Too busy? Studying as a parent for a Juris Doctor degree

Is it possible to study law as a parent? Many busy parents want to pursue advanced qualifications, but it can seem impossible when you have family responsibilities to consider. 

But if a career as a legal professional is your goal, your family life doesn’t have to be a barrier. For many, a Juris Doctor is an attractive alternative to an undergraduate law degree, with flexibility that makes it particularly appealing to those who are balancing parenting responsibilities, work and study. 

So is it worth studying a Juris Doctor while balancing parenting responsibilities? And if so, what’s the best way to do it?

Is it worth studying law as a parent?

Becoming a lawyer or solicitor is more flexible than most people realise. Even without an undergraduate law degree, professionals can still aim for this career with the relevant postgraduate qualifications, such as a Juris Doctor. 

Once students complete the Juris Doctor program, they can undertake supervised practical legal training, Supreme Court admission and their Practicing Certificate application acceptance. From there, they’ll be eligible to practise as a lawyer.

Aleksandra Yates is a leader in the Australian public service, as well as a parent. She explains why she enrolled in UC’s Juris Doctor course.

"I decided to study the Juris Doctor program because the fast-tracked pathway allowed me to study as a working professional. With a strong motivation for social justice, I could eventually join the legal profession," she says.  

Of course, there are more benefits beyond earning an accredited qualification for a mature-age student to consider. These include:

Broaden your range of career paths

A Juris Doctor gives students a broader scope of professional opportunities to pursue - especially because demand for lawyers continues to be high. Once complete – with other requirements met – you can practise as a lawyer and make a difference as a legal professional.

Boost your earning potential

Postgraduate qualifications make you a desirable candidate and increase your eligibility for higher-paying roles. The average salary for a lawyer in Australia is $105,000, with further earnings possible based on experience and area of practice.

Future-proof your skills

According to Labour Market Insights, the demand for solicitors will increase by 21 per cent in the lead-up to 2026. With a Juris Doctor degree, graduates ensure their skills are in demand in the future of work.

Meet like-minded students

Whether you are 35 or 85, studying a Juris Doctor online can help you connect with peers. Studies suggest that the age range of students studying Juris Doctors has expanded significantly.

Networking options are also numerous, too, even if you are doing online study. "The Juris Doctor program has an active student cohort of diverse professionals," Yates says of the online course. "It’s been interesting to share knowledge and experience with other students.”

10 tips for studying law online as a parent

Commencing studies as an adult learner can be daunting. Studying as a parent, even more so. However, many students find that their maturity and life experience affords them greater motivation to complete their studies. With a degree as complex as the Juris Doctor program, these attributes undoubtedly have a positive effect. 

With a shift toward lifelong learning becoming the norm, it’s never too late to pursue studies that interest you.

If you’re considering taking on-campus or online study as a parent, these tips and strategies can help.

Consider part-time study

Students can study their Juris Doctor part-time at the University of Canberra Online in an accelerated study mode. You’ll have seven weeks on each unit, with the degree spread over three to four years.

This flexible study format makes it easier for you to balance work, study and family or parenting responsibilities.

Find a course that fits around your life

One of the benefits of online learning is that it’s flexible - you can truly study anywhere, anytime.

By choosing an online Juris Doctor, you can truly shape your law study around your life, whether it’s a full-time job, childcare drop-offs, school pick-ups, sport, playdates or anything in between.

Plan your study schedule

Creating a timetable or similar can help your organisation and time management, and it can also help your partner and kids understand your busy times.

Remember that younger children often find comfort in familiar rhythms. Think about how you can make a study space around normal daily rituals, like mealtimes or bedtime routines.

Be realistic about time commitment

If you’re returning to study after an extended period, it may not be easy to estimate how much time you need to meet your study goals.

With our online Juris Doctor, you’ll need to budget approximately 15–20 hours of online study per week. You will also have the benefit of a personal Student Success Adviser to help you with time management and study plans.

Bite-sized learning

Commit to a small piece of study each day, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

"After a long day of work and putting a child to bed, it can be challenging to pick up with your reading," Aleksandra Yates says. "On those days, it’s better to do at least something – progress, not perfection.”

Find study options that interest you

At the University of Canberra Online, students can choose topics of interest for legal essays and assessments. The Juris Doctor also offers you the option to complete a law internship or a legal research project, giving you hands-on experience in an area you’re passionate about.

"Being able to engage with the law in a way that fits my personal motivations makes it easier to learn," Yates says.

Be present

When you’re spending time with your kids, remember to be fully present. Your children can get their fill of your attention, meaning they may be less likely to pester you while studying, and it also helps you mentally recharge.

Get the kids involved

If you have older children with homework of their own, you might try doing family study sessions.

Stay focused on the end goal

It can be easy to lose sight of your goals when the workload is overwhelming. So, remember why you’re studying for your Juris Doctor.

"Remind yourself of why you’re doing it and just keep going,"  Yates encourages. "As a university with high standards, every assessment is an opportunity to learn and grow."

Don’t be afraid to ask for support

Prioritise your wellbeing and take time out from study to reset. Be intentional about connecting with your friends, family and your broader support network, even when study gets busy.

Don’t forget, our Student Success Advisers are available to help keep you focused, ambitious and positive in your pursuit of academic success. Whatever your question or concern, support services are just a phone call away.

Studying as a parent with University of Canberra

Undertaking a law degree as a parent requires an educational provider who understands the complexities of balancing online study and family needs. The University of Canberra offers many benefits to parents who complete a Juris Doctor degree online.

  • Flexible study options. The biggest drawcard to online study is flexibility. For parents, this means balancing studies with other commitments, including family and work. With the University of Canberra’s unique and accelerated part-time courses, you can master one subject at a time.

  • Ongoing support and engagement. Your support network will extend beyond family and friends. With University of Canberra, you’ll have a dedicated Student Success Adviser who supports you as you study. They’re there to advise, guide and assist you throughout the learning experience.

  • Expert teaching staff. The University’s teaching staff help students succeed. "The tutorials aren’t large-class sizes, so you can engage with the course and get to know the teachers," Yates says. "The teaching teams share their experience from various backgrounds in the legal profession, so you see firsthand the diversity of options available once you graduate.”

  • A degree tailored to your goals. Studying your online Juris Doctor at University of Canberra equips you with an accredited degree for admission to legal practice in Australia. However, students decide which units to undertake to build a qualification that aligns with their professional goals. As part of the program, students will also participate in a research project or internship, giving them real-world experience under the supervision of a professional practitioner.

Study a postgraduate law degree with UC Online

Studying as a parent can feel daunting, but it’s a rewarding endeavour. University of Canberra has developed an online Juris Doctor degree that is straightforward and accessible, regardless of your personal life.

Speak to our Student Success Advisers about how we can help you achieve your goals.

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