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Work, Life and Law School: How Do You Balance It All?

July 11th, 2012 No comments

Troy Riddle, Multicultural Affairs Officer

Working full-time and attending law school can be a scary notion.  However,  Troy Riddle, Widener Law’s Multicultural Affairs Officer, is living proof that it can be done.  Mr. Riddle is an alum of Widener Law’s Extended  (part-time)  Division, his entry below describes his experience and tips that helped him through.

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Law school is challenging for a student of any age or academic pedigree, but I believe it is exponentially more challenging for students trying to balance a full-time job and/or family. The sense of accomplishment one feels, however, when the four year’s are over is euphoric.

As an Extended Division student, I was employed full-time as a middle manager in the healthcare industry, managing a staff of more than forty. The nice thing about my work situation, however, was that my boss and the staff knew I was in law school, and provided a lot of support and encouragement to me. This support system proved invaluable to me. Especially on those days where I hadn’t completed all of my assigned readings and needed to steal a few extra minutes at lunch time to try and cover the material before making the drive from Philadelphia to Delaware.

Four years later, it was all over, and to be quite honest, I was a little sad. I actually enjoyed law school. The rigors of legal education challenged me in ways that I didn’t know I could be. I learned a lot…not just about the law and how to craft ingenious arguments, but about life and how the world really works and how the law influences it. Because law touches virtually every aspect of human existence, it’s almost impossible to leave law school without having at least one “light bulb” moment regarding something you previously thought mundane or ordinary.
There are many ways to approach law school if trying to balance it with work and/or family.

Here are a few tips/advice I’d like to share with you:
• Don’t make any life-changing moves or decisions.
• Know that at times you’ll have more reading than humanly possible to complete.
• Know that the people you always see in the library aren’t necessarily getting the top grades.
• Understand that your family and friends won’t understand the demands being place upon you.
• Talk to your professors when you don’t understand a concept/case covered in class.
• Take as many practice exams as you can and get feedback.
• Take time for you (both mentally and physically); exercise, spend time with the family.
• Take at least one day during the week for a reprieve. (I made Friday my “me day.”)
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. (It doesn’t make you a poor law student.)

Much success to you as you embark upon what I think is the most transformative education one can obtain!

Thank you, Mr. Riddle, for sharing your experience!  If you have further questions about the part-time program please feel free to email the Admissions office at lawadmissions@widener.edu.

Moving On (5-9-09)

Well I have finished all my finals. My last one was Torts II this morning. What a test! Three hours of non-stop writing. There were so many issues that it was impossible to address each one in the time allowed. But I think I had well reasoned arguments and will come out at the top end of the class. I also took my Professional Responsibility final last Wednesday. It was extremely difficult and tricky. The ABA rules are at times counter-intuitive to my personal moral ethics. This is mainly because of rule 1.6 regarding client confidentiality. Think of the evidence rule of attorney/client privilege and expand that scope. I understand the reasoning and why the rule is so restrictive, but there where cases in which you wish the lawyer could talk, but was prohibited. My other final was Civ Pro II last Saturday and thankfully it wasn’t too bad. But I worry that I missed too many issues. I guess I will know in June how much I missed. Lastly, my thesis for Climate Change seminar ended well. I had around forty pages of well reasoned arguments. I will be tweaking it this summer in hope of getting it published in one of the law journals. I will let you know how that goes. Overall it has been a good second year. They always say that the first year is the hardest. I agree, but the second year is not much easier. By the second year, you finally understand how most things work and you are familiar with the terminology but the reading assignments greatly increase in length and depth. I am now at the halfway point to being a lawyer. I am excited and ready to start the next semester, but for now I will enjoy the time I have with my family. See you next fall!

The endurance to achieve Consistency

We are now five weeks into the second semester as 2EDs.   As always, the semester is moving quickly and it is an awesome feeling to know that we are almost at the half-way point of our legal education.  Every day brings a new challenge that will consistently test your commitment to continuing your legal education in the extended division.   To overcome these challenges, you must have the willpower to continue going to class, study and take notes each class, work your full time job and continue a relationship with your family.   Consistency is the key.  By now, you should have a good handle on what works for you and what does not.  This means consistently attending class, taking notes, participating in class and keeping a good outline that will work for you during finals will be your key to success.   If you can stay consistent throughout, you have an excellent chance of moving up your GPA each semester.  Good Luck!