10 AUG / 2010 1

4 Tips on How a Small Business Owner Can Pull Off Law School

Many small business owners have to deal with lawyers. Some have to deal with lawyers on a regular basis. Many of those who do say to themselves, “I can definitely do this person’s job.” However, starting on the path to become a lawyer when you already own a small business creates a whole new set of challenges above and beyond those presented to an unencumbered recent college graduate.

Generally speaking, running your own small business is stressful, time-consuming, and tiring. Getting into law school for most people is stressful, time-consuming, and tiring. The two usually don’t mix well. In addition, applying to law school can add substantial expense to your balance sheet, forcing many small business owners to cut corners.

The following tips, taken from colleagues who have earned law degrees while running their own businesses, will help guide those looking to earn a law degree while still running their own small business.

Stay local

While it is tempting to go away for school, chances are your small business will need attention. “It was really helpful for me to be half an hour away from my business at all times,” says Betsy M., who received her J.D. while running an escrow company. “If anything popped up at work, I could be in the middle of things putting out fires very quickly.” Of course, this tip applies to brick-and-mortar businesses rather than internet businesses.

Notify your colleagues

People you do business with need to know that you are planning to attend law school, even if you feel this will hurt your business (it doesn’t have to). In order to effectively manage your time, you need to manage the expectations of your clients and co-workers. If they think you are working full-tilt, and you are pursuing a law degree all the while, you will run into conflicts at bad times. As usual, being straightforward is the best approach.

Avoid classroom traditional LSAT courses

To get into a good law school, you have to do well on the LSAT, but traditional LSAT courses are too inefficient to be most useful to you. Commutes, idle chit-chat, and a slow teaching pace all take away precious time from your LSAT preparation. Instead, consider taking an online LSAT course that will allow you to prepare for the LSAT at the office while you avoid traffic or at home. These classes are often much cheaper to boot.

Go for Scholarships

There are many scholarships available for small business owners. Your business experience, combined with a good LSAT score will make you a great asset to many law schools. This is so despite a poor academic record at your undergraduate institution.

Going to law school while you own your own business is no easy task, but it has been done. Hopefully these tips make it somewhat easier for you.

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