Discover the perks of part-time law school and how it can work with your busy schedule.
Life is full of demands, from family to career to other interests and obligations. Aspiring law students may be wondering how they can find a balance between these responsibilities and attending law school full time.
Fortunately, many law schools offer part-time programs, which means you can pursue a law degree while working or managing other equally important responsibilities. Let’s say you’re considering enrolling in a part-time law program; it’s important to take a close look at the perks and drawbacks of part-time legal education before deciding if a part-time law program is the right fit for you.
Let’s talk about the possibilities of part-time law school, the ins and outs of opting for a part time track, and some tips to help you succeed.
Is It Possible to Attend Law School Part-Time?
The basic answer: yes. Today, many law schools offer part-time programs for students who prefer this track. These programs offer students the flexibility to either take weekend, evening or alternating classes and earn their degree on a schedule that best suits them. During the day, most part-time law students work, take care of their family members, or tend to other obligations.
Part-time law programs also may be available online, giving working students more control over their study and free time.
Pros and Cons of Online Law School
If you’re a full-time employee wishing to pursue a law degree without giving up valuable income, an online law program may be the solution for you. Online JD programs and requirements vary from law school to law school, each with their own unique benefits and challenges.
From program cost to accreditation to curriculum design, here is an outline of some of the pros and cons of attending an online law school:
1. Programs of study can be more flexible.
The legal studies curriculum is usually the same, or very similar, whether your program is offered on-campus or online. You’ll study foundational subjects such as civil procedure, evidence, and constitutional law, and learn skills such as legal research and writing. .
Furthermore, you may have the option to choose some courses in a legal specialization that reflects your career goals and interests, such as intellectual property law, international law, and dispute resolution.
Many online programs allow you to study on a part-time basis. Research your ideal programs carefully to learn about enrollment processes, course offerings, and opportunities to focus on learning legal skills. .
2. It’s a great value.
Online law programs offer the same courses and high quality teaching as in-person programs, often at a lower cost. You may discover that you end up saving money on living expenses, too, by enrolling in an online degree program. Attending an online law school means you won’t have to commute to campus or relocate to the city or town in which your desired school is located.
3. It offers more time for other things.
Taking an online part-time law program means you’ll have flexibility in your class schedules and more time to spend on other obligations. You can keep your full-time job, spend more time with your family, take care of errands and appointments, and even pursue other interests and hobbies while still actively working towards obtaining your law degree.
4. You develop new skills.
Attending an online law school part-time while working takes careful planning and hard work. In order to succeed, students rely on determination and organizational skills. Most employers value these skills and ask related questions during job interviews to learn more about a candidate’s work ethic and experience. Part-time law program graduates can highlight their hard work and demonstrate their competency when being interviewed by potential employers. You’re never too old to learn new job skills.
Although there are several perks of attending an online law school part-time, there are some disadvantages you should consider. Understanding the potential drawbacks could help you decide if such a program is best for you. Consider the following disadvantages:
1. Accreditation is critical.
Not every online law program’s curriculum is accredited by the American Bar Association or other accrediting bodies, such as the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Ensure that you check on this, even if the program is delivered by a school with general accreditation – that accreditor may not specialize in law schools. Ensure that you understand the importance of accreditation and check whether the Juris Doctor degree program you’re thinking of pursuing is accredited before enrolling.
2. It takes time.
Earning a law degree requires a certain number of credits, whether you attend full-time or part-time. Part-time online law students take fewer credits each semester, meaning they take longer to graduate. They can take four or more years to finish the program. This can be a drawback if someone has a set timeline for beginning their career.
3. Balancing responsibilities is challenging.
Students taking part-time law classes, especially those enrolled in online programs, often have many responsibilities and can find it difficult to manage them. Most of these students take weekend or evening law classes while working full-time jobs during the day. They have to plan their classes, homework, and studying around their commitments, which takes determination and careful scheduling.
2022 Guide to Working Full-Time While Studying Law
If you opt to study law while working full time, you should consider the following:
1. Communicate with family and employers.
Before pursuing a law degree let your employer, family, and friends know of the new commitment. You can inform your employer that you may attend classes on certain weekends or nights, so they know when to contact you. Additionally, you can collaborate with your family or spouse to create a schedule that works for you.
2. Take a prep course.
There are several prep classes available through schools or online workshops that can help you prepare for law school. Some of the courses provide tips on how to balance your schedule. Others introduce legal theories and jargon that helps you prepare for the course content.
3. Create a schedule.
Having a schedule will do you a lot of good. Having a daily and weekly schedule will help you manage the multiple responsibilities that come with working full-time while studying law. Consider placing all your important dates and tasks on a calendar. This can help you plan your study time and even schedule your exams.
4. Get to know your peers.
Your school peers can be a great social and academic resource, especially since you’ll be spending little time on campus. They can answer questions on the course content and even help you study.
5. Meet your professors.
Introduce yourself to your professors at the start of the semester. They can give you insights into the course content, setting you up for success.
6. Make time for yourself.
As the adage goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” As you manage work, school, family, and friends, ensure you leave some time for yourself. Schedule time to relax, exercise, and participate in hobbies to reduce stress and improve your well-being.
Enroll at St. Francis School of Law to Pursue Your Online JD
St. Francis School of Law is a fully online law school located in California. We offer an online JD degree that incorporates a rigorous academic setting and a high-quality legal program with the flexibility and convenience you require. Graduates are prepared, well-versed and ready to succeed. Contact us to learn more.