Law School Discussion

60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?

Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2008, 08:48:46 PM »
I say hang onto the WL at W&M (for the reasons that others have posted) and move if you get in.  I went from a 20-minute commute to a 45-minute commute this year, and it really does make a difference.  I can't imagine driving over an hour each way, not to mention you'd have to worry about traffic as well.  A couple classmates commute at least an hour from out-of-state, but at least they take commuter rail and can study on the train.

Another thing to think about- if commuting becomes an obstacle to the amount of time you can spend on campus, it can also adversely affect your classmates/moot court partners.  I've done a couple of group projects with the aforementioned classmates and I must say that they really held the group back because of scheduling difficulties and the fact that they simply had less time that they could commit.  The other group members really resented it, and I'm sure it affected the individual's grade for the one project where the group members were required to evaluate each other.  Moot court is also really intense, lots of long days around competition time.
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Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2008, 09:27:45 PM »
Ditto.  Since you have a family to think about, and are a single mom, you want to live as close to law school as possible.  The last thing that you want to worry about is whether or not you will get to class on time, on top of everything else.  I commuted 27 miles each way during my last year of law school (I got married) and I easily lost at least an hour each way.  That was during the last year, though, so I was better able to deal with it. You want to give yourself every advantage until you figure out how you fall in your class and how much work you have to put in for maximum benefit (in terms of grades and time management). 

Wherever you go, get as close as you can.  Especially for the first year.

Since I still have two cents (finals are coming up), I'll share them.
Though I am not involved in tons of extracurricular's, I can say that there is a definite advantage to living close to law school.  I am 7 minutes away from mine.  And it's great.
Forget a book?  No problem.  Need to do some research?  No problem.  Friend calls you up to study?  Done.  Not to mention, I can leave between classes and still make it back.
Ideally, living on campus of your law school, when possible, is the way to go.  60 miles will take an hour and a half each way out of your day.  That's 3 hours a day that you can't study, relax, hang out with family and friends, review your notes, etc.  It is not worth it.  You will not have the chance to know people and will miss out on alot of the bonding that happens at law schools after classes.
There are students who live 20 miles or so from my law school and they have very little family time and virtually no social life with the other students, which is sort of sad....
Good luck!
smujd2007 is now an Attorney at Law!

Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 09:47:51 PM »
Re: 60 mile commute to LS.  Am I nuts?


You could stand to move the 6th grader with you... but don't move the eldest just before his senior year of highschool.

Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2008, 12:28:50 PM »
Re: 60 mile commute to LS.  Am I nuts?


You could stand to move the 6th grader with you... but don't move the eldest just before his senior year of highschool.

I agree. starting at a new school senior year of highschool is cruel and unusual punishment. I usually suggest going to the higher-ranked school, but I would not move if I were in your situation. I do have quite a few friends who commute Jax to Gainesville for class (approx 70 miles) and are 2Ls (they obviously made it through 1L just fine). If you budget your time well you won't necessarily need to study all day, but I suspect it will be hard on your kids if you leave home at 7 AM and get home at 6 or 7 PM every night because you're commuting an hour each way. Just my .02

Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2008, 12:56:30 PM »
hey, i'm also dealing with this issue. i currently live 60 mi from my school in the town where my wife attends grad school. my wife works full time and attends night classes and i'll be full time in the fall. we thought about moving somewhere in between to cut out one of us having an hour commute, but i thought i would be less of a jerk if i took the full commute since i'll just be doing school. i know the first year is tough, but do you think that my grades will suffer much under these circumstances?


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Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2008, 01:02:45 PM »
Hey I have thought about similar issues with the exact same schools. While the drive from Richmond to Williamsburg isn't too bad and usually not too much traffic it is still about an hour out of the day each way. UR is a good school and a lot of area lawyers are alumni so you may be able to find a good job. W&M is better at placement in Virginia and has some really good programs. Both are good schools.

Just another thought. I have a good friend that commuted about an hour to W&M for law school because of his family (wife and two kids, second was born the day after last final of 1L) He did great at W&M, got a job in a firm after graduation and is now a county prosecuter in Virginia. So it can be done but probably not recommended.
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Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2008, 02:07:38 PM »
I thought I'd put my two cents in. I'm a 2L at a top 35 public school. I live about 30 miles from school (takes about a 45 minutes door to door). I'm married, but don't have kids. I realize we're not in the same boat. But I wanted to let you know that my situation is totally doable. I'm on Law Review and Moot Court. I'm in the top 12% of my class and have a great firm job lined up this summer. Is the one and a half hours I spend in the car fun everyday? Nope (especially not in the winter when the snow causes the commute to be significantly longer). Has it stopped me from doing well? Nope. In fact, I kind of like being able to just relax in the car, not think about schoolwork and when I get home eat and then do work.

Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2008, 09:59:55 PM »
I don't have kids, but I do have a wife who's going to miss me, and I will be driving 60 miles each way.  I think it will be 5 days a week, at least for Summer and Fall, though possibly only 4 in the Winter.  I don't think it will be a problem at all.  I will leave home at 6:00 a.m., be at school by 7:05-7:10, and do classes/studying all day at school.  I'll leave school at 7:00 to return home by 8:10, which gives me nearly 2 hours before bed.  Saturdays will be supplemental study days, and Sundays will be all rest, no work. 

Your kids complicate your situation a bit, but it's still possible.  I don't think characterizing the drive as "wasted time" is accurate.  I think about it this way: I will have an extra 2 hours a day to process information and think about the things I have been learning that others won't have, unless they are disciplined enough to set aside that time without being distracted. 

Good luck with your decision!


Michigan Law Class of 2011


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Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2008, 10:35:15 PM »
Update:  my parents have said that while they won't come live in my house and "run the show" on a regular weekly basis, they will be happy to do so when deadlines loom or on an as-needed basis.  That helps a lot.  I also have a couple of other people whom I could call on if I really needed it.

Every other weekend, my kids go to their Dad's (Thurs to Monday).  I could leave Thursday morning for LS, bunk with family in Wmbsg all weekend and return home Monday afternoon.  Twice a month with this routine would help too; I can use that weekend time to get or stay ahead of course work.

If I keep my house in Richmond, I could easily work in Richmond during the summer.  And, yes, I agree that moving my rising senior would be very hard for her.

My rising senior and I leave the house now at 7 AM, and the rising 6th grader gets himself up, dressed, fed and out the door (and hasn't missed the bus yet this year!).  I could back this up by 30 minutes and we'd do okay.  Afternoons will be a little harder....

It is very good to hear stories of others who've done this and survived.

Re: 60 mile commute to LS. Am I nuts?
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2008, 11:55:57 PM »
I am a 3L (almost grad).  My commute was much shorter distance-wise than yours, but in a high-traffic metro-area. 1L and 2L, my commute was 1 hour to 1:15 each way, and on particularly bad days could be 2 hours one way.  This year, I moved a bit farther from school, but was able to schedule my classes to avoid a rush hour commute for the most part and reduced commuting time to 45 minutes to 1 hour each way.

If your commute will be in the 1-1:15 range, it is definitely workable.  If the commute is much longer than that, during rush hour when you will be forced to commute during 1L, you may want to reconsider.  It really will be a quality of life question, however, rather than determining your ability to be successful in school.

In terms of my school time commitment, during 1L law school was approximately a 50 hour/week commitment during the bulk of the semester and 60 hours/week right before exams.  That meant that I tried to do about 5 hours of studying, outside of class, every day.  With excellent time management skills, (which I'm sure, as a mom, you have) you should probably be able to do the bulk of this in between classes during the week.

I ended up using the car time as telephone time (with a hands-free device of course).  I didn't really mind driving, so I did my best to use the travel time to decompress from school.

I hope this is helpful.