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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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On Life as an Evening Law Student

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Student-writer Michael Wright had an interesting article in Legalese that’s worth dwelling on. In “Over-abundance of night classes can be inconvenient, troublesome for full-time students” (.pdf, p. 4) Wright notes that the scheduling of classes favors evening students over full-time (day) students. My favorite line is from the end -

The knowledge that administration and faculty are aware of and are taking steps to rectify the scheduling problems is an important step toward improving student morale and toward transforming what now seems to be a good night school into a great law school, overall.

As a evening 1L with all my courses picked and registered for me, I’m blissfully unaware of the realities of class scheduling. I have no idea if his observations are true or not, but I’ve been wanting to post on the day/evening, full-time/part-time divide for a while.

Reverse Discrimination?

What makes this article funny for most evening students is that when the subject comes up, we’re usually the ones who feel like second class citizens. This was driven home for me this semester in LARC (legal research & writing for the uninitiated) when the first two canned lectures included helpful things like ‘how to brief a case.’ Thanks, but if I hadn’t already figured that out from taking Civil Procedure and Criminal Law, I’d be an olympic swimmer doing the dog paddle. Clearly the curriculum was not created with evening students in mind.

More seriously, the OCI (On Campus Interview) gravy-train to a summer associateship is largely closed to evening students since we’re short the number of credit hours required by the time they roll around. Generally, however, it’s simply the non-traditionalness of the evening program which seems to throw up obstacles, not the treatment of the program by the administration or professors, which has been nearly universally excellent in my experience.

I think Wright probably has a valid point, assuming his assessment is accurate. It’s simply an issue, like so many things, of limited resources. There are only so many professors to teach so many classes and certain groups bound to be inconvenienced no matter how things are scheduled. Squeaky wheels get greased and I suspect evening students with their inherently rigid schedules already, have squeaked the loudest in recent history.

Houston the place to be for an evening program

It illustrates one of the more pleasant surprises of my experience at Houston. For Evening programs, I think Houston and perhaps George Mason are the places to be in terms of how seriously the Evening program is taken. So far it’s been the best educational experience I’ve ever had. The professors are excellent and the evening section is a fun, tight-knit, supportive, competitive group, of whom I can think of a dozen people I’d love to practice with at some point in our careers.

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