Law School Discussion

Full Time or Evening?

Full Time or Evening?
« on: November 09, 2005, 07:13:40 AM »
I'm an older student(I'm 29) and am considering going to law school. I had a 3.6 in my undergrad. I have yet to take the LSAT. My question concerns whether or not I should quit my day job as an operations manager for an online company and live off of loans for a couple of years or keep my job and get my JP at night and on weekends.

Going the evening route will mean one extra year of study and having to juggle school and a full time job but I get to keep my comfy salary and house. Going the full time route means that I get to live in near poverty (well, my GF has a good job but I hate to mooch) and have more loans to pay off later but I'll be done faster, will no doubt perform better, and get to have the full-tim experience that I never had as an undergrad.

What are your thought? Anyone here gone the evening route? How much different is it than going during the day? Does it matter to employers?

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2005, 08:39:31 AM »
Sounds like you've already made your mind up.  Comfort and stability is important in law school; and having a job, a house and the comfort of being self-supportive instead of relying exclusively on the whim of a financial aid office is definately something you should consider. Moreover, employers look favorably on someone who has kept a full-time, meaningful job while excelling in law school. Don't let some immature straight-from-college kids tell you otherwise.  Personally, I know this shows employers that you have the tenacity to make money for the firm, possibly being what they want to make partner.  I say go evening, see how much you can handle, and if in a year, you want to give up the house, the job, etc and go full-time, you can switch divisions.  It's much easier to go this route than ask for that job, house, etc. back.  Hope this helps!

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2005, 05:19:49 PM »
I'm even older than you are (a little!) and this is my first year of law school, part-time in the evenings.

First of all, the part-time evening program, at least at my school, is hardly tailored to working people--the workload is reduced only by about 20% (we have four classes instead of the usual five). Even after I cut back my hours to less than four per day, I'm still losing too many productive hours per week to work. I'm going to take a sabbatical for exams.

You might reconsider the full-time, living-on-loans option before deciding to work and go to law school.

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2005, 05:34:13 PM »
I'm 29 and worked full time while pursuing a graduate degree before law school.  Doing both really took a toll on my performance, and work eventually ended up taking over. 

After that I made a conscious decision to go to law school full time, even though I could have recieved tution remission.  Law school is tough, I think you will honestly get more out of it my devoting yourself exclusively to it. 

Plus, three years of agony is bad enough, I don't think I would want 4 years of uber agony...If you work full time you most likely will not be able to participate in many of the clinical opportunities, or be an extern for a judge, etc.

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2005, 11:50:54 AM »
I am older than you ( I am not saying how much older), and I go full time during the day.  I think you are so mentally drained, spent, however you want to word it, after reading so much material and listening to the professors, that it would be extremely difficult to then give 100% at a job.

You need to look at what would happen if you went at night, and screwed up at work - you don't need a bad recommendation from your place of employment.

This semseter has FLOWN by - everyone you are with at school is poor too, and there really is no time to go out and spend money anyway.  I also think 4 classes at night vs 5 during the day is not enough of a "break".  I would say go full time the first year - then decide what you want to do.  I have spoken to upperclassmen who didn't work at all first year, took a couple of classes in the summer, and then took 4 classes eash semester second year and worked part time.

You will either end up having huge loans if you go full time, or huge amounts of stress in addition to the ordinary stress you have now if you try to go at night - you need to decide which is more tolerable for you.


Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2005, 12:57:22 PM »
I work FT and go to school three nights a week. It totally sucks. That's all I can say. Leaving the house at 7am and not getting home until 10pm just plain sucks.

Your professors (1) don't care that you work for a living and you don't have time to do all the reading, briefing, outlining, studying, etc., that they assign; and (2) don't care that you have other classes where the professors don't care that you have other things to do.

You will get slammed in all of your classes, and fuggetaboutit if you have a legal writing course - that takes up the majority of your life first year.

I'm constantly exhausted, my TIVO still has shows on it from weeks ago that I haven't had time to watch yet, I eat dinner at 10pm three nights a week and lay awake with heartburn all night, my kids cling to my legs on the rare occasion that they actually get to see me, I spend my "free" evenings tied to the laptop at home, secluded from my wife (who is about to sue the school for loss of consortium any day now), and my work productivity has slipped (though not that much). Other than that, though, things are fine.

Would I give up my job for FT law school? Hell no. Are you nuts? Do you know how many unemployed lawyers are out there? If you have a good job (and especially a house), you're better off keeping it. Many schools will let you transfer to the day division from evenings after the first year. At least try it out before deciding that you have to go day division. It's stressful as hell, and I totally hate all of the people in my class who don't have to work, giving them free time during the days that I don't have, but it'll even out when they are searching for jobs that will work them 60 hours a week while I sit back and pull in more money than them working only 40 and not getting dumped on all the time by megalomaniacal partners.

In the end, it all depends on what you think you want out of LS. I'm not overly interested in firm life, so I don't need to kill myself making Law Review, etc. Heck...I don't have time for LR even if I did get on it. You also have to consider if you want to law school "experience." Going at night tends to be a bit more lone experience. I don't care much about the LS experience either, though, so this works for me.

Basically, I wouldn't be too eager to quit a good job where you have security. That counts for a lot in today's world.

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2005, 02:06:39 PM »
Although I am a young, full-time 2L, my school does, however, have a PT program. I have been able to meet a few of the PT night students. So these are my observations:

(1) Those who do work full-time feel overwhelmed doing both.

(2) If you do well, employers will not care too much about the fact that you were a PT night student. In fact, one of my friends is now externing for the 9th Circuit (w/ some work schedule modifications, of course). However, expect to be asked if the competition is easier at night and that's why you did well.

(3) The law review write-on competition can be really tough to do since you have just finished finals, and will either have to request more time off if you took time off for finals or will have to work and write-on.

(4) The full-time day students seem to have bonded more than the PT evening students have. Many of the evening students are married and have kids. Their spare time is spent w/ their neglected family not at a dinner party. However, this doesn't mean that most of the day students are single and looking. Most have bfs or gfs that will come along to the dinner parties, movies, wine parties, risk tournaments, etc. These events are also a great way to introduce your SO to the ppl that you will be around for the next three years, if not longer. Also, I have found my classmates to be an excellent source of support. We all need a good laugh every now and then, and what better way than cheesy law jokes. I find this component essential to the law school experience probably b/c I am young, extroverted, and not that independent just yet. You may be different.

Lastly, I wanted to say that you should talk to the financial aid office about the mortgage payment. My home-owning friend appealed his award b/c of the mortgage payment and was able to get his award increased to cover the payment. Of course, this means that you are borrowing from one loan (which may be at a higher interest rate) to pay off another loan (which may be at a lower interest rate). After getting your award increased, you could also get some responsible classmates to be roomies. And help pay some of that payment.

Well...goodluck to you.


  • ****
  • 304
  • Evening PT 2L at a third tier toilet
    • View Profile
Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2005, 10:10:04 PM »
I am a 2L PT evening student working 40 hours full time and 8 hours volunteering in legal field somewhere else.  I am also older than you.  Here's my take. 

1)stability and streaming income.  Possibility of no loans. Provide for family. 
2)Backup just in case the legal profession is not for you or after you graduate, if you can't find a job, you have a backup. 
3)If you want to stay with your current firm and just transfer to their legal department, or move up in management. 

1)It's going to be hard as hell to do well because
     a)  Working 40+ hours at a job where I assume you are
         fairly successful at and thus demanding of you,
         and then going to school M-Th 6:30-9:30, and
         having to possibility deal with family, something
         is going to give.  For me, stability of work is
         essential in providing for my family, so that is
         my priority.  There are many nights where I can't
         go to class or have to go on a business trip. 
     b)  You are competing against other students in fairly
         different situations.  FT students are regulated by
         the ABA for restriction of working hours but PT
         does not have that.  So what I mean is, you can
         have people in your class who don't work at all,
         giving them 40+ hours (when you are working) of
         more studying time.  I'm not saying it's unfair,
         i'm just letting you know it's going to be hard to
         top them. 

2)Hard to find an internship/externship which can accomodate 40+ hours of work.  I was lucky to find one that let's me volunteer 8 hours a week (2 4 hour shifts) and make up the rest of my 40+ hours of my full time job on the weekend. 

Most will want you to dedicate at least, at least, 16 hours a week, with back to back days. 

Tip:  Look for government type jobs or public interest. They are more understanding of your situation. 

3)Most meetings, speakers, etc. are scheduled during the day, during your working hours of 8-5.  You will miss alot of that.

That's all I can think of for the moment. 

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2005, 03:35:38 PM »
I think going PT and having a job keeps your mind in check. When I was looking into ls options, I was between PT ones and FT ones (among the ones I got accepted into). I didnt if I would like ls , let alone want to be a lawyer. My schedule is pretty grueling, i wake up at 6am and get home around 11pm. However, now that I know what ls is really like, I am glad i didnt go FT. Aside from debt etc, studying Contracts, Torts, etc all day would be painful. Having work is a welcome release from that.

Another reason is that if you ever choose to not do ls, you can always quit and refocus on your career. But let me warn you, that working all these hours, I think i work about 130 hrs a week can really be grueling.

Re: Full Time or Evening?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2005, 05:06:22 AM »
a few points:

a) Some people might think that hiring firms will look less favorably at part-time students.  That's a load of crap.  What's on your resume, and your bio for eternity, is your law school.  And, if you make it, law review.  Not whether you're full-time or part-time. 

b) I don't think anybody in my entering class who is over 30 made law review.  But some older students in the part-time program did.

c) nevertheless, I'm very glad I'm graduating in 2006.  I'd hate to think I have to go through another freaking year of law school.