Why Working Part Time While You Study Law Is a Good Idea
If you're applying to law schools or have just completed your first semester, you already know that legal studies are a lot of work. And they're expensive. While scholarships are your best option for funding law school, some students choose to work and study at the same time. It's not easy, but our guide to working while you study will help you plan and give you insight into flexible program options.
- Student Tips
Everyone knows that law school requires focus and commitment, but law school is also expensive, and the competition for grants and scholarships is steep. Like most students, law students often consider taking on a part-time job or studying while they continue their established career. But is this a good idea? For full-time law students, who enroll in 12-15 hours of coursework per week, holding a full-time (or even a part-time) job can be difficult. In fact, the American Bar Association (ABA) restricts full-time students to a maximum of 20 hours of outside work per week. But part-time law students are not limited, and in many prospective legal professionals choose to work full-time while studying law part-time. So, what's the right choice for you? Read on to find out about the benefits of working while you study, and ways to work while you study while maintaining your GPA (and your sanity)!
1. Earn money
Money is probably the main reason that law students choose to work while they study. Law school is pricey, and even if you earn a full scholarship, you still need to pay for living expenses during the three years of study. For full-time law students, a full- or part-time job might be difficult. As we mentioned, the ABA limits the number of hours that students can work, and some schools place additional restrictions on full-time students. And full-time law studies are a major commitment, so try to keep any outside work to a minimum and on-topic. Tutoring, mentoring, and other academic related positions are a perfect idea for full-time law students who want to earn a bit of extra money. Part-time law students have more options when it comes to keeping their previous position or working while they study. If you're already working and thinking of starting a legal degree, consider asking your employer whether you can go part-time. Or look into some of the many tailor-made part-time law school programs aimed at working professionals.
2. Part-time degrees are here to help
If you're already working in another field, or find that the financial burden of law school is too much without a job, consider a part-time law degree aimed at working professionals. Many law schools offer part-time programs with evening, weekend, and summer courses that take full-time careers into consideration. It won't be easy, and you'll have to sacrifice most, if not all of your free time to studying, but part-time programs aimed at professionals will also give you a chance to study with students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
3. You can keep your job after your studies
Working and studying part-time can also be beneficial if you're well-established in a career and are not yet certain whether your legal degree will augment or supplant your current position. Even if you plan on jumping into a legal career after your studies, if you have a good working relationship with your current employer, and feel that the financial and professional benefits will assist your studies, holding on to your pre-law school job is a good idea. Again, part-time programs offer flexible schedules for working students, but remember that part-time programs often miss out on some of the key resume-building activities of traditional legal studies. Which is why...
4. You get more time for networking!
While it's true that part-time programs sometimes lack the inherent networking and resume-boosting elements of full-time studies like law review and internships, holding a job while completing law school as a part-time student can still be a great way to build a network and make connections. Without a summer internship, you'll have more time for research and to prepare for interviews. Plus, depending on your professional field, you may be able to create contacts and networks through your current employer, or establish opportunities for post-graduation work and experience. And students who work part-time during full-time studies can benefit in the same way, especially if they aim their work experiences towards law-related areas. Especially clever students might even find ways to use their part-time work to their advantage in research or projects.
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