Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: natalieag on July 17, 2006, 12:15:23 PM

Title: How much time required?
Post by: natalieag on July 17, 2006, 12:15:23 PM
I am a mom to 3 kids who will be 12, 9 and 6 when(if) I start law school next fall.  I would be attending Arizona State (just in case there is someone here from there).  I have an undergrad in English, lots of experience in reading boatloads of material etc, but I have been out of school for 10 years, staying home and taking care of my kids.  DH is a civil engineer, works 7 to 6.  Kids are very active and involved, soccer, ballet etc.  My question is, is it feasible at all for me to go to law school with a busy family like this, or am I just nuts to think that I might be able to do it?  I've looked at ASU's schedule for 1L's and it looks like I could be home from class by 3 which is important to me, I want to be here when they get home from school, help them with schoolwork etc.  How much time would I need to put in either later at night or EARLY in the morning to be successful?  I understand that I might have to let go of some of my type A personality traits about being the best; I just won't be in the position to put in that kind of time.  I have two brothers that are attorneys, one finished #2 and was Law Review editor, one finished top third at a higher ranked law school, and they tell me I will be fine, but they are a little biased.  Blah, blah, blah...sorry I'm rambling.  basically, what's your honest opinion? (And thanks in advance for taking the time to reply.) ???
Title: Re: How much time required?
Post by: jacy85 on July 17, 2006, 03:26:36 PM
I personally wouldn't do it, BUT that's just me.  Lots of parents do it.  The big question might be whether your DH could try to do more in terms of helping kids with homework or cooking or whatever and take some of the load off you.  You're type A personality will likely come in handy, as you're going to need (likely) to be on a pretty strict study schedule.  As long as you have the right support from your family, you'll be ok.

And as for how much time you need to put in: people put in differing amounts of time with varying success rates.  The only answer to this, for anyone that may ask, is you need to put in as much time as you need. 
Title: Re: How much time required?
Post by: Bettn on July 19, 2006, 05:19:54 PM
I'm a (single) parent of two young children, and I'm about to start law school. However, I went through undergrad as a non-trad (I just graduated in May), and so I feel like I may be more prepared for the type of study schedule v. parental commitments dilemmas that will inevitably crop up. Also, I chose a school close to my family so they can help out. Another thing you should think of is how competitive the school is. I chose the least competitive of the two schools in the area where I wanted to be. If I were you, I'd go and visit Az. State and see what the students have to say about the atmosphere and the amount of time each day they put in. I bet if you contacted admissions they may pass your email along to one of their students who is also a parent. From what I've found, the admissions staff are always willing to help you out. They do want you at their school, after all!
Title: Re: How much time required?
Post by: desmo on July 20, 2006, 07:59:10 AM
I go part time - 10 hours a week - and work full time.  I put in 2-2.5 hours a day during the week reading - which is barely enough to keep up.  I also spend 5-10 hours on Sunday and occassionally 4 on Saturday - usually when a paper is due.  The wife covers all the housework, yardwork, kid carting, etc.  She also substitute teaches.  The school recommends 3 hours prep for every hour class.  On a good week, I approach 2 hours per class hour, but make it almost all of the games.  I take the hit in getting lower grades and less sleep.

Your spouse needs to be on board - we did not realize how much would be put on the other partner. 

I think 3:00pm is optimistic unless you plan on being at school at 6am and treat it like a 40 hour job where in between class you read / study.

Good luck

Title: Re: How much time required?
Post by: amityjo on July 20, 2006, 06:50:10 PM
I am a NT student, was 11 years out of college when I started last fall. I have a husband and no kids. We have a house. Our marriage has almost broken up twice because he had no comprehension of what law school entailed. Not surprisingly, our issues always cropped up around finals time. It is HARD on a marriage. The non-law spouse feels very put upon, emotionally and financially (like when I really really really cannot fit laundry into my schedule.) And the law spouse is doing the best he/she can to get great grades for the good of their future. And on top of it, you're competing with 22 year olds who have no other responsibility besides law school and their dorm room. Not only does your husband have to be on board, your kids need to be with you, too. Considering the responsibilities you seem to be carrying, maybe doing a part time schedule would be a better route for you, if it's available.
Title: Re: How much time required?
Post by: mmhome on July 20, 2006, 09:11:27 PM
I went back to finish my undergrad after 20+ years away.  I had a very tough, hard science major but even that didn't prepare me for law school - it is just different.  I do feel your pain about competeing with the youngsters that have NOTHING to be responsible for except themselves and law school.  Family obligations are hard to meet.  I have a husband and college aged son that are very committed to what I am doing and have no problems with my family.  You simply must get your family on board!  That is the only way to do it.  Many of my classmates have young families and I think the ones that are most successful are the one that have spouses/partners that are really taking on the burden of most of the day to day childcare and family stuff.  Is your husband ready for that?  Does he have any idea what this is about?  Even though your classes will end by 3, that is no guarantee you will be home.  There are study groups. research, meetings, etc.  Don't count on being able to be home early consistently. Also, that is just one have no idea what it will be like next semester or next year.  I suggest that you join a group for non--traditional law students - that is not just the "old" ones like me, it is also for ones with families, etc.  They can be very supportive and provide the social opportunities for your entire family that will help your husband realize that he is not alone and you are truly not neglecting him.  My biggest advice is to just simplify your life.  Get things like routine doctor appointments and back to school shopping out of the way.  Do not in any way shape or form accept any out of school commitments such as PTA. Keep up with your work so that you are not desperate around finals.  Be disciplined and don't let ANYONE guilt you into anything.  Most important, sit your husband down and lay it out for him. Quite frankly, I have also made a conscience decision to accept lower grades.  I have realized that I don't have to study very much except at finals to get average grades and that when I do bust my butt I barely made the top third anyway.  My life is easier now that I have accepted the middle.  Oh yeah - don't forget that summers are not time for play.  You must get internships or you will be at a terrible disadvantage when it comes to getting permanent employment.  If you would like to discuss anything, feel free to e-mail me privately.  Bottom line is, you can do it.  It won't be easy, but you can.  Don't be afraid to admit you need help and when someone offers help, take it.  One more thing - you mention you are used to a lot of reading.  That is good, but this reading is different, it is more tiresome and diffiuclt to plod through.  You are not reading for "facts" so much as reading to reach a process of analysis and learning how to (dare I say it?) "think like a lawyer".  I, too, used to be able to read and read and read.  Not anymore.  Plodding through about 50 pages a night doesn't seem like much for voracious readers, but when it is a law school casebook it is pretty tough to do day after day.  Just a warning.
Title: Re: How much time required?
Post by: desmo on July 21, 2006, 05:08:20 AM
good point about the reading - some books are easier reads and you can do 20-30 pages an hour, other books are very confusing and I end up re-reading a lot of material.  20-30 mintues of crim law or con law was enough in one sitting - not to mention that reading some SCOTUS opinion at 9:30 at night is a sure cure for insomnia - definately low on the retention scale.

don't forget the research time for the writing class.  we upgraded to a broadband connection so spending hours on lexis / westlaw could be done at home and not the library.