Working at BC Law’s Admissions Office I often hear from prospective or accepted students who are wondering about whether they can work during the school year while attending BC Law. I remember when I was getting ready to go to law school I thought I would try to work my first year. I worked all throughout undergrad, so I expected that it would be the same in the law school. After starting 1L year, however, I realized that there were a number of reasons to hold off and wait for my second year before getting a part-time job.
Most importantly, something I didn’t know before I got to law school is that students are highly discouraged from working during their 1L year. I think there may be an ABA rule about this but I’m not completely sure. In any case, you’ll be adjusting to a new way of learning and studying and it is best to devote yourself to your classes. I know a few students who have quietly worked a few hours a week at service industry jobs they had before school, or gotten a cushy job at the library, but the general consensus is that it is wise to steer clear of working during 1L year. Your grades during this year are extremely important so it is best to hunker down with the books and use your time outside of the library to get to know your new classmates.
2L and 3L years are a different story. A number of my friends work, either at the law school, or doing part-time legal work off campus. During my 2L year I started working ten hours per week at my current work-study job in BC Law’s Admissions Office. I am a dual-degree student at the Lynch School, pursuing a M.A. in Higher Education, so I have had pretty busy schedules during my 2L and 3L years, but I found working part time to be manageable. Working on-campus has been a good fit for me for a number of reasons. My supervisors have been flexible about my stopping work for the semester as finals preparation starts to gear up, and it has given me the opportunity to get to know both prospective students and law school administrators. I also don’t have to waste time commuting to an office downtown or somewhere else in the city. I’m not exactly raking it in with my work study hourly rate, but it helps to have a little extra spending money coming in every week. For students looking to work on campus there are a number of popular options, including working as a teaching assistant or research assistant for a professor, working at the front desk of the law library, or helping out in career services. There are also jobs on the main campus, including working at the main library or tutoring student athletes.
As much as I’ve enjoyed working on campus, there are definite up-sides to working off campus. Most 2Ls and 3Ls working off campus do legal work, which is great for adding to your resume and building your network. These jobs can also pay more, especially if you are in your 3L year. Part time positions are often posted on our career services website, but there are a number of different ways to identify a job off-campus. Friends of mine have found connections through professors, continued working for summer employers and externship hosts, or been referred by a classmate a grade above them who already worked at the firm or organization. Most off-campus positions will end up being with small firms, but I’ve also have friends work for state government legal offices such as the University of Massachusetts Office of the General Counsel.
Working while going to school full time can be a little bit hectic, but overall a large portion of the student population finds it a great way to build experience and earn some extra income during the school year. With so many options available in Boston it seems like there is something out there for everyone!
I am a 3L here at BC Law, as well as being in my final year of a Masters in Higher Education. If you are thinking about coming by BC for a tour you’ll probably see me at my job in the Admissions Office. I’ll be posting every week about an aspect of life as a student at BC Law. If you have any questions comment here and I’ll answer for everyone!