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Life as a law student is challenging, but the schedule of an evening division student is particularly strenuous. Students should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both day and evening law school programs before even considering transferring between programs. One of the most common misconceptions about evening students is that they take only a couple of courses at a time. The reality is that evening students generally take a minimum of four courses in a semester, while five is not unheard of. Their day student counterparts will generally take one additional at five and sometimes six courses per semester. In essence, their workloads are very similar. The biggest difference between day and evening programs is the students’ employment. An evening law student typically works a minimum of forty hours per week at a full-time job. Many evening students will be employed in traditional legal positions, as legal assistants. You will also see evening students employed in all levels of management in the financial services industry. Other commonly recurring fields include law enforcement, insurance, and high tech. You will also find instances of parents who will take care of their child during the day while their spouses are at work, then go to law school in the evening. Overall, the diversity and depth of employment experience among evening students will be far greater than day students. EVENING PERKS There are many advantages to being an evening student. As an evening student, you have twice as much time during the week to gain practical experience in the workplace. Many employers will not even consider day students for senior positions since they are only allowed to work part-time. As an evening student, your income will be higher, meaning that you may not need to rely as heavily on student loans while you are in school and will have less debt upon graduation. DAY PERKS As a day student, there are different advantages. Your schedule is generally more flexible, which allows for extra time to study. Often, there is less stress associated with a day student’s employment, since the amount of responsibility for part-time positions typically isn’t as great. The day student’s schedule is also more conducive to participation in extracurricular activities such as law review, moot court, student bar association, and the American Bar Association. THE BIG SWITCH After the first year of law school, many students from both the day and evening programs switch divisions. Day students switching to the evening program have usually found employment requiring a full-time commitment and are looking to increase their income. Evening students transferring to the day program have either found the schedule too taxing or want to graduate in three years as opposed to four. The best advice for students trying to decide which program is right for them is to ask specific questions of several students from both the day and evening programs at their schools. John Okray, a third-year evening student at Suffolk University Law School, is Manager of Trust Services at Palmer & Dodge in Boston. He can be reached at [email protected]

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