Part-Time Student

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Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:32 pm

I am a part-time 2L with a 3.63 gpa (top-15-20% of the class), at a school ranked in the High 40s/low 50s, on the moot court team (semi finalist in a competition) and the school's flagship journal (getting published). During the day I work for a major federal agency in a growing specialized field of law (I don't think I want to pursue this field post graduation, at least not as a full time practice). I am concerned that my GPA and rank will take me out of the running for Big Law, and I was wondering if anyone on here who is either part-time or on the recruiting side could shed light on how, if at all, part-time students are evaluated differently.

It is absolutely no excuse, but I imagine I could have done even better at school if work was not a factor in my study time. I am hoping, although realistic that it is unlikely, that employers will value my work experience and credit the fact that I am working forty hours a week on top of many other obligations. The folks in my part-time section who placed in the top 10 or 5% are all attending school part time but not working (basically, they take one less class than full time students and have all the time in the world to study). It puts folks who trying to support themselves while attending school at a slight disadvantage.

Any input or guidance is appreciated.

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Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a part-time 2L with a 3.63 gpa (top-15-20% of the class), at a school ranked in the High 40s/low 50s, on the moot court team (semi finalist in a competition) and the school's flagship journal (getting published). During the day I work for a major federal agency in a growing specialized field of law (I don't think I want to pursue this field post graduation, at least not as a full time practice). I am concerned that my GPA and rank will take me out of the running for Big Law, and I was wondering if anyone on here who is either part-time or on the recruiting side could shed light on how, if at all, part-time students are evaluated differently.

It is absolutely no excuse, but I imagine I could have done even better at school if work was not a factor in my study time. I am hoping, although realistic that it is unlikely, that employers will value my work experience and credit the fact that I am working forty hours a week on top of many other obligations. The folks in my part-time section who placed in the top 10 or 5% are all attending school part time but not working (basically, they take one less class than full time students and have all the time in the world to study). It puts folks who trying to support themselves while attending school at a slight disadvantage.

Any input or guidance is appreciated.


PT grad here. I had eight offers at OCI. I worked FT in a professional capacity and I was comfortably top 5%. I'll share my experience.

Please clarify, are you in the second year of a four-year program or do you have the credits to qualify as a 2L on a three-year schedule? If you're a true 2L, and you don't have Biglaw already, your chances at Biglaw are about as good as any other 2L without Biglaw.

For a variety of reasons at my school, about 10% of firms were not interested in hiring out of the PT program and 10% of firms had a strong interest in hiring out of the PT program. The other 80% did not distinguish between PT vs. FT.

Your opportunities at OCI will generally be similar to students with similar grades/ranks. If top 20% at your school is good enough for Biglaw, you'll be in the running. If not, working FT while going to school isn't going to be enough to save you.

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Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:17 pm

I went to GULC PT, so my experience may be a little different. In general, firms will evaluate you the same way they assess all students (full-time, and those that are part-time with minimal WE). That is, they'll focus on your GPA, law school activities (journal, moot court, etc.), and, importantly, fit/interview. They will be very impressed if you have good grades, and significant WE. But WE won't make up for bad grades. Firms don't view PT students negatively, and especially ITE, you can easily spin going to school PT as a positive.

Yes, it is unfair that some students in your section aren't working. Trust me--I've been there--it's frustrating. However, I worked FT and outperformed everyone in my section, even those who weren't working. Don't use this as an excuse/crutch. Focus on increasing your grades before OCI. At OCI, you could mention that your peers were not working, but don't whine about it--employers don't like excuses.

In the end, you have a great fallback job in the event biglaw doesn't pan out. And if you don't like your current fed job, you can likely lateral into something similar, and likely with a pay raise once you have a JD.

Lastly, with your GPA and extracurriculars, you might not be locked out of BigLaw. Interview/fit is always critical, and your softs are good. PT students with WE are typically better adjusted/can relate to interviewers better--that's one place you might have an advantage. But you could be a complete tron--I have no way of knowing.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:38 pm

While part time gives students an advantage many people choose part time because they can't keep up with the f/t workload either because of a lack of cognitive skills or work ethic so it's a misnomer that you have a disadvantage. The issue might be that 15-20 percent from a school in the 40s just won't cut it in this economy. I know people with these grades, and it's by no means a 90 percent success rate in that range. You have to hustle more.

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Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a part-time 2L with a 3.63 gpa (top-15-20% of the class), at a school ranked in the High 40s/low 50s, on the moot court team (semi finalist in a competition) and the school's flagship journal (getting published). During the day I work for a major federal agency in a growing specialized field of law (I don't think I want to pursue this field post graduation, at least not as a full time practice). I am concerned that my GPA and rank will take me out of the running for Big Law, and I was wondering if anyone on here who is either part-time or on the recruiting side could shed light on how, if at all, part-time students are evaluated differently.

It is absolutely no excuse, but I imagine I could have done even better at school if work was not a factor in my study time. I am hoping, although realistic that it is unlikely, that employers will value my work experience and credit the fact that I am working forty hours a week on top of many other obligations. The folks in my part-time section who placed in the top 10 or 5% are all attending school part time but not working (basically, they take one less class than full time students and have all the time in the world to study). It puts folks who trying to support themselves while attending school at a slight disadvantage.

Any input or guidance is appreciated.


I went to a T2 part-time and echo many of the things already said. Most employers won't generally care whether you went pt or ft. If full-time students who are top 15%-20% from your school normally get big law you should should perform about the same. If you did want to leverage your work experience you may be able to outperform your numbers. When I focused on firms and fed agencies where my background was viewed as an asset I outperformed my numbers in regards to interviews / offers. When I pursued areas not related to my background I performed about the same as full time students with similar GPAs. Either way, you don't seem to be in a horrible spot, like all law students you will just have to hustle, mass mail, network, etc.

Also at some point you will probably have to leave your job. Most firms hire through a summer programs, the same goes for a few of the gov programs that hire entry level attorneys. I worked full-time the first 3 years but left my job to do a summer program, and secured my post graduation employment that way. If you plan to work straight for 4 years without doing a summer program you may need to look into clerking after graduating and then trying to land a firm job. A know a several pt students who couldn't do a summer program, so they transitioned into the legal field that way. Good luck!

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M&ADE
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Re: Part-Time Student

Postby M&ADE » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a part-time 2L with a 3.63 gpa (top-15-20% of the class), at a school ranked in the High 40s/low 50s, on the moot court team (semi finalist in a competition) and the school's flagship journal (getting published). During the day I work for a major federal agency in a growing specialized field of law (I don't think I want to pursue this field post graduation, at least not as a full time practice). I am concerned that my GPA and rank will take me out of the running for Big Law, and I was wondering if anyone on here who is either part-time or on the recruiting side could shed light on how, if at all, part-time students are evaluated differently.

It is absolutely no excuse, but I imagine I could have done even better at school if work was not a factor in my study time. I am hoping, although realistic that it is unlikely, that employers will value my work experience and credit the fact that I am working forty hours a week on top of many other obligations. The folks in my part-time section who placed in the top 10 or 5% are all attending school part time but not working (basically, they take one less class than full time students and have all the time in the world to study). It puts folks who trying to support themselves while attending school at a slight disadvantage.

Any input or guidance is appreciated.

I was in a very similar position just last year. I attend a school within the same ranking range PT, have a similar GPA (don't know which school you attend but our ranking system was a little bit different), on LR, and worked in a BigGov role prior to OCI, among other WE that I gained working 40 hours/week during law school. I'd be happy to discuss more specifics if you want to PM me.

If anything, my strong combination of WE and GPA was a huge boost at OCI, especially because I was able to tailor my interest in X law firm based on certain experiences I had at work. I had a pretty tailored interest, so I was really able to sell my WE and courses I was taking to highlight my interests (I even mentioned that I was planning to take more classes in that area of law). A lot of firms valued the WE/good grades combo, and many expressed that they were impressed with managing those grades and my workload. Having some interesting WE also made good interview conversations (you'll get a few interviewers that just want to do a resume review, so it's good to have certain stories about your experiences). Without knowing the school/market you're in, I'd say that your grades will get you in the door at most firms (I heard rumors prior to OCI of certain firms not liking part-time students, but most of my PT classmates that had good grades got BigLaw offers) unless you're targeting a market outside of your school area or a smaller, more selective market like DC or SF/SV. I'm at a Texas school (UofH/SMU) so I can give you further insight into firm specifics if you're looking at that area (I applied to both Dallas and Houston markets).

Long story short, I got interviews with around 90+% of the firms I bid on (22/24), got call-backs with over half of them (13, but turned some down before I went because I accepted after), and ended up with offers from 7 before I started cancelling callbacks, including a few offers from some very high ranking Vault firms. Again, I can give you more specifics/insights if you're looking at TX, or similar firms/markets, but if you can spin your WE into how it's sharpened your interests in a certain area (or how it's solidified that you don't want to work in that area), and highlight your dedication/focus in work and school, most firms will take that as a major plus.

Anonymous User
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Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:41 pm

OP Here.

Thanks for all of the advice, its helpful. I understand I need to hustle (both at OCI next fall and this spring semester).

Just to clarify, one of the anonymous responders asked whether I was a 2L transferring to the day time division or a 2L part time. I am still a 2L Part Time, aiming to participate in OCI next fall (I will graduate after 4 years of school, not three). I only have eight graded credits this semester (2 non graded moot, and 1 non graded LR).

My school is in the DC/MD/VA area, and I am likely to look at firms in that region. Prior to joining my current job at a federal agency, I worked at a mid-sized law firm in Maryland.

I am not sure how students place at OCI at my school. I know that top 5% do very well for Big Law, and the remainder is a mystery to me.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am a part-time 2L with a 3.63 gpa (top-15-20% of the class), at a school ranked in the High 40s/low 50s, on the moot court team (semi finalist in a competition) and the school's flagship journal (getting published). During the day I work for a major federal agency in a growing specialized field of law (I don't think I want to pursue this field post graduation, at least not as a full time practice). I am concerned that my GPA and rank will take me out of the running for Big Law, and I was wondering if anyone on here who is either part-time or on the recruiting side could shed light on how, if at all, part-time students are evaluated differently.

It is absolutely no excuse, but I imagine I could have done even better at school if work was not a factor in my study time. I am hoping, although realistic that it is unlikely, that employers will value my work experience and credit the fact that I am working forty hours a week on top of many other obligations. The folks in my part-time section who placed in the top 10 or 5% are all attending school part time but not working (basically, they take one less class than full time students and have all the time in the world to study). It puts folks who trying to support themselves while attending school at a slight disadvantage.

Any input or guidance is appreciated.


Stop making excuses. Not all in the PT top 5% at WCL are not working. That being said, being in the top 10% PT while not working is not more impressive than being slightly slower in the rankings while working FT, and employers know this. Most firms view working FT while PT as impressive. It will be quite obvious from a quick look at someone's resume and transcript that someone is PT and does not have a FT job. Just focus on continuing to do well.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Part-Time Student

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:03 pm

I'm part-time at a similarly ranked school. I know a PT student who got biglaw with grades/rank and work experience similar to yours, so I don't think you're necessarily precluded. Employers definitely value work experience and the ability to do well in school while working a full-time job. For some PT students I think age can be an impediment- it seems like people who are 40+ have a harder time getting jobs unless they have a lot of high-level work experience.

I'd also like to note that I don't know of anyone at my school who went PT without working and made top grades. In my experience, the kind of people who do that are too lazy to put in the work to get good grades.




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