Full-time to part-time transfer

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DTrainz

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Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby DTrainz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:37 pm

Hi everyone,

A lot of people wonder about entering law school as a part-time student and then transferring to full-time. I'm interested in the opposite approach: starting as a full-time student and then transferring to part-time status. I think it could be advantageous to start full-time, get used to law school and try and focus on getting good grades the first year. I would like to transfer to part-time status for purely financial reasons. If I'm correct, with this approach I could graduate in 3.5 years and lower my debt significantly. In the 2.5 years I would study part time, I would try and get a substantive law-related job since it will be harder to do clinics and other "experimental education." Here are my questions. I would love some insight!

- Typically, can a student change from full-time to part time? What might be the obstacles do doing so?
-How would this affect GPA and class ranking?
- Does it sound correct that one could graduate in 3.5 years? In my estimate, I anticipated having two take 6 hours during two summers.
- How would this affect scholarships I might receive when I enter full time? Any chance of retaining a lower scholarship as a part time student or would it just go away?
- Have you heard of other students doing this?
- Can part-time students participate in OCI?
- Does this sound like a good idea? Or do you think it would be harder to transition to part-time status int the second year?


Thanks!!

cavalier1138

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:47 pm

This is a bad idea, and it probably won't reduce your debt (at the few schools where it would even be possible).

The time you spent thinking this up would be better spent on LSAT prep.

DTrainz

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby DTrainz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:10 pm

Why is it a bad idea? How could it not reduce your debt if you're covering your cost of living expenses 2/3 of the time?

I've already taken the LSAT. I'm asking this for schools where i'm in the 75% percentile. I'm a non-traditional student (33 y/o) so part-time has it's appeal. Everyone says the first year is hardest so i thought it could be helpful to do full-time the first year. I'll want to change jobs anyway.

Curious if anyone has substantive insight not just a comment saying it's a bas idea...Thanks!

cavalier1138

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:45 pm

Ok, here are some reasons that it's a bad idea. In order:

-It's definitely not an option at most schools, even where a part-time program is available.
-Your job has to pay well and be extremely non-stressful to make it worthwhile.
-You'll lose any scholarship contingent on your full-time enrollment. So it's an even worse idea if you're trying to do this at schools where you're over the 75th percentile for LSAT (i.e. you're likely to get some kind of scholarship).
-You're screwing yourself out of valuable experience that will actually help you get the job you want. You want to be a lawyer, right?
-Speaking of that, what are you going to do for a job? Who is going to hire you? To do what?

DTrainz

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby DTrainz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:44 pm

Thanks for your response and for elaborating on your earlier reply.

The schools I'm looking at have highly ranked part-time programs. They allow students to transfer from part-time to full-time after about one year. So I would be surprised to learn that they don't allow the opposite. That's something I'll try and look into should I decide to explore this route further.

You're other points are well received.

- Currently, my job does not pay that well but it is non-stressful and would allow time for studying on the job. However, I would want to move to a legal-related job at some point during school, which would allow me to learn about the profession and build my resume. The types of things I have in mind would be working as a paralegal or in a non-legal job at a government agency with hope of moving into a legal job upon graduation. I've been told that some part-time students move around to different jobs while they're in school. There have been other threads on this so I won't go into detail.

- The point about losing the scholarship is a good one. Thanks.

mcmand

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby mcmand » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:17 pm

DTrainz wrote:The types of things I have in mind would be working as a paralegal or in a non-legal job at a government agency with hope of moving into a legal job upon graduation.


Was not a part time student, but from my knowledge of instances where it has happened, this doesn't happen frequently. It would be a unique situation to the employer and employee and their relationship and the work involved.

Also, you shouldn't work as a paralegal or other non legal work while in law school. The only jobs/internships you should be taking are jobs where you are actually doing legal work (under supervision of a lawyer), whether that's research, drafting, or something else that is permitted by your state's practice rules. Legal employers will be 100% turned off by a law student who was a paralegal in law school.

This is why being a part time student isnt great. People who start part time and do a non legal job run into barriers of trying to get legal jobs. It would be even weirder if you started full time and then inexplicably took a non legal job after that first year. You are already overqualified for it at that point. That just tells employers you aren't able to get hired for the real thing.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DTrainz

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby DTrainz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:12 pm

Thanks for your post, which makes a lot of sense. Do you think it's possible for part-time students to get jobs or internships where they are doing legal work during the academic year (especially jobs)? Or do you think these opportunities are reserved for the summer and are temporary? I'm in a big city so I'm wondering if that has any impact.

What about finding a flexible job that allows you to go to court during the day so you can do a clinic?

What about quitting your job before the summer so you can do an internship? Obviously that poses some risks...

Might these be ways to be a part-time student and still get legal experience?

icechicken

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby icechicken » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:29 pm

OP, what do you want to do after law school? If you gave an answer to that question, people familiar with the hiring process for that sort of career could tell you whether this plan would be fatally stupid or just weird. My understanding is that the vast majority of [paid] legal jobs open to law students are summer positions only.

Here's my idea: instead of working part-time during law school, work full-time for a year, save that money, and then go to law school. You can probably make more money in 1 year in a full-time job than you could in 2.5 years working part-time anyway, since part-time jobs typically don't pay very well.
Last edited by icechicken on Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

DTrainz

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby DTrainz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:42 pm

Thanks for your post. It's good to know that most jobs could be reserved for the summer.

Ideally, if i'm a part-time student, i'd want to work full time, but it's becoming clear it might not be possible to do that and get substantive experience.

I want to do criminal law. I'm most interested in being a public defender or prosecuting civil rights cases related to the CJ system, for example, in the DOJ. For that career path, do you think part time is a bad idea?? Thanks!!

mcmand

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby mcmand » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:55 pm

DTrainz wrote:Thanks for your post. It's good to know that most jobs could be reserved for the summer.

Ideally, if i'm a part-time student, i'd want to work full time, but it's becoming clear it might not be possible to do that and get substantive experience.

I want to do criminal law. I'm most interested in being a public defender or prosecuting civil rights cases related to the CJ system, for example, in the DOJ. For that career path, do you think part time is a bad idea?? Thanks!!


There are plenty of jobs during the school year. Just not biglaw summer associate gigs.

The jobs during the school year tend to be unpaid. You could extern for US DOJ during the school year, actually. But you wouldn't be paid. Same with most other federal agencies and local US attorneys offices, local prosecutors, local public defenders. None of them will pay you during the school year, and only some will pay during the summer.

That's the barrier: you can't give up your paid full time non legal job because money, but you won't get super valuable unpaid legal internship work unless you're available to do it during business hours.

Does that make more sense now? It's a catch-22 you'll put yourself in as a part time student with the goals you have. If you are fine finding a small local practice to work at and be paid modestly to help as a law clerk, then part time may not be a bad idea. You'd learn stuff on the job and get paid to do it, and have class at night. But these are not common situations, and you won't be getting the experience you say you're seeking anyway.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mcmand

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby mcmand » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:57 pm

icechicken wrote:OP, what do you want to do after law school? If you gave an answer to that question, people familiar with the hiring process for that sort of career could tell you whether this plan would be fatally stupid or just weird. My understanding is that the vast majority of legal jobs open to law students are summer positions only.


This is wrong. Please see my other post responding directly to OP. There are legal jobs during the school year, they are just different and they are frequently unpaid (usually because they're for government agencies or nonprofits or judges as externships).
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DTrainz

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby DTrainz » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:02 am

Thank you!! Very helpful!!

icechicken

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby icechicken » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:04 am

mcmand wrote:There are legal jobs during the school year, they are just different and they are frequently unpaid (usually because they're for government agencies or nonprofits or judges as externships).


I don't think we disagree. OP's entire rationale for working during law school is to make money, and they also drew a distinction between "jobs" and "internships" which, I assume, meant that jobs = paid and internships = unpaid:

DTrainz wrote:Do you think it's possible for part-time students to get jobs or internships where they are doing legal work during the academic year (especially jobs)?


You're right that unpaid positions are a different story; edited to clarify.

mcmand

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby mcmand » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:13 am

Lol you'll be a good law student parsing language like that. Job just meant any employment, paid or unpaid, to me and my classmates in law school. It only took on the meaning you propose after graduation, when obviously we want paid work.

Outside of private firms or private companies taking legal interns, most summer gigs are with entities (govt, nonprofit, public defense, judges) that won't pay you. When someone asks you about your summer job, they aren't excluding all of those experiences. Somehow it got lost in my posts that you can do those unpaid jobs during summer or the school year. They will happily take your free labor any time.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: Full-time to part-time transfer

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:29 am

DTrainz wrote:I want to do criminal law. I'm most interested in being a public defender or prosecuting civil rights cases related to the CJ system, for example, in the DOJ. For that career path, do you think part time is a bad idea?? Thanks!!


Just to get slightly more on-topic...

OP, these goals require radically different school tiers. A public defender can come from any school, but the Civil Rights Office at the DOJ is extremely competitive and difficult to reach from even the top schools in the country. It's also worth noting that civil rights cases are not prosecutions, nor are they criminal law (though they can touch on criminal law reform).

But with either of those goals, this prospective part-time switch would be largely pointless. Your local public defender office is likely involved in running an externship (or even a clinic) for full-time students, and the DOJ sure as hell won't hire you full-time during the semester.



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