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There's no doubt about the fact that law school is expensive. Most law students have to take out student loans in order to afford it. To reduce the financial burden, most students will seek out summer work, and many students will also explore working during the school year.
Although going to law school full-time leaves very little time for anything else, working a part-time job, particularly a legal job, is possible, and even good for your resume, especially if you can keep your grades up too. If going to law school part-time is out of the question for you, then working full-time during the school year should be, too.
Below are three tips to help you work while attending law school.
1. Follow the Rules
Under the ABA rules, technically, you're not supposed to work more than 20 hours a week while attending law school full time (12 or more credits). Given that 12 credits will roughly translate to about 40-50 hours of combined class and study time (at least for your first year or two), working more than 20 hours a week could cut into the time you need to take care of your basic needs, like sleeping, eating, bathing, and paying your bills. If you are blessed with superhuman levels of energy, you can likely get away with working more hours as enforcement of the 20 hour a week rule is traditionally unheard-of.
2. School Is Your Priority
Even if you're only working 10 hours a week, beware of burnout, as law school and legal work can both be rather mentally taxing and you don't want to burnout a week or month before exams (or at any time).
Simply put, you cannot put work ahead of school on your list of priorities. After all, what's the point of your law clerking job if you don't graduate, let alone sit for and pass the bar exam? Unless you have mouths to feed (that can't feed themselves), work just has to take a back seat to anything related to your education.
3. Discipline Discipline Discipline
Being disciplined and keeping a regular routine around your work-school schedule is incredibly helpful in maintaining your sanity, health, and grades. In addition to study-time, you need to build time into your routine for everyday tasks, including taking personal time for relaxation, exercise, and social interaction, and, of course, adequate sleeping time. Writing down your weekly schedule in an hour by hour format will help you stick to it. Creating and sticking to a routine that accounts for all your needs will definitely help you perform your best; however, don't be afraid to tweak your routine.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.