Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Part-time evening workload?  (Read 3389 times)

megee333

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Part-time evening workload?
« on: May 18, 2011, 02:59:17 PM »
Hi,

Can anybody please give me an idea about the workload I could expect for the part-time evening JD program?

Class is 6-9pm, M-Th. Working full-time 8-5pm-ish.

How many hours of outside school work roughly, weekend hours (all and every weekend?!?) ??

Is it mostly reading and briefing; how many papers weekly and length ??

Rough hours are fine, thanks.

nealric

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2261
  • a.k.a. Miguel Sanchez
    • View Profile
Re: Part-time evening workload?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 12:03:49 PM »
I worked 9-4 (slightly less than full time), class was either 5:30-8:00, or on two nights a week until 9:30 (with legal writing class). Then, usually an hour or two after class. I did most of my study on weekends, with a full 9-5 work day on class assignments.

Papers and length will depend on the school. Most of the work is study- that means reading, reviewing. Most part time students don't have time to brief- it's mostly a waste of time anyways.

Basically, you should expect to spend every waking hour you are not at work or commuting doing class work. 
Georgetown Law Graduate

Chief justice Earl Warren wasn't a stripper!
Now who's being naive?

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Part-time evening workload?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 05:54:41 PM »
Basically, you should expect to spend every waking hour you are not at work or commuting doing class work.

Quite right.  I've known several colleagues who attended law school part-time.  The upshot is that even a 40-hour workweek is going to be challenging.  Attempting to maintain a managerial job with 50-60 hour weeks is not likely to work well.  Something will suffer, and bosses tend not to like it to be them.  So, as much as possible, try to ease into a lighter work schedule, at least for the critical times around the semester.

On the positive side, most employers are understanding, and most legal employers (especially smaller ones) are receptive to the dedication and organization of a dual-time life.

Go get em!

Thane.

Duncanjp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Part-time evening workload?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2011, 04:04:48 PM »
I just finished my first year of attending law school in the evening while working 8-5 M-F. If I were not in law school, I would be at work 8-6, and sometimes on weekends as well. Fortunately, I'm in a position where a law degree will serve my employer's interests, so they're forgiving if I leave for class rather than staying around to work overtime. But I must say, to do well in school while working requires extraordinary commitment. If you want better than a C average, be prepared to abandon your friends, your family, and all recreational activities because you will not have time for any of that. Forget about watching TV and relaxing, too. Law school must become your recreation and relaxation. Part-time law school is a second full-time job. Success requires strict attention to time management. When I started last year, I took a calendar and divided every day of the month into morning, afternoon, and evening. Then I blocked out all of the areas where I would be at work and in class. The remaining white space was where I would do my studying and try to fit in some time for my wife. I made every effort to devote Saturday mornings to my wife, but the rest of the time I studied. I read cases, worked on my outlines, and wrote practice exams. I did not get to take a vacation to New York or Lake Tahoe. The only vacation time I've taken over the last 12 months has been to stay home and prepare for exams. Even during the winter break, I spent my time trying to get ahead on the reading for the spring semester. As they say, law school is a jealous mistress. But the commitment has paid off for me in my GPA.

Again, if you're satisfied with a C average, then maybe you can take it a little easier than I've described. If you aren't afraid to hear your friends and acquaintances ask, "Weren't you in law school awhile back? What happened?" then by all means, make it to that concert. But to excel, you really have to take your medicine and make the sacrifice.

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Part-time evening workload?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 04:06:30 AM »
Again, if you're satisfied with a C average, then maybe you can take it a little easier than I've described. If you aren't afraid to hear your friends and acquaintances ask, "Weren't you in law school awhile back? What happened?" then by all means, make it to that concert. But to excel, you really have to take your medicine and make the sacrifice.

Generally quite true.  Just a somewhat different take on the effort-and-grade question:  Great grades are not about effort.  Or, more correctly, not just about effort.  I know this is hard to swallow, because for 16 years we've been trained to buck up and just cram already.  But that is the wrong way to approach law exams, whether full- or part-time.  It is possible to do well in law school with relatively less effort, even if your attention is split with job and family too.  If anything, it's all the more important to focus on efficiency, as that's where the wheel-spinning of full-time students is equalized.

If you find yourself with never any spare time, that's a warning that you're going about law school the wrong way.  Law exams require focus, not regurgitation.  Certainly not projectile vomiting.  Doing well in law exams requires discipline, not raw horsepower.  For all, if you've not seen LEEWS, that's a good start to the law exam process.  Take this early in your semester; then use it.  Don't pick it up "just before finals."  By then, it's too late.  This should be an integral part of studying for law school.

A different way to look at it:  A practicing lawyer could forget everything they know, and in the space of a few hours a day get re-familiarized with the law.  Chances are they would ace the exams, or close to it.  How is this possible?  Are they smarter?  By definition, no.  Discounting the ones who decided not to take (or pass) the bar, they're just about the same as you.  The answer is that they will approach law in the way needed for a law exam, because that's the way it's needed for the law.  Unfortunately, most students (understandably) approach law school like they've approached all schools before.  Yet law exams do not "test" the law in the same way that your biology professor tested your knowledge of photosynthesis.

This is how part-time students can actually do better than full-time ones . . . and much better, on an hour-for-hour basis.   Work smart, not (just) hard.

Thane.

Duncanjp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Part-time evening workload?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 01:43:58 PM »
This is how part-time students can actually do better than full-time ones . . . and much better, on an hour-for-hour basis.   Work smart, not (just) hard.

Thane.

I don't disagree with a word of your post, Thane. You're absolutely correct on every point. If a student can find ways to be more efficient with his or her study time, working harder for the same results would be myopic and wasteful. I've found ways to make my own study time more productive, and every little bit helps. (Disconnecting this infernal internet is a biggie!) Learning how to play the game quickly is a critical part of the law school experience. I had to figure that out the hard way myself. At the same time, I would simply caution against relying too heavily on the "smarter, not harder" (SNH) theory.  In my experience, students often use the SNH mantra as an excuse to be lazy. These are people who are chronically looking for shortcuts at every turn, who have been to LEEWS seminars and have purchased Flemings doing everything except the reading. I tend to believe that there is no holy grail out there to learning this material. You have to do the reading.  You should write your own outlines and most importantly, you must do practice exams until you can write them in your sleep. And by all means, you need to get feedback on your practice tests from your professors. Certainly, some people will get there with less effort than others, but it amazes me how much time and energy some students spend in their quest for shortcuts when applying that energy to simply doing the work would give them a better payday.

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Part-time evening workload?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2011, 11:47:03 PM »
I don't disagree with a word of your post, Thane. You're absolutely correct on every point. If a student can find ways to be more efficient with his or her study time, working harder for the same results would be myopic and wasteful. I've found ways to make my own study time more productive, and every little bit helps. (Disconnecting this infernal internet is a biggie!) Learning how to play the game quickly is a critical part of the law school experience. I had to figure that out the hard way myself. At the same time, I would simply caution against relying too heavily on the "smarter, not harder" (SNH) theory.  In my experience, students often use the SNH mantra as an excuse to be lazy. These are people who are chronically looking for shortcuts at every turn, who have been to LEEWS seminars and have purchased Flemings doing everything except the reading. I tend to believe that there is no holy grail out there to learning this material. You have to do the reading.  You should write your own outlines and most importantly, you must do practice exams until you can write them in your sleep. And by all means, you need to get feedback on your practice tests from your professors. Certainly, some people will get there with less effort than others, but it amazes me how much time and energy some students spend in their quest for shortcuts when applying that energy to simply doing the work would give them a better payday.


We might be at risk of a mutual-agreement society, Duncan.   = :   )

 . . . absolutely right.  It is very, very easy to think that having a "secret" is that same as success, or that buying a resource is somehow going to magically inject all that legal knowledge.  Just buying a hornbook (a bad buy) will somehow seep into your brain, as if by osmosis.

You're dead-on right about the dangers of seeking short-cuts.  What everyone should be doing is looking for bad trails.  That's where time is wasted.  (Unfortunately, those bad trails look like "study" to anyone who's survived high school and college.)

As long as we're on secrets, one secret is that it's possible to get straight A grades without doing a single case brief.  But it's very easy to read that and think "gee, that means I don't have to work."  The sad truth is that the work that IS needed should be fun work, not drudgery like case briefing.