PT v. FT

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WilliamMary123
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:10 pm

PT v. FT

Postby WilliamMary123 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:15 pm

Hi everyone,

I have a considerable dilemma on my hands, and as my first post, I'm hoping I can get some opinions.

I graduated from William and Mary UG last year and currently live in Central NJ. Since graduation, I've worked as a paralegal for a biglaw firm in NYC, making ~50k/year.

I applied to a wide array of schools, got rejected from some, and into others.

For me, being in state in NJ, its really come down to Rutgers-Camden, however, since applying, I've been thinking it may be a better idea to remain at my current firm (who will allow me to transfer to our Philly office, if I so choose) while going to Rutgers part-time. I've been admitted to the full-time program with a very small scholarship (~3k), but Rutgers says I can switch to part-time, as long as I do it soon.

By way of background, I have a pretty good reputation in my current office, and I am over $100k in debt from UG. This is one of my main motivations for going part-time, though I realize that going full-time puts you at a much higher advantage.

So, I'm wondering what you all might do..?

Any ideas/opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Specifically, I'm wodering if going part-time and staying at my current firm might put me in a better position to try and get an associate position there one day than going full-time will, among other things, including the debt issue.

Thanks!

Leo_Law
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby Leo_Law » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:54 pm

Personally, I would be tempted to go down to part time mainly because of the amount of UG debt. If you attend full time, you can't work the first year. If you attend part time, you will not only require much less in loans for CoL, but you would be able to continue paying on your current loans if you chose to do so.

MrAnon
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:08 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby MrAnon » Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:05 pm

Never ever ever ever give up a job in this economy, especially for something as speculative as law school. A full time non working student from Rutgers Camden is nothing special.

Continuing working will help you get an associate level job if you stay at the firm, with both your firm or another firm. Being known in both offices is good too. Try to stay on one project that is being run out of your old office. Pick whatever case has the most partners, or your favorite partner, or the most influential partners, and tell them you want to stay on that project because you really like working for that client. This will help you stay in touch with that office and also provide insurance if work runs dry in your new office.

If you get to year #2 and you want to be a summer associate at your firm BUT your grades suck, don't push it. Just lay back and wait until you graduate. You'll need to make it in without showcasing your grades. If you showcase after year #1 and they suck, then you've struck out and you wont get another turn at bat. Remember you only get one turn at bat. If your grades suck you want that to be at the end of school when they've improved and the hiring can be a little more flexible because you are a special case. You might find a backdoor in at that time.

Suppose you completely flame out of the firm. In this scenario your grades suck too much for summer associate, and there is no room for you at the firm at the end of school either-- they can't give you a special non associate title, or they can't make you staff attorney, or your personality just sucks and nobody likes you. In this scenario its good that you've continued to work because you will have some cash to live on for awhile while you figure out plan B, plus you can go interview at other places, plus you know people in the firm so maybe they'll be nice and give you a soft offer that you can refuse for the sake of your other interviews. Make sure co-counsel and local counsel and partners in other firms that meet along the way are aware you are a law student and that you'll be looking for work in the next few years. Do that starting now.

Philadelphia is a good idea. The hiring is less stringent than NY. Much better chance of being hired there from a school like Rutgers than in NY from a school like Rutgers.

deadhipsters
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:29 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby deadhipsters » Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:09 pm

I was a paralegal in NYC and the time commitment was insane. What are your hours like? And will the Philly office be understanding and accommodate your LS schedule? Did you ever consider staying where you are and attending Rutgers-Newark instead? This might be the best option if you are currently living home and looking to save money and pay down that debt

Redfactor
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:52 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby Redfactor » Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:20 pm

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Last edited by Redfactor on Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

WilliamMary123
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:10 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby WilliamMary123 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:13 pm

Thanks for the responses..!

The Philly office has already said that I could alter my hours a bit to come in a bit earlier and leave a bit earlier to make it to class on time.

Also, I want to get an MBA and/or an LLM, so this is another reason I'm considering part-time.

And, if I graduate and can't find a job right away, I still have a ~50k job to fall back on for a bit.

I'd also like to note, that I've really calculated the money side of this out on excel charts, and have concluded that, including COL, I'd have to take out an additional $127k for 3 years of full time, vs. ~30k for 4 years of part time (though I plan to cut this down to 3 years by goign in the summer, as well).

Again, thanks for the feedback and any further feedback would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks!

WilliamMary123
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:10 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby WilliamMary123 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:06 am

Bump

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Wholigan
Posts: 763
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:51 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby Wholigan » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:18 am

WilliamMary123 wrote:Thanks for the responses..!

The Philly office has already said that I could alter my hours a bit to come in a bit earlier and leave a bit earlier to make it to class on time.

Also, I want to get an MBA and/or an LLM, so this is another reason I'm considering part-time.

And, if I graduate and can't find a job right away, I still have a ~50k job to fall back on for a bit.

I'd also like to note, that I've really calculated the money side of this out on excel charts, and have concluded that, including COL, I'd have to take out an additional $127k for 3 years of full time, vs. ~30k for 4 years of part time (though I plan to cut this down to 3 years by goign in the summer, as well).

Again, thanks for the feedback and any further feedback would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks!


Just a heads-up that this is not possible if you are going to work all the way through, unless you can take off from work the entire summer both summers and take an insane amount of summer classes.

xyzbca
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby xyzbca » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:08 am

PT while working FT is a high risk, high reward proposition. I'm two years through a PT program and these are just some of my random thoughts (about me: T1, Top 10%, $0 LS debt).

Important question: Will you allow your UG Federal Loans to go into deferment while you're in school? My wife and I decided to continue paying off my UG debt while in LS and I'm happy we've had the discipline to stick to that (an added benefit is that Uncle Sam is paying the interest on my Federal Loans and our full payment is going towards principal reduction on the Federal Loans).

1. You may become addicted to minimizing debt. Jobless 3L's will make you understand just how rough it is to graduate with a lot of debt and no job. Although your legal experience softens the need for legal related WE during the summers, it is difficult to transition to lower paying summer jobs that require you to quit your current job.

2. You need to be honest with yourself about what kind of time commitment works for you and your employer. I've lucked out in that my boss is extremely supportive of my law school endeavor (in large part b/c his dad is a longtime partner at a V50 firm and my boss regrets not going to LS). I've created a very strict work schedule which allows me to compartmentalize my work schedule to the daytime hours. Once 5 P.M. hits, I don't touch anything at work until the next day. Conversely, it is understood that I'm first in-line for all of the worst assignments during breaks in school (including crappy travel assignments). This arrangement works for my boss, my colleagues and me. Hopefully you know your employer well enough to know exactly what kind of demands they will put on you.

If you think the demands of work will spill over into time you should spending on school, I would strongly urge you to reconsider doing a PT program. You're spending too much money and there is too much as stake to allow your present career to hinder your future career. I'm serious about this. It's one thing for your employer to tell you they are fine with you leaving at 5 p.m. everyday and another for your boss and colleagues to not have a problem as you walk out the door while everybody else is scrambling on some major work emergency....

3. Work and school are tough to balance and a lot of PT students end up quitting their jobs b/c they can't handle the workload. However, by the time they make this decision at least some grades are already on the books.

4. So far I'm happy with the decision to do a PT program. However, if I could go back I would retake in an effort to land a more significant scholarship and try to go FT. Hell, maybe I would have taken a larger scholarship and still done PT and just saved what we've been paying towards LS. I know a lot of people hate to hear retake but if you were offered an extra $50k, tax free, in your wallet just for waiting to go to LS another year you would probably take the offer.

5. As to your specific situation, the worst case scenario would be that work detracts from your studies, you make less than stellar grades, your firm isn't forgiving of your less than stellar grades in terms of making you an attorney, you graduate with a total of $150k debt (UG + LS) and you keep your current job until something better comes around. Not a particularly good position to be in coming out of LS but there are certainly others who will graduate much worse off....

If you have the discipline and patience for a five year plan, retake, try to get that scholarship money up at Rutgers (if possible) go PT and keep paying down your UG debt.

Also, I would encourage you to calculate your budget on the assumption that you'll be in school for four years. I've yet to see a PT student that works FT get out in three years. Every single PT student that I know who has been able to graduate in three years did not have a pre-LS job.

WilliamMary123
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:10 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby WilliamMary123 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:59 am

Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate them.


How do we feel about getting a job afterwards? Would PT put you at a disadvantage?

I've spoken with many attorneys at various firms, including the hiring partner at my current firm, and if I've asked 50 lawyers about this, its literally 25 on one side and 25 on the other.

I can't find a straight answer anywhere!

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Wholigan
Posts: 763
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:51 pm

Re: PT v. FT

Postby Wholigan » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:35 am

WilliamMary123 wrote:Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate them.


How do we feel about getting a job afterwards? Would PT put you at a disadvantage?

I've spoken with many attorneys at various firms, including the hiring partner at my current firm, and if I've asked 50 lawyers about this, its literally 25 on one side and 25 on the other.

I can't find a straight answer anywhere!


I think you've answered your own question. Being FT isn't going to put you at a disadvantage with anyone, because the vast majority of law students are FT. Being PT and all that goes along with it is going to lower your desirability in the eyes of some firms and attorneys, (like the 25 who told you as much) and it isn't going to make a difference for the rest, or might be a plus to some extent. (Like the other 25.)




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