Part-time and Full-time Options

We understand that flexibility is important, so students can balance school with work, family, or other responsibilities they may have. Offering both part-time and full-time programs, and day and evening courses, we strive to provide the flexibility that our students are looking for.

In the first year of the JD program, applicants can choose to apply for either the full-time program with courses during the day or the part-time program with courses taken in the evening. After the first year, students may choose to take either a part-time or a full-time load any semester. They may also choose whether to take day courses, evening courses, or both. This chart outlines the main differences between the divisions in the first year.

Program Full-time Part-time
Number of credits 13-15 8-11*
Number of courses/semester   5 3-4
Number of years to graduate    2.5 to 3 3.5 to 4
Time of day Daytime in 1st year    Evening in 1st year   

*After the first year, part-time students may enroll in 12 credits and still be considered part-time, though there is a surcharge for the additional credit. Complete details about tuition and fees can be found here.

Admission criteria, full-time faculty, and academic opportunities are identical in both programs.

Since many part-time students are employed full-time, the law school attempts to cluster courses so students have some free time each week to study and use the library. Evening courses in the first year are typically held between 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

After the first year, students may transfer from one program to the other and use the summer school program to accelerate progress toward graduation, or to slow things down. In addition, after the first year, students may combine day and evening courses as they find appropriate whether they are a part-time or a full-time student.

Many part-time students have questions about getting involved on campus and being able to get practical experience while in law school. Students who attend school part-time and also work or have families are undoubtedly limited in their ability to participate in all aspects of what is available to them in law school. That said, many of the student organizations do not have a set schedule for when a student can participate so they are still available to part-time/evening students. Our Career and Professional Development Office is also available to assist evening students with gaining legal experiences while in law school. This video also shows how one of our alumni handled his experience as a part-time student:

While juggling school, work, family, and other priorities is daunting and often very challenging, Lewis & Clark Law School is committed to making it a possibility. Many of our alumni have attended law school in the evening or part-time and been highly successful. Our attrition rate is low - a real testimony to the flexibility and support that you would experience as a law student at L&C!

If you are curious about how this might work for you, we encourage you to make an appointment with the admissions office so we can answer questions specific to your circumstances and see which option might work best for you. You can also take a tour in the late afternoon and/or sit in on an evening class to see what it’s like.