Working while in law school

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Sarahamelia

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Working while in law school

Postby Sarahamelia » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:39 am

For those of you that worked and went to law school:

What was the rank of your school?
Do you have any regrets about working while I school? How long did it take you to find a job?
Did you still graduate with a lot of debt?

Sorry for all the questions but I dont know of anyone doing this so I thought I'd ask on here. I just want to figure out if it's worth it.

yuppy

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby yuppy » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:03 pm

I worked during law school. I went to Rutgers (I don't know the rank).

I didn't really have much of a choice, as I started law school after I had a family :) It wasn't impossible, but I feel that if you're looking to get a job through OCI, my feeling was that evening students were considered "second class". Thankfully, I got a job, but not through OCI. I think I also would have gotten a better scholarship had I gone part time.

I still graduated with plenty of debt, but again I was working to support a family.

If you don't have to work during school, I would say take the extra debt and do full time. It is more likely to pay off long term.

rwhyAn

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby rwhyAn » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:53 pm

I went to Rutgers part time at night and worked full time during the day. I don't have any regrets about working full time. It was a lot of work, but I was still able to graduate with honors. Additionally, going part time allowed me to graduate with no debt because my employer covered the tuition. I had a clerkship lined up in November of my last year.

Working in law school is tough. I'm not sure about the full-time students, but a good amount of the people who started off as part-time students either switched to the full-time program or left their full-time jobs. I'm not sure how many hours you can work as a full-time student, but I feel like it would be difficult to work more than 15 hours.

QContinuum

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby QContinuum » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:27 pm

There used to be an ABA rule limiting full-time students to 20 hours of work per week, but it was repealed earlier this decade. (There was never a cap for part-time students.) However, some schools still impose a 20-hour cap on full-time students as a school rule. If this is a concern, check school websites (rules will usually be publicly posted, often as part of a student handbook), or email the admissions office. But IMO, very difficult (and not advisable) to work >20 hours while attending school full-time, rule or no rule.

Overall, I think working while in law school makes sense for certain students in certain circumstances. For example, it makes sense for older professionals working as patent agents who need the salary & benefits and are sure they want to stay in patent prosecution. It generally doesn't make sense for traditional students (i.e., K-JD, or students with the increasingly common 1-2 years of WE between college and law school). OP, can you tell us a little more about where you are in life, what kind of job you'd work during law school, and what you want to achieve out of law school?

mickey_mouse

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby mickey_mouse » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:44 pm

I worked during 3L. I was making $20/hr, probably working 12-15hrs a week. It didn't make a huge dent in debts, it was really a way to get more spending money in my pocket so that I wasn't drawing on loans as much as I may have otherwise. Probably took me about a month to find the right job.

I don't have any real regrets. Now in my first year at a firm, making a few thousand dollars during the school year really seems like pocket change. If you're doing it for the money, that's the wrong reason - you should be doing it because it's a valuable experience. The opportunity cost is not the money you could make by having the job, but rather the class/clinic/etc you'd be occupying your time with otherwise. It's your last time in life to legitimately just do whatever you want, so do something YOU want. For me, I was working a non-legal job (consulting), and I thought it might give me a leg up if/when I try to move out of the legal industry and into more of a business role. Plus after 2+ years in law school, I wanted something closer to business (worked in biz before law school).

QContinuum

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby QContinuum » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:53 pm

mickey_mouse wrote:I worked during 3L. I was making $20/hr, probably working 12-15hrs a week. It didn't make a huge dent in debts, it was really a way to get more spending money in my pocket so that I wasn't drawing on loans as much as I may have otherwise. Probably took me about a month to find the right job.

I don't have any real regrets. Now in my first year at a firm, making a few thousand dollars during the school year really seems like pocket change. If you're doing it for the money, that's the wrong reason - you should be doing it because it's a valuable experience. The opportunity cost is not the money you could make by having the job, but rather the class/clinic/etc you'd be occupying your time with otherwise. It's your last time in life to legitimately just do whatever you want, so do something YOU want. For me, I was working a non-legal job (consulting), and I thought it might give me a leg up if/when I try to move out of the legal industry and into more of a business role. Plus after 2+ years in law school, I wanted something closer to business (worked in biz before law school).


Right - I should note there's a big difference between working a part-time gig/internship during 3L, and working a permanent job throughout law school. Working during 1L especially is a whole different kettle of fish than taking a part-time gig during 3L with a BigLaw job already lined up.

PrissyG

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby PrissyG » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:53 pm

I am currently a 3L and have worked full time since day 1 of Law School. I work a 9-5 in the daytime M-F, study at night and attend classes on some weeknights and all day Saturday. I have thankfully managed to remaining in the top 20% of my class.

My law school is a bit unconventional though, Only have classes offered at night and on Saturdays.

Definitely have no regrets about which school I chose to attend. :D

mediabias

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby mediabias » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:57 am

Mid-tier school. I worked on weekends. During some semesters, I did internships which were anyways incorporated into my law school schedule (and for which I received credit). These internships required a once-a-week seminar. i found both positions manageable, the experience invaluable, and the money helpful :)
jUSTdon't over extend yourself. Take a step back now for greater returns later.

J.D. 2018, passed the UBE in NY. Associate. Bad admission pending.

Wipfelder

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby Wipfelder » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:26 pm

PrissyG wrote:I am currently a 3L and have worked full time since day 1 of Law School. I work a 9-5 in the daytime M-F, study at night and attend classes on some weeknights and all day Saturday. I have thankfully managed to remaining in the top 20% of my class.

My law school is a bit unconventional though, Only have classes offered at night and on Saturdays.

Definitely have no regrets about which school I chose to attend. :D


What job do you have lined up post-law school?

PrissyG

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby PrissyG » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:06 pm

Wipfelder wrote:
PrissyG wrote:I am currently a 3L and have worked full time since day 1 of Law School. I work a 9-5 in the daytime M-F, study at night and attend classes on some weeknights and all day Saturday. I have thankfully managed to remaining in the top 20% of my class.

My law school is a bit unconventional though, Only have classes offered at night and on Saturdays.

Definitely have no regrets about which school I chose to attend. :D


What job do you have lined up post-law school?



I just had an interview/dinner with a law firm from a neighboring city, still waiting to hear back from that. Possibly another dinner lined up within the week for another law firm. I graduate in May, so hopefully it will be in stone shortly.

Wipfelder

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby Wipfelder » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:24 pm

PrissyG wrote:
Wipfelder wrote:
PrissyG wrote:I am currently a 3L and have worked full time since day 1 of Law School. I work a 9-5 in the daytime M-F, study at night and attend classes on some weeknights and all day Saturday. I have thankfully managed to remaining in the top 20% of my class.

My law school is a bit unconventional though, Only have classes offered at night and on Saturdays.

Definitely have no regrets about which school I chose to attend. :D


What job do you have lined up post-law school?



I just had an interview/dinner with a law firm from a neighboring city, still waiting to hear back from that. Possibly another dinner lined up within the week for another law firm. I graduate in May, so hopefully it will be in stone shortly.


Good luck! What's the pay range?

PrissyG

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby PrissyG » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:43 pm

Wipfelder wrote:
PrissyG wrote:
Wipfelder wrote:
PrissyG wrote:I am currently a 3L and have worked full time since day 1 of Law School. I work a 9-5 in the daytime M-F, study at night and attend classes on some weeknights and all day Saturday. I have thankfully managed to remaining in the top 20% of my class.

My law school is a bit unconventional though, Only have classes offered at night and on Saturdays.

Definitely have no regrets about which school I chose to attend. :D


What job do you have lined up post-law school?



I just had an interview/dinner with a law firm from a neighboring city, still waiting to hear back from that. Possibly another dinner lined up within the week for another law firm. I graduate in May, so hopefully it will be in stone shortly.


Good luck! What's the pay range?



Thank you! :D So if they decide to bring me on before I take the bar, id be doing pre-litigation work at around 50-60K. Then when Im an associate it would go to 80-90k, with yearly evaluations that could lead to raises. Both positions get regular bonuses and other monetary perks. Its a very small boutique firm, that does a high volume of cases. So id be 1 of 4 lawyers in the office.

Crazy thing is, I never even applied with them. They came to me, needless to say, I think I found treasure.

Sarahamelia

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby Sarahamelia » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:51 am

I didn't realize that so many people responded to this. I didn't even get any notifications about it. Anyways, I have two years of experience as a paralegal and I'm interested in going to law school. I'm hoping that if I continue to work while in school it can increase my odds of getting a job and I might not graduate with as much debt. My only problem right now is that where I currently live my only choice of a school is an unranked one with the bar passage rate being 50% and the employment rate is the same...50%. I'm not sure if it would be worth it to leave my family and my current job to move 2 to 3 hours away and go to a better school. I am afraid of going to the unranked school because I would hate to graduate and not have a job. I'm not interested in the big law or anything but would be nice to have a job rather than none at all.

So I'm not sure what to do about the situation...

QContinuum

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby QContinuum » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:36 pm

Sarahamelia wrote:I didn't realize that so many people responded to this. I didn't even get any notifications about it. Anyways, I have two years of experience as a paralegal and I'm interested in going to law school. I'm hoping that if I continue to work while in school it can increase my odds of getting a job and I might not graduate with as much debt. My only problem right now is that where I currently live my only choice of a school is an unranked one with the bar passage rate being 50% and the employment rate is the same...50%. I'm not sure if it would be worth it to leave my family and my current job to move 2 to 3 hours away and go to a better school. I am afraid of going to the unranked school because I would hate to graduate and not have a job. I'm not interested in the big law or anything but would be nice to have a job rather than none at all.

So I'm not sure what to do about the situation...


The problem with unranked schools is not that they don't place into BigLaw. The problem is that they have very limited ability to place their graduates into the practice of law. Don't attend any school that'd give you a <50% chance of being a practicing lawyer. (I guarantee you the 50% of employed grads are not all employed as lawyers - many may be working completely non-law related jobs, including retail.)

Don't attend an unranked school unless you have a guaranteed post-graduation legal job lined up (and by guaranteed, I mean guaranteed - not merely some cheap talk about how "you'll do great, I'm sure people would love to hire someone like you!").

Sarahamelia

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Re: Working while in law school

Postby Sarahamelia » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:00 pm

Yeah, that makes sense. I also don't like those odds. Unfortunately, there aren't that many good schools where I live so if I really want to do this I guess I have no choice but to move.



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