Law School
Personal Finance

5 Financial Pitfalls of Part Time Law School

Last week, we discussed some of the financial benefits of attending part time law programs. Today, we discuss some of the drawbacks.

  1. You limit the number schools you can go to. Only a few schools offer part time law school, so you’ll be limited by the number of schools you can apply to if you decide to go part time. This usually isn’t a problem for individuals who want to go to law school part time. Usually, they’re individuals who have a career and want to switch careers to law. They’ll just go to the closest law school that will allow them to commute. They’re not interested in tiers or reputations of schools. However, because most of the part time programs are offered at less prestigious schools, this could result in part time students’ job offers being limited. It’s a hard fact of life. Where you went to school will effect what kind of job opportunities you will have. Here’s a list of law schools that offer part time programs.
  2. You miss out on networking. Because part time students are not on campus as much as full-time students, they miss out on valuable opportunities to network with their fellow classmates and professors. While it’s important to network with people outside of law school, I think it’s even more important to network with people with whom you go to class. Those students will be the people you will be working with for the rest of your career. You never know if you’ll have a future judge or big firm partner in your class. Making friends with your fellow law students can pay off big.
  3. Your grades may suffer. Because most part time students are juggling both a career and law school, there’s a good chance their grades will suffer. Bad grades = fewer job opportunities = less pay.
  4. Your current career may suffer. Law school is tough, even if you’re going part time. Because of the time and energy demands of law school, there’s a possibility that your current career may suffer. If you have too much trouble at work, it could result in getting laid off or missing on advancement opportunities, which results lost money. However, you could just enroll in a full-time program if this happens to you.
  5. Many law firms look down on part time programs. Unfortunately, part time law school has a stigma. Many hiring partners see part time programs only for those students who weren’t qualified enough to get in a full time program. Or they might see part time programs as less rigorous than full time law school. Additionally, because most part time programs are at less prestigious schools, hiring partners will look down on a part time program because of the school attached to it. All these factors can play a part in diminishing the amount you earn during your law career.

Any other pitfalls of enrolling part time in law school or do you disagree with me? I’d love to hear what you all think.

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[tags]law school, Frugal Law Student, jobs[/tags]