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Work While Going to Law School


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Many Law Schools like Chapman University in Orange, California have their own online resource that helps students locate jobs available in the area during their school year and upon graduation. Your Law School may have the same resources for students during law school years. There will be some restrictions regarding the hours a student can work. The ABA restricts students who are taking full-time class loads to only 20 work hours per week during the school year. What is a full-time student? According to the ABA a full-time student has classes, research and study time that requires all the working hours to be appropriated to legal studies.

First Year Students: Due to the ABA limitations on student employment, the Chapman Law School encourages first year students who are full-time not take on any employment. Academic demand in the first year of Law School does not allow any time for employment outside of classes and homework. The first year in Law School is an adjustment period for the students. Grades are important in job placement and students need to do their best in the first year. It is the summer after the second year in Law School that employers look at the first year grades when choosing summer help at the law firms.

After completing the first year of Law School, students generally have the pace of school figured out and feel they may be better able to handle part-time work in the second year. Students first work for the money but they also can accomplish resume building experience. For instance, a student may be a clerk for a law firm and earn $10 to $15 per hour in larger cities. After studies in many legal areas students finally get the opportunity to gain some lawyering skills.

As a law clerk a law student might be asked to perform the following duties:
  • Draft complaints,
  • Create discovery requests and respond to requests received.
  • Do legal research.
  • Sometimes go to court and docket legal paper work.
Part-Time Employment Off-Campus: The Chapman School of Law compiles a database of part-time opportunities for law students during the second and third year in Law School. Students can easily review the listings for potential work. Most Law Schools will have these types of listings for their students.

In conclusion, to be assured the Law School years go well and tuition and living expenses get paid; a job might be just the ticket. However, there are restrictions from the American Bar Association about the number of hours a law student can work if taking full-time classes. The first year of Law School the ABA says it will not be efficient to carry a job due to the demand of classes. In the 2nd and 3rd year the ABA lightens up and allows full-time students to work 20 hours a week. These are the guidelines from the ABA. Plan to take extra student loan amounts or scholarships the first year. Do well in Law School.
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