You may have dreamed of going to law school and becoming an attorney, but have put the dream off due to work or family commitments. Part time programs offered by many schools can give you the opportunity to get a legal education while working or managing other responsibilities. There are daytime, evening and online law programs available.
In a daytime part time law program, you attend classes during the day, but take less courses per semester than full time students. Thus, instead of taking three years to complete, it may take four years or more. A day time program is good for people who have some free time during the day, but have evening commitments, such as a stay at home parent.
Evening Law Programs
Evening law programs are perfect for those who need to stay working while attending law classes. In an evening law program, classes are held in the evening from, say, 6 P.M. until 10 P.M. Students in evening law programs tend to be a little older and are often pursuing law as a career change. Evening students bring a perspective of life experience and non-legal industry experience to lectures and discussions and this often adds a different dimension to the discussion in evening classes.
Online Law Programs
Online programs generally offer the greatest flexibility. You can study law anywhere you have access to the Internet. Online programs are great for those who do not live near a traditional classroom-based school, or for those who may live near a law school but have to relocate frequently. Many online law programs do not require an applicant to take the LSAT and offer courses at a substantially lower tuition cost than classroom-based law schools.
While the law degree granted in a part-time law program is the same as a full time program, there are some limitations that may be experienced by students in part-time programs. For one, part-time students may not be able to participate in internship and summer associate programs like full time students. These programs are traditionally used to evaluate candidates for job offers. So, part time students may miss out on some traditional opportunities for finding a legal job.
Part time students are able to work during law school and may be fortunate enough land a legal job during law school. Whether working in the legal industry or not, part time students can earn money during law school and also gain industry experience that can be advantageously applied to situations as an attorney.
Some part time programs are offered by American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools and some are offered by non-accredited schools. This can be very important depending on what type of law you want to practice and where you want to practice law. As of 2010, California is the only state that admits new lawyers to practice from a law school that is not ABA accredited.