Part time law schools may be something you should look into in your pre law investigation to prepare for law school. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing this particular path to become a lawyer.
Financial: The financial advantage is that you are still working at your day job and thus will not have to sacrifice three years of your salary. Abandoning your day job is one of the most costly financial sacrifices that full time law students do not factor into their pre law calculations to prepare for law school. However, at many schools the tuition amount per credit for part time students might be slightly higher.
Timing: The obvious disadvantage to a part time program is that it will take you more time to obtain your degree… Further, the free time you have will also be significantly reduced. Be advised that law school (including part time law schools) require a significant time commitment both inside and outside of the classroom, and same is further frustrated by the logistics/travel time to get to and from work, law school, and home. Can your family situation fully handle your commitment without breaking down? This is a very important consideration for your pre law investigation to prepare for law school. I advise that you openly discuss same with those family/friends that depend on you and will be subject to your law school commitment.
Difficulty: Generally, part time programs are academically a little easier in terms of grading compared to the regular law school program. Professors of part time law school are aware that you hold a day job; they respect you for your commitment and rising up to the challenge, and can (sometimes) be more sympathetic to your situation. Employers are also aware that part time classes may be slightly easier; however this is usually trumped by the fact that you also held a day job while completing law school... I have spoken to many law firm partners who have said that they were always impressed with job candidates who completed law school while maintaining a day job. It is a clear and unequivocal demonstration that you are a WORKER !
You should be advised that not all law schools offer a part time program. Generally speaking, all law schools have a day program, but not all law schools have a part time program. You have to verify same with the law schools that you are interested in attending. Moreover, part time programs come in several forms: Some just offer an evening program, and others also have a part time day program. Further, rules governing switching from one program to another (night to day, day to part time day etc.) vary from law school to law school and are subject to a law school’s internal policies.
As a final consideration, also be aware that if you commit to a part time law school there will most likely be a restriction on how many years you can take to obtain your degree. I believe the general rule here is five years max, but of course these policies will vary from law school to law school, and you should verify same before committing to a part time law school program.
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