Part-Time Law Students

Five Tips For Part-Time Law Students

Many law schools offer part-time programs for students who are working full-time jobs (or have other commitments) while in law school.  In this post, we provide five tips for success for part-time law students!

Five Tips For Part-Time Law Students

1. Create a solid study schedule.

At the beginning of the semester, sit down and create a weekly schedule for yourself, figuring out where you will allow time for preparing for class, completing assignments for classes such as Legal Research & Writing, and giving yourself a chance to relax!

When you are creating a study schedule, try to be realistic.  Consider the family events, errands, and other chores that often come up and cut into the time you could otherwise be studying.  Also think about how productive you will actually be after a long day of work and classes. You probably can’t do 2-3 hours of reading done after you’ve already had a 10-12 hour day.

2. Get involved!

When your free time is sparse, one of the first things to get cut from your to do list is probably going to be social events.  Not only will it be a good mental break for you to get out and socialize with your peers and the legal community, but there are also academic and career benefits to mingling!

If you are only taking evening and weekend classes, you may not have a chance to meet many of your peers in class.  Student organizations and social events are great places to meet other students!  Other students can be helpful in many ways. The can share notes and outlines, provide tips about different professors, and let you know of potential job or internship opportunities. When you hear about the importance of “networking” in law school, many students think this means you have to go out to lawyer social events and network with alumni and other current lawyers.  Don’t overlook the benefits your peers can provide!

3. Stay organized!

If you have multiple time-consuming commitments on your plate in addition to law school, things are bound to slip through the cracks if you aren’t organized!  If you are commuting between work and school, the last thing you need is to realize mid-commute that you don’t have the right casebooks, or you forgot your laptop charger.

Make a list of all the things you will need for each day of the week and keep it near your door.  Then, as you are leaving, double-check that you have everything you will need for that day, both for work and school.  If you find that the list frequently changes throughout the semester, a whiteboard might be more efficient than a permanent list.

4. Set aside time to relax.

Even though you will be plenty busy with all of your commitments, it is important to consider your mental health and set aside time to relax and do things for yourself.  Set aside time each week to spend time with family and go to the gym.  When you have breaks in law school for various holidays, try to actually take the time off rather than catching up on your other commitments.  It is very easy to burn out in law school, even more so when you have multiple commitments on your plate!  Taking time for yourself will ensure that you are able to complete your degree and retain your sanity!

5. Use your time efficiently.

With so many things on your weekly schedule, one way to try to get them all done is to use your time efficiently and multi-task!  Try to think of things that you can do at the same time.  For instance, record yourself reading your outline out loud. Then listen to the recording in the car while you are driving.  Catch up on any missed reading assignments during your lunch break or other breaks at work. It’s a good idea to keep a case book with you!  Take your casebook or notes with you to the gym and review while you are on the treadmill.  Killing two birds with one stone is a great way to maximize your limited time and get as much as possible done!

If you are struggling to understand the material, you may want to consider hiring a private tutor!  Spending two hours with a private tutor who can help you understand the material quickly and clearly. It may be a much better use of your time than spending hours reviewing the cases and notes on your own!  JD Advising offers law school tutoring for all first year classes (including Legal Research and Writing) and many upper-level classes!

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