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Can one attend law school part-time?

ZaphodZaphod Posts: 3,905- Senior Member
edited September 2006 in Law School
Some background: I'm no spring chicken. I have my BS, an MBA, and an MSIE. I've been in the Medical Device industry for 10 years and am a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and ISO Lead Assessor.

For some reason, I've been debating whether a Law degree would be helpful going forward. I have had quite a few folks both old enough and smart enough for me to shut up and listen tell me that I'd be nuts NOT to do it, even if I have no intention of ever setting foot inside a courtroom (which I don't).

I work full-time, and don't have a lot of cash laying around collecting dust, so loans would be required. No problem, provided the investment pays off at the end. I will not leave my current job, though. Not a chance.

So, here are the questions:

1) Are there any reputable and/or accredited law schools that allow students to study at night?

2) What opportunities get opened for an individual with a law degree (and who passes the Bar, of course), but who does not wish to make law his primary career?

Thanks in advance. :)
Post edited by Zaphod on

Replies to: Can one attend law school part-time?

  • stacystacy Posts: 1,100Registered User Senior Member
    1. yes. georgetown is the only one in the top 14, I believe, but there are many others.

    2. it might be a plus in some businesses (or good knowlege to have if starting your own business), and I know in some states people who pass the bar are automatically licensed real estate brokers. Some consulting firms recruit at law schools. But honestly, most people who graduate from law school end up practicing law--some for a few years, and most for significantly longer than that. the vast majority of places that recruit law school grads are law firms.
  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    My husband went to Brooklyn Law school at night many years ago. He was able to work full time and still go for his Law degree. Another friend attended Fordham at night which also has a night/part time program. Though it is designated as part time, both schools followed a strict curriculum and the degree was completed in 4 years rather than 3. You cannot just take 1 or 2 law classes each semester and hope to complete the degree based on your time schedule.
    From what I gather, some federal employees in DC work for the gov't and attend Georgetown at night. It is a grueling life style, but it does afford you the opportunity to go to Law school and earn an income.
    What area of the country do you live in? Maybe if we know the geographic location someone can clue you in whether part time study is an option.

    Just re-reading your post-- I see you are from NC- not sure which schools down there have part time programs. My guess is that Duke doesn't do part time programs. I think George Mason (also in the DC area) has a part time program too.
  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    Just want to expand on the question as the issue is Law Scool and money (my new favorite topic)

    What's the scoop with employers paying for law/graduate school. Son's friend is a senior at Duke. It's "Recruitment" time and some companies are saying they will pay for the Law Degree. Do they then expect you to do a night program and work for them full time?? Or do they give some type of sabbatical and expect you to work for the company for a number of years after. All info is appreciated. My d is college junior so I am trying to obtain as much info as I can prior to starting the law school application process.
    Thanks!!
  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    Didn't mean to hijack your thread- so I did a very quick google search. Included to the 4 schools mentioned above (Brooklyn-Fordham-Georgetown and George Mason) the other 3 listed were Temple-Loyola Law (Los Angeles) and George Washington.
    Getting back to my thought- do employers who are willing to pay for law school expect their employees to go at night or are they obligated to work for the company for a number of years???

    Going back to google, I think there are more schools that offer part time programs than the ones I listed. Good luck- let us know what you found out.
  • sallyawpsallyawp Posts: 2,059Registered User Senior Member
    Most employers (though I certainly can't speak for all of them) who offer to pay for one graduate degree or another expect you to work full time while going to school part time at night and then they expect you to continue to work for them full time for some period of time or have to pay back the tuition and other expenses that the employer picked up for your education. It is a lot more unusual for an employer to offer to pay for a law degree than other types of degrees, such as an MBA or MEng, since the employer will know that a law degree without significant direct experience practicing law after graduation does not a lawyer make.
  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    I thought it a bit unusual too for them to offer to pay for the Law degree, but my friend is telling me that the Recruiters at Duke are telling her son that they will pay for his Law degree. Now his undergraduate background is bio-engineering so whether that makes a difference--I don't know.
    Thanks for the info.
  • dadofsamdadofsam Posts: 1,613Registered User Senior Member
    Going to law school "part-time" certainly is possible. I did it, and many, many lawyers have. However, I put it in quotes because it is only relatively part-time compared to going to law school full time.

    A full-time, or "day" law student takes a three-year course, though classes may be given during the day or in the evening. Typically that involves 4-5 classes per semester, say about 12-13 credit hours. There may be other activities such as working on a law review or other publication, moot court participation, etc.

    A part-time ("evening") student will take 3-4 courses per semester, or about 9-10 credit hours. That typically takes up all of 3-4 evenings a week, with the rest of the week devoted to working, eating, sleeping, studying, and a small amnout of socializing or recreation. You finish law school in 4 years as opposed to 3, or in 3 1/2 years if you attend in summer. A post a while ago informed us all that a few law schools are offering 2 1/2-year full-time programs that include summers.

    Evening or part-time law school is doable, but you must be ready to sacrifice pretty much all of your current free time for the classwork and studying involved, especially if you want to get a good GPA. This can complicate your life if you have a family, and your spouse had better be fully supportive becasue you won't be spending that much time in each others' company, or taking many weekend trips.

    There are very good quality evening law schools in pretty much every major city in the country, but not many outside major urban areas.

    Some employers will pay for part (maybe even all) of an employee's law school education, provided the employer sees a benefit to it and/or requires it for advancement. One of my fellow studetns, for example, was employed by the telephone company, and was not going to practice law, but the company wanted him to have the legal education to work on complicated business contracts and other legal issues. Some law enforcement agencies give promotions to employees on receiving their law degrees; some even require a law degree for promotion past a certain level. On the other hand, most employers are not interested in paying for law school if you want to change professions, even within the same company. So if you are an engineer and want to move into your employer's legal department, most companies are not interested in paying for that - unless the legal department supports it.

    However, you don't say why you are considering law school, and there may be the rub. As we've indicated, evening law school is a very time-filling and intensive activity, not to mention expensive, so IMHO you need to have a very very good reason to engage in it.

    Also, before you make any definite decision, work on the LSAT. You'll need to get a certain minimum score to have a good chance of being admitted to a law school, including the evening program.
  • dadofsamdadofsam Posts: 1,613Registered User Senior Member
    I forgot to answer one question. I have seen employers pay for both day and evening law schools if the employee's work schedule can be adjusted so that he/she is still working full-time, or close to that. So if you can perform some of your work in the evening, and your employer is willing to pay for law school, that might be possible. And it will save money.

    HOWEVER - you will be going to school about 3 more hours per week and therefore studing about 6-8 hours more per week than in evening school. In addition, many law schools discourage (and some try to prevent) their students from working more than 20 - 25 hours per week.
  • razorsharprazorsharp Posts: 6,153Registered User Senior Member
    In nearly every law school, you will experience an extraordinary emphasis on competition and the need to succeed. Success is measured by class rank; in other words, how much better you do than your peers. You will also notice that the more time you devote to law school, the better you will perform. In short, if you wish to work full time and go to law school part time, I would suggest you should be in a position to set aside everything else in your life for four years. Part time law school with a full time job is a very difficult thing to do. Not many people can do it well.
  • jags861jags861 Posts: 1,716Registered User Senior Member
    both of my parents went to nyu at night - and graduated in 4 years while working fulltime jobs. its definately doable
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