in general, are there any glaring disadvantages to applying PT? does SMU still allow you opportunities for summer internships and law review?
No disadvantages. They absolutely allow PT students just as many opportunities for summer internships and law review.
Thank you so much for your reply Holden. That's great to know! Do you know if this is the norm for schools or do they really approach it differently in terms of the disadvantages of doing PT?
PT programs vary by school. I think SMU has one of the most relaxed requirements in the country. You can transfer into the day program, same law review requirements (i.e. no reserved slots for night students), you can take day programs after your 2nd year, etc. A lot of full time students are annoyed with the program because the evening students are on the same curve. It hurts us because a lot of the evening students are not gunners and don't care as much about grades as the daytimers. Plus a lot of folks in the evening program will start off having a job, but will quit as soon as they start law school - thus defeating the point of having an evening program to cater to students who have to work.
As far as OCI and summer associate jobs are concerned, evening students typically do no worse than the daytimers with similar class rankings/GPA. While there might be a slight stimga attached to part-time students, I don't think it really affects job prospects. People who do have trouble getting jobs with the bigger law firms in the evening programs, are typically the older students (over 35 years old). Firms don't think these folks will be around long enough to justifiy the sunk costs and a lot of the senior associates/partners don't like having new associates significantly older than them.
It seems like if the evening students were not "gunners" and didn't "care as much about their grades," then it would only help the day students since you are on the same curve. Also, I don't really think that anyone that goes to law school cares less about their grades than others. Surely, the evening program students have families, jobs, or just a little more wisdom that gives them more breadth than the average 22 year old law student with nothing better to do than stress about 1L grades.