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How to Manage your "Law School Budget"

By John Zickefoose


Law school definitely has a profound effect on the way you handle your day-to-day business. It combines the time commitments of having a full-time job with the financial demands that come with the expensive nature of higher education. And unfortunately for most of us, neither of these burdens is easily dealt with.

When I came to law school, time management for an enterprise as psychologically demanding as law school was something I never had to develop. While the undergraduate experience and full-time jobs are no walk in the park, the level of preparation for class in law school is essential for a proper understanding of the material. But it’s also important to allow for personal time, and sometimes finding the proper balance is difficult.

One way to structure your time is to treat school just like a job. Approach each day like a nine-to-five job, and in the time in between classes/extracurriculars, read and brief your cases. This will allow you to enjoy your evenings, and get a decent night’s sleep.

Another way is to divide the work that you need to do into chunks, and fit in your personal time in between. For example, if you want to spend a few hours doing something you enjoy, knock out a chunk of work beforehand, and a chunk afterward. Sometimes this helps in lieu of the nine-to-five approach when your brain is fried and just can’t take any more information input for a few hours, and just need to do something else for a while.

I also like to front-load my weekend homework and get a lot done on Friday. Everybody hates spending all Sunday day/night working on a mountain of homework.

I find that a mixture of these practices is the best way to get your work done. If you have the energy on a certain day, take the nine-to-five approach. If you need a break in between, knock the work out in chunks. Either way, efficient use of your time ensures that come exam time, you will be better prepared for the material and less stressed in the long run.

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