UCLA School of Law

Tuition: $53,910


The UCLA School of Law has offered students a top-notch legal education ever since it opened its doors in 1949. One of the oldest & most well-funded law schools within the University of California system, it is ranked among the top 15 law schools in the country.

The admissions process to the esteemed UCLA Law School is extremely competitive. The school's employment rate is 95%, while its bar exam pass rate is 97%.

1949: The year the school was founded

18,000: Alumni, working in all 50 states and 55 countries around the world

65: Full-time faculty

96%: 2021 graduates employed in law jobs 10 months after graduation

For more information about graduate employment, see Post-Graduate Outcomes

18%: Students in the class of 2025 who are first in their families to earn college degrees

For more information on our students, see the Class of 2025 Class Profile

15: Ranking of the school by U.S.News & World Report

11: Ranking of the school for scholarly influence of faculty

For more information, see UCLA Law Professors Top Scholarly Impact Rankings

400: Law firms and legal employers who visit campus each year

$181 million: Funds raised for the law school during the Centennial Campaign for UCLA

7. Southwestern Law School (Los Angeles)

Tuition: $56,146


Top 10  Law Schools With Lowest Tuition Costs in California 2023/2024
Southwestern Law School

Southwestern Law School is a private, ABA-approved law school close to downtown Los Angeles that was founded in 1911. It has ties to California State University, Northridge, a public university in the same city, and enrolls over 9000 students every year.

According to the 2020 results, 85% of Southwestern Law graduates who took the California State Bar exam passed. Additionally, the institution belongs to the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and the North American Consortium on Legal Education.

Students at Southwestern have a strong sense of belonging. They represent more than 100 undergraduate institutions and are from almost every state as well as more than a dozen different countries. In the incoming class of 2022, there were 62% women, 52% people of color, and 46% first-generation college students. With a range of 19 to 55, the average age is 26.

Southwestern University was recognized as the Most Diverse Law School, Best Law School for Hispanics, and Best Law School for Asians in 2022. Over 40 student organizations, including legal fraternities, minority, cultural, political, and religious groups, as well as organizations devoted to particular areas of law, are supervised by the Student Bar Association, which also funds award-winning student welfare and community outreach initiatives.

Over 160 judges, members of Congress, mayors, and other notable public figures are among the 14,000+ alumni of Southwestern who also include the founders of significant law firms and general counsels of multinational corporations.

Only Southwestern Law School offers five J.D. programs that vary in their schedules and methods of instruction. Particularly in the fields of entertainment and media law, international law, criminal law, and trial advocacy/litigation, Southwestern is a leader in curriculum innovation and subject matter expertise. A total of 154 electives, over 385 externship placements, 8 clinics, 7 concentrations, and 2 practica are added to the required curriculum to enhance it. Numerous professional skills courses, a January intersession, capstone courses, and unique mini-term courses taught by international legal experts are just a few of the upper-division improvements.

Additionally, Southwestern launched three- and four-year J.D./M.B.A. degree programs in collaboration with Claremont Graduate University's Drucker Graduate School of Management. Additionally, Southwestern offers L.L.M. programs in individualized legal studies and entertainment and media law, as well as a B.A./J.D. 3+3 program in collaboration with California State University, Northridge.

The first law school to create a center for entertainment and media law was Southwestern. The well-known Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute assists in preparing students for the practice of law in the creative industries, including music, film, and television.

8. UC Davis School of Law

Tuition: $56,460


The University of California Davis School of Law enrolls more than 600 students each year despite being the smallest law school in the University of California system. Although tuition at the school is higher than the national average, it is well known for offering financial aid to deserving students.

Additionally, the bar exam pass rate and employment rate for UC Davis Law School are both close to 90%. Applying to this public institution may be a good idea if you live in California or have close ties to the state.

UC Davis School of Law is approved by the American Bar Association (Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738).


International Students: One-Year, Two-Year Advanced, and Two-Year Extended LL.M. Programs

Business law certificates, criminal law and policy certificates, environmental law certificates, immigration law certificates, intellectual property law certificates, public service law certificates, and tax law certificates

Clinicals and externships in the fields of public interest law, immigration law, administration of criminal justice, employment relations, environmental law, and family protection are also available.

JD/MBA or JD/MA joint degree programs

3-year full-time daytime program leading to a J.D.


There are more than 8,800 living alumni.

The first class graduated in 1969.

There are alumni from UC Davis all over the country and the world. The San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Oregon, and Washington are home to the majority of them.

Alumni from UC Davis are represented in all spheres of the legal profession, including law firms, the federal, state, and local governments, non-profits, private sector companies, academic institutions, and the judicial branch.

9. UC Berkeley School of Law

Tuition: $56,500


Top 10  Law Schools With Lowest Tuition Costs in California 2023/2024
Berkeley Law

The University of California Berkeley School of Law has produced capable leaders in law, government, and society in the US and around the world ever since it was founded in 1894. Among them are Pete Wilson, a former governor of California, Edwin Meese, a former US attorney general, and others.

One of the best law schools in the country is the one at UC Berkeley. It has a remarkable post-graduation employment rate of 98% and a 95.5 percent bar pass rate.

The University of California, Berkeley has 14 schools and colleges, Berkeley Law being one of them. It consistently holds one of the top spots among American law schools.

A few notable alumni from the law school are Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States, Secretary of State Dean Rusk of the United States, American civil rights activist Pauli Murray, Justice Cruz Reynoso of the California Supreme Court, President and Founder of the Equal Justice Society Eva Paterson, Judge Thelton Henderson of the United States Northern District of California, and Attorney General of the United States Edwin Meese.

10. Chapman University School of Law

Tuition: $59,500


The Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, which is based in the heart of Southern California, offers a specialized and practice-oriented approach to legal education that equips its graduates to make a significant impact on their communities. Chapman Law, which is ABA accredited and one of US News & World Report's Top Law Schools, is renowned for its outstanding faculty, supportive environment, and convenient Orange County location.

Western State Law School is located in the same county as Chapman University Fowler School of Law, despite being more expensive. With a 79% bar exam pass rate, it has one of the best student-to-faculty ratios of any law school in the US.

About seven different fields are covered by the JD, LL.M, and combined programs offered by Chapman Law School, including JD/MFA and JD/MBA. Additionally, the school provides financially needy students with merit-based scholarships.

Cheapest Online Schools For Law in California

Going the online route may be the best option for you if you are busy or want to complete your legal education at your own pace.

All you need to get started is a reliable internet connection and a decent computer. The least expensive accredited online law schools in California are listed below.

University of Southern California Gould Law school

California School of Law

Concord Law School at Purdue University Global

Northwestern California University School of Law

St. Francis Law School

Cal Northern School of Law

Which California law school offers the best value?

The most affordable ABA-accredited law school in California is Western State College of Law. The cost of attending the school is $44,580 for full-time students and $29,800 for part-time students per academic year.

For students who require financial aid for their studies, Western State Law School offers scholarships, subsidized loan programs, and tuition payment plans. UC Hastings College of Law is the second-cheapest law school in California that has received ABA approval.

On the other hand, the University of La Verne College of Law is the least expensive state bar-approved law school in California. The annual tuition is $37,760, or $1,030 for each semester hour.

What is the annual cost of attending law school in California?

The average cost of attending a California law school is $49,910 for public schools and $56,587 for private schools.

These averages were determined using the state-mandated tuition for law schools that are ABA (American Bar Association) accredited.

The majority of students want the best legal education they can get, even though non-ABA-accredited law schools in California are less expensive than ABA law schools. You might want to keep an eye out for the bar exam pass rates as well.


10 of these educational establishments have been granted full accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA).

If you are a student who is planning to study law in California and you are a resident of the state, you should set aside at least $70,000 per year in your budget. Students from other states should plan to spend between $80,000 and $90,000 per year on their education, depending on whether or not they will commute or live off campus.

It is my hope that by now you are aware of which California law schools can be included on your list based on their relative affordability.

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