My humble opinion would be to re-look (word?) at this situation anew without the "paralegal as experience" factor weighing in at all. I don't think that being a paralegal helps you become a lawyer any more than the first semester of law school does (which, incidentally, you have to take anyway). I have nothing against paralegals or the occupation at all, but I think that many people give much too much credit to the idea that being a paralegal prepares you to become a lawyer. I'm sure it doesn't hurt, but anyone who is "built" to be a lawyer will become a fine lawyer after three years of law school.
So take a look at your scenario again and leave that little tidbit out. Whatever makes the most sense at that point, stick with it. Good luck!
What do you base this on? Personal experience?
Personal experience and anecdote. I'm no authority at all, but I had once thought of going this route to gain some experience. My father is in real estate and some other business ventures and has built some relationships with lawyers over the years, and so I took advantage of these relations and spoke with three local but well-regarded lawyers regarding this and other issues a while back. They all told me, unequivocally, that I may have an advantage during my first semester or possibly up to my first year in law school after putting in a few years as a paralegal, but once the rest of the class caught up to what knowledge I had built at that point I would be on equal footing. They basically said it would give me exposure to the material and topics, but I would get all of this in the first year of school.
Again, nothing against paralegals at all, I just tend to believe these guys and their insights. I also think about it logically, like how many (great) lawyers are there, and how many where paralegals before this? Probably an insignificant number.
All that said, I also think that specifics would depend on the person. If someone is a slower learner, and doesn't catch on to theoretical concepts quickly, or needs to be hands on to pick things up qucikly, maybe that 6 or 8 month "head start" would do them good. I really can't say. As someone who picks things up rather quickly and has been trained to think conceptually and abstractly, and who did an undergrad in a little more than 2 years, I tend to think that three years of law school is going to be good enough for me. But that doesn't mean that it will be for everyone. FOr example, I know a girl who took 5 and a half years to do an undergrad, not because she was stupid or slow, but because she is meticulous and wnated to truly underdtand *everything* she studied. It ended up working to her advantage, as she was chosen as one of 15 people from thousands of applicants for some crazy Masters program she wanted to get into, as her marks form undergrad (and her knowledge obtained) reflected her abilities.
Anyways, to each their own, but I think for the vast majority of people they would do just as well to enter law school with paralegal experience and work their asses off. Then again, maybe you could spend some extra time on the beach or at the bar in the first year if you *did* have that experience