The law school offers a rigorous program of legal education that prepares students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession. Achieving these objectives requires students to make a significant commitment of time to law school course work. For every credit hour earned, the law school expects students will devote at least three to four hours per week on course work (assuming the work is spread over a 14 week period). Devoting the expected hours to course work is integral to solid professional formation.
Students should not allow employment to undermine their professional formation. The following policies are designed to help students maintain an appropriate balance between course work and employment.
Students who need financial assistance should seek a loan or a scholarship rather than impair the quality of their law school experience.
It is the policy of the law school to prohibit a student from working for compensation in excess of twenty (20) hours per week during any week of a semester in which the student is participating in law school courses as a full-time student. A full-time student is a student enrolled in twelve (12) or more credit hours of courses at the University of Louisville (including all courses, regardless of whether the credit will be applied to the student’s law degree).
First Year Students
Because the first year presents demands and methods of study which most first year students have not experienced, it is strongly recommended that first-year students not engage in outside employment. For those students who find it necessary to work, the part-time program has been provided. There the course load has been reduced in order to permit the students to divide their time between the study of law and their employment. Part-time students are encouraged to inform their employers of their class schedules and that they are obligated to attend law school classes during these times throughout the academic semester. Students occasionally will be required to attend other special classes, meetings, or programs and must be able to take off work or otherwise make arrangements to attend these functions.
Upper Level Students
After the first year, some work in legal practice settings may help students develop skills and values needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession. Nonetheless, appropriate attention to law school course work requires a commitment of time that effectively precludes substantial employment for full-time students. For example, a student earning 15 credit hours ordinarily would be expected to devote to law school course work 45-50 hours per week. Therefore, upper level students are limited to the 20 hour work policy, except as provided below.
Exceptions from the Policy
With the approval of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, a student may request an exception to the 20-hour policy. On a case-by-case basis, the Assistant Dean will ordinarily consider the student’s grade point average, total credit hours being taken in a semester, the content of the hours, the type of work being performed and other variables. However, in no instance will the Assistant Dean approve a student to work more than thirty (30) hours per week while attending school full-time. A student needing to work more than 30 hours can switch to the part-time program, which does not limit hours of outside employment.
Students on Probation
Violations of the work and class hours limits, as set out in the above paragraphs, may result in adverse disciplinary action, reporting to the Character and Fitness Committee of the Board of Bar Examiners, or exclusion from school. All students are required to report their employment to the Student Records Office each semester. Also, if there are any changes to a student’s work scheduling during the semester, the student must report it immediately to the Student Records Office.