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.
Very few people can successfully juggle 1L and working part-time. Maybe if you're only working 10 hours/week. And that's a maybe. I only know of one person in my class that worked and she was naturally gifted. You need to treat law school like a full-time job, though requiring more than a 40-hour week. You really need at least 50-hours a week set aside if you intend to do it "the right way", which means not taking shortcuts, attending tutoring, counseling with your professors, and getting involved on campus. You'll find that Legal Writing is a huge time drain. This isn't like UG where where you "attend school" based on your class schedule. In law school, you should "be at work" from 8-5 (at least) or 7-7 (at most) regardless of your class schedule. In other words, you classes are your break from studying all day. You also have to consider that the school presumes that you're not working, and will therefore schedule lots of extracurriculars in the evening that you may want to attend. The bottom line: most can't do it. If you do try it, you're placing yourself at a huge risk. (1L grades are everything.) To minimize that risk, I'd say try to only work 8-10 hours/week, preferably on Saturday or Sunday.