Law School Discussion

Thoughts on Part Time Law School

Thoughts on Part Time Law School
« on: October 21, 2010, 12:06:47 PM »
I am in the process of applying to law school and hoped that I might get some insight here.  Are there any good part time law schools?  I have a very good job in business, and am interested in a degree in business law.  I think that continuing to gain strong business experience while earning my law degree will but me in a very stron position when I graduate, but do not know of any highly ranked part time programs.  Do they exist?

I currently live and work in St. Louis, and St. Louis University has a PT program, but is ranked out of the top 100.  There is a possibility I could work remotely, so I don't feel confined to the St. Louis area...

Thanks for any help!

Re: Thoughts on Part Time Law School
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 01:23:28 PM »
Why the interest in a business law degree?  What is your PLAN?  These are not frivilous questions - these questions should be very thoroughly vetted by you before even deciding that you SHOULD go to law school.  Sounds like you have a good career now, so it truly is important to ask what your plan is, then assess that plan.  Change careers and become a lawyer?  OK, that is one thing, but is it to "enhance" what you are doing now?  Well, that is another.

Re: Thoughts on Part Time Law School
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 01:51:55 PM »
That is a very good point, Hamilton.  I am definately looking to enhance my current career.  My goal is to reach the CEO level at a fortune 500 company.  I am currently on track to reach an executive level within the next 4-5 years at my current company.

However, to excel iat the executive level, I think that a law degree will be very helpful.  The topics covered in law school, such as M&A activities, contracts, negotiations, etc., will be very helpful in an executive role, but are difficult to get experienced in be for reaching that level.  Basically, I expect my current background (including an MBA from a top 10 school) will help me to reach the executive level, but think that the JD can help me to jump to the very top.

Re: Thoughts on Part Time Law School
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2010, 01:08:02 AM »
The topics covered in law school, such as M&A activities, contracts, negotiations, etc.

Your desire is understandable, but those topics are not really covered in law school.  When people tell me they want to learn about negotiations and M&A activities, I usually suggest business school, but I see you did that already.

Ironically, I usually see this discussion go the other way - lawyers contemplating an MBA to juice their post-law executive career.  Frankly, I am not sure that you will learn much in law school that would be useful at this stage in your career.  A few years practicing law might be helpful, but I suspect that isn't your plan.  Law school itself, however, doesn't really teach you very much with any kind of immediate practicality.

Re: Thoughts on Part Time Law School
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 08:56:45 PM »
I'm a part-time law student right now.  I had a similar background in that I had a great paying job in a major corporation in which I frequently draft and negotiate contracts, interact with counsel, etc.  My career goal is to practice in-house somewhere, and I found that the combination of law school classes and practical experience applying what I was learning (albeit not in the practice of law) was extremely powerful.  Sure, you'll always have to take some classes that only .0001% of lawyers will ever use (see Constitutional Law), but overall, I would highly recommend the part-time approach for business law.

A side benefit of going part-time is that you'll have far less debt than full-time students and more flexibility when you graduate.  However, I would offer a word of caution -- going to law school part-time while working full-time is not for the faint of heart.  I am either working or studying from 7 AM - 9 PM every weekday but Friday, and typically study for 7-8 hours each day on the weekend.

I would not worry too much about the ranking of the school.  Remember, you have an excuse for not going to WashU or wherever the top StL students go...they don't offer a part-time program.  Plus your job experience gives you a major step up on the "straight from undergrad crowd."  Anyhow, success is possible if you are committed to your studies and career path.  I've accepted a position in the corporate department of a Vault 100 firm and will graduate with only ~$50K in debt.


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Re: Thoughts on Part Time Law School
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 09:55:27 PM »
In general, going part time can be a great option. However, there are no majors in law schools, and lower-ranked schools tend to have very restrictive curricula. This means that you will be stuck taking bar courses- not M&A or contract negotiation classes.
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