Law School Discussion

I want to quit my job and sell my house to go to law school.


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Re: I want to quit my job and sell my house to go to law school.
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2008, 05:27:23 PM »
Beach Bum.  My family moved 7 hours from our home town for law school.  We rented our house to a family friend and my husband was able to find a job right away.  Everything just sort of fell into place, which made me believe that it was the right choice.  We have all adjusted, but miss our family back home!


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Re: I want to quit my job and sell my house to go to law school.
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2008, 09:13:06 AM »
I'm returning to law school this fall at the ripe old age of 42. All I can say is, I wish I'd done it a LOT sooner. The thing I get out of the process is a sense that there's ... hmm ... how to put it ...


I have wallowed in this career or that for much too long. I never knew whether I ought to come in to work more, or less; change my job immediately because it sucked and had no opportunity, or stick in it for the long haul because it rewarded dedication. So on. I could never TELL whether I ought to demonstrate extra effort or whether I ought to demonstrate ability to delegate to others. I never could TELL whether I ought to agree with the boss and thus disagree with his boss, or vice versa. Everything was awash in indeterminacy. So I didn't get a lot of promotions, and really there was "no future" (certainly not financially!) in any of the fields where I could easily get an entry-level job ... AND STAY IN IT FOREVER. I was in publishing, journalism, academia, copy-editing, school teaching, all the typical English major crap. Hated it all.

Now I look back on it and I realize, "Hey, I hated it." At the time I looked at it and said, "So, I'm supposed to learn to like this? How do I do that?"

Now I look back on it and I realize, "Hey, they weren't EVER going to promote me BECAUSE I'M BRIGHTER THAN THEM. And more qualified. All those lies about 'we do it for the love, not the money' came from people MAKING MORE MONEY THAN ME." At the time I looked at it and said, "If ONLY I do something A LEETLE BIT HARDER NEXT TIME, maybe oh maybe I'll get the approval and actually be able to quit my second job because I'll start making a living wage."

I had nothing to compare to, and there were no "set procedures" by which one might get promoted or relegated. I didn't know how they kept score. In school and in law professions, there are levels where I'd BE HAPPY TO STAY. If I don't get  promoted but I'm "only" making market-rate, I'd be making LITERALLY five times more than I've ever made in my life. Who's complaining.

The ladder in front of me, is what I like, more than anything else, about having now applied to law school.  There were steps to take -- and here are some recommendations:

1. Take a Kaplan / Princeton Review / some-other-company practice LSAT. They'll let you sit one for free, all ya gotta do is call 'em up. They want your info so they can spam you so you'll buy their course. It will be in a room with other test-takers, it will be rigorously timed by a quasi-proctor, it will be computerized with bubble-sheets, it will be scored and you'll get a pretty accurate assessment of what you can and can't do.

2. Figure out whether you can be a law-school "star" (attend T14, get market rate at BigLaw, that kind of thing) or whether (like me) you'll be nipping at their heels. Then decide whether law school for you is going to be big more or not. Anything other than the T14 (maybe T20?) generally involves going to a school that is "best in region." The hiring is surprisingly localized. Market-areas such as Gulf Coast, Southeast, or California, all generally depend on location-specific education. Tulane grads get hired well in Houston; not in Minneapolis. I personally knew I wanted to be back in the Gulf region, preferably New Orleans, so I'm delighted to know I'll be attending Tulane soon. You might want to be in Grand Forks ND: don't attend Tulane! :D The "move" of your house, will be geography-specific. You need to know HOW REGIONAL your hiring prospects are going to have to be. That dovetails partly with your LSAT stats (see suggestion 1., above) and your GPA and the quality of your undergrad program.

Those are two major thoughts about the process of deciding. If you bomb the LSAT, and think it's really not something you can do really well at, to the point that you're making 120s or 130s on it, then no, I don't think you should ever try to go to law school. Life is too short to waste on unreasonable goals, or on "faking" success by (in this example) attending a non-accredited place where you aren't rigorously trained. You'll make more money as a real estate broker, doing similar tasks to what a grad from a non-acc law school does, with a lot less educational debt. But if you zoom in and get a 179? Duuuuude ...

Let us know. Where was undergrad, what's your GPA, your major, any big scholarships? Your LSAT?

Hopefully you've gotten over your indecisiveness (which in a sense, is a lack of judgment) because firms and, most importantly, your clients PAY YOU for your judgment and ability to make decisions.  You won't be happily sitting at market rate for more than a few years unless you show some drive to excel and or good the judgment and decisiveness necessary to run cases and delegate work to junior associates.  Firms will allow you to hang around and do work as an associate until you hit mid level or so; then many firms will start pushing you out if you have shown no skills that will put you on the partner track, no track record of good judgment and skill at running cases, etc.  At some point, you become a high priced mid-level associate who isn't adding ANYTHING, is stagnant and doing work that lesser priced junior associates will make.


Re: I want to quit my job and sell my house to go to law school.
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2008, 09:39:26 AM »

I guess I fit well into this category of non-traditional students. Anyway, here is my story.

I have wanted to go to law school for as long as I can remember.  But of course, due to life's unexpectancies and roads that you've clearly paved somehow turning in their own directions, my take a year off before going to law school turned out to be 10 years.  I am now 31 years old, I am happily married with 2 kids (my oldest is currently in grade school). I work full-time earning very good money in the legal field and I love my job , I really do.  We bought a house 2 1/2 years ago and things seem to be going well. Howevever, I've always felt that something was missing. I feel very very blessed and thank God everyday for what I have and where I am, but for some reason I cannot get rid of the thought of me actually fulfilling my long time dream of going to law school and becoming an attorney.  I have finally decided to apply to school.

The dilema: I am considering applying for Fall '09 to schools both in NY and GA. Both my husband and I have close family in GA, our parents, I know we will have absolutely no problems with support and assistance with our girls. I am secretly hoping that the schools in GA accept me so that I can go full-time. My husband on the other hand is not thrilled about that idea because he does not want me to quit my job AND he's not too sure about selling our house now. I really want to sell our house but I don't want to make that big decision in this kind of market and more so because I am not sure if I will get accepted into those schools.

Am I being selfish and should I give up on attending law school???

Help me out here please.  I would appreciate all advice that comes my way.

Ready for School

Age is certainly not an issue (most of the older students tend to do pretty well) but its your familial responsibilities that are a significant limitation. I'll make the following suggestions:

1. Why is law school a dream of yours? Do you have a specific legal career in mind or is it just a feeling of not being fulfilled that is motivating you? I think selling your home and uprooting your family from their settled location is not a wise decision, financially and otherwise, solely on the basis that law school will fill some void in your life.

2. I would heavily consider doing a part-time program and working full time throughout law school unless your husband is in a financial position to pick up the extra slack.

3. Aside from real estate concerns, why is your husband not on board? I agree with Jacy that he needs to not just assent to your decision, but should be convinced that this is the best decision for you and your family. He will probably be shouldering much of the load when it comes to caring for the children and footing the bill. If he's not 100% convinced that this is the best decision for you, your relationship, the children, then I would be hesitant to go even if he assents to the decision.

4. Biglaw. I'm not sure what type of hours you're working now, but if you have Biglaw dreams where you're going to be working like a dog after you graduate...just be prepared that your children are going to be asking "why is mommy never around" for at least the next 5-8 years or so (including law school). Most of your peers will likely be singles/dating in their 20's without children who have the time and energy to devote to a big firm. I would go into law school with a realistic approach as to the type of salary/career you're looking for, and how those careers might put a strain on your family relationships.

UPDATE: Re: I want to quit my job and sell my house to go to law school.
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2008, 10:35:47 AM »
I know it has been quite some time and I apologize for not responding to you all sooner.  Hopefully, everyone who took their time to respond will read this follow up.  First, I would like to say thank you soooooo much for all of your responses. Reading all of those encouraging words really gave me a greater sense of certaity.  So here's my update:  After taking everyone's advice into great consideration and after speaking with my husband, who by the way have been the best support system I can ever wish for, I have decided to apply for Fall '09.  I have been studying like crazy over these past few months for the LSAT. I was originally registered to take it this month but didn't feel as ready as I wanted to be so I am now scheduled for December (I only hope it's not too late).  My file with LSAC is nearly complete, transcripts, LOR's, personal statement etc., all that is needed is that score in late December.

Although the actual idea of applying to law school was never an issue, I am so glad I've decided to finally go for it.  Things seem to have gotten so much clearer over these past few months and the fear of doing this is almost out of the window....after the LSAT, it'll be completely gone. :)  My husband and I have also decided to stay in NY and I will be applying to schools out here with hopes of getting into an evening program.  This whole process has brought so many different feelings but overall, no matter what happens, I am just so glad that I am at least giving it a try.

Thanks again to all of you who have responded and I will definitely keep you posted with results.