Employment & Other Commitments During Law School

Law school requires a significant time investment for success. Students should be realistic about their ability to succeed in light of employment and other commitments. It is important to do as well as you can academically, especially during the first year.

Students are encouraged to reach out to the law school financial aid professionals to learn about options for financing their investment in legal education, including tuition and other costs of attendance, such as living expenses.

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    During the first year, full-time students should not commit to employment during the fall and winter terms.

    Full-time students should devote substantially all of their time to their legal studies during the first year to be successful —between 42 and 48 hours per week. Incoming students who are considering working or who will have other time-intensive commitments should enroll in the US JD program in the part-time division (requires 27-36 hours per week) or extended division (requires 21-30 hours per week), depending on the number of hours they intend to devote to work and other commitments. When in doubt, students are encouraged to start slow and add more courses in subsequent terms as they adjust to the rigor of law school.

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    During upper-level years, full-time students should not work more than 20 hours per week.

    Some students are successful balancing legal employment and school during their upper-level years, after they have adjusted to the demands of legal education, while others choose to continue prioritizing their studies and leadership roles on campus. Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant opportunities are often available.

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    Students are encouraged to work during the summer.

    During the first summer, many students gain legal experience; some students take required courses but may choose to work part-time. During the second summer, students should pursue legal employment.

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    US JD students should select the division that best aligns with their goals and commitments outside of law school.

    US JD program students can enroll in the full-time, part-time, or extended division. Learn more about the divisions here

    Credits  per Term (Fall & Winter) Years to Graduate Hours in Class per Week Study Hours Required Outside of Class per Week Total Hours Required for Legal Education per Week
    Full-Time 12-16 3 12-16 24-36 36-48
    Part-Time 9-12 4 9-12 18-24 27-36
    Extended 7-10 5 7-10 14-20 21-30
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    Dual JD program students are full time during the academic year for the three-year duration of the program.

    The Dual JD program is a rigorous course of study where students earn two law degrees in only three years. Learn more about the requirements and time commitments of this program here.