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Ways to Gain Experience as an Evening Law Student

published July 30, 2021

By Author - LawCrossing

( 33 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)

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Many adults are now choosing to become evening law students to become legal professionals. Being an evening or a part-time law student is a great way to gain the qualifications you want for your career without giving up your job. Indeed, it means that your education is easier to fund, and you can still take on a full-time position. In addition, those with a busy lifestyle, for example, with children, can still attend law school and progress toward having the career they want.

However, one thing that people worry about when they are evening law students is gaining experience. We all know that the law industry is competitive, and you have to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. It is expected for everyone to have good grades in law school and a law degree. So, your experience and the skills you have gained through that practical experience can make you unique and better than other people applying for a legal job.

Of course, if you are working all day and only attending law school classes in the evening, you may be worried there is not much opportunity to gain legal experience. While it can be more difficult for part-time law students than full-time students, it is still possible to gain experience. Here are a few ways you can do this.

Change Your Position

A lot of people need to have a full-time job when they are studying at law schools. Again, this is an excellent way to fund your education and take care of other financial commitments and expenses you have. Many people are under the impression you will not gain experience while working a full-time job. This is not true.

One thing to consider is changing your job to gain experience. Even if you are in your first year at law school, certain organizations and law firms will give you a job full-time. In particular, you can apply for a job as a law clerk. This is something that is going to allow you to gain experience, and it will look great on your resume. If you can stay there until graduation, there will be many valuable years spent in a legal environment. You will learn a lot, particularly if you are interested in working in that area of law.

However, do not become disheartened if you cannot change your job and you cannot afford to risk losing your current position. Know that working full-time is still going to be beneficial on your resume. Many transferable skills will be helpful and allow you to build experience for entering the legal industry. For example, here are some transferable skills:
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Creativity
  • Computer skills

Realize that all these transferable skills are going to be looked for by an employer. It is not just legal experience that they will consider. They also want real-life experience, and you can demonstrate that you have this.

Volunteer or Work During Vacation Time

Even if you have a full-time job, you are always going to have vacation time. While this is a time for most people to rest, if you really want to get a head start in your legal career as a student, you will want to make the most of this time. It does not matter whether you have two or five weeks of vacation time; make sure that you take it when you can work. You can always try to find a job for those couple of weeks, and there might be temporary legal positions that will help you gain experience. Be prepared to keep an open mind.

Ensure that you look out for openings during the year. Temporary legal positions are hard to get, but they do exist. You must be prepared to jump at the chance when it arises. So, unless you know you can get another job, try not to book your vacation time ahead of time if you cannot change it.

Know that it will not always be possible to take a paying legal job for a few weeks during your vacation. Be prepared to volunteer for a legal charity or law firm during this time. Remember that it will be an invaluable experience, and it will help you excel in your career. You will learn a lot in just a short time. Again, be open-minded and choose somewhere that you might not have considered before. If you do not know what type of law you want to go into just yet, this is a good opportunity to learn. It would be best to have your salary from your full-time job that should cover you during your vacation time anyway. This still allows you to continue with your study during the evenings too.

Take a Sabbatical to Gain Experience

Does your employer allow you to take sabbaticals? This is something that a lot of organizations offer, and they are willing to accommodate you. A sabbatical is a time you can take away from work. Often, this will be unpaid, and you will have to agree to the terms with your employer. It is an excellent opportunity to gain experience during this time. Often, people will take advantage of a sabbatical if they have reached professional burnout and need a rest. You can take a sabbatical for many reasons.

Therefore, approach your employer and see if you can take a sabbatical. Make it clear that you want to keep your current full-time job. To do this, you want to take a leave.

This is going to allow you some time to gain legal experience without having to quit. This means that both you and your employer can benefit from this arrangement.

If you are granted a sabbatical, you are going to have a few options open to you. For instance, you can look for a full-time legal job during this time. For example, you can become a law clerk or take another position that you feel will benefit you and allow you to learn more about the legal industry. Alternatively, you can take an internship or another student-like job for a couple of months.

Again, this is a great time to learn and expand your knowledge. You have a lot of choices of what you can do during this time. Could you make the most of it?

Of course, the great thing about taking a sabbatical is that you do not have to give up your full-time job. Yes, you will have to take no salary during this time. Still, you do not have to quit and have that on your resume. Your position is going to be there for you when you return. This will also mean your employer is happy since they do not have to spend money trying to find another permanent employee to fill the position. This is a way for everybody to win.

To Summarize

Being an evening law student is the reality for a lot of people. It is a way for you to study and achieve the career you want while also living full-time and providing for your family. It cannot be easy to gain legal experience if you work full-time and an evening law student. Hopefully, from this guide, you have learned that it is possible to do this. Let’s summarize what this article covers as a reminder.

The first option you have is to change your job. If you do not have a legal position already, this does not mean that your job does not have transferable skills. There may be a legal position out there that can provide you with the experience you need simultaneously as studying. You can enjoy being in a legal environment and still make a living while you gain your law degree.

Next, you can look at taking vacation time and using it to gain experience. Namely, you can work full time, take an internship, or even do some legal volunteer work. This is an option that will not interfere with your full-time position and does not require you to quit.

You can ask your employer if you can take a sabbatical. This is a period where you will not be paid, but it will allow you to gain a legal job and do this for a few months before returning to your full-time position. It does not interrupt evening legal students either.

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