Part-time Student Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I get legal experience on my resume while I am working full-time and going to school and perhaps taking care of a family?
There are many ways you can gain practice legal experience; you need to choose what fits for you and your schedule, and do not be pressured into adding one more thing to your day simply because people tell you its best. Set up an appointment with your career counselor to help you brainstorm what might work best for your schedule.
2. How can I make any connections with lawyers when I am working all day and going to school at night?
There are many ways you can "network." By far, the best way to meet practicing attorneys is to let us know what area of practice you are interested in so that we can help facilitate a meeting with an alum. You can even state a preference for someone who attended Loyola's part-time program. We can connect you with opportunities and people who match your interests.
3. I want to attend some of the Career Services Panels, but can't make it during the day - how can I get the information and interact with the presenters?
Many of the handouts and powerpoint presentations that panelists bring with them get posted to our website almost immediately. If you don't feel that the handouts provide enough information, schedule a meeting with your counselor who will be happy to go over the topics that were addressed by the presenters. In addition, if you are interested in talking to any of the presenters, we are happy to make the call to them and help set you up with that person so you don't miss out on the "human interaction" part of the experience.
4. When should I start thinking about the transition from my non-legal job to a legal job?
There is no "right time" to start thinking about it. Your best move, if you are even considering such an option, is to make an appointment (either in person or by phone), with an experienced Career Services counselor to find out what your options are and what types of things you should start exploring while in law school. By talking to a counselor as soon as you start thinking about switching to a legal job, you will allow yourself more time for planning and exploring during law school, when many opportunities are open to you. This way, you will not feel pressured to make a sudden change immediately after graduation.
5. Do employers consider those who attend the part-time program to be in a "second tier" or somehow inferior to full-time students?
Because Loyola started out as an part-time only school and has a strong reputation in that regard in Chicago, virtually none of the employers in this region consider creating a distinction between part-time and full-time students.
6. What kind of age discrimination is out there in the legal world? I am a second-career person, and I am worried about finding a legal job as an "older person."
Our experience has been that our non-traditional students have not had any difficulty in finding jobs after graduation due to age. Quite the contrary, many lawyers, especially those in small firms, greatly value the maturity and expertise that more experienced, second-career people bring to their firms.
7. Can I participate in Loyola's fall on-campus interviewing program?
You may not participate in OCI if you are a part-time first year student. If you are a part-time second year, third year, or fourth year student, you may participate.
Keep in mind that fall recruiting is primarily limited to employers who want a full-time summer commitment from students. The vast majority of these employers are not looking for students who will continue on to work for them in a full-time or part-time capacity after the summer is over. This means that in order to apply, you must be willing to take the summer off from your full-time employment. It is not permissible to participate in on-campus interviews simply to go through the interview experience if you do not have the intention of working for the employer full-time in the summer. Some students have managed to combine vacation time and time off without pay over the 10-week period. If you are considering participating in fall on-campus interviews, be sure to talk to a Career Services counselor about your situation before you do so.
8. What are my chances of legal employment after law school if I am not able to get any legal experience on my resume while in law school?
Most part-time students working full-time during law school at a non-legal job have many transferable skills that will carry over into the legal market. The more important things for students who absolutely cannot get a single minute of practical legal experience on their resumes is to establish personal connections in the legal community. If you have completed your first year of law school (or any year for that matter), and are concerned that you will not have time to get any type of legal experience, including a practical skills course, be sure to set up a counseling session with the Career Services Office so that we can help you most effectively highlight your most marketable transferable skills.
9. What if I decide not to take the Bar Exam right away?
If you have any desire at all to practice one day, you definitely should take the bar exam as soon after you graduate as possible. It is not advisable to wait because you never know when an opportunity may present itself to you for entering into practice, you will not be able to fully participate in any bar or pro bono activities, and it is much more difficult and disruptive later on down the road to find the time and energy to take a bar exam.
10. How much time off do I need to study for the Bar? Do I really have to take off two months to study?
By the time you graduate from law school, you will have had plenty of experience juggling full-time work with studying for finals. A good rule of thumb for part-time students is this: Just think of the Bar Exam as a big, long set of finals (mid-year and end-of-year), and double the time you need to study. So, if you begin studying 2 1/2 to 3 weeks before finals each time, then 5 to 6 weeks should be sufficient. We advise that you take no less than 2 weeks off completely in order to study, and preferably 4 full weeks.
We also advise that you take a bar review course, which you can do in the evening hours so it does not interfere with work. At least 6 months to a year prior to graduation, depending upon where you work, you should begin talking to your supervisor about the exam (and racking up your vacation time), with the ideal goal of taking 6 weeks off, but knowing that your boss may allow you less. Although there are people who work full-time and successfully take the bar exam the first time around, they are few and far between. Why spend all that time and money studying, only to risk failure? Better to "bite the bullet" financially and time-wise and get it over with once and for all!
Contact Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 915-7160.