Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: Erick on June 13, 2005, 12:14:15 AM

Title: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: Erick on June 13, 2005, 12:14:15 AM
What kind of issues do over 30 law students face? I'm interested in how recruiters see them, especially for very competitive summer associate positions and clerkships. Are they given the same consideration?

In addition how does being older influence interactions with other students? Are they shunned?
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: geni on June 13, 2005, 10:24:27 AM
I think being over 30 can be seen as a positive in many ways.  Maturity goes a long way...  Older students often have a wider variety of experience, a greater sense of purpose, greater dedication, and more confidence.  I doubt anyone is "shunned" solely because of their age.  If an older student is shunned by other students, it is because of personality issues.  I would imagine, although I can't speak from experience, that firm recruiters base decisions on the interview and the person's credentials, and that age only plays a minor role in the process.  With more experience in interviewing, many non-trads may have an advantage.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: Freznic on June 13, 2005, 10:57:18 AM
What kind of issues do over 30 law students face? I'm interested in how recruiters see them, especially for very competitive summer associate positions and clerkships. Are they given the same consideration?

I've heard negative things about Big Law and age. For one, I suspect that somebody over 30 would have worked prior to going to law school... so they might be more likely to question needlessly long hours and the "face time" culture. Also, there may be perceptions that "kids" in their twenties have more energy and stamina!

I have to say, this used to way heavily on me. After talking with some lawyers in my area, I'm less concerned. I guess I'm of the opinion that if I don't get a job because I'm in my mid-30s, screw 'em  ;)

In addition how does being older influence interactions with other students? Are they shunned?

Maybe for the 50+ crowd, but I'm over 30 and still get carded at State Stores in PA sometimes! Man, I hope I'm not shunned for being older! Are you talking between 30 and 35 or are you talking 62?
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: tacojohn on June 13, 2005, 11:53:08 AM
In addition how does being older influence interactions with other students? Are they shunned?
Total speculation and hearsay, but I would bet that it gets pretty cliquey, and there will likely be a part of the straight-out-of-undergrad population that shuns older students.  Just like there will be a portion of the older students who shun the younger ones.  But if the school is very cooperative, the "we're all in this together" mentality should keep that from being a huge problem.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: sita on June 14, 2005, 06:27:46 AM
I'm 29 and for the most part I agree with you that I feel "too old for this" a lot when I am around people in their early 20's.  However, I have met many people that are younger then they seem and older then they seem.  One of my closest friends at work is 23 and I about dropped dead from shock when she told me her age.  I never would have guessed she was so young.  On the flip side, an ex-roomate of mine is 35 going on 12.  I am looking forward to getting to know such a diverse group of people.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: HippieLawChick on June 14, 2005, 07:07:54 AM
OP: I am wondering if you asked the question b/c you are over 30 or if you simply have a lot of curiosity about the wisdom of us "non-trads"...

I don't believe age is that big a deal for "biglaw" anymore.  The days of a person going to work at a monolithic firm and staying there for their whole career are pretty much over.  Therefore, they aren't looking for Ms. Right, they are looking for Ms. RightNow.  I am the youngest 33 year old you will ever meet and I am totally not concerned about it.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: Paperback Writer on June 14, 2005, 08:03:42 AM
I just turned 36.  I have no problems being in a class with "young" people.  All I am concerned with is how sharp are their minds?  I've learned that I tend to cluster around quality people with sharp minds and strong ethics.  It doesn't matter if you are 40, or 20, in my book.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: Freznic on June 14, 2005, 02:59:22 PM
I just turned 36.  I have no problems being in a class with "young" people.  All I am concerned with is how sharp are their minds?  I've learned that I tend to cluster around quality people with sharp minds and strong ethics.  It doesn't matter if you are 40, or 20, in my book.

I've learned to hang around shallow, ugly, stupid people... makes me feel better about myself ;) Seriously, you aren't at all nervous about being in class with folks the average age of 24? I met a couple 3Ls at my future school and felt like Fred Sanford!

HippieLawChick, glad to hear that about "biglaw." My source was an article that I cannot seem to find, but I read it at that NYLAWYER website. Seriously, what you say makes sense because there just isn't the employer/employee loyalty there once was!
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: txntrio on June 14, 2005, 03:12:35 PM
I'm 34, by the time I graduate law school I'll be 38. I've thought about whether there was a lot of age discrimination in law firms, but I really doubt it.  I think the people doing the hiring are not the 26-28 year old new law school grads, they're the older more mature partners and senior associates.

My biggest concern about starting this so late is the effect the long hours and exhaustive schedule of 1L and getting started in our new careers will have on my family. My wife will understand, but it's difficult to devote so much time away from your kids.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: twarga on June 14, 2005, 03:17:11 PM
I'm 35 and I don't want to work 80 hours per week.  I'd be happy making $50K per year with a manageable work schedule. 
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: txntrio on June 14, 2005, 03:45:25 PM
I agree 100%
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: plumbert on June 14, 2005, 05:53:45 PM
I'm 36, so these questions have popped up in my head as well.

I don't know, but I suppose some of our youngest and least experienced fellow students may find us incomprehensible (or, at the least, not as "fun" as those their age), but I would be greatly surprised if age turns out to be an issue for most students when it comes down to study groups or any other academic issue.

With recruiters, again I don't know--but I could see it cutting both ways: thumbs down if they suspect we don't have suitable energy or longevity; thumbs up if they prefer our maturity and the fact that we don't need to learn all sorts of distracting life-lessons while on the job.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: alphalyrae on June 14, 2005, 06:06:14 PM
I'll be 30 in October, so I hope that's close enough to qualify me to comment.

I'm banking on it being an asset. I'm a better student than I was in my teens and early twenties. I'm less distracted. Things that were very stressful then, roll off my back now. I recover more easily from setbacks and am less daunted by obstacles. I definitely have a higher tolerance for tedium too. Maybe it's perspective, or maybe it's just the emotional numbening that comes with getting your teenage hormones in check.

As for the workplace social aspects after graduation, I'm thinking it may be an asset there too. I've been in other social settings over the last couple of years where people who were much more senior or experienced treat me more at their level because I'm older than the usual newcomers. You kind of get unofficially promoted to the adults' table, even though there are kids who've been waiting in line longer for that privelage. I don't know if that'll come into play in law firms, but I'm willing to give it a try. 

Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: zeroL on June 14, 2005, 06:20:28 PM
I would have been a horrible law student at 23 (note that I'm not saying that 23-year-olds are terrible law students - just that *I* would have been.)

I was worried about this too, so I 1) talked with people from the mature students' club at my school 2) talked to the admissions office, who assured me that about 20% of the incoming 1Ls have graduate degrees (so do I) and are 27 or over 3) met other older students at the admitted students' welcome. Turns out a friend of mine from grad school, now in her 40s is going to my school too (which tells you something about the academic job market, doesn't it?) and 4) I talked to a BigLaw partner that I happened to have a connection with.  He said that his firm, at least, valued the maturity and varied experience that a lot of older students bring and they've had a great deal of success hiring non-trads. His advice for me was the same as it would be for any law student: go to the best school that you can, work hard, get good grades, and the rest will follow.

And yeah, if some firm won't hire me because I'll be 37 when I graduate, that firm would obviously be a bad fit anyway.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: twarga on June 14, 2005, 07:28:21 PM
Plus, if your kids are half-grown, you won't have to worry about jumping off the partner track onto the mommy track when your clock starts ticking down.  Mine will be teenagers when I'm done with law school, and I couldn't be happier.
Title: Re: How many of you are over 30?
Post by: dustoffdax on June 15, 2005, 11:11:53 AM
31 and I'm not worried about it. I figure about 1/3 of kids comming out of undergrad are going to Law School because they don't know what to do with their PoliSci (insert any other soft major here) degree. At least we older folks know we want to be in school and are taking a big chance with family and career to make it happen. I don't know about socially, but on the academic side I think we might are at least on par if not a little bit ahead when it comes to our studies.