I’ve received a lot of questions about working while you are in law school over the past few months, so I figured a blog post would be helpful for those wondering about the subject. I will be answering some frequently asked questions, but please feel free to comment any additional questions. I may add the question and my answer to the blog post later.
1. Do you recommend working while in law school?
I would recommend working only after 1L year. The workload for a full-time 1L student was tremendously overwhelming and I was struggling to keep my head on even without a job. Additionally, law schools usually do not allow you to work during your first year. I have heard of some friends working side jobs during 1L to help support their personal life. For those working friends, I know they worked very few hours and only on the weekend.
For 2L year, I would recommend working during school if you are highly considering it and are able to do so. I have worked throughout my entire 2L year and working has helped me academically, personally, and financially. An important factor to consider would be your availability. For example, I probably wouldn’t have time to work if I was on a journal like all my other friends.
2. What are the benefits of working while in school?
I personally loved working while in law school because it has helped my academic understanding and learning tremendously. I have shared this with so many people asking the same question. As a dancer, I learn best kinesthetically and visually. Working at an office where I was allowed to write similar types of pleadings over and over again, gain exposure to different steps in the litigation process, observe different activities, and experience the litigation process for different issues and clients, has been an amazing experience for me. Legal writing makes more sense, civil procedure is less abstract, the list goes on for me.
The benefits are endless for me, but I do recommend asking yourself whether you are capable of working during the school year. How much free time do you have? What extra-curricular responsibilities do you have? Would you be able to balance both? Be real with yourself before taking time away from school. School is the priority.
3. How many hours do you work?
During the spring semester, I worked 10 hours a week. In the fall, I worked 14 hours a week. I felt that 14 hours was pushing it a little, but I had less responsibilities in the fall than I do this spring semester. Before starting the semester, I took the time to analyze my top priorities and how much extra time I would want to dedicate to working. For example, I knew I would be taking legal writing this spring, so I made sure I had extra time to dedicate to that class because I know many hours of work was necessary for the class.
4. What kind of work should I do?
Since I was not on a journal, it was important for me to gain writing experience. Working at a law firm is probably the best opportunity because I am working and learning important skills for my career at the same time. I highly recommend working at a firm that will give you experience in something you’re interested in. For example, I was interested in litigation and my position at the law firm allowed me to do some type of work in every step of the litigation process.
However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a job that is unrelated to becoming a lawyer. Sometimes you may need a break from the madness of law law law everything. A job is a job and if financials are a priority for you, I think that not working at a law firm is not the end of the world.
If you’re thinking about working during law school, feel free to send me a message or comment if you have any additional questions!