I had the pleasure of speaking at Lewis and Clark Law School today before jumping in the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my sponsor Web3Mavens) to Seattle to speak at the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that Day 14 is the last full day of The Undeniable Tour.
After my talk, I was approached by a student who wanted to start a nonprofit that would raise money to pay for her tuition and give scholarships to other minorities who want to go to college. She had an interesting story – she went through several application cycles when applying to law school, not because she wasn’t good enough to get in somewhere, but it was a challenge to find adequate funding.
I thought her idea was intriguing, but it reminded me of some of the pitfalls I encountered when I launched Sponsor A Law Kid during my 3L year where people paid me to blog about the topic of their choosing. I had to deal with my fair share of critics who attacked me as a person and not just my idea for raising money for school.
If you want to launch a venture or campaign to pay for law school, you need to be clear about what you’re doing before you announce it. If you want donations, that’s fine, but be ready to be accused of asking for a handout. If you are doing or giving something in exchange for money, like writing blog posts, selling t-shirts or a book, make sure you’re over-delivering for the price you’re charging. People have the right to decide how they spend their money, but you don’t want to get a reputation of ripping people off.
If you want to do something like this young lady and start a program that will fund her education first and then continue to help fund others’ education, you need to follow through on your long-term plans. My concern as an outsider looking in is some people may be skeptical and wonder if she’s doing this to pay for her education and then shut down the program without helping anyone else.
Regardless of what you do to pay for law school, be sure to act with integrity and transparency so you can respond to any questions with class and grace. When it comes to paying for law school, I encourage you to be creative and thoughtful with whatever you do.