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Working Part Time during Law School

published July 16, 2013

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Should you work part time while attending law school? The answer with respect to the first year is probably not, if you can help it. (Exceptions exist if you need the income to support yourself, or the work complements and does not unduly interfere with your studies.) As discussed previously, the first year is the most stressful and important year of law school, so if you can avoid the distraction and burden of working part time during that year, you should. (Of course, those students attending night law school will normally be working at least part time during their entire period of law study; Chapter 4 addresses the special needs of this growing group.)
 
Working Part Time during Law School

For full-time law students, the short answer with respect to working during the second and third years is "it depends." There are a number of issues to consider: your need for additional cash, the value you place on your free time, the alternative uses you have for your time, and the value you place on the experience of working.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages of working part time are fairly obvious. You will be spending a certain amount of time working rather than doing other things, such as studying for your classes. Moreover, although your hours will be flexible, by the very nature of the legal profession, at times your job will demand more of your time than you would rather give. To the extent that the time demands of work are unpredictable, working will create difficulties in pursuing other law school activities. For example, working part time and working on a law review will create scheduling problems, if not outright conflicts. Viewed optimistically, this can be advantageous if it forces you to manage your time well, but it also results in a certain amount of stress that you might want to avoid.

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