Law School Discussion

NIght/Part Time Students

NIght/Part Time Students
« on: January 23, 2008, 06:00:00 AM »
I have seen various aspects of this topic dovetail in others, but I am specifically interested in hearing from people (like me) who are, through necessity, planning on working full time and attending a night program   (or maybe even better people who are already doing so).  There is a great deal of undercurrent on the boards about two things which are of some concern.  First, the idea that law school requires 4-6 hours a day outside of the classroom, which if you are working full time may be very hard to come by.  Second, that if you attend a tier 2-4 school (non of the tier 1s save Fordham offers night programs in the NYC area) you will never make a decent living or perhaps even find work at all.  As someone who is currently making 90K, but in a job that has never felt like a challenge or is particularly fulfilling, I was feeling my desire to chase the law school dream made sense, but suddenly everywhere I look (read) I hear that I will need to spend time that I'm not sure I have to get a degree that will guarantee me poverty and misery.  Someone disabuse me of that queasy feeling....

Re: NIght/Part Time Students
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2008, 07:10:22 AM »
I have had similar concerns about the workload, but not so much anymore.  I've seen many stories online of people who have made the part-time programs work, which have been comforting (links to which might be comforting for you, but alas I am of no help).  I have also talked to a couple of people who have made it work, and it seems to be very hectic early on, but then they learn to deal with it.  One of the people I talked to about this trains pilots for Delta (and therefore has to fly a small part of the year as well), and he made it work.  My assumption (valid or not) is that if I can keep full-time work to just 40 hours most weeks, I should be fine.  Having perhaps one night off during the week and the whole weekend to take care of studying seems like enough for a part-time schedule, but perhaps I am naive. 

As far as the job prospects, I am less certain.  I actually have many questions about this (many of which I expect to direct towards the career center at the school I end up going to).  If you go full-time, then it becomes fairly obvious that you would use your summers to either get summer associate positions or other intern jobs.  If you plan on working all 4 years you're going part-time, that doesn't seem very likely, and further, I wonder if it is more difficult to even get summer positions without being part of a traditional full-time class. 

Now for some better news on that front.  I work at a moderate size law firm in the south (400 attorneys), and we just hired someone out of Georgetown's part-time program, so it does happen.  There are also other ways of getting work experience (and thus likely job opportunities down the road).  If I end up going the IP route, I will pursue become a patent agent, which would at least have some relation to a future legal career.

Anyway.  Good luck.

Re: NIght/Part Time Students
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2008, 06:01:31 AM »
Perhaps the other PT students are too busy to respond.  ;D

Re: NIght/Part Time Students
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2008, 10:30:24 AM »
Thanks all for replies,
Simon, while your advice is sound in one area, for me, at my age, there is a little more nuance perhaps.  I have worked for someone else for 16 years, then when my first child was born decided that working for someone else was too restrictive to be a good parent and so started (with two others) my own business.  My problem has always been that the field I am in, while providing a good living (and helping minimize debt), has presented me with little intellectual challenge and is a job I have often said I could do with one half of my brain tied behind my back.  I ended up in the field (photography) because, for a myriad of reasons, I did not finish my last two semesters as an undergrad (in 1981).  I have in the last year taken the first step in redressing the situation. I finished my BA degree and looked toward law school as a way of taking the second half of my life (optimistic assessment I suppose) as a chance to do something more than endure the vast hours spent at work.  While managing debt is a very practical idea, with 3 children going to attend college back to back the idea of not incurring debt is as foreign as mandarin Chinese.  I'm not looking to become rich, I'm looking to look forward to going to work once in while and maybe doing some good at the same time.  My fear is that may not be practical.


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Re: NIght/Part Time Students
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 09:48:37 PM »
If you want to chase your dream of attending law school I suggest you do some serious thinking about exactly why you want to do it.  Sounds pretty dumb right.  If it is only for the intellectual challenge you are better of (financially) looking into another skill. 

Re: managing work and studying, I have two very close friends who work full-time plus overtime and attend law school part-time.  One of which got straight A's last semester, attends a t3 school and has job offers waiting for him because of his quality of work and good contacts. Personally, the more I have to manage the more efficient I am.  I find that the more time I have on my hands the more likely I am to procrastinate.

Networking is key if you don't go to a t14 school. Talk to as many people as you can try to leave an impression on them and work your butt off to be at the top of your class.  Easier said than done.  If you want this bad enough you will sacrifice all.  If you don't want it that much I suggest u put ur dream on the back burner, find something cheaper to pique your interest and prepare to give your kids the opportunity you didn't have.

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Re: NIght/Part Time Students
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 10:45:55 PM »
In your situation, look more closely at the debt.  This becomes more relevant for a Tier 2-4 and PT student as the likelihood of landing a high paying job is less.

Why do you say a PT student has less earning potential?