Going at night?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
JDHopeful
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:20 pm

Going at night?

Postby JDHopeful » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:16 am

I'd like to continue working full time while in law school; however, is going part-time advisable? Is there a stigma with future employers/more difficulty finding employment for students who went part time?

User avatar
GATORTIM
Posts: 1214
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:51 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby GATORTIM » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:58 am

try this
Image

User avatar
rdcws000
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:41 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby rdcws000 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22 am

JDHopeful wrote:I'd like to continue working full time while in law school; however, is going part-time advisable? Is there a stigma with future employers/more difficulty finding employment for students who went part time?


There are a lot of people who find success after graduating from a PT program. I should point out that while I wouldnt say there is a stigma, the path one takes to finding employment from a PT program is very much different than FT students.

FT students are not working, so they really need to find legal work or internships during their 1L and 2L summers in order to be in the hunt.

PT students on the other hand, are working, so they are not eligible for these summer opportunities. On the other hand, they are working and may be doing some form of networking through their employer.

I am a PT student but I have a plan to pursue a career with my current employer, and I am doing some extensive networking to accomplish that. I think a lot of PT students fall into this bucket. As for PT students trying to enter the realm of employment with nothing but the shirt on their back... I'm not sure how they do it. The bottom line is you need 1)some kind of legal work experience, or 2)highly relevant other experience, or 3)a connection, in order to get really attractive legal employment.

User avatar
JDHopeful
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:20 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby JDHopeful » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:30 am

I've been working as a paralegal for the past year and don't plan to start law school until next year.

Think thats good?

User avatar
paratactical
Posts: 5961
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:06 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby paratactical » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:34 am

.
Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
JDHopeful
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:20 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby JDHopeful » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:40 am

yea, i dont want to pursue work at this particular firm

Connelly
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby Connelly » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:33 am

Why do you want to continue working while in law school? I would not suggest it unless you have a reason/need to do it, or your job provides you some kind of significant advantage (e.g., you're making a ton of money now). Just off the top of my head, below are a few things to consider. Keep in mind that I'm a bitter PT student that would sell a kidney to be able to go FT right now (I'm 2 years in and have 2 years to go).

Money - If you're working and going to school PT, it is possible to graduate with much less debt - but that is not guaranteed. You need to do the math first. I would assume the advantages of working during school are fairly intuitive. But consider that you will be giving up one year of your salary as an attorney, so if that is more than what you're making as a paralegal, you're losing that extra amount. It's one less year of seniority you'll have, which, 10+ years from now, may mean something to you (besides possibly putting off for another year doing something that makes you happy). It is also very likely that you will pay more in tuition as a PT student. At my school, full-time tuition cuts off at what would be 12 hours of classes, so anything beyond that is "free." So a full-time student basically pays for 72 credits, while I will pay for 90. Beyond that, I attend school for 3-4 more semesters (at least) than a full-time student, and there are mandatory fees every semester, so I will pay those 3-4 more times than a full-time student.

There is a much better chance at scholarship money for full-time students (although it would make sense if this changed with the inclusion of PT numbers in the rankings). Even a grand or two a year starts cutting into the money you make while working quickly. As a full-time student, you will also have a chance to work as a GRA (or something similar). At our school, 10 hours/week = half-tuition and a small stipend. So you can possibly cut your costs further. Part-time students who work full-time usually don't have this option. And back before ITE (can there ever be a "before ITE"?), bank could be made during the summers. It's still out there, but much less available.

All of that being said, if you're making bank relative to tuition and/or what you expect to make as an attorney, there would be a huge financial advantage to going PT.

IP - If your goal is patent law, working as a patent agent during school would be huge. You generally make good money, you pick up extremely valuable experience, and it may even count towards credit with a firm as an attorney. If this is not your goal, obviously this doesn't matter.

Extracurriculars - While grades are still king in law school, there are many other things you can do to pad your resume, get experience, build contacts, get recommendations, and enjoy the experience. I know of people balancing work, classes, law review, moot court, and other activities. It's hell. But there are tons of benefits to doing these other things beyond just a blip on your resume.

Recommendations - I am finding that this is a huge challenge that I didn't think about enough before going part-time. A lot of jobs/internships/other things require academic references. Perhaps working will provide you with some references you can use for future endeavors, but it's going to be extremely difficult to build the kind of relationships with professors that you need to get good recommendations. It's going to be more difficult to intern somewhere (perhaps for a judge) that will give you a solid recommendation.

Just some quick thoughts.

User avatar
legalease9
Posts: 623
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby legalease9 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:49 am

I don't think the problem is a stigma against part time, save for the fact that since Part time is easier to get into, some employers may look down upon it. See GPA/LSAT Georgetown discrepancy between full time admits and part time admits.

However, the bigger problem is the simple fact that most part time law programs are in lower ranked schools.

Here is a list of schools with a PT program. --LinkRemoved--

You will notice that most of them are below Tier 1 (top 50). A quick scan and I could only find 2 3 that are in the Top 50 (Georgetown, Fordham, and SMU).

If you cannot get into a high ranked school regardless, Part time may be good for you, as working may get you out of school with less debt, and a good fallback plan if you can't get a legal job at graduation. But if you can get into a T1 school, you should seriously consider dropping work and just going full time, rather than going to a low level school part time.

User avatar
cynthia rose
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:42 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby cynthia rose » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:34 am

legalease9 wrote:I don't think the problem is a stigma against part time, save for the fact that since Part time is easier to get into, some employers may look down upon it. See GPA/LSAT Georgetown discrepancy between full time admits and part time admits.

However, the bigger problem is the simple fact that most part time law programs are in lower ranked schools.

Here is a list of schools with a PT program. --LinkRemoved--

You will notice that most of them are below Tier 1 (top 50). A quick scan and I could only find 2 3 that are in the Top 50 (Georgetown, Fordham, and SMU).

If you cannot get into a high ranked school regardless, Part time may be good for you, as working may get you out of school with less debt, and a good fallback plan if you can't get a legal job at graduation. But if you can get into a T1 school, you should seriously consider dropping work and just going full time, rather than going to a low level school part time.

I counted seven tier ones, but I do agree with your main point, most of these part time programs are from 'lesser' schools. More importantly, they have much lower LSAT and GPA percentiles. Only a handful could even meet 160 for their 75% percentile score.

OP, I think part time programs are only good for people who are already working AND know they have contacts which will land them a job IN law after they graduate. 99% of the time these programs are extremely regional based on the second fact alone - not so much a problem for that one guy who is PT at the University of South Dakota, but a much bigger headache-to-be for the ones coming out of Brooklyn Law. You indicated you don't want to work for your current employer; do you have other connections that you can exploit, or will you need to build up a network from scratch? I think it's important to network anyway, but if your program has no reach and/or is surrounded by a bunch of higher caliber schools, all the networking in the world won't do any good because no one will be willing to give you the time of day.

Also, I could be wrong with this but I also get the impression that part-time programs come with 'part-time' resources - i.e, career center access is limited (unlikely that they have extended evening hours, but if you work you probably can't make it to the center during the day), the financial aid is less (plus your work income decreases your estimated need anyway), and I have never heard of a a PT program having OCI.

It will really come down to what you want to do, where you want to go, and how many steps are already in place for you to get there. I'm not knocking PT by any means, but I think in the end it is more for a very specific kind of non-traditional student who doesn't plan on leaving the immediate area. It's not a good idea for someone looking for 'traditional' benefits. And if the only reason you're looking at a PT program is because your scores aren't good enough for other schools, frankly you probably should not be looking at law school at all right now - like I said, look at their percentiles. This is the way I look at it: if USNWR ever counted PT programs in the rankings (separately from the schools' FT programs), only two or three of them would even make T1 status and several would fall to T3 or T4. If you're good enough to get into those two that make T1 status, you're good enough to go full-time to a T1 school.

User avatar
rdcws000
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:41 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby rdcws000 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:30 pm

JDHopeful wrote:I've been working as a paralegal for the past year and don't plan to start law school until next year.

Think thats good?


If you're working at a law firm, regardless if you want to stay there or not, I think you are a perfect candidate for PT law school. Look at it this way, if you went FT, you would have to jump into the rat race with everyone else to gain summer employment/internships, when as you are right now, you are getting legal experience at your job. Who cares if it's as a paralegal? That's much better than the legal exposure a lot of internships will give you.

I would not give up your job. Go to a decent PT program since you already have half of the puzzle to future legal employment.

I'd like to hear from some PT students who are working in fields completely unrelated to law, and do not intend to work as lawyers with their employer... I'd like to find out if PT students have discovered a way to get legal experience during law school since they are unlikely to be able to get FT summer internships.

User avatar
paratactical
Posts: 5961
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:06 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby paratactical » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:38 pm

.
Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Connelly
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby Connelly » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:53 pm

legalease9 wrote:I don't think the problem is a stigma against part time, save for the fact that since Part time is easier to get into, some employers may look down upon it. See GPA/LSAT Georgetown discrepancy between full time admits and part time admits.


This could possibly be less of a problem in the future. Now that PT statistics are included in the rankings, programs (assuming the same behavior we have always seen from them with respect to the rankings) will likely tighten up their PT admissions.

But if you can get into a T1 school, you should seriously consider dropping work and just going full time, rather than going to a low level school part time.


Agreed. And this is on top of how much serving two masters (work and school) sucks.

Connelly
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby Connelly » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:57 pm

paratactical wrote:
rdcws000 wrote:
JDHopeful wrote:I've been working as a paralegal for the past year and don't plan to start law school until next year.

Think thats good?


If you're working at a law firm, regardless if you want to stay there or not, I think you are a perfect candidate for PT law school. Look at it this way, if you went FT, you would have to jump into the rat race with everyone else to gain summer employment/internships, when as you are right now, you are getting legal experience at your job. Who cares if it's as a paralegal? That's much better than the legal exposure a lot of internships will give you.

I would not give up your job. Go to a decent PT program since you already have half of the puzzle to future legal employment.


This is terrible advice.

If you're a paralegal and you don't want to be a lawyer at the firm you work for, when are you going to get the chance to meet and network with other firms before graduating?

Further, serious paralegal work is incredibly time consuming and exhausting. I would not want to balance this job with class work.


+1

Unless you're working at a small firm where they have expressed interest in hiring you once you get out of law school, you will get no more boost from the paralegal experience you gain during law school than the experience you gained before law school. In fact, if you're at a larger firm, you'll have the pleasant experience of watching the summers (sometimes with worse credentials than you) make a lot more money than you while you're getting their coffee. And when attorneys at the firm find out you're in law school, there are two likely responses - "Why in the world are you doing that?" or, "That's cute."

1Levening2013
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Going at night?

Postby 1Levening2013 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:02 pm

rdcws000 wrote:
JDHopeful wrote:I've been working as a paralegal for the past year and don't plan to start law school until next year.

Think thats good?


If you're working at a law firm, regardless if you want to stay there or not, I think you are a perfect candidate for PT law school. Look at it this way, if you went FT, you would have to jump into the rat race with everyone else to gain summer employment/internships, when as you are right now, you are getting legal experience at your job. Who cares if it's as a paralegal? That's much better than the legal exposure a lot of internships will give you.

I would not give up your job. Go to a decent PT program since you already have half of the puzzle to future legal employment.

I'd like to hear from some PT students who are working in fields completely unrelated to law, and do not intend to work as lawyers with their employer... I'd like to find out if PT students have discovered a way to get legal experience during law school since they are unlikely to be able to get FT summer internships.


i'm one of those...i work a serious job, with serious hours, not directly related to law (finance). i experienced a good deal of success my 1L year (entering my 2L year this week), and think going at night with a steady pay check is a great idea. The only caveat in my response is that I am already making good $, enough so that debt will be no issue when i graduate (whether I am in a legal job, or still in my current industry).

User avatar
esq
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby esq » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:04 pm

I've also looked in to part time programs - I would like to work while in law school to cut down on the debt - and as far as I can see, there is really no stigma. The only difference I see is that you will begin looking for your internships after year two rather than year one. In fact, if you play your cards right, you might have more time to work internship opportunities because your daily schedule will be more flexible than full-time students when you are planning on making the switch from work to an interning for a firm. I would think that firms might like that.

User avatar
rdcws000
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:41 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby rdcws000 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:22 pm

paratactical wrote:
rdcws000 wrote:
JDHopeful wrote:I've been working as a paralegal for the past year and don't plan to start law school until next year.

Think thats good?


If you're working at a law firm, regardless if you want to stay there or not, I think you are a perfect candidate for PT law school. Look at it this way, if you went FT, you would have to jump into the rat race with everyone else to gain summer employment/internships, when as you are right now, you are getting legal experience at your job. Who cares if it's as a paralegal? That's much better than the legal exposure a lot of internships will give you.

I would not give up your job. Go to a decent PT program since you already have half of the puzzle to future legal employment.


This is terrible advice.

If you're a paralegal and you don't want to be a lawyer at the firm you work for, when are you going to get the chance to meet and network with other firms before graduating?

Further, serious paralegal work is incredibly time consuming and exhausting. I would not want to balance this job with class work.


I'm not sure you know enough about this person to call my advice terrible, but that's ok. I don't really feel like debating.

We have no idea what kind of legal work OP is being exposed to as a paralegal. How do we know that OP is unable to network? He/she works for a law firm. That firm probably deals with other lawyers, and other law firms. How exactly are law students given more opportunities to network than OP?

saucie
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:10 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby saucie » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:24 pm

cynthia rose wrote:Also, I could be wrong with this but I also get the impression that part-time programs come with 'part-time' resources - i.e, career center access is limited (unlikely that they have extended evening hours, but if you work you probably can't make it to the center during the day), the financial aid is less (plus your work income decreases your estimated need anyway), and I have never heard of a a PT program having OCI.


This is untrue IME. From the schools I looked into last year: Most admins are open until evening classes start and also make themselves available by appointment after hours. Financial aid is not less, except because the tuition is less per year. Every PT student has access to OCI in the third year. The interviews are during the day, but that doesn't mean the students can't participate.

^I also don't think that was terrible advice. I networked a lot as a paralegal, and I have a lot more connections than the other students I've talked to.

User avatar
rdcws000
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:41 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby rdcws000 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:27 pm

1Levening2013 wrote:
rdcws000 wrote:
JDHopeful wrote:I've been working as a paralegal for the past year and don't plan to start law school until next year.

Think thats good?


If you're working at a law firm, regardless if you want to stay there or not, I think you are a perfect candidate for PT law school. Look at it this way, if you went FT, you would have to jump into the rat race with everyone else to gain summer employment/internships, when as you are right now, you are getting legal experience at your job. Who cares if it's as a paralegal? That's much better than the legal exposure a lot of internships will give you.

I would not give up your job. Go to a decent PT program since you already have half of the puzzle to future legal employment.

I'd like to hear from some PT students who are working in fields completely unrelated to law, and do not intend to work as lawyers with their employer... I'd like to find out if PT students have discovered a way to get legal experience during law school since they are unlikely to be able to get FT summer internships.


i'm one of those...i work a serious job, with serious hours, not directly related to law (finance). i experienced a good deal of success my 1L year (entering my 2L year this week), and think going at night with a steady pay check is a great idea. The only caveat in my response is that I am already making good $, enough so that debt will be no issue when i graduate (whether I am in a legal job, or still in my current industry).



I'm in a similar situation. At the end of four years I predict I will have no debt at best, and 10-15k at worst. Of course it's not as if that means I'm not going to pay dearly, it just means I've been doing the work to pay for it for the past 12 years.

NoJob
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby NoJob » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:41 pm

JDHopeful wrote:I'd like to continue working full time while in law school; however, is going part-time advisable? Is there a stigma with future employers/more difficulty finding employment for students who went part time?


First, dont go unless: (1) you go to HYS or (2) have any real connections with the firm you are at. Family connections are a plus too.

Second, keep the job, work a shitload of hours, and minimize your law school debt. It's not like you really learn anything in Property or Contracts that matters anyways. I have never had to use any of that hairy hand shit or whatever in any real brief. You prolly know more about practice than most of the law school cheerleaders here.

rockstar4488
Posts: 198
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:39 pm

Re: Going at night?

Postby rockstar4488 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:27 am

I currently have a career as a statistician. I'm a PT 1L. The days are long but it is very do-able. I think it would be near impossible if my work was stressful. I feel time-wise, I am mostly just going to less happy hours. But as I said, I believe the double load of work stress (that is, if work was stressful) and school stress would be impossible to handle.

I'd also like to add on that it is liberating knowing that I wont be graduating with a debilitating amount of debt. I think that fact alone takes some of the stress out of school.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: HokieHi307, Jellypyoo, urbanist11 and 3 guests