Leave of absence during law school

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cjcregg
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Leave of absence during law school

Postby cjcregg » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:11 pm

I have a close friend who is between her 1L and 2L years at a Tier 2 law school. Her 1L GPA is slightly above median. She is very concerned about the weak legal jobs market and is contemplating taking a leave of absence until the market shows signs of improving.

Do you think law firms will look negatively on a leave of absence, particularly if she works in a non-legal career? Would they look negatively on taking a vacation?

Would it be better to take a leave of absence before the 2L year or the 3L year?

What sorts of work experiences, if any, would make her more hirable after graduation?

Does anyone know of people who have taken leaves of absence? What has their experience been like?

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2014
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Re: Leave of absence during law school

Postby 2014 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:52 pm

If they allow it I feel like there would have to be a reason better than "Waiting out the economy" but I can't comment on that for sure. If it is allowed and she chooses to do so though definitely before 2L so she gets the benefit of OCI when the economy is hypothetically better. If her T2 school has a weak OCI though, which it likely does, it probably doesn't matter a whole lot as median is not a good place to be.

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DCDuck
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Re: Leave of absence during law school

Postby DCDuck » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:57 pm

I know of two people who successfully took a leave of absence. One was because they got really sick, for a significant portion of the term. The other is because his kid got cancer. Don't know about the policies, but those reasons seem more compelling. Both of those conditions had an end date. "Until the legal economiy improves"? That might never happen.

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gonewest
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Re: Leave of absence during law school

Postby gonewest » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:58 pm

I took a leave of absence. My SO started getting really sick, and it took forever to find a doctor who didn't brush off her illnesses. Now, she is better and I'm going to look into reapplying in upcoming admissions cycle.

I agree with the above posters that your friend probably cannot take a leave of absence to wait out the job market. When I applied for my leave, I had to meet with the dean of students and some administrators. The school ultimately makes the decision as to whether or not they will grant you a leave of absence, and I seem to recall my school indicating that they are required by the ABA to keep detailed files for students who request a leave. For me, it meant I needed to discuss why I was seeking a leave, why I couldn't balance the demands of school and my SO's medical condition, etc. I doubt that "sitting out the job market" will be an acceptable reason to go on a leave of absence.

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cinephile
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Re: Leave of absence during law school

Postby cinephile » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:32 pm

Maybe it depends on your school, but I was definitely offered a leave of absence for no reason other than waiting out the economy. Actually, what I said was I didn't know if I wanted to continue with law school because I hated it and I needed some time to explore another field and to work full-time otherwise I wouldn't know whether or not law school was right for me. And I made clear that I was quitting if I didn't get a leave of absence (because I genuinely do hate law school). Although they gave it to me, they strongly discouraged me from taking it. they said firms are looking for someone who'll be committed to their firm, and taking a leave of absence makes you seem like a flake (especially if you don't have a legit reason -- but anyone can fabricate a legit reason and who would be the wiser?). So, take that for what it's worth.




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