Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Law School Admissions => Topic started by: studlaw on February 02, 2016, 09:57:37 AM

Title: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: studlaw on February 02, 2016, 09:57:37 AM
Hello,

I've always had an interest in law.  I certainly would like to own my own firm and practice employment law - utilizing my corporate experience.

I'm just wondering if I'm too old for this task - 4 more years of school.  I currently have a Master's Degree in another field. 

Any feedback from anyone in their mid-40's who started law school later in life would be awesome!

Thanks.
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on February 02, 2016, 10:35:26 AM
I started law school when I was about thirty. I had a wife, kid, mortgage, etc. I did the four year part-time evening thing. Here are my thoughts, hopefully you will find them useful.

Time Commitment

I assume that you will be working during law school. Working and going to law school is a GRIND. Law school is far more demanding than undergrad. Most people I know who had an MA/MBA felt that law school was more demanding than their grad program, too.

There is really nothing part time about a part time JD. Instead of five classes per semester you will take three or four plus summer school, all while working. My first semester I took Contracts, Torts, Legal Writing/Research. The next semester Criminal Law was added. I would go straight from work to law school, classes from 6-9:30, (sometimes later) M-TH. Every lunch break, weekend and holidays were spent reading and briefing and preparing for exams.

If you allow yourself to fall behind in law school it is very difficult to catch up. The volume of information that you will be required to ingest, and the speed with which it comes at you, requires constant preparation. 

I don't know if you have a family, but for four years you will have to make significant compromises with family time. Even if you're single, your social life will be on hiatus at least for the first two years. 

Expenses

I have no idea what your financial situation is, but in your forties you should be looking to avoid any new debt.

I would suggest that you seriously consider making your decision based on scholarships. If you do well on the LSAT and can attend a local school for very cheap as opposed to a big name school for $150K, I'd take the cheaper route.

If you don't do well on the LSAT, retake. Minimizing debt should be a top priority.

Expectations

I always tell prospective law students to be realistic in their expectations. Law is more boring than you think, and you will almost certainly not get a great, interesting, high paying job fresh out of law school. Unless you graduate from Harvard, you're going to have to slog through some crap in order to get experience.

It sounds like you want to be a solo practitioner, which is great. You already have corporate/business experience which puts you ahead of the average 25 year old new grad. But, even so, you're going to have to learn labor/employment law somewhere. It is very difficult to go solo straight out of law school. Law school teaches you the law in an academic manner, but doesn't really prepare you to practice. The people I know who went straight into solo practice and were successful were already paralegals, law office managers, that sort of thing. The already knew the ropes. You will need to learn the ropes from someone else, so be prepared to work for a firm or govt office for a while.

Which brings me to my next point: hiring sucks right now. Research your local market, be realistic about the options.

Age

Are you too old? No, but be sure to look at ALL of the attendant facts (not just your subjective hopes and desires), and make an informed decision.
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: loki13 on February 02, 2016, 10:37:52 AM
Hello,

I've always had an interest in law.  I certainly would like to own my own firm and practice employment law - utilizing my corporate experience.

I'm just wondering if I'm too old for this task - 4 more years of school.  I currently have a Master's Degree in another field. 

Any feedback from anyone in their mid-40's who started law school later in life would be awesome!

Thanks.

You are a non-traditional student. I don't normally think much about it, provided we're talking mid-30s or younger, but you present some additional issues.

In your favor, you will likely have several advantages that many other law students lack. A consistent work ethic. Life experience. The ability to treat law school like a job. This gives you a leg up.

Against you is that as you get older, it does get somewhat harder to unlearn things that you know- and law school is both about learning the law and unlearning things you think are true about the law (but aren't). You may also have family or other obligations that make it harder to participate in the full law school experience (extracurriculars and other non-class offerings).

What it comes down to is this- cost and opportunity. You say "four years." Do you have a particular part-time program in mind (that will allow you to work) that takes four years (full time is usually 3 years)? How much will it cost? Do you have connections that you will be able to use when you graduate to build up a client base?

This transition is possible, but it's hard. I know a practicing attorney that went to law school after a successful (unionized) position. He had an affinity for the law, and in his md-40s, went to law school. He's now a successful union attorney, utilizing all of his old union connections. But he's the exception.

There's no generic advice that can be given- it's going to depend on you.
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: Citylaw on February 03, 2016, 10:26:42 AM
Excellent advice above from Maintain and Loki as usual.

As for being to old for law school, the answer is nobody is ever to old, but obviously the older you are the less time you have to recoup your law school investment. As everyone has stated, starting out in the legal profession is difficult your work experience certainly will not hurt you, but it wont' be that helpful as far as being a practicing attorney either.

Maintain makes a great point about LSAT scores and scholarships. You want to minimize costs as much as possible and if you have the option try to get in State-Tuition there are several schools throughout the U.S. that offer very cheap tuition for in-state residents. There are several schools in New York and Florida that offer cheap-in state rates, which are even better than scholarships. If you are not aware many scholarships at law schools are contingent upon you performing well, which usually entails maintaining a 3.0 GPA. 100% of law students are smart, motivated, hard working people that think a 3.0 easy, but law school is a whole different animal, because of the curve and at most schools only 35% of the class can get a 3.0, which means there is a 65% chance you and all your future classmates will not and if you don't maintain the 3.0 your scholarship goes away for 2L and 3L.

Then finally one thing I personally believe is that part-time law school is not a good bet, most people I know that enrolled part-time were not ready for the rigors of law school and failed out, which resutled in a big waste of time and money for them. People "can" do it as Maintain has, but it has been my experience that most part-time students don't succeed. I think if you really want to do it then jump-in fall time and focus on law school, if your not ready for that big of a commitment then law school might not be for you.

When I was in law school there were people in their late 30's 40's that went on to do well. One of my classmates was a long-time journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, but he knew the newspaper industry was going down and he went to law school. He was 43 when he started law school, passed the bar, and is doing great, but he went full-time.

Also, this is a great article about choosing a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html

Good luck whatever you decide!

 



Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on February 04, 2016, 07:57:57 PM
Hello,

I've always had an interest in law.  I certainly would like to own my own firm and practice employment law - utilizing my corporate experience.

I'm just wondering if I'm too old for this task - 4 more years of school.  I currently have a Master's Degree in another field. 

Any feedback from anyone in their mid-40's who started law school later in life would be awesome!

Thanks.
Well to start.....Its 3 years (2 if you go accelerated over the summers)
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on February 05, 2016, 03:02:33 PM
Part time programs are four years, including summers.
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on February 05, 2016, 11:34:18 PM
Part time programs are four years, including summers.
no one of value has done that
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on February 07, 2016, 10:27:21 AM
Meaning what, exactly?
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on February 07, 2016, 02:23:30 PM
Meaning what, exactly?
I can't imagine summarizing it any more than that
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on February 08, 2016, 09:03:34 AM
I wasn't asking for a summary, I was trying to figure out what you meant. You're reading comp needs work.

I assume you mean that only crappy lawyers go to part time programs? Yeah, I remember all those loser part timers at Georgetown. They were going nowhere.
Title: Re: Considering Law School - mid 40's
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on February 08, 2016, 09:00:38 PM
You're reading comp needs work.



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