Strategizing for Part-Timing

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

For someone planning on practicing part-time, which option is best?

University of Florida (for cheap, preferred region)
3
30%
University of Miami (for cheap, preferred region)
0
No votes
Lewis & Clark College (for cheap, preferred region)
1
10%
Top-30 School (full price, non-preferred region)
2
20%
Part-timing? Wtf? Forget about law school; rethink your life.
4
40%
 
Total votes: 10

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Barack
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:16 am

Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby Barack » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:31 am

I am not the typical law school candidate, and do not wish to travel the typical post-law school career track - at least not for long. I am hopelessly single, couldn't raise a family if I wanted to (which I don't), have an unhealthy variety of serious ailments (or, shall we say, pre-existing conditions?) that are potentially aggravated by stress and, eventually, life-threatening, and would, more than anything else, like to spend my God-given years on our wonderful planet freely enjoying and exploring as best I can. Assume that I will be debt-free after law school, and that I am willing to live a relatively spartan life.

I figure that I have two options available to me in order to achieve my goal. One is to ride along on that typical post-law school career track only as far as necessary to accrue the income required to tentatively retire. Problems I see with this plan are that I might not be able to handle the workload without significant difficulties due to my health problems, and, more significantly, that I won't know when to retire - too soon and I might run out of money and be in a very bad way later on; too late and I might die before enjoying the fruits of my labor. This option carries with it a very significant risk of leading to an entirely unacceptable outcome. I don't think it the preferable option, but who knows - at the end of the day, it might prove to be the only realistic one.

The other option is to attempt to work as little as possible every year, from as early as possible out of law school, in an effort to maximize time off and limit stress. The problem here is... well, I have no idea how feasible part-timing is in the field of law. I know that sole practitioners are plentiful and scattered across the country, and that many of them are quite successful, but I also hear that these attorneys often have more work than lawyers employed at firms. After all, what good is being able to decide when to take clients if clients won't come unless you let them decide when to come to you? Even if working as a part-time sole practitioner is a possibility, I would think that I would have to work a job for at least a few years in order to learn the ropes. I suppose that other possibilities would be working in a consulting capacity after gaining some experience in a certain niche - perhaps in environmental law or admiralty law - or maybe even working part-time at a business or firm. If you happen to be able to elaborate on opportunities for part-timing as an attorney, especially at an early stage in one's career, please let me know.

All this in mind, I humbly ask you for any advice you might have regarding (1) where I should go to law school and (2) what area of law I should concentrate on while in law school.

I have been admitted to the University of Florida, Lewis & Clark College, and the University of Miami already. I have a reasonable chance at being admitted to top-30 schools, and an iffy chance at being admitted to top-20. The cost of UF and L&C would be the same low price for me. I'm split between South Florida and Oregon as far as where I'd rather live goes. Florida and Oregon, plus California and Washington, rank as the four states I would most like to practice in. I like the looks of L&C's environmental law program, ranked 2nd, but am not sure if environmental law would be something I could work part-time on. I like UF's ranking advantage, but don't know if that means anything, given both schools' supposed respective statewide supremacy. Miami is appealing for its location and potential for job placement in South Florida, but then I hear that UF places just as many students in that region. Would you rank one of these three a clear first? How does my goal of part-timing impact your choice, if at all? If I get admitted to a top-20 or top-30 not in the state where I want to practice and have to pay full price, given my goal of part-timing, might it still be worth choosing UF or L&C?

Thanks! Any help will be much appreciated!

User avatar
Doritos
Posts: 1232
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:24 pm

Re: Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby Doritos » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:59 pm

I don't know anything about part timing in the legal field but you say you have serious ailments that are aggravated by stress? Law school is stressful and I would be concerned about paying for school and giving up income only to have a breakdown of some kind. Make sure you are able to handle the rigors of law school before you jump in and find your ailments keep you from realizing your goals in the legal field.

User avatar
Barack
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:16 am

Re: Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby Barack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:04 am

I do not think that it is possible for me to avoid stress while still securing the medical care that I need. My ailments are potentially stress-induced, but still hold the possibility of causing me trouble and eventually destroying me regardless of what I do to reduce the amount of stress in my life. I am mentally well-equipped for a career in the field of law and the pursuit of a law degree. Those who are capable of performing legal work at a high level - those who hold respectable law degrees - are in relatively short supply and are compensated, at least in part, for their special ability accordingly. They also, at least in theory, find it easier to market their services as professionals than those who haven't the proven ability to perform at such a high and specialized level. Should I not make the most of my talents and seek a law degree, I would be essentially throwing my lot in with the masses, and would have nothing to distinguish myself from the rest with on paper besides a commendable performance in college. Securing, performing, and keeping a job would very likely be just as stressful as pursuing a law degree. It would take luck, risk, and a long, hard slog to get to a point at which I could make enough money through part-time work in most fields without an advanced degree to adequately support myself. My hope is that after getting a law degree, perhaps after some years of full-time work, I will be able to cut my hours and do well enough anyway thanks to the high hourly rates. Should I be forced to slog away working full-time due to it being practically impossible to work part-time in the field of law, at least I will be good at my job, enjoy it better than working some office cubicle, and save away some money at the end of each year.

Fair enough advice, Doritos - but how would I ever be able to make sure I am able to handle the rigors of law school without actually going ahead with the full three years of it? I suppose you might be calling for a guess or somewhat informed bet - if so, I'm confident I'll make it through law school, given how I've done in the recent past. But like I said, I don't want to be slogging away in a firm for thirty years after graduating. My goal in the legal field is to be involved in it only to the extent necessary to secure an adequate income. Judging from the poll results, it looks like most people here don't see that as a realistic one.

User avatar
Doritos
Posts: 1232
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:24 pm

Re: Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby Doritos » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:24 am

One thing about the poll results. A large portion of the people here at top law schools are gunning for top schools, top grades, and top paying jobs so their approach to law school and the legal field may be very different from your own. If you are confident in your ability to handle the stress and do what it takes for you to get what you want out of a law degree I say do it. But keep in mind the field is pretty saturated and competitive soooo..yeah. I think law's neat-o and thats why I'm going to LS next year and if you think so too..go for it.

User avatar
Barack
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:16 am

Re: Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby Barack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:30 am

There's no way I'm not doing it. Given the circumstance I find myself in, law school is the safest bet for a secure future. However, I was hoping to get more of a positive response in terms of an outlook for part-timing.

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rw2264
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby rw2264 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:33 am

lewis and clark. there is no friendlier place than oregon, and i think you'd fit in there more than florida. also the friendliness might help alleviate the stress of law school.

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Barack
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:16 am

Re: Strategizing for Part-Timing

Postby Barack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:13 am

rw2264 wrote:lewis and clark. there is no friendlier place than oregon, and i think you'd fit in there more than florida. also the friendliness might help alleviate the stress of law school.


I definitely get the feeling that Lewis & Clark could well be the best choice of all for law school itself, even with admits to top-20s, but the real test would come later on when I would take the degree to the job market (and possibly beyond). Given that I'm not looking for the big bucks, it could be that a degree from L&C would do just as well for me as one from a highly-ranked law school. Then again, it could be that serving in a part-time capacity later on, if it is, in fact, possible at all, may be much less possible without having laid the foundation of a highly respected degree and the experience of working at a big-time law firm. I really don't know.




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