Law School

Can I Study Law While Working? (8 Things to Consider)

Can I study law while working
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Some of you, who are planning to go to law school, might ask, “Can I study law while working?”

Don’t worry. This is neither a lame nor a weird question. To tell you honestly, I also asked myself this question when I was still in my freshman years.

And, yes, I’m a working law student.

So, here’s my answer:

Yes.

Of course, you can study law while working, but only if you’re commited enough to achieve your dream of becoming a lawyer – by hook or by crook.

can I study law while working

In answering the question “Can I study law while working”, consider these 9 factors

While it’s possible to work full-time while studying law, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

At this juncture, I’m telling you it’s not going to be a walk in the park. This is because being a working law student entails a lot of sacrifice and a great deal of discipline for one to succeed. However, if you have the will power to succeed, you’ll get by and find ways to deal both with your job and law school. 

In gauging your ability to juggle reaching your aspiration of becoming a lawyer and working full-time, here are some of the things I suggest you must contemplate on: (Take it from me.)

Can I study law while working? Well, do you really have to work in the first place?

can I study law while working
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I have to be a working law student because my parents’ annual income is not enough to cover our family’s expenses. And I’m never ashamed to admit that my family had financial struggles during my freshman years.

You see, my youngest brother was about to go to college during the second semester of my first law school year so I had to give way for him. Since my parents, who work as public school teachers, aren’t paid that much in my country, we had to make do of whatever we had.

So, what am I trying to say here?

If you’re anything like me, then by all means, be a working law student. You may also choose to work while studying law if you want money of your own.

On the other hand, you may study law full time if you have full scholarship or your parents have more than enough to send you to law school.

Do you have the motivation and determination to become a lawyer, no matter what happens?

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Do you want to know if what makes a person fit to be a working law student?

Well, I’ve always believed that you’ll make the cut if you can marry your aspiration with persistence and commitment.

Yes, like no amount of challenge and disappointment, or NO ONE, can ever dampen your spirit!

No, not your demanding 9-6 job.

Nope, not even your overbearing boss or co-workers.

I can definitely say this because I experienced these myself. Back then, my job in the government and security sector had given me all the reason to either give it up or drop out from law school. However, whenever I thought about it, my life-long dream of becoming a lawyer prevailed.

And so, I always knew what to do — CONTINUE.

If you want to work while studying law, you have to have that kind of resolute.

How well do you respond to delays and/or hardships?

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Should you choose to work while studying law, you should accept the reality that things won’t go the way you’d like them to be. This is something I’ve learned throughout my years as a working law student.

I’ve stuck around in law school longer than I expected. I’ve been deloading these past few school years because of the high-level of stress and fast-paced environment at work. That’s why I’m going about my law school journey at a slower pace than others. So, you know how it is — fewer subjects, delayed graduation.

In addition, I had demanding jobs and overbearing co-workers — both of which compound the stress I get from my job itself. Consequently, taking fewer law school subjects was the most practicable solution to my dilemma back then. (I’d rather take things slow than graduate on time without learning the law like I should have.)

So, how did I deal with the frustration I had due to such delay and my hardships in the last five years or so?

Well, instead of despising my situation or getting envious of my other full-time law student batchmates who are now lawyers, I choose to focus on my progress. After all, studying law was never and will never be a competition as it is a journey peculiar to every student.

With these in mind, how do you think you’ll cope with such a situation (or with a worse case scenario)?

Is career advancement big deal for you?

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Because if it is, you might want to reconsider your thought of becoming a working law student.

Balancing work with law school can be as difficult as building a career while raising a family. I’m not saying one of these two has to suffer. However, choosing one over the other will surely leave you compromising the other at some point.

Back then, I had to turn down promotions or offers with flashy titles (yet bigger responsibilities) because law school, for me, was non-negotiable. I’d rather stay in the rank-in-file for a while and reap the fruits of my labor after I pass the bar exam and become a full-fledged lawyer.

I’m not saying you should do what I did. Surely, your circumstances might be different from mine. Maybe, you are at a good leverage to enter a door towards career growth while in law school.

What I’m saying here is are you willing to remain committed to your dream of becoming a lawyer no matter what? Can you deal with delayed gratification in relation to your career?

Because if you can, then I think you’ll do just fine working while studying law.

Are you willing to sacrifice certain aspects of your life?

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Can you imagine yourself skipping a family reunion or even your own birthday celebration because you have to study or take an exam?

Will you be able to give up your night life or clubbing with your friends because you have to study for a recitation or cold call the next day?

Do you see yourself working on your case digests even on a holiday or free-cut even if your professors haven’t asked you to?

I’m crossing my fingers that your answers to these is YES.

You know why? It’s because you’ll have to give up some of the things you’re used to doing to pave way for your classes and countless all-nighters. Your social life (and even your lovelife) will have to take the backseat for a while.

What’s your time management skills like?

Can I study law while working
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Are you discplined enough to use your time wisely and productively?

Can you commit to focus just on studying and doing other law school-related tasks outside work?

You’ll be spending almost half of your entire day getting your 9-6 or 8-5 job done. So, you got to have good time management (and even organization) skills.

With limited time to study for your daily class recitations and exams, you can’t afford to procrastinate or waste even a minute of your time.

Do you have good stress management skills?

can I study law while working
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When you work while in law school, you’re among the few who defies the well-known fundamental Physics principle — no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.

Actually, when you’re a working law student, you must really be ready and determined to defy all odds. And one of which is striking a balance in your law school life and work/career.

As early as now, assess yourself for the following:

  • What are your common stressors?
  • What is your common stress response, if any?
  • Is your stress response healthy?
  • What physical, emotional, and/or psychological effects does stress give you?
  • Do you think you need help from medical and allied health professionals to address stress?

Stress, and its effects on one’s self, is something no one should shrug off. I’ve seen a lot of law students bog down and stopped their law studies for good due to sicknesses they got from law school-related (or law school-induced) stress.

So, stress management is something you should be preparing as early as now.

Can you survive with only 3-4 hours of sleep everyday?

Okay, I’m not exaggerating here. You may verify from other law students that 3-4 hours of sleep is the norm in our community.

You’ll hear full-time law students complaining about sleep deprivation due to law school. If they experience this, you’re more likely to be always sleep-deprived given the energy you’ll spend on juggling law school and work.

At this point, you might want to consider working with your health care provider. This way, you can somehow alleviate the effects of sleep deprivation on your physique, cognition, and/or mental health.

Also, you may want to make lifestyle changes to make your body more healthy and be better equipped to respond to sleep deprivation in law school. Take your vitamins, make healthier dietary choices, drink lots of water, exercise, and meditate. Do whatever you could to make your body and mind stronger and more resilient.

If your answer to the foregoing are all yeses, the question “Can I study law while working?” is beside the point

If you believe you can manage all the foregoing concerns I raised, then, congratulations, you are more likely to thrive in law school as a working student!

Please know that I didn’t raise the abovementioned questions to overwhelm or stress you out. As your upperclass man in law school, I just want you to be ready for what lies ahead. This is the essence of and importance of having adequate law school preparation.

I know it’s difficult to decide on being a working law student. There are so many things at stake and I totally get that.

I’m a working law student almost my entire law school life. Been there, done that.

But, for all it’s worth, always remember that you’re stronger, bolder, and more resilient than you think you are.

You can do it. I believe in you!

Share this article with anyone who plans to be a working law student

If you find this article helpful, please feel free to share it with anyone you know who might need it. And if you want to discuss this topic further, feel free to leave your comments below.

Happy studying, future lawyer!

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