Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
kaya_belly
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:00 pm

Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby kaya_belly » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:43 pm

I am currently teaching a college English course that meets one night each week. There is also an online component to the class that requires me to spend a couple additional hours on the computer every week. Factor in grading, I spend roughly 8-10 hours/week teaching this course.

Initially, I had no plans to continue teaching while attending law school, but I started to entertain this possibility after my husband learned that he would be getting another pay cut this summer (super!). I am wondering if anyone here has experience with working while going to law school full-time? Were you able to balance the work successfully?

kipwinger1980
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:51 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby kipwinger1980 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:03 am

I'm a 1L (top 100) and am at the top of my class. If I have once piece of advice, it would be to not work unless you absolutely have to.

I think I could have fit 10-12 hours a week in, but that would have cut into my napping and networking time, which is more valuable than the chunk of change you might get from that PT job.

You might laugh at the napping comment, but a rested law student is a successful law student!

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby traehekat » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:44 am

kipwinger1980 wrote:You might laugh at the napping comment, but a rested law student is a successful law student!


I don't think anyone is going to question your methods when you are at the top of your class :P. Congrats.

I know a few schools who actually stipulate you cannot work as a first year law student. I also believe the ABA looks at if first year law students are working and how many hours per week. Generally, the more 1Ls a school has working a fair amount of hours, the worse they are going to look in the eyes of the ABA (I may be wrong/misinformed on this part, however - this is just something I remember hearing a couple weeks ago).

Point is, almost everyone agrees working during your first year is a bad idea, unless it is absolutely imperative. Chances are you are paying a lot for your education, and by working you are possibly costing yourself a lot more money than you are making at any part time job if it is negatively affecting your grades.

emoticons777
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:28 am

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby emoticons777 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:21 pm

I would not suggest working during 1L year. I worked all through undergrad, at least 20/week and did fine - but cannot imagine doing that now. There are some weeks where 10 hours/week would be completely doable, but definitely not during finals season. Finals season is more than just 2 weeks where you take tests, it is at LEAST 4 weeks long, and can easily be longer. Factor in the writing assignments and if you decide to do some extracurriculars, it will be difficult. Also, relaxing time is very helpful because even if you have time to do it all, in order to stay sane you should take time off for yourself. Granted, how much $$ you make might be a larger factor than I've made it seen, but I think an extra couple thousand in loans over your first year would be worth it.

User avatar
Aeroplane
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Aeroplane » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:25 pm

I think working during 1L fall can be OK if (1) the job hours are totally flexible in quantity and scheduling AND (2) you can drop the job at any time without negative repercussions. Both conditions should be met.

After the fall, you'll have a better idea of how much time you need for school, and can plan accordingly.

Edit: I don't think the commitment of teaching a class is a good idea at all.

kaya_belly
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:00 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby kaya_belly » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:39 pm

Thank you for the responses! This feedback has definitely forced me to reconsider the idea of working. The fact is that teaching the class pays very little anyhow, so it hardly seems worth it when you factor in the risk of being overextended.

I just hate the idea of having to take out more loans to supplement lost income. Now, that the application process is over, I have had more time to dwell on the insane amount of money that I will owe at the end of this whole thing.

User avatar
Series70
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Series70 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:00 pm

I'm going to bump this thread because I'm considering a similar option. I haven't asked yet, but I'll probably have the opportunity to teach an undergrad lit course during my 1L year, at the same university as my law school. I've taught the class before, and so really wouldn't need to do any additional reading or lesson planning. It would be two sessions per week, 1 hour 50 minutes each, plus grading over the weekends. And I could probably teach in the evening, so my days would be free for classes.

I'm waiting to hear back from career services to see if this is even feasible, given the school's policies. Judging from what people said above, it seems like the general opinion is a big NO. But having a social life really doesn't matter to me--I'm older, married, and don't really have one now anyway. (And if I don't teach for money, then I'll probably volunteer to do pro-bono during 1L.)

Any thoughts?

Edit: Also, I would be totally free during finals period, since the class I'm teaching will have ended. I'd just have to submit the final grades by Christmas.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:06 pm

I am planning to do the same. I hope to teach 2 sections of CS classes (maybe 1 in evening, 1 on weekend) when I start 1L. I have a family to support and I have always worked. I worked 30-40 hours in UG while almost doubling the full-time UG load. It was hard work but doable if you give up most discretionary activities. I think it would be difficult to juggle a job and law school but I don't think it is impossible or anything. The only entertainment and leisure time I need is to spend a couple hours a day with the kids and family. I think it will be fine for me. Some courses are of course more time consuming than others to teach, so only you know that. But to presume that one can't squeeze enough time out to teach a 3 credit course may be a bit much.

I also think teaching would be the best part time job to have in LS. You don't get paid by the hour, how do they classify your work load (per the ABA requirement)?

User avatar
Spaceman Spiff
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Spaceman Spiff » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:28 pm

The ABA stipulates that no law student may work more than 20 hours per week. However, many schools forbid working during the first year (important to find out, especially if the school has an honor code), and others merely strongly discourage it.

Personally, though I worked 60 hours/week during grad school, I can't imagine working as a 1L. It just isn't worth the potential grade hit. If I'm taking on 6-figure debt for something, it's getting all of my attention.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:34 pm

so what's about 1L that is so much worth than all other kind of school work? I am curious why everyone is scared of it.

User avatar
Spaceman Spiff
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Spaceman Spiff » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:44 pm

r6_philly wrote:so what's about 1L that is so much worth than all other kind of school work? I am curious why everyone is scared of it.


In no other graduate or professional school do first year (even first semester) grades so greatly effect your employment prospects. It's not fear; it's the knowledge of the gravity of 1L grades. I have no desire to (potentially) sacrifice rank for slightly less debt.

User avatar
Dick Whitman
Posts: 232
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:55 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Dick Whitman » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:51 pm

For as long as there has been law school, students have worked during it and done just fine. As long as you're prepared to make the necessary sacrifices you can to.

RE: Law school prohibitions on working during your 1L year -- don't tell them. Problem solved.

Fark-o-vision
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Fark-o-vision » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:53 pm

For those planning on paying full sticker at a $40,000 school, are you really suggesting borrowing the entire 40K? This, I don't think, will be a problem for me, but I just can't envision it. Throw on another 20K for living expenses. Or am I missing something?

User avatar
Spaceman Spiff
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Spaceman Spiff » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:58 pm

Dick Whitman wrote:For as long as there has been law school, students have worked during it and done just fine. As long as you're prepared to make the necessary sacrifices you can to.

RE: Law school prohibitions on working during your 1L year -- don't tell them. Problem solved.


Yes, if you are willing to make sacrifices, then you can absolutely work through law school, so long as you understand that the sacrifice may be employment.

It seems like deceiving one's law school would be a poor choice.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby r6_philly » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:01 am

Spaceman Spiff wrote:
r6_philly wrote:so what's about 1L that is so much worth than all other kind of school work? I am curious why everyone is scared of it.


In no other graduate or professional school do first year (even first semester) grades so greatly effect your employment prospects. It's not fear; it's the knowledge of the gravity of 1L grades. I have no desire to (potentially) sacrifice rank for slightly less debt.


I understand that, but you didn't really answer my question. Why is it hard to get good grades compare to other kinds of school work?

Why do you insist that there is some correlation between employment and drop in grades (or risk of a drop in grades). One could just watch 3 hours of TV per night and spent Sat golfing and there goes 20 hours.

User avatar
MURPH
Posts: 854
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby MURPH » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:11 am

r6_philly wrote:
Spaceman Spiff wrote:
r6_philly wrote:so what's about 1L that is so much worth than all other kind of school work? I am curious why everyone is scared of it.


In no other graduate or professional school do first year (even first semester) grades so greatly effect your employment prospects. It's not fear; it's the knowledge of the gravity of 1L grades. I have no desire to (potentially) sacrifice rank for slightly less debt.


I understand that, but you didn't really answer my question. Why is it hard to get good grades compare to other kinds of school work?

Why do you insist that there is some correlation between employment and drop in grades (or risk of a drop in grades). One could just watch 3 hours of TV per night and spent Sat golfing and there goes 20 hours.

Because employment is socially and mentally different than watching TV. If I have something important to do I can skip TV or TiVo it. I can't or rather won't call in sick to a teaching job because my students depend on me and because I have inherited a strong work ethic that does not allow me to call in sick unless I am actually sick. Being active socially or president of a club or something is not the same as working. These things are just much more flexible. You can cancel a club meeting or tell people you'll get together to network/socialize another time if you have to study. If you agree to work most of us will just work despite being overwhelmed with our own schoolwork. We will sacrifice things that are, in the long term, more important because we signed a contract or are expecting a paycheck for something that has only short term benefits like a temporary teaching gig.
Work your ass off now if you can. Save money and study during 1L.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby r6_philly » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:13 am

Can someone please answer why is it harder to get A's or HP's or whatever in 1L? I thought it was a clear and cut question and answer? :mrgreen:

Add: I work 30-40 hours while taking 24 credits in UG and still spend 3+ hours aday with family and get all A's easily. I need to know how/why 1L will be much tougher than that (taking 4 classes and working 10 hours).

Cuneiform
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:11 am

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Cuneiform » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:41 am

r6_philly wrote:Can someone please answer why is it harder to get A's or HP's or whatever in 1L? I thought it was a clear and cut question and answer? :mrgreen:

Add: I work 30-40 hours while taking 24 credits in UG and still spend 3+ hours aday with family and get all A's easily. I need to know how/why 1L will be much tougher than that (taking 4 classes and working 10 hours).


Have you ever completely immersed yourself into an environment with cutthroat individuals where you must essentially learn a new language in addition to immediately mastering a new discipline? Because I sure haven't.

Law school is not easy. You may have been able to breeze through your undergrad years, but I can't imagine why you think that your first year in law school would be cake.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby r6_philly » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:02 am

Cuneiform wrote:
Have you ever completely immersed yourself into an environment with cutthroat individuals where you must essentially learn a new language in addition to immediately mastering a new discipline? Because I sure haven't.

Law school is not easy. You may have been able to breeze through your undergrad years, but I can't imagine why you think that your first year in law school would be cake.


I was a professional athlete, my competitiveness and ability to perform under pressure will be among the highest. I think I would be regarded as the "cutthroat individual". I also came to this country by myself when I was 15 when I couldn't quite understand conversational English. The answer to your question would be yes. :D

You guys have posed some challagens that everyone must face as a 1L, I realize that, I just think I got those issues well handled because of my age and experience. But still I am no closer to the answer why the COURSEWORK is much harder which I concede that I don't know for sure.

Fark-o-vision
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby Fark-o-vision » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:09 am

Cuneiform wrote:
r6_philly wrote:Can someone please answer why is it harder to get A's or HP's or whatever in 1L? I thought it was a clear and cut question and answer? :mrgreen:

Add: I work 30-40 hours while taking 24 credits in UG and still spend 3+ hours aday with family and get all A's easily. I need to know how/why 1L will be much tougher than that (taking 4 classes and working 10 hours).


Have you ever completely immersed yourself into an environment with cutthroat individuals where you must essentially learn a new language in addition to immediately mastering a new discipline? Because I sure haven't.

Law school is not easy. You may have been able to breeze through your undergrad years, but I can't imagine why you think that your first year in law school would be cake.


Will Smith will play you in the movie. Doesn't matter if you're black/white/hispanic/Islander/etc. Will Smith will be there in all his downward cast gaze, nose flaring glory (you all know the look. He does it, at least, once a film).

Edit: Didn't include the section I was replying to, sadly, but I think it can be figured out.

User avatar
soullesswonder
Posts: 553
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:36 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby soullesswonder » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:12 am

r6_philly wrote:
Cuneiform wrote:
Have you ever completely immersed yourself into an environment with cutthroat individuals where you must essentially learn a new language in addition to immediately mastering a new discipline? Because I sure haven't.

Law school is not easy. You may have been able to breeze through your undergrad years, but I can't imagine why you think that your first year in law school would be cake.


I was a professional athlete, my competitiveness and ability to perform under pressure will be among the highest. I think I would be regarded as the "cutthroat individual". I also came to this country by myself when I was 15 when I couldn't quite understand conversational English. The answer to your question would be yes. :D

You guys have posed some challagens that everyone must face as a 1L, I realize that, I just think I got those issues well handled because of my age and experience. But still I am no closer to the answer why the COURSEWORK is much harder which I concede that I don't know for sure.


You aren't paying attention. The stakes are much higher during your 1L year, when you are determining your rank for OCI, whereas a single B is less of a problem as a 2L or 3L. Even if the work isn't actually more difficult, there's less margin for error. Besides, as a professional athlete, you should understand that any game initially starts out as too fast for a rookie. By 2L year you'll have a routine and a knowledge of what study methods will work best for you, so you can be more efficient and spend less time overall. But those first few months...you're going to be making it up as you go along.

User avatar
sawwaverunner
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:28 am

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby sawwaverunner » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:17 am

Spaceman Spiff wrote:
Dick Whitman wrote:For as long as there has been law school, students have worked during it and done just fine. As long as you're prepared to make the necessary sacrifices you can to.

RE: Law school prohibitions on working during your 1L year -- don't tell them. Problem solved.


Yes, if you are willing to make sacrifices, then you can absolutely work through law school, so long as you understand that the sacrifice may be employment.

It seems like deceiving one's law school would be a poor choice.


Meh, they do it all the time through skewing employment statistics and jotting up the tuition and fees for matriculated students.

I think working about 5-10 hours a week during your first year is fine. Plus that money can be helpful in paying for gas and food. Bottom line is: people in law school don't use every second of their time wisely. A lot of people who work have great work ethic and make up for their lost time by putting in extra effort....we've all experienced that phenomena.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby r6_philly » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:20 am

soullesswonder wrote:You aren't paying attention. The stakes are much higher during your 1L year, when you are determining your rank for OCI, whereas a single B is less of a problem as a 2L or 3L. Even if the work isn't actually more difficult, there's less margin for error. Besides, as a professional athlete, you should understand that any game initially starts out as too fast for a rookie. By 2L year you'll have a routine and a knowledge of what study methods will work best for you, so you can be more efficient and spend less time overall. But those first few months...you're going to be making it up as you go along.


I have been paying attention. I pretty much said, I understand those finer points, but I have my own estimate and viewpoints of it so I think I can deal with it.

Not that kind of sport, it was racing, life is on the line everytime, very little room for error or you die. Point taken though.

I just feel like everyone keep saying "you can't spare 10 hours". so I have kids, it's like you are saying "get rid of your kids or you will fail". Of course you won't say that, but why is work responsiblity any different than familial responsibility. What if I need 10 hours for medical treatment. What if I HAVE to work 10 hours. Should I not go to school?

I get the point that it is not a easy thing to do, but, I want some real, solid, information, not opinions because it is abstract to make opinions on what I can handle without knowing what I am capable of. Even though all I have been doing is presenting evidence that I can.

I am fortunate that popular opinion doesn't make truth.

Thank you all. if anyone wants to answer my question about course work difficulty please do so. if not thank you everyone else and good night.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11725
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby kalvano » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:30 am

I plan on my wife working full-time while I am in law school.

User avatar
_confunded_
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:56 am

Re: Law School Full-Time, Working Part-Time

Postby _confunded_ » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:46 pm

I'm glad I stumbled across this thread, because this question has been on my mind for a while. I'm currently in my third year of undergrad, and have always worked through school to pay for rent/bills/etc. I know that the first year of law school basically decides your future, and the entirety of the coursework is memorization (like someone else said, learning a new language).

So, what would you guys suggest? Just get an extra 20 grand or so in my student loan and not work? I intend to go to school in NYC, and I'm well aware that my living expenses will be considerably higher than my current Rochester, NY expenses. I also own a cat, so I'm pretty sure I won't be able to live in campus housing. :? So I'm pretty concerned about not having a job... even though I know it would be much wiser not to work.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest