Part time vs full time law school

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Kaylynn86
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:15 pm

Part time vs full time law school

Postby Kaylynn86 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:27 pm

For employers, is there a huge difference?

I think part time is right for me. Here's my situation: I work at a national insurance company handling claims. I am able to work from home, so I can live anywhere that I want / need to. I'm leaning probably 75% towards going to law school part time. If I go part time, I'll be able to keep my job. I'm salaried, and I can get my work done in 30-35 hours most weeks, which I think should leave enough time to study. Because I work at a huge company, when I graduate, if I'm desperate (and I may well be - I know how shitty the market is), I know that I can transfer into our legal department and make 80-100k / yr. If I am lucky, I might be able to leverage my connections to work at one of our outside defense law firms for 100-120k / yr. The other major reason that I want to go part time is because I'm debt averse. If I go to law school part time, a) I won't incur ANY living expenses as debt and b) I should be able to pay about 15k / yr towards my tuition without feeling the pinch too much (and I'll get 5k reimbursed by my employer).

The biggest negatives to me for part time law school are the following:
-Lack of opportunity to participate in moot court / law review / etc. Because my job is flexible, I may still be able to participate in these activities.
-Do employers see it differently or even know if you've gone part time during the evening?
-Fewer T1 law schools that offer part time programs.

If I wait a year, I should be able to pay off my current debt and save enough to pay for 1 yr of living expenses. Is it better to wait a year and try to go to a better law school? I think I have a decent chance of being accepted at someplace like the U of Minnesota (although the non-resident rate there is Fking awful), and I might even be able to get into U T Austin (I'm a Texas resident). My Ugrad gpa is 3.48, my LSAT is 170. I don't have anything else exceptional about me.

Does anyone else have any input? I haven't been able to find many other posting about part time programs.

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furcifer
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:06 pm

Re: Part time vs full time law school

Postby furcifer » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:38 pm

I don't think any diploma will say what your schedule was while enrolled.

You should do what you feel increases your odds of graduating and keeping a high GPA. If you had a 2.0 going fulltime or a 3.5 from part time which do you think looks better on a resume?

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howell
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Re: Part time vs full time law school

Postby howell » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:23 am

I went part-time the first three years, and I had time for Law Review and Moot Court. It sucks, but it can be done.

The biggest choice you will have to make is your last summer of part-time. If you want a firm job and land an SA position, then you either need to take a leave of absence or quit your job.

As far as I could tell from my experiences and those of my classmates, employers rarely knew or cared if you went part- or full-time.

Going part-time can cost a lot more. Because of paying for all 90 credits I have taken (instead of the 72 the full-timers pay for), paying fees for an additional couple of semesters, and tuition/fee increases, I paid 33% more for my education than I would have if I went full-time from the start. At my school, that wasn't an astronomical amount of money, but if you go to a school where you're paying $20k, $30k, or more per year, it's something to consider.

I know Georgia has an exception where if you transfer with your current job to Georgia, then you get in-state tuition from day one. This would apply at a school like GSU. I don't know how working from home counts, and I don't know how many states offer that, but it's worth looking into. That being said, (and I could be completely off the mark here), don't you have a shot at Georgetown/Fordham? Both are pretty pricey (assuming no scholarships, which, as far as I know is still quite often the case for PT students), but they might provide you better options than many other part-time programs.

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Wholigan
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Re: Part time vs full time law school

Postby Wholigan » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:42 am

This is probably a situation where it is a good idea to look into PT programs. Unlike most people looking to go PT, is sounds like you have geographic flexibility, which may allow you to find a T1 program that gives you some money and allows you to graduate with little to no debt, factoring in your employer assistance and ability to contribute some of your salary to tuition. This would be a pretty good position to be in at graduation.

However, are you sure the outside counsel defense firms pay $100-120k? It sounds like I had similar work experience to you before law school, and in my area, the “best” ID firm, which billed the insurance companies at the highest hourly rate and was usually hired only for important cases, paid new associates $80k, and I know for a fact most of the other firms paid substantially less. I’m sure these things vary by region, but that sounds pretty high.




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