- They have a high tolerance for pain
- They are experts at multi-tasking
- They have demonstrated mastery of time management
- They know all about working 2,200 hours a year.
- Their mutual need to survive makes more collaborative and they are less likely to regard classmates as "the competition."
- Having worked in a business environment they will arrive with a skill set and industry knowledge that can be leveraged in both practice and client development.
- They likely have spent more time using their computer for Excel than for Facebook.
A Word About Teamwork One of the key characteristics of night school students is their willingness to help each other out rather than viewing each other as "the enemy." They tend to have empathy for each other's unique "juggling act." There are the famous stories of vicious competition among day students. That is not at all common among night students who develop a very unique bond and special forms of team work to help other "cross the finish line." Night students excel at collaboration which is a touted as a key strategy for law firm success.
The Night School Grind. In retrospect I do wonder how I spent 4 years leaving home at 6 am carrying 20 pounds of books to the train, worked a full day as the Director or Legal Information Services at Shea & Gould, attended class and returned home at about 11 pm. Night school is not for the "faint of heart." People who attend night school are not about the glory. But too often in fact we simply "get no respect."
At the reunion, one classmate recalled going on "white shoe" firm interview. The partner asked her why she had no extra curricula activities on her resume. When she responded that her "extra curricula activity" was her day job, he quickly ended the interview. Now she is a General Counsel in a corporation and I couldn't help but chuckle to myself at the prospect of the tables being turned.
In light of the market upheavals, it may be time for law firms to seriously consider the advantages of evening law students as strategic assets in the "new normal."