Law School Discussion

Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?

Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« on: April 02, 2013, 12:25:38 PM »

I will be a part-time student at Willamette Law, starting August 2013. I need to work while attending school, and am trying to rearrange my work commitments to align to the course schedule. Can someone please tell me what a typical 1L Part Time course schedule looks like? Start times, courses, days of week, etc...

Thank you!


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Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 07:29:19 PM »
Quote from: Willamette Law
Course Schedule

Willamette University College of Law's part-time program is a day program only and students must start in the fall. Part-Time students enroll in the same classes as full-time students. First year courses will be assigned after consultation with the Part-time program coordinator. Notification of fall class assignments and schedule will be made prior to New Student Orientation, which occurs in mid-August.


Unfortunately, the only people who know your schedule--including which courses you will take on which days and at what times--will be you and the part-time program coordinator, after you've spoken.

Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 10:54:01 PM »
As Irrx mentions the best person to ask will be the school and whoever is coordinating the part-time course schedule. I know at my school the first year curriculum was the same for each section time/class/etc I was a full-time student, but the part-timers all had the same schedule. They probably have not put out the course schedule for the Fall semester yet and it will likely come in June or July as the administration likely has not figured out what rooms, professors, etc will be where.

One thing to note is that most part-time students who continue working full-time do not succeed it does mean you will not succeed, but your 1L year is time consuming and balancing both usually results in people failing out of law school. I personally think if your going to law school you should be all in or do not do it all, but that is only my two cents and there are plenty of examples of people succeeding in part-time programs, but the majority of attrition comes from part-time students who simply cannot keep up with a career and the pressure of law school. If you fail out it is a waste of 30,000 dollars in tuition and it may adversely impact your job as well.

Furthermore, even if you don't fail out the majority of other students will not be working and will have a higher class rank than you, which is something to consider. The legal job market is tough and if you finish in the bottom half of the class at Williamette it will be tough to find employment. It is nothing against your intelligence just a simple fact that if you are working the students not working will have 40 more hours a week to study. Again just my two cents as an anonymous internet poster so take it for what that is worth.

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Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 09:11:26 AM »
Kim, whereas LivingLegend certainly raises good points to consider . . . I would add a different view. First, most part-time programs have 3 instead of 5 substantive courses plus a legal writing course. Each school picks the topics, but they are usually selected from the standard first-year topics, Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law, Real Property, Civil Procedure. Days and times will be provided to you, but if you look at last year's schedule, I bet they don't change much. Second, our school (Monterey College of Law) is entirely a part-time, evening law school, so I do not share LivingLegend's pessimism about your prospects, even though his caution is well advised.

What I see is that you are already reaching out for advice and thinking strategically about time management, life balance, etc. That alone puts you well ahead of the game from my standpoint. Most of our students work full-time and attend law school at night. It is not easy. In fact, it is exceptionally hard. However, if your passion and enthusiasm is to be a lawyer . . . and preferably a great lawyer, there is no reason you cannot achieve that in a part-time program. Keep in mind that just as you are trying to chart your individual course now at the beginning of law school, it will be the same at the end. You will need to be ready to prove yourself at every step to be equally (or better) prepared and talented as the full-time students. Is this fair? Obviously not. But it is the path you are choosing to take, so make no apologies, and give yourself no slack. Our part-time program graduates are Judges, DAs, Public Defenders, and successful private practitioners in every practice area . . . Was it as easy as if they walked in with a Stanford degree? NO. Was it still possible to be a success? YES.

Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2013, 11:21:07 AM »
I'm finishing my 2L as a part-time evening while working full-time and will probably quit my job before 3L so I can focus on internships, etc.  At my school classes are three nights per week so I generally put in some study time for one subject on the non-school night, do Contracts on Saturday and Torts Sunday etc. while leaving my Firday nights free for fun.  Many part-timers actually manage their time a bit better since there is so little of it, but be aware it will be all-consuming your first year and you need to be sure you don't burn out.  Being disciplined and sticking to your schedule will definitely keep you on track.  I hope that helps!

Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2013, 03:51:28 PM »
 Cher is worth listening to and as I stated plenty of people are suited for part-time law study, but you need to be honest with yourself. I personally would have failed miserably as a part-time student my personality is I am all in or I will fail, but everyone is different.

I know plenty of people that managed a career and succeeded as part-time law students and plenty of others that failed out after 1st semester, but you have to be honest with yourself and determine if you are capable of managing the stress of your job and being committed to the long hours necessary to succeed in law school.

I would also recommend talking to part-timers at the school you are considering to see how they handled it. Good luck.

Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 12:42:00 AM »
The idea of enrolling in law school struck me like a thunderbolt. It was an awakening that turned into a personal mission, a goal, and I committed myself to the challenge almost instantly. By committed, I mean that absolutely nothing short of some personal tragedy can stop me from achieving my goal. The J.D. that evening law students earn is as much a testimony to their endurance as it is an academic achievement. As an insurance underwriter, I have a rewarding career in a field that I love. It requires a lot more than 40 hours a week. The upshot is that tackling the rigors of even a part-time evening program (three nights a week, 6:30 - 9:15, and study all weekend) has been the most difficult thing I have done in life since my tour of duty in the Marine Corps. In certain ways, managing a career and part-time law school at the same time is  harder than anything they threw at me in the USMC. It takes extraordinary courage, stamina, determination, commitment, passion, and focus to succeed. You need to have an insane, blinding desire to become an attorney. But the dean is correct: it can be done. I'm doing it. I'm a 3E currently preparing for my final exams, with just one more year to go. Then on to the bar. I still can't see the top of the mountain, but looking back, it's a hell of a long ways down. We keep climbing. But you have to accept that you will be holding down two full-time jobs for the next four years. Except during the breaks, your life will have only two prongs: the job and law school. There will be little time for anything else, so you need to steel yourself for total commitment. But it isn't just an exercise in misery. Honestly, law school is fun. Yes, it's challenging, but you'll start to get passionate about learning the law, and while you might lose a few loose friends during the journey, your true friends will still be there. And plus, you'll make a lot of new friends in class.

We lost some 50 percent of our class after the first year.  People started falling out by the third week, which I thought was pathetic. The rigors of the program were just too difficult for a lot of otherwise nice people to handle. But poor grades on the first-year final exams also took out a substantial number of people. However, of the students in my class who survived the first year, I can think of only one who has fallen by the wayside over our second and third years. There's something to be said for that. The first-year survivers tend to go the distance.

There's also something to be said for the camaraderie of evening law school. I don't know how it is in regular law school, but in a CBE night program such as the one I attend, and probably CA Law Dean's at Monterey as well (correct me if I'm wrong, Dean) you go through the program with pretty much the exact same people from the beginning to the end. Other than summer school, there isn't the same picking and choosing of courses from an array of possibilities, as in college. Everyone takes the same program of courses and you tend to sit with your friends in every class. By the second year or earlier, you know everybody in class by first name, and everybody knows you. It's pretty cool. I'm proud of my classmates, because I know that they're all enduring the same hell that I am, juggling work, school, families, and mortgages. The people who succeed in night school have an astounding degree of determination and drive. But Livinglegend has a point. During the school year, and especially during that all-critical first year, you need to be "all in." You can't bluff your way through law school like you might in a college lit class. If you're prepared to make the necessary sacrifices in your social life in order to focus on the work demanded of you, you can make it.

Another thing  I haven't mentioned, and it's as important as anything, is that you need support. You need the support and understanding of your spouse, your employer, your family and your friends. The grind takes a toll on relationships, which is why you may lose a few of your looser (I didn't say "loser") friends. You may also start to take inventory of your relationships after a couple of years of law school and decide to punt some of the losers (this time I mean "losers") the hell out of your life. You're surrounded by so many inspiring professors and go-getters, and your free time is so precious that wasting it on unambitious, uninspiring, unmotivated old friends will start to feel like putting on a pair of dirty old shoes that you lost in the garage five years ago. So you take them off and throw them away. It's not elitist: it's water seeking its own level.

Law school is a fantastic experience. And boy, is it eye-opening. After three years, I want it over with so badly I can taste it. But I'm getting closer and closer to my goal. No turning back. Set that goal, keep your eyes on it, prepare for success, and you, audacious climber, may reach the top of the mountain. Lots of us are doing it.

Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 11:23:42 AM »
Duncanjp has pretty much summed up the whole experience.  The only thing I want to re-iterate is the going "all in."  I think people really underestimate how hard it is your first year.  I was just at an openhouse because I may transfer and the misconception of the 0Ls made me remember just how green I was before I started.  A couple of people talked about how they "knew" they had the analytical mind required for law school without realizing what a legal analysis put on paper really is.  It is an analysis, yes, but understanding the formula for putting it all down on paper in a timed environment is what weeds out most first year students.  It is scary, it is a marathon, but looking back, I'm amazed I've gotten this far.  I'm also amazed my boyfriend hasn't run away screaming.  Spousal, family support is key.  I have cried on his shoulder - more than once.  The emotional toll it can take on you is no joke.  But, as mentioned above, if you can stay focused and know that your fellow students are all going through the same thing - even the ones at the top of the class - then you will succeed.  And, it goes by faster than you think!

Re: Part-time student, what is typical 1L class schedule?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 04:47:23 PM »
I think Duncan and Cher make some good points, but if you read Duncan posts you can see part-time law study is not for most people and I personally don't agree with it since it ends badly for most people, but there are plenty of exceptions and people who succeed as part-time students, but as Duncan indicates more than half fail out.

The "All-In" approach Cher describes is something people think they are ready for, but I do not know how anyone could be All-in with law school and a full-time job so I commend both of you for doing that. However, to the OP it is a grind if you are going to work and if your not going to work then you should go full-time and get it done as quickly as possible.