The Best Schools For Part-Time Law Programs
Is it any surprise that the large metros dominate, with four schools in the Washington, D.C., area (Georgetown, George Washington, George Mason, and the University of Maryland) reaching the top 10? New York City (Fordham), Los Angeles (Loyola Marymount), Philadelphia (Temple), Dallas (Southern Methodist University), and Houston (University of Houston) are also represented.
Here’s what makes the top five programs stand out:
Ranked #1, the Georgetown University Law Center actually began as an evening program in 1870. And the part-time program remains a vibrant part of the school. The full-time faculty teaches both the full-time and part-time programs. As a result, part-time students enjoy the same access to Georgetown’s distinguished professors as the full-timers. Georgetown also structures its activities so that part-timers can work alongside their full-time peers in clinics, journals, and moot court. Part-time students, who range in age from 21 to 54, may enroll in an accelerated program, where they can earn their degree in seven semesters. And they can also participate in the same joint law degrees as every other student. The part-time program is open to transfer students as well.
Like nearby Georgetown, George Washington’s part-time students enjoy the same academic experience as their full-time cohorts. The program includes a dean and career counselor assigned specifically to part-time students during evening hours to help them with everything from academic advising to job placement. George Washington schedules many classes around the 6:00 p.m. course block and offers the same access to nearly 100 full-time faculty and 275 elective courses as the full-time students receive. Part-time students are also heavily represented in the Student Bar Association and other student leadership posts, along with being active in the school’s law review and other journals. In addition, the school offers a customized orientation program to part-time students, including sessions to help spouses and partners.
Located across the street from Lincoln Center, Fordham Law is perfectly situated to serve New York City’s ambitious professionals. The school heavily invests in integrating evening students into all facets of the school’s academic and social life. Part-time students are actively involved in student government, clinics, networking events, moot court, and law journals. School administrators keep evening hours to better support these students, with the Career Planning Center, Student Affairs Office, and the alumni mentoring program offering special sessions for evening students. Fordham Law’s part-time program is renowned for producing prominent judges and leaders, most notably former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.
Like nearby Georgetown and George Washington, the George Mason School of Law uses the same full-time faculty to teach both daytime and evening students. Taking classes five nights a week, part-time students can access faculty members during evening office hours (and the career and academic services office during nights and weekends). Evening students are also heavily represented in the school’s law journal, seminars and moot court competitions. By working closely with faculty and area organizations, George Mason also provides clinical coursework and field placements to part-time students, who are also eligible for financial aid and merit-based fellowships.
Looking for a part-time program that doesn’t skimp on extracurricular activities and career preparation? Check out Loyola Marymount University, also known as the Loyola Law School. Here, evening students maintain their own bar association, where they partner with the daytime student bar to offer over 35 professional, academic, and social organizations. Along with career planning workshops, networking events, and resume reviews, part-time students can prepare for their job hunt by participating in regular mock job interviews with Loyola Law alumni. The evening program also attracts adjuncts with heavy judicial and practice experience, such as Josh Wattles, former general counsel for Paramount Pictures. Unlike many programs, students can transfer to the full-time programs after one year based on academic performance. They are also eligible for externships after their first year and moot court and law review after their second year. Notable alumni from Loyola Marymount’s part-time program include John Meigs and Victor Chavez, both superior court judges of Los Angeles County.
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