Law School Discussion

Supporting a family while in law school. Please advise.

Supporting a family while in law school. Please advise.
« on: August 23, 2009, 11:11:22 PM »
Hello everyone,

I am actually very excited to find such a place to ask these kind of questions to others who may have some experience in the matter. I am a 25 year old male, finally finished my undergrad in business admin/marketing with a 3.2 gpa. The gpa could have been a lot higher but I work full-time nights for the U.S. Postal Service and attended school full-time and year round.I am married and have a 6 year old son. I also have 2 teen stepsons(my wife is 10 years older than me). My wife is very supportive of the idea of me going to law school because I truly feel and express to her that I was born to be a lawyer and to help people who cannot help themselves. However, here is my problem: I am the main source of income for my family. We are at about eye level with money coming in and money going out. My wife works part-time as a bank teller and has only a high-school education so for her to get a better paying job is not easy... we try everyday. I love her dearly but I just don't think it is realistic for me to think that she can support our family while I go to law school full-time. Some of you may tell me to go part-time and work. I live in Kansas City, MO and the only school in our area that offers a part-time program is UMKC and it is only a part-time days program which means I would have to stay on nights for the next 4 to 5 years and miss out on too much of my son's life. I am currently studying for the LSAT and am scheduled to take it Sept. 26th 2009. I was actually approved to take it twice for free. I am hoping that if I score high enough on the LSAT then maybe I can pick up a scholarship of some sort considering I am 100% hispanic and minority enrollment is down in law schools. I guess what I am really asking is...

1. Is it possible to take out large enough loans to supplement my income on top of the cost of tuition when I make upwards of 40000 per year working for the post office?

2. Is the study time really that intense that I cannot work an attend and spend enough time with my family?

3. Are there any outlets out there for minorities to access extra monies?

4. I read all of the time that only a handful of lawyers are making the good money, so is all of this stress and huge loans going to be worth it in the end, or am I just going to put my family in to huge debt that we will not be able to get out of?

Re: Supporting a family while in law school. Please advise.
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 04:14:30 PM »
Check with UMKC about their fin aid and grant policies. Many schools do not give grant money or scholarships to part-time students period, minority or not.

As for whether it will be worth it, most young attorneys in this country right now should consider themselves lucky to make what you already make at your current job.

The high paying legal jobs are really only for a small percentage of law students right out of school, and your chances of making that kind of money coming out of UMKC are just about nil.

Re: Supporting a family while in law school. Please advise.
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2009, 06:18:12 AM »
1. Loan amounts are based on your specific school's cost of attendance which includes tuition and cost of living. You should definitely work to minimize loans.

2. Studying is very time consuming, but I generally give myself at leas one weekend day off per week. That is without working a full-time job.

3. Minorities have access to extra scholarship money and extra job offers. It's good to be a minority in higher education.

4. The stress of loans probably won't be worth it and it will just be a burden on your family. Chances are you are making more $ now at the post office than you will make as a lawyer after law school. The idea that lawyers make BIG $$$ is a myth. If you can get out with minimal loans then I would say consider it, but if you're financing the majority of the costs with loans then don't do it.

Re: Supporting a family while in law school. Please advise.
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2009, 06:26:02 AM »
I think you have to consider the lifestyle differences associated with not just the grad school process but also the end result of a new career.  Look at USPS vs law in terms of the things that are important to you... salary might not be the top concern.  It might be freedom to set your own hours, be your own boss, do something new/different each week, etc, etc.

Although, for what it's worth, I'm my own boss right now and that's not as much fun as you'd think! Ha.

Good luck with your decision.  I know you can make it work... it's just a matter of if it's worth it to you in the end.