« 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.