Law School Discussion


« on: October 03, 2009, 08:08:27 PM »
I am still new and sporadic to the board, but just attended an open house for Chicago-Kent in the downtown Chicago there anyone on the board currently enrolled in the part-time evening program? They did have a person on the panel that was currently enrolled but the auditorium was full and I didn't get a chance to pick his brain as much as I wanted. I am curious to know the amount of homework I should expect to do, and if this is different as a first year student versus subsequent years. This particular college has a heavy emphasis on legal writing, or an above average(I think it is 5 semesters) as compared to others.

Re: Chicago-Kent
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2009, 07:21:20 AM »
The workload at most schools is about the same. Most law school classes are set up so that your entire grade rides on one exam at the end of the semester. It's up to you to decide how to spend your time before the exam.

Legal Writing is different because there are a ton of deadlines for multiple assignments during the semester. Whether or not your LW prof decides to grade these assignments, it is still mandatory that you complete them. Then you have a big assignment, usually an appellate legal brief that counts as your final. It will either count for your entire grade or a large portion of your grade.

LW at law schools usually sucks because the profs are particularly bad. They all have their own pet peeves and little quirks. Doing well in LW isn't usually about being a good legal writer, it's about conforming to exactly what the prof wants. Most students find this frustrating so they don't like legal writing. Then when they get out in an internship or post-grad job they figure out that a lot of stuff their LW prof was total crap and they have to relearn everything on the job. Sounds fun, right?

I for one, would not have wanted to take 5 semesters of legal writing. Most schools only require one year of legal writing during the first year. Then, you are required to take 1 upper level writing course which usually involves writing a scholarly legal paper. The paper is completely different than the memos and briefs and such you do in first year LW.

If you're wondering about the workload at this particular school, my advice to you would be to talk to a mix of students in the part-time program. Find out when classes are held, go there, and talk to part-time 1L/2L/3L/4L students and see what they say. Another strategy would be to get permission from the school/profs to sit on on classes. Find out what the assignments are and do the work for a week or two. If you're having trouble keeping up, well, you just found out law school isn't for you and saved yourself a semester's worth of tuition.

Good luck.

Re: Chicago-Kent
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2009, 07:58:45 AM »
I attend Kent part-time. Your workload will be the same as the full time students. You will just take one less class.

As the previous poster mentioned, your workload will consist of assigned reading and whatever else you need to do to understand the class material. In some ways, your workload is not as heavy in the following years, primarily because the first two semesters of legal writing will be out of the way. But that doesn't mean you won't have a heavy work load. I have had classes after first year that have required a lot of time. It just depends on the class.

As an aside, after the first year of legal writing the remaining three semesters aren't bad if you chose the right classes to satisfy the requirement.   

Re: Chicago-Kent
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 12:12:31 PM »
Another Kent part-time evening student here.  First year, first semester you will have Torts, Criminal Law and Legal Writing 1. For torts and criminal law I think we read about 10-20 pages per class, and each class meets twice weekly, so figure about 40-75 pages per week total.  Until you get used to reading cases, it will take you forever to get through the material even if you are used to reading a lot. First semester you will be in class 4 nights a week and you will be getting out anywhere between 8:30 and 9:30 pm.  If you continue to work full-time, as I have, that means you do your reading on the weekends. It's doable but I don't have a ton of free time.  FYI, legal writing really eats up a lot of time and can be stressful until you figure out what they are trying to teach you, which is pretty different than good academic or business writing. Second semester was about the same for me.  I agree with the poster who said that after first year you will still have classes that require a lot of time.  But you will know the drill better, so it will be easier.