Part time or full time?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
TruHoosier
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:33 am

Part time or full time?

Postby TruHoosier » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:31 am

Hey guys, I am trying to decide if I should go part time or full time at IU Indy. My numbers are pretty good for them 161 LSAT - 3.3 GPA. I still haven't gotten in, but I think I am an auto-admit or pretty close to it. I realize I could probably get into a better school, but I am going there because I want to work in the city after I graduate, my cost of living is pretty low here, my family lives close, etc., etc.

I am trying to decide if I should go part time or full time. I currently have a job that is very laid back and I'm thinking about keeping it while I attend law school part time. I work 8-hour days, but I only spend one to three hours a day actually working. Some days are busier than others, but I spend most of my time at my desk, browsing the Internet and mostly biding my time until I am sent more work to complete. I was able to study for the LSAT about 2-3 hours a day at work, so studying for law school-related assignments at work would be possible. This job is very stable and I have almost no chance of losing it.

I also make OK money for my field - about $40k a year. So, my question is, do you think it would be a good idea to hold on to the job while I am in LS? Or should I go full time?

Here are what I think are the positives of going part time and working:
-My debt will be greatly minimized because I will have a job to support me while I'm in school.
-If I have any trouble finding a job at any point, during or after LS, I can rely on my current job for income. If I leave the job, I won't have much of a chance of coming back to it.
-The people I work with are aware that I am heading to law school, so there isn't an issue of having to conceal it from them.

The negatives as far as I can see them:
-Less access to internships and clerkships because I am a part time student and presently employed.
-Less of a chance at scholarships because the admissions committee will assume I am working and paying my way through law school.
-I will be 27 when LS starts. That means, if I go part time, I will be past 30 when I graduate.
-There is some concern that I might get burnt out from working and attending school. But I don't think that will be an issue.

What do you all think?

User avatar
TruHoosier
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:33 am

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby TruHoosier » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:34 am

Also, I marked full time on my appplication for what kind of a student I am applying as. Do you think if I called them I could have it changed, or could they possibly consider me for both programs?

I also plan on practicing law after school. I'm not just getting a degree to have one or as a supplement to my current job.

mrwarre85
Posts: 685
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:40 pm

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby mrwarre85 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:21 pm

Id be interested to know what part-time really looked like. From a credits standpoint it seems like it would still be a very heavy burden, but perhaps with your laid back job you could pull it off.

User avatar
TruHoosier
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:33 am

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby TruHoosier » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:34 pm

Yeah I am concerned that it will still be a heavy burden too. Obviously, I want to get the best grades I can possibly get. I don't want work to interfere at all. But if I can greatly decrease my debt, that will help me in the long run as well.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13918
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:54 pm

I will be (hopefully) attending a part-time/evening program (Lewis & Clark) and keeping my full-time job as well. My job is relatively laid-back, in that I never have to work past 5pm or take work home, but it isn't such that I can do any reading or studying at work. I'll be shifting from an 8-5 to 7-4 work schedule to make it to the 6pm evening classes. The PT/EVE program is 4 nights per week, one class fewer per semester than full-time, which makes it sound basically like four years of hell. I do not expect law school to be much fun doing it this way, but I gotta pay the mortgage! Plus, keeping my current job is insurance for not being able to find a legal job right after graduation. My employers wouldn't care that I'd be wildly overqualified.

I hope to be able to take a few summer classes to either shorten the total PT program length or lighten my class load during fall/spring, but I don't know for sure yet whether that will work for me. I might just need the summers off from school to recover from the school year. "Only" working full-time and not going to class would probably feel like vacation.

Basically what I've heard is that 1L year will be incredibly hard while working. A friend who worked her way through LS says she actually started sleepwalking and sleep-eating during her 1L year, but after that it got better, and at least the extreme behavioral manifestations of stress and fatigue stopped.

User avatar
TruHoosier
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:33 am

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby TruHoosier » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:04 pm

Yeah, I am kind of in the same situation. I work 7:00 - 3:00, which is awesome and would provide ample time to get to and from class. My current job will help me pay the bills and is great insurance if I ever can't find work in law after LS. A lot of the people I work with have law degrees, so I won't be considered overqualified. Not to mention, I like this job and would like to hold onto it.

I guess my biggest concern is that I will somehow miss out on opportunities by having a full-time job. I plan on working my ass off in law school and doing whatever I can to make top 10%. My job probably won't hurt my grades but that isn't really my concern.

My concern is that I will somehow miss out on internships or clerkships if I work while in LS.

IU Indy will allow me to go part time the first year, then switch to full time later. So it is an option that I just become a full-time student in my second year and quit my job so I can begin pursuing clerkships/internships then. That is worth considering since it would help me reduce debt.

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

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby rdcws000 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:19 pm

I'm a part time student, and I think you have the pros and cons pretty much nailed, although I think you mislabeled one of your cons. (You said graduation after age 30 would be a negative. I think you'll find this is more common than you think. The "real" con here related to years is that part time in law school is still relatively stressful, and you'll be signing on for 4 years of it instead of 3).

I chose PT because I didn't have any choice, I have a wife and children to support while I go through school. I would say for someone like you there is nothing wrong with the idea of going PT for all of the benefits you mention. You will have to create a plan to get around the one major negative of part time law school though: your inability to work during the summer. This is an essential piece of the experience for law students to make the transition from being students to being employed.

I do not have the solution to how part time students do this yet. I know that some people at my school have :

1. taken leaves of absences from their jobs for summer internships (nice if your job will let you do it).
2. saved all of their vacation and taken shorter internships during the summer
3. found unique PT internships with odd hours (public interest clinics, etc. )

But I think the best way that you can overcome this obstacle is to work with your current employer. (This was my goal going into law school was to eventually gain legal employment with my current employer). Does your company have a legal dept.? Do they contract with outside firms and might they make some contacts for you?

There may be some other ways around this. Honestly it is still a mystery to me but this is what I have found so far. I have just finished my first semester so I may learn more as time goes on.

As for the experience, I have really enjoyed my part time section. We have a mix of ages from 23-55, with an average probably somewhere around 30-32 or so. Some people work and some people don't. Most people I know in my part time section are not closing their eyes and crossing their fingers though... Most have a plan, and either already work for a law firm, or another employer where they have developed a specific goal of how to use their J.D. when they graduate. There are some who are just winging it, and this is where PT students have a disadvantage in my opinion. If you're going to miss out on summer internship opportunities, you have to have a plan of how you are going to gain employment in the end.

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby 3|ink » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:42 pm

rdcws000 wrote:You will have to create a plan to get around the one major negative of part time law school though: your inability to work during the summer. This is an essential piece of the experience for law students to make the transition from being students to being employed.


Wait. What? Why can't I work during the summer? Are you talking about internships?

My current job is a legal job anyway. I also have 3+ years of legal experience on my belt. Will an internship really be necessary?

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

Re: Part time or full time?

Postby rdcws000 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:41 am

3|ink wrote:
rdcws000 wrote:You will have to create a plan to get around the one major negative of part time law school though: your inability to work during the summer. This is an essential piece of the experience for law students to make the transition from being students to being employed.


Wait. What? Why can't I work during the summer? Are you talking about internships?

My current job is a legal job anyway. I also have 3+ years of legal experience on my belt. Will an internship really be necessary?


Yes, I am talking about internships... People not being able to take them because they have full time jobs. If you have a legal job then you would fit into the category of people I described as already having a plan that might make the internship unnecessary.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests