need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

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Anonymous User
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need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:33 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi everyone, I'm facing a dilemma and wanted to get your thoughts about it.

This fall, I will start a part time JD program at a tier 1 school (not T14). I am committed to keeping a fulltime day job so I don't graduate with soul crushing debt. However, my current job has unstable work hours, so I've been looking since last winter.

I finally received a job offer today. I am expecting to get another job offer on Friday. Salary levels are comparable (middle class).

Job A:
Pros - interesting and important work that I can see doing for 4+ years, great coworkers, really major step up for my career, nonprofit is very stable & well-funded

Cons - higher profile than what would make me comfortable, high stress, not sure if job will not leave me alone most nights & weekends, some self-doubt whether I can do it well (they were really impressed with me though), will be managing my own team of staff which seems scary

Job B:
Pros - better working hours and slower pace, though I have to confirm this (I don't expect late nights or weekends, unless I'm being misled), a lot less stressful, I'm fully confident I can do this job well

Cons - potentially unstable job (amount of work depends on one person's ability to keep bringing in clients and new business), junior status, not sure I will like my coworkers (at least not the people who interviewed me), not enthusiastic about the actual job itself though I somewhat like the issues

Option C: Take neither job and eventually quit my current job so I can transfer into the full time program and focus just on getting good grades.

I had previously ruled out law firm jobs and thought I would stay in Public Interest, but now I would actually like to get law firm (or govt attorney) experience, if I end up with the necessary grades. But I understand that I am more likely to get median (or worse) grades. If my grades bar me from legal jobs, obviously having a great current job becomes all the more important. If I was independently wealthy, I would just go to law school.

So, what say you, TLS?


I am halfway through a PT program at a T1 school. I've worked for the same F100 employer for 7+ years (only employer since undergrad). Top 10% + LR. Working FT is allowing me to attend school debt-free (already saving toward the final year's tuition).

Balancing school and work is difficult. Prior to law school I worked about 55 hours a week. During the school year I work about 45 hours/week. It is a tough schedule to keep and during the school year I feel like I'm sprinting from one fire to another. To me, the biggest key to being successful in a PT program is to minimize your outside stress/distractions. You need to be able to focus on school as much as possible.

Take the lower stress job unless you want to hedge against this law school thing not working out in which case the higher stress job would seem to be a better fallback.

One other thing to think about is how much your new boss will support you attending LS. I admittedly lucked out in that my boss' father is a longtime partner at a V100 firm and my boss has been very supportive of me because he understands the importance of doing well in school. This includes allowing me to take time off from work whenever I need it, allowing me to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to complete some daily reports that are normally due by 9 P.M. the previous night, and now giving me full flexibility with my work schedule with OCI coming up. The flip side of this is that I basically draw all bitch assignments during the winter and summer breaks, including travel.

Two things you need to consider:

1. Change your time horizon on how long you expect to be at either of these jobs you are considering. If you have biglaw aspirations you'll need to quit your job after your third year of LS for a summer clerkship.

2. Check with PT STUDENTS at your current school about "transferring" from the PT program to the FT program. At some schools the PT program is a formal classification, at other schools a PT student is merely a student in the class of 201X who started a year early. In the latter situation, you don't actually need to "transfer" into the PT program, you simply need to load up on extra credit hours to accelerate graduation by one year.

More importantly, at some (most?) schools, "transferring" into the FT program/accelerating graduation by a year comes at the expense of participating in OCI and LR eligibility. Until you actually understand the ramifications of transferring/accelerating graduation you should operate under the assumption that you will be at your LS for four years. Schools have no problem telling prospective PT students about potentially graduating early but they seem to omit the possible ramifications of doing so. Also, don't assume the admissions office of your school knows the ins and outs of the PT program. Graduating early from a PT program is rare at many schools and admissions officers aren't always on top of the process, hence my suggestion that you need to talk to PT students at your school about this issue.

Questions for you:

1. Spouse/children?

2. Do these potential employers know you will be attending law school?

3. For option C, when would you quit your FT job and dedicate yourself to school 100%?

Anon b/c some of the personal info would out me.

Edit to correct an important detail.

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:32 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

keg411
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby keg411 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:54 pm

Have you considered taking Job A and deferring law school for at least a year? I mean, if you're just going to a random T1 PT, I can't imagine your opportunities would be that much better than a job that sounds stable and important.

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:01 pm

Anon PT student from above.

Anonymous User wrote:1. Spouse/children? - No, I'm single, live alone, no kids. I don't have a significant other, which is good and bad. Family is 100% supportive and even chipping in some of the money. Not a lot because we're poor, but that makes me even more motivated to try to make job and law school work.


You are correct that this is good and bad. My wife kept me sane during my first year and it was good to have a person in my life not connected with LS. On the other hand, I didn't stop being a husband just because I went to law school and I still had to set aside time for my wife (who was pregnant during my first year).

The thing that sucks about doing a PT program while working is that you have very little time for anything else. If you go through with this make sure you set aside personal time on some type of schedule. Ignore law school stuff at least one night a week.

Anonymous User wrote:2. Do these potential employers know you will be attending law school? - No, and this is a huge moral and practical problem. I don't know if or when I should tell my prospective employers. If I tell them now, I will probably lose both job offers. If I don't tell them, they will be pissed when they find out and stop trusting me (or find a reason to fire me). Or, if I'm able to hide my law school commitment for a few months and can establish that I'm a great worker worth keeping anyway, they might not care or be supportive. (What's the likelihood I can keep PT law school quiet for a few months?? I know that some PT students at my school are attending in secret.)

I've gotten conflicting advice from my mentors about this. Most told me not to tell them because it's none of their business what I do on my own time in the evenings & weekends. But a few are worried that I can't do PT law without buy-in and support from my employer. Plus I could burn bridges and piss off important people. I feel deeply uneasy about trying to hide something like law school, but I also really want to try to make this work, which probably involves initially keeping school secret. I mean, people have kids and family commitments too, so I don't think I'm in the wrong to expect a few hours each night to myself. I think it's possible - if I have to stay late and miss class, I'm willing to do that and just keep my mouth shut. However, what will I do during finals?



I had a very good pre-LS career. I kept LS a secret my first year because I didn't want to kill my career in the event that I didn't perform well in LS. I felt like I was leading a double life and it took its toll on me. However, my intuition was correct and my company has basically treated the news of my attending LS as a two-year notice of my future departure. I'm still a valued employee and things have pretty much continued as before with the exception that it is clear to me that my leadership group is no longer grooming me for "bigger, better" things. The best opportunities which used to almost always come to me are now being assigned to my colleagues (and I'm okay with this). I would advise you to keep it to yourself until you know your first semester grades. You can reevaluate how to proceed after that.

Anonymous User wrote:3. For option C, when would you quit your FT job and dedicate yourself to school 100%? I think the earliest I could do that is after the 1st semester. I need to learn more about the timing issues there. Thank you for the warning about that because I didn't realize how my situation would complicate the OCI and law review timeline. To be honest I don't think my school is worth the debt I will take on if I do this.


It's a catch-22 situation. By working while attending school you can take the worst case scenario out of the equation (lots of debt and no job). On the other hand, you run the risk that you won't be able to balance school and work and your grades will suffer. Honestly, there is no easy answer here. IMHO, the safest scenario is working and going to school just because you take debt out of the equation but this really comes down to just how debt averse you are.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:06 pm

keg411 wrote:Have you considered taking Job A and deferring law school for at least a year? I mean, if you're just going to a random T1 PT, I can't imagine your opportunities would be that much better than a job that sounds stable and important.


Thank you for suggesting that. My head says this is probably the better thing to do. I know a lot of TLS will say the financially responsible thing is to not go to law school at all.

But my heart says no, don't wait yet another year, because I've already been waiting years and years to go. Going to law school is the right decision for me. My family would also be crushed, and that does actually matter to me. If I don't go now, I'm afraid I won't ever go because I will keep coming up with excuses. Also, I'm a middle aged woman and I want to get law school out of the way before my reproductive years are totally over.

elmagic
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby elmagic » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:13 pm

So wait, I am confused, you are going to law school, yet none of your options are for legal employment? Or is this whole thread completely unrelated to legal employment?

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:21 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:23 pm

elmagic wrote:So wait, I am confused, you are going to law school, yet none of your options are for legal employment? Or is this whole thread completely unrelated to legal employment?


None of my current options are for legal employment, but I work with a lot of lawyers. After graduation I would like to work in a law firm or in govt. I posted in this forum because I can't post anonymously in the other forums. I'm sorry if that is bad.

Black-Blue
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Black-Blue » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:50 am

Whatever you do, don't transfer to the full time program unless you're top 5% after 1L, or otherwise, you may be finding yourself trading a decent non-law job for a poor non-law job.

Anonymous User
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Re: need advice - PT 1L student, debating daytime job offers

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:18 am

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