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   Part-Time vs. Full-Time Law School
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plex
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Re: Part-Time vs. Full-Time Law School
« Reply #5 on: Jul 3rd, 2007, 12:37pm »
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I definitely plan on going part-time through law school. Work experience is just as important as a high GPA, and it also makes law school a good bit less costly.
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Mickey72
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Re: Part-Time vs. Full-Time Law School
« Reply #6 on: Jul 4th, 2007, 3:30pm »
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"Starting out you'll spend about 3 hours outside of class for  every class hour. "
 
If you have 2-4 class hours per day, then you would need 6-12 hours study time per day. This sounds impossible, if you have a job (and intend to sleep, eat etc).  
Ok, maybe you have classes only 3 days per week but still this sounds a tough task.
Is this typical for part-time law school?
 
What about atmosphere in part-time law school in general? Are professors as intimidating as in full-time program? I would assume that students in part-time school tend to be older and working full-time and the atmosphere might be less intimidating (compared to full-time law school, full of with 20-something kids).
 
Do you still have to be prepared every class to be called to brief a case and be intimidated and embarrassed by the professor in the front of class? I was hoping that the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed in part-time program. For example, I travel a lot (for work) and I would not have _always_ time to prepare well for the class. Will the out of touch activist professor harass me out of class ?
 
Or do professors understand that people have a life/work outside of class and be flexible?
 
I don't care about the grades so being in the top 90% is fine.
 
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Isaac
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Re: Part-Time vs. Full-Time Law School
« Reply #7 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 6:56am »
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on Jul 4th, 2007, 3:30pm, Mickey72 wrote:
If you have 2-4 class hours per day, then you would need 6-12 hours study time per day. This sounds impossible, if you have a job (and intend to sleep, eat etc).

 
It's not impossible of course.   Lots of us have done it.  I attended law school part time while working as an engineer during the day.  
 
Taking 9-10 hours of class per week means that you'll have to study during the weekends and during the evenings of weekdays on which you do not have class.  Occasionally I used vacation time to prepare for exams or to complete law school projects.   I also attended class the summer.
 
Quote:
I was hoping that the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed in part-time program. For example, I travel a lot (for work) and I would not have _always_ time to prepare well for the class. Will the out of touch activist professor harass me out of class ?

 
You really are going to need to talk to someone at the particular school you plan to attend.   Professors in evening programs are well aware of the schedules of their students, but the professors' expectations vary.   My experience was that many professors used a schedule for calling on evening students so that you knew ahead of time when you were going to be grilled intensively.   You wouldn't want to blow a scheduled grilling.  On the other hand, a certain minimal level of preparedness was expected on a daily basis, but the repercussions for being unprepared when called on randomly were not so great.
 
However a few professor's expected daily preparedness at a high level.   If you messed up on your turn, you generally did get another opportunity.   Class participation was generally about 10-15% of the grade.
 
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Isaac
Mickey72
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Re: Part-Time vs. Full-Time Law School
« Reply #8 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 7:52am »
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What happens if you miss a class? In other words, is class participation mandatory?
 
If you don't care about grades, 10-15% is not important (as long as you pass the exam - or is it possible to pass the exam without attending classes?). I would hope that you can read a book and pass the exam without bothering too much about class participation.
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MrSnuggles
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Re: Part-Time vs. Full-Time Law School
« Reply #9 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 8:09am »
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The school I attended had a part-time program.  While some of the professors were more aware of issues with part-timers, others were of the opinion that law school is a rigorous program requiring great amounts of study and preparation, and being such, there were no concessions made (lower curves in a class, fewer assignments, etc).  In fact, one professor actually failed 6 people in his first year contracts class.  Typically, in a class the size he had, based on the school's recommended curve, 1-2 people should fail.  Although some people agreed with him that the students' work was failing work product, others disagreed on his harsh grades in light of the students all being part-timers with jobs/careers outside the school.
 
In other words, be prepared to work your butt off and don't expect a free ride just because you're a part-timer.  Part-time is great for those who need to keep the income flow and for other situations (e.g., going to part-time in your 3rd year to work at a firm and complete school).  However, I chose to quit and attend full-time because the added stress of trying to work full-time and attend school, along with family and other obligations, would have been too much.  My decision was made easier because (1) I got a full ride at school and (2) my wife works and makes enough for us to maintain the same lifestyle with a little bit of help from our savings.
 
In your first year, our school recommended 4 hours of study for each hour of class.  Expect to put in at least 2.5-3 hours of study for each hour of class.  For full-time, with 15 hours of class a week, you can expect to study for another 40-50, which isn't that bad if you think about it.  I knew several people who were closer to 5 hours per hour of class.  For part-timers, they had one less class than FT, so they had 12 credit hours.
 
In your second and third years, the number of hours drops (at least in my experience and many of my friends) to closer to a 2:1 ratio.  Although some classes are still bears, regardless of which year you take them.
 
Looking back, I can figure that I lost about $225k in salary, but my starting salary out of school is ~$40k more than my last job.  Also, each year, I'll be raising my billing rate such that I will receive $25k increases each year up to my 7th year, at which point partnership will be evaluated.  I figure it will take me about 4 years to recover my lost wages, and by then, my salary will be ~$100k more than it would have been had I stayed in engineering...
 
The bottom line is that you need to be able to find a job after school.  If that means going FT to a better school, concentrating, and working your butt off to get the grades, then maybe that's your best option.  If that means that you work PT to keep in contact with a potential employer, and then work into your future legal job from there, then that may be the better option.
« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2007, 8:13am by MrSnuggles » IP Logged
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