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Messages - dbmuell

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Current Law Students / Re: ABA work policy
« on: July 21, 2008, 01:56:40 PM »
I just finished 1L, working about 16-20 hours/wk in a professional job. While I found it to be manageable, and enjoyed not having to live like a poor student, here are a few cautionary pieces of advice I would offer:

1) Make sure your employer is fully on board and understands your priorities.  I found that professors tend to assume that law school is your only time commitment during 1L and will liberally schedule class makeups, meetings, conferences, etc., without regard for your schedule.  If your job does not give you some flexibility in scheduling around this sort of thing, you may find yourself between a rock and a hard place in terms of your time.  (For the same reason, it's also helpful to let your professors and administration know of your plans- they may be accommodating if they know your situation).

2) Do not try to work during finals.  For about two weeks at the end of the semester, studying for finals is a full time job.  I would not want to compound that stress by trying to squeeze in work time. 

3) You will probably have to sacrifice a lot of the non-academic activities that come with law school.  Whether it's happy hour, intramural sports or other extracurriculars, the decision to work during 1L means that you will not have time for a lot of the events that make law school fun.  The hardest part for me was having to turn down a lot of invitations to do fun things with fun people because I just didn't have time. 

4) Make law school your first priority and don't lose sight of it.  I made myself available to my employer by cell phone and email all the time, but I also let them know that I would not always get right back to them if I was busy with school.  Depending on your job, there may be some pressure to put it ahead of your school work, but no part time job is worth sacrificing your academic performance. 

This is likely to get me flamed, but the fact is that most law students have way more free time than they like to admit.  If you have good time management skills and an understanding employer, there is no reason that you cannot keep working and be successful in law school with a little extra effort.

Current Law Students / Re: Working as a 1L....
« on: May 01, 2008, 07:33:02 PM »
I worked about 16-20 hrs/week, some from home, some from the office. It's totally manageable, but be prepared for some long days as you get close to finals and when legal writing assignments are due.  The best advice that I can give is make sure that your employer is on board with your priorities.  There have been more than a few days on which I had to shift the work schedule around because of some unexpected law school commitment, and it's definitely a must that you take off some time during finals week(s).  Other than that, there's plenty of time in the 1L schedule to hold down a job.

Current Law Students / Re: Person of Interest or Suspect?
« on: June 06, 2007, 09:05:20 AM »
I always assumed that "suspect" was sort of a subset of "person of interest."  By that definition, all supects would be "persons of interest" but not all "persons of interest" would be suspects.  A person of interest seems to define anyone that may have information that the police seek (witness, person connected to the victim, etc.), but could include the person that is suspected of committing the crime. 

Oh please -- are you really aware who goes to TTTs?! These are people whose earnings potential is not even $20K a year, assuming they are employable in the first place!

What dream world are you living in?  There are a hell of a lot of people applying to and attending Tier 2 and 3 schools that are already successful engineers, doctors, computer programmers, accountants, etc.  I can assure you (being one of them) that these people are not choosing to go to law school because they are not employable elsewhere.  Wake up and smell the real world. 

I could have but my post had nothing to do with the specifics of LS.  It's amazing how much different of a message I hear from people that went the "non-trad" route.  Most of those that I have talked to have earned some hard miles in the real world and love their law school experience.  Perhaps a lot of these complaints are not unique to law school but are everywhere in life. Perhaps an undergraduate education does not usually give you the tools to deal with them and thus the unhappiness. I don't know and I'll probably get flamed further for even suggesting it, but it does seem that those with more life experience have much happier time in law school...

I am currently a 0L so I have little insight to share on law school satisfaction.  That being said, I can tell you that working 40 hrs/wk in a job for which you have no passion makes easily as much of a dent in your personal happiness as 60hrs/wk in a job that you truly enjoy.  In my current career in the Computer Science field, I have seen both worlds. Mostly I have sat at a desk doing mundane work for eight hours a day, drawing a large pay check and watching the clock.  I have seen all of the unhappiness, greed, antisocial behavior and corporate nonesense described in the above posts and have pretty much reached the conclusion that unahppy people are everywhere and simply make their voices louder than everyone else's.  If you don't let them drag you into their mire, it won't happen.

I'm going to law school because I want to find something that I can actually get excited about waking up to go do every day.  If that means 45k/yr to start, then so be it.  If it means some extra hours, than so be it.  As long as it does not involve sitting at a computer terminal in a tiny cubicle watching the clock tick until it hits 5:00, I can't imagine regretting this decision.  I have no intentions of chasing money, prestige or any of the other nonesense that so many seem caught up in, and I think that there are a multitude of areas in the legal field in which one can find great happiness and success if they are not caught up in things like "highest starting salary."  I'm just a 0L and maybe this sounds pretty naive to those of you actually doing it but I just don't think any job can suck your soul unless you allow it to.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Nay-Sayers
« on: June 10, 2007, 06:39:47 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the input. I think I'm still going to give it a shot for the fall semester, as I have a very flexible employer and an understanding significant other. Per the advice above, I will certainly be checking myself to make sure that I am not getting overburdened. This should be an interesting go of it.  At least I know that if I pull this off, I really will be cut out for law school :-)

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Nay-Sayers
« on: June 08, 2007, 09:50:04 AM »
Okay, this is a bit of a rant, but hopefully it does generate useful discussion.  It seems that everywhere I go, some "helpful" person who is attending or graduated law school is telling me in condescending tones that my plan to continue working (only part time) and take a full course load in Law School will be "impossible."  The common theme seems to be that I will be so shell-shocked by the workload as a 1L that I will not have time to breathe, let alone focus on a job. Any attempt by me to rationalize my decision seems to be met with vague assertions of "what do you know, you're just a 0L" or "you'll understand when you get there."  The problem is, I just can't grasp the "impossible" nature that these people describe.  I know what my schedule will be, I feel that I have a good idea of what the work load will be, and I have made arrangements in my life to set a lot of things aside to make time for that work load.  Can it really be THAT bad?

This raises several questions that I would love to hear from other "non-trads" about.  Am I just being delusional in thinking that I can work this out without having to go without sleep for my first year?  Are the people that I am talking to just talking up the difficulty of the 1L experience to soothe their own egos?  Am I being real with myself in assuming that abilities like time management and priotizing that I have honed in my "real world" experience will give me the edge to pull this off and still be academically competitive? Could this just be a function of the "straight from undergard to 1L crowd" casting their experience on others in a different station in life?  I would love to hear from some other people that did this and can give me some reasonable assessment of what it's actually like to continue a career and be a law student at the same time. 

Okay, here's the situation that I am facing. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar:

I applied and got accepted to the part time program of several T2 schools within a commutable range of my life/job.  I have pretty much decided 99% that I am going to accept one of the offers and have begun to rearrange my life (got a new apartment between school and work, began making arrangements with my job to reduce my hours by 50% in September, reducing my life expenses like crazy to account for the loss of income) and have contacted the admissions office several times to get more information about how to send in seat deposits, etc.

Yesterday, I receive an email from the Dean of Admissions offering me acceptance to the full time program and a (small but generous given my numbers) scholarship offer.  When I emailed back to ask if the scholarship offer was still on the table if I went part time, I basically got a reply of no, with a list of reasons why the part time program is a bad idea. The email basically insinuated that it would be unwise to enter the part time program and try to continue working part time, a plan that I had been assuming all along was fundamental to the purpose of having a part time program.  Most troubling was the warning that the schedule of classes for a PT law student would "make it difficult to find a block of hours for employment."

I'm not prone to the kind of panic that many over there on the traditional students board seem to exhibit, but I must admit that I'm getting kind of nervous.  I'm starting to get the impression that this school does not really want to have part time students, and if I do decide to go this route for a littany of personal reasons (not the least of which is the ability to continue supporting myself without cost-of-living debt while in school) the school will be unsupportive and inflexible.  I sense that this is all leading to a "we told you so" if they turn out to not be very accomodating of the needs of a part time student and this interferes with my ability to succeed. 

I could use some input here.  Has anybody else that is going this route felt that schools were actively discouraging part time attendance?  Is anyone out there currently doing the law school/work combination and finding that this Dean's comments about finding blocks of time for employment to be true?  Has anyone out there decided NOT to go part time as a result of these same concerns?  Just a little insight from the community would help. I thought I had a great plan worked out but the tone of this email gives me some concerns that I may not have made a wise choice...

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Penn State
« on: February 08, 2007, 11:12:55 AM »
My acceptance letter didn't say anything about an ASW.  Is that on the website or did it come in the acceptance letter?

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