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Messages - Duncanjp

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Current Law Students / Re: What's The Difference
« on: May 28, 2011, 01:00:49 AM »
Officer O'Toole is strolling down the sidewalk one afternoon when he sees a commotion ahead. He arrives to find two lawyers in the gutter, gripping each other in mortal combat with fists flying while a little boy dances around them crying, "Daddy, daddy, daddy!!" O'Toole wades into the fray and siezes the two furious men.

"A'right, sonny," he says, " which of these two is your daddy?"
"I don't know," says the little boy, dabbing his eye. "That's what they're fighting about."

Current Law Students / Re: Any evening student working full time.
« on: May 13, 2011, 01:35:10 AM »
Yo, fo. I have a full-time career position and I'm going to law school at night. It is an exhausting but exhilarating experience. Since matriculating last fall, I have had absolutely no life. I work, I go to class, and I study. If I'm not at work, I'm in class. If I'm not in class, I'm studying. If I'm not studying, I'm squeezing in my mandatory nightly 5 hours of sleep. I think about law constantly. I listen to CDs of myself reading the rules that I need to memorize while commuting. No more sports radio or ear candy. I have a 50-minute commute and I use every minute of it to study. Fortunately for me, I have a wife who is behind me, but she hasn't gotten to see much of me since last August. It's a fabulous experience, though. I love every minute of it. I haven't seen most of my friends in almost a year. The main thing is, if you work full time, you have to really want to be a lawyer. It's a sleep-depriving grind like I've never experienced since getting out of the Marines. Makes college seem like a laugh. But if you like it, it can be done. I'm doing it.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Military
« on: April 28, 2011, 09:34:49 PM »
Cpl, USMC, 2nd FSSG, Camp LeJeune, NC, 1978-1982. Semper fi, brother veterans of all branches (and genders). 

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Law School at 52
« on: April 24, 2011, 11:51:22 PM »
I'm tearing myself away from writing practice exams in preparation for my contracts and torts finals, but what the hey. I need a little break. I'm a 1L at a night law school with nearly 100 other 1Ls, and there are several of us attending who are 50-52. In fact, there are even a couple of people who appear to be crowding 60. Most of the students average around 35 years old. Age does not seem to matter in the greater scheme of things. There's a certain camaraderie that compels everybody to help each other out, regardless of age. People judge you on how well you perform in class and on the exams. Be ready to share your outlines and notes with everybody, and never miss a class. Excel and others will want to get to know you and learn how you do it. Be lazy with the reading, stay home with every case of the sniffles, come unprepared to class, do poorly on the tests you'll find yourself going it alone. Nobody in law school wants to hang with the losers, and age has nothing to do with it.

That said, I think a fabulous education at a top tier law school when you're over 50 is a waste of money at least for many people. At this age, the only thing that matters is to get the license. It's too late in life at this point for the prestige to pay off, and the cost of an ABA school can be staggering. Just my opinion, mind you. That doesn't mean you should settle for the Fly-By-Night Law School and its McJ.D. program. Those grads don't pass the Bar in high numbers. But you might find a reputable, state-accredited school that will give you a decent chance to pass the Bar without costing the price of a second house. And you'll study the same subjects and use the same textbooks as the ABA schools use. Once you pass the Bar, at this age it isn't terribly important where you went to school. The people who would care about where you got your J.D. won't hire you anyway. They want young lawyers with bright futures ahead of them. Age discrimination may be illegal, but they're attorneys themselves. They know how to handle the law.

It is absolutely true, however, that a 50-something student is not going to be invited to the local bar with the 20-somethings for pre-class shots of tequila. But honestly, who gives a rip? I can't deny, drinking in the service and college was fun when I was in my 20s, so I don't blame them for a thing. But I have no interest in watching younger people get liquored up before or after class. Being old enough to be their father would make me feel terribly out of place anyway. If you're 52, you're going to look for people with whom you share some common interests. You'll probably gravitate toward the older students first, then you'll find people who work in fields related to yours. I know all the veterans in my class because I was a Marine, and it's a bond that transcends age. Beyond that, I've made numerous friends who are maybe 15 years younger than I am, and we're getting close simply on a fellow-classmates level. Everyone wants a support network. So as previous writers have said, your acceptance by other students will depend more upon how you conduct yourself socially and what you bring to class than how old you are. But if you're looking for a date, a photography class is a better bet.

Current Law Students / Re: Poor 1L Grades
« on: January 30, 2011, 08:31:38 PM »
I totally blew my crim law midterm, which was my first "real law school exam," and the shock of it took the wind out of my sails for awhile. But in reviewing my test, I realized that I had made some serious errors that were founded more on my naivete regarding how to take exams than with my knowledge of the law. I know the rules as well as anybody else. But I wrote my essays like I was Herman Melville, which made me run out of time before I had finished the third question. For some odd reason, I was under the impression that I would make more points by showing a thorough, in-depth knowledge of the major, obvious crimes than I would by showing a succinct, sufficient understanding and applying it effectively to every possible issue that the fact patterns contained. In the process, I neglected to address some of the issues that should have been discussed. But I learned my lesson, and I did not make that mistake during the midterms for contracts and torts. A number of my classmates expressed the same sort of dismay when they saw their first grades. While I was still stewing over my crim law exam, one of my company attorneys told me that law school is a game and a big part of the game is to put you in your place. That was obliquely encouraging. Very few people make the attempt to get into law school in the first place if they didn't do well in undergrad, so the competition is full of people who are used to getting straight As. I think it's just a matter of learning to stop thinking like we do and start thinking like attorneys. Keep slogging through. Quitters never get anywhere.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Birmingham School of Law
« on: November 06, 2010, 06:22:30 PM »
I can't say anything about Birmingham, but I'm attending a locally-respected, state-accredited law school and I love it. Fortunately, I already have an established career and it would be a huge step backwards at 51 to abandon my career for a position as an entry-level attorney in some other field. If I were 20 years younger, perhaps my opinion here would be different. My tuition is a third the cost of an ABA school, so I'm paying as I go, and while I will only be able to sit for my state Bar exam when I graduate, the fact is, I'm not interested in moving out of my home state anyway. This is where my friends and family are. For a person in my shoes, the only critical thing is to get the license. Given the ridiculous cost of an ABA education, the advantages and prestige of an ABA law school mean absolutely nothing to me. My ROI would never justify it.

Congratulations, LadyJ!

Semper fi, Haus! Force troops, 2nd FSSG, Camp LeJeune, NC. A great, life-changing experience. I spent a year aboard ship and crossed the Atlantic six times (3 over, 3 back). That was fantastic. I served honorably, but at the end of my four years, I thanked 'em for the ride and got the hell out.

Hamilton, you make a good point. You have to put the time in, regardless of what the schedule looks like. I've learned to say No in 17 languages, just to make certain everybody gets the picture. I had to quit my band. I've stopped writing and recording my modest rock songs. I don't go visit anybody anymore. I'm not available to play gigs or to do any of the things I love to do in life except study law. If your commute between work and school is short - shorter than mine - perhaps five nights a week would be doable. But I can't help thinking the grind would take a toll, as LadyJ's experience illustrates. Even in my undergraduate days, taking a full course load at UC Davis, I didn't have school five days a week. Maybe four at the most, and I only worked part-time. Today, I look forward to going straight home after work on Thursday nights. Monday and Thursday my wife and I can have dinner together before I disappear into the den to study. But having that little break in the action is a bigger relief in reality than it might appear on paper. I don't get home on school nights until after 10 p.m., and on those nights I eat dinner standing over the kitchen sink. Having a couple of days during the work week where I don't have to be in class all evening serves as a very welcome pressure release valve.

Do either of you have any thoughts on the relative advantage/disadvantage of a three night versus five night a week schedule?

Five nights a week? Ouch. I don't know about that, Haus. Not if you're working full-time. My classes run from 6:30 to 9:15 at night. Three nights a week is manageable - barely - but I depend on the other four nights, plus all day Saturday and all day Sunday, just to keep up with the reading and briefing for the three main courses (Contracts, Crim Law and Torts). We've got Legal Writing a couple of Saturday mornings each month as well, which cuts into my time for Contracts. I'll be candid: there is so much to do, so much information to process, that I have experienced odd periods of physical fatigue - like I'm about to come down with a bad flu. It's from the constant brain activity between work and school. I slogged my way through four years in the US Marines back in the day, and frankly, that experience was only occasionally this demanding. To say it's "challenging" is an understatement. I love it, personally, but I don't know how on Earth a person would work 40 hours and attend law school five nights a week. Even 25 years ago, I think I would have found that prospect untenable. If you didn't have to work, however, it would be a different story.

Hi Roomdo. Interesting thread. Here's my experience...

I'm 50 years old and matriculated at Lincoln Law School in Sacramento just over a month ago after sitting the LSAT in June. I work full-time for a title insurance company and attend classes three nights a week, plus a number of Saturday mornings, which is considered a part-time curriculum. The program takes four years to complete. It's fantastic. Brutal, but fantastic. If you enjoy endlessly reading deeply-involved texts that describe various disputes between people or horrific crimes and how the law is applied to them, then you're going to love studying law. But it requires every single second of free time that a person has. If I'm not at work, I'm either in class or I'm studying. If I'm in my car, I'm listening to CDs of the rules that I need to memorize and I'm reciting them aloud as I drive. If I'm in the freaking bathroom, I feel like I'm wasting precious study time. Frankly, I cannot work full-time and complete the entire volume of work they give us, especially formally writing out my own brief for every case that I'm required to read. Impossible. I'll write a few myself for each class, but I have to book brief the rest. It comes down to figuring out which corners can be cut and which cannot. Incidentally, when the semester started, I kissed my wife and said, "I'll see you in four years." The hardest thing of all is to find quality time for her. She's very supportive, lucky me, but she deserves to receive a fair measure of my time and attention, and wow. It's a difficult assignment. Especially since all I can ever think about anymore is law law law.

If I had time - I'm wasting time right now, LOL - I could write for hours about climbing this mountain. I really, really want to do this. But I'm doing it to enhance my current career, not with any illusions that I am going to find work as an attorney for some law firm when I'm 54. You need to really, really want the education in law. If you do, then don't listen to those who tell you that there is no point at your age. Do it for yourself. It's sort of like skydiving: you'll figure out where to land on the way down.

Best of luck.

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