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Deciding to Attend Law School Part-Time

Deciding to seek a law degree can be one of the most important education and career decisions a person can make. For some people, attending classes full-time isn’t practical due to daily work or family commitments. Part-time programs can make it possible for those with other commitments to still be able to attain the goal of earning a JD degree.

Evaluating Your Personal Interests and Abilities
Most legal jobs require a lot of reading, analysis and writing. Skills such as reading comprehension, logical analysis and clear writing are put to use in law school and in practice. Of course, you’ll develop your existing skills during your studies. If you find language arts challenging, take your time and make certain that you understand texts you are reading and also proofread writing carefully to confirm it makes legal sense. Many schools provide a legal research and writing center to help new students.

In part-time, evening or online programs, you may need greater self-discipline as you may not be studying in a school setting. You’ll need to set aside time each day to study and outline cases.

Law school is expensive. How expensive it is will depend on factors such as whether you choose a public or private school, and if you are able to attend as an in-state student of a public school.

Online and correspondence programs can be cheaper than classroom-based law schools. If finances are a concern, one of the online or correspondence schools may be a good choice.

Time Commitment
Earning a law degree, even on a part-time basis, requires a significant time commitment. Evening program classes usually meet four or five nights a week from 6 – 9 or 10. Several hours of reading may be assigned each week. You’ll also need time to consider the readings and prepare notes for use during class. Plan to devote 40-60 hours per week to law school.

Online programs can save time compared to classroom-based courses.

A law degree opens up many doors in areas beyond law firms, including business and government. Law graduates can find positions in business, universities, government and non-profit organizations. There are legal positions with law firms (of course) and also with some other types of organizations you may not have thought of such as universities, and federal, state and local governments.

In the end, you’ll need to evaluate your own interests, resources and abilities to determine if law school is the right choice for you. If you have work or family commitments, but still want to go to law school, then part-time law school may be the right choice for you.


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