Introduction to Law School for Non-Traditional Students

This is a guest posting by Michelle Fabio.

Thank you, Michelle, for a great post!

Introduction to Law School for Non-Traditional Students

Certain aspects of law school are similar for all students, but, like every graduate program, law school requires non-traditional students to think about additional considerations such as family and full-time employment on top of academic components.

This post will provide you with some very basic information to get you started on your path to law school, but remember I am always available over at Law School for questions (and also for free personal statement reviews when it’s time to apply!), so feel free to drop by, send an e-mail, chat in the forum, etc.

But for now, if you’re a non-traditional student thinking about applying to law school, here are three things you can do right now to get you started:

1. Study up on law school life and procedures.

I’ve posted a list of Top 10 Online Law School Resources geared especially for aspiring law students. The good news is that even as a non-traditional student, many of these basic aspects of law school life and procedures are the same for every student, so you can get a good, general idea of what law school will be like from reading through these resources.

You’ll learn about things from the LSAT to applying to law school to what the heck Law Review is. Getting used to law school jargon will help you every step of the way, so if you’re considering law school, now is the time to start learning.

2. Honestly evaluate why you want to pursue the law as a career and the time and resources you have available for law school.

Many people consider law school because of the earning potential of lawyers, but know that as recent law graduates, a very small percentage go to work in large firms, which is where the big bucks are; not surprisingly, getting offers with large firms is quite a competitive process. Many lawyers who work in public interest organizations, the government, or in small firms can make around $30,000-$50,000 or even less depending on the market.

Knowing what you want to do with your law degree can help you figure out whether the time and money investment will be worth it in the long run. Law school takes a minimum of three full-time years of study to complete, so if you will have to go part-time, be sure to consider how long earning your degree will take—and whether you can afford it.

3. Talk to other non-traditional law students.

One of the best things you can do to get an idea of what law school is really like for non-traditional students is to talk to current or past non-trad law students. NonTradLaw is a great place to connect with students, ask questions, or simply read about others’ experiences from afar.

Another option is to contact the law school nearest you and/or the one you’re most likely to attend; get in touch with the admissions office, tell them your story, and ask if they can put you in touch with students in a similar situation.

Best of luck!

Along with being the Guide to Law School, Michelle Fabio also shares online education tips at