Law School Discussion

Why are you "Non Traditional"

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #130 on: March 23, 2005, 08:35:08 PM »
This is a very interesting thread.  Here's my story:

I am 39 but I can "pass" for late 20's.  (drink lots of water, don't wear make-up and don't smoke!)   :)

I have worked for 20 years in mortgage banking and feel that I have done everything I can do in that field.  I also have a Realtor License. 

My BA (1987-economics) is from a highly regarded private college.  I completed school in 3.5 years and worked *all* the time to pay for it.  My GPA is LOW and that is the main flaw in my application.

I have a MA (2002-education) that my company paid for w/tuition reimbursement.  Teaching has been a back-up plan for me, although I have never needed it per se.

Married for 17 years, no kids.  2 years ago I moved 1,500+ miles to a place I have always wanted to live.  I figured if I had to wait for hubby I'd never get to live more than 20 miles from where I grew up.  We are both VERY independent and we get along great.  Our non-traditional arrangement works very well for us, but no one else seems to get it.  He was looking for a job in this location, but then he got promoted with a hefty raise.  It is his dream job.  My plan was working so well....  Now it will be another few years before he could leave, but he says he likes it here and will look for jobs in this region.  We'll see.  He is thinking about getting a PhD while I am in school.

I don't expect to do BIGLaw, nor do I want to do what you have to do to get big $.  I will work hard at school and in the job.  I want to work with people (I LOVE customers) and help normal people with normal situations.  I am leaning towards Real Estate and Taxation because I am good at it and because that's what I know.  I can't see myself as a courtroom attorney.

I think law school will be interesting and challenging.  I am excited for the opportunity to meet new people who are smart and interesting.

I have been deferred at my top school, and waitlisted and my 2nd choice.  I was offered a rather nice scholarship by a school, but hate to make this decision based on $.  I have the funds to pay for most of school, but hate the idea of draining ALL my savings.  I am thinking of buying a house/condo while in school - the payments would be the same as rent - anyone else thinking of doing this?

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #131 on: March 24, 2005, 06:27:27 AM »
HippyLawChick, wow... we have similar stories... married in my teens three kids before i was 21... husband very abusive. I've been hospitalized due to abuse... when I finally left he stalked me, when that did not work he fought me for years trying to get custody of the kids... eventually he kidnapped them.... when i found him he had moved to another state... to make a long story short the courts decided not to try him because it was not "cost effective" to extradite him... when he left there was not actual written order by the courts granting either of us custody, we were waiting for a hearing.

I'm 38 and a senior at UVA... probably going to Hofstra because they have a great family law program...

Good luck

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #132 on: March 24, 2005, 07:04:32 PM »
   I've really enjoyed reading all of your amazing stories. It is so inspiring to see so many people put aside obstacles like age, a low GPA, or a violent stalker ex-boyfriend or husband to pursue their dreams. I'll tell my story. To be honest, I'm really reluctant to do so, since I'm usually such a private person. But I'm getting so sick of waiting to hear from schools, I figure I can kill some time by sharing my story.
   I'm 35, and my wife and I just adopted our first child (just turned one). I entered a top private college back when Reagan was still president. I thought I wanted to be a natural scientist - a physicist, chemist, or maybe a mathematician. It took me a couple years to figure out that I was deeply unhappy staring at a bunch of really difficult mathematical derivations. Around that time, during my junior year, my father had a nervous breakdown. I became pretty messed up over all this and did really awefully for a couple terms. I flunked an EE course I had decided to take on a whim and did really poorly in a couple math classes that I simply didn't show up to. I squeaked by, graduating with a BS just before the first Bush kicked Saddam out of Kuwait.
   I was deeply grateful when a tiny technology research firm agreed to hire me as a computer programmer for $14 an hour. "What a windfall!", I thought at the time. I worked there a couple years until I regained enough self-confidence to apply to masters programs in computer science. I earned a MS, met my wife, and moved to Silicon Valley back in the mid-90's.
   I went through a series of crazy jobs in crazy companies - marketing, customer training and support, engineering. I remember attending an engineering job fair at which almost no one would even look at my resume because I had been in marketing and they didn't think I'd make a good engineer. Thankfully, one hiring manager did give me a chance. He hired me, and I spent a couple years learning all about the way the Internet works. Several years ago, some friends of mine and I started a technology company. We soon sold it to a large tech company for an Internet bubble-sized price tag. I personally made millions and then, unfortunately, lost most of it in the subsequent tech stock crash. Oh well. I held on to enough of it so that law school tuition won't be an issue.
   Here are a couple ironic facts about my career. First, remember I said I flunked an EE course as an undergrad? I later taught myself the material that course covered and used it everyday in my tech career. It turned out not to be very hard at all. Second, remember I said almost no one would hire me as an engineer at a job fair? That includes the large tech company that eventually bought our company. I guess they "hired" me after all, but they sure paid a lot more money than they could have if they had been willing to talk to me at that job fair.
   Moral: Never listen when other people tell you you're not good enough!
   Tech paid really well but was pretty boring. I decided to go back to get a PhD, teach in a business or law school, and maybe enter politics one day. I'm half way through a top-ranked PhD program right now and have done well. I'd like to get a JD as well and  perhaps practice/teach IP law, technology law, or general corporate law. Someone has to keep the world safe for innovators and investors who want to change the world by taking on big corporations.
   I've mainly applied to top law schools, but I'm really nervous right now. I was accepted at Berkeley, but haven't heard from anyone else. My UG GPA was really low for a top school, my LSAT was not that great either, and I applied pretty late in the app cycle. I guess I'd be happy to attend Berkeley, but I'm not currently thrilled by the prospect.
   I'd call that non-traditional...  :P

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #133 on: March 25, 2005, 10:39:23 AM »
Like a lot of you, I consider myself nontraditional for LS.  I'm 34, graduated UG in 94.  I have a master's in educational and all but dissertation in Educational Leadership.  I'm currently a school district administrator (#3 in my district), and I guess I'm getting a bit burned out by fighting a battle in my district that I'm coming to believe I can't win, i.e., our students aren't showing the kinds of gains that I think they really should be. And I don't know how to do my job any better.  I guess some would say I need professional development, but I think that's not going to help.  I just need to do something else. I have had a lot of interaction with our school board lawyer,  and I think that I would really enjoy the kind of analysis offered by law study.

My husband works for himself in real estate development and travels all the time, so his home base can be anywhere.  We have 2 children, 5 & 6, who will be in kindergarten and first grade next year.  I want to go to LS at a place that has truly exceptional public schools for them.  I don't plan to do big law or make mega-money, as I really don't want to work that hard.  I only worry that with my husband away so much that the demands of class and the demands of the children will make me insane.  Others have told me that if I treat LS like a job and keep regular hours at it, it will be much easier than my current position.  I have no idea.  I may decide not to go anywhere and keep my job as it is.

I only wish much luck to all those nontraditional applicants out there.  I think it takes a lot of courage to make such a fundamental change in direction, and I admire all who are doing it.

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #134 on: March 28, 2005, 10:05:06 PM »
I'm not entirely sure if I qualify as a non-traditional student by standard definition. Perhaps I'm an "unrecorded" student, but I figured I'd post here anyways and say a word or two.

As notes to those who did post, I'm really impressed. The motivation and dedication to make the decision to go back to school is pretty amazing and I applaud all of you for making the proverbial "leap of faith." Judging from the stories here, there's a lot of personal experience that will later determine success in the legal field.

Anyways, a little about me, so you can get an idea of why I'm a bit "non-traditional." It doesn't really make sense, considering I participated in most of high school like any other student. In my Sophomore year however, the state gave me the chance to take my Junior and Senior years in a college of choice at the state's expense. Having been somewhat tired of high school at that point, I accepted. I started High school a year early, so my freshman year of college began when I was 15. Not knowing how to drive, my parents had to, thus causing things to be rather awkward. My standard excuse when people asked was that my "car was in the shop". Under no circumstances would I admit to not having a license. ;) Summers were spend working full time and taking college courses which wasn't the most exciting combination, but it allowed me to finish completely in the 2 year time bracket. I transferred into my "real" undergrad school at 17 (somehow managing to bypass taking the SAT/ACT) right about the time when I started developing a distinct interest in law/politics. The program choice was a toss-up between Political Science and Legal Studies, but I chose the latter.

Fast-forward to today and you have a just-turned-19, graduate-in-a-month student who has this crazy idea about getting into law school. I took the LSAT in December (first "official" standardized test) and quickly learned that, though I'm strong in reading/writing/comprehension it doesn't make up for the rest of the test. ;)

And I guess that's perhaps how I'm "not exactly traditional." Reading through these posts pretty much confirmed that. My worries were that the age factor might hurt my chances at law school, which was mostly confirmed. You tend to get a lot of snide comments from faculty and other law students including, "Try for it when you have a "2" in front of your age", "Come back when you're an adult" or the ever popular, "How about some real-world experience first?"  And then there's the poor, deluded individuals who actually think you're smart. I'm not sure whom I pity more.

That's basically my two cents for better or worse. There's not a happy ending (or an ending at all yet!) since I'm still hanging in law school limbo, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'd definitely encourage those who get commetns about being out of the "normal" bracket to keep up with things anyways. Scoring lower on the LSAT was a disappointment, the flurry of rejection letters were a disappointment, and the comments and attitudes I encounter are similarily so. Definitely, definitely, definitely don't quit though. I'm working towards eventually being involved with technology law, and I think I can accomplish it. Mabye not this year, or the next, but it will happen. I'm not quite ready to surrender to the stats yet. :)

Good Luck and best of wishes to you all.

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #135 on: March 28, 2005, 10:52:44 PM »
Hey, I think my cousin was the first person ever to graduate from UF law school with a GED!  (Also had an A.A. and a B.A.)  So it can be done - and done well.  He did extremely well, clerked with a judge and is now a fancy-schmancy lawyer in South Florida.

I'm 35 too - and there was a funny story in this last week.  My husband and I went out to Athens to check out UGA and stopped in at a condo project.  Of course the lady thought we were buying for our undergraduate child!  Can't blame her; it's a little weird to have adults our age coming in because THEY'RE going back to school.

Actually the doctor my mother works for graduated from Florida only having a GED during the 1960s, and he then went on to medical school and is about ready to retire.  So it can indeed be done.

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #136 on: March 29, 2005, 03:11:51 PM »
i'm 30. i graduated from Pitt in 1997. i have professional experience in closed-caption editing, library acquisitions, innkeeping, and even a bit of event lighting (go steelers!). that pretty much sums up what makes me non-trad.

i've been assisting in my family's country inn business for the past few years, clearing as much debt as possible, preparing for new debt, and preparing for law school. no news yet, but the end (of waiting) is nigh!

hats off to returning students. it can be a bit of a cold bath when you've been out of academia for a few years or more, or still even MORE! respect to the men and women out there raising kids, putting others through school, and now yourselves. good luck!

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #137 on: April 02, 2005, 09:16:11 AM »
WOW!  I am impressed with everyone.

I am a 34 year old Podiatrist.  Married with one toddler.
Private Practice for 3 years.
Bored and need a new challenge.
Interested in Health Policy.
Accepted to one school (part-time day), and WL at 2.

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #138 on: April 03, 2005, 07:02:37 PM »
Non Traditional??Let's try probably Non Existant!!! ;D I am a 46 year old woman, no kids and not married.  Just went back to school not long ago to get a GED and went on to get my AA. 

I just started working on my BA (partime).  I have worked as an Administrator in AIDS education/behavior research for the last 10 years. 

I have a love for Consumer Law and would very much like to find out more about cyber law.  I have a decent GPA (3.7) and lots of time to study for LSAT. 

I will be about 49 or 50 when I apply for law school!!! Jeez!!
I think that qualifies me for non traditional ;D ;D

Re: Why are you "Non Traditional"
« Reply #139 on: May 03, 2005, 08:13:55 PM »
I am 36 and married for the second time. My first wife went to law school while we were married and we divorced the summer she graduated. I now have a 14-month old daughter with my second (and much better) wife who has no plans for law school.

I have a BS in Community Development with a concentration in housing and economic development. I spent most of the last 9 years in the motion picture and commercial film business. In the last year I have rewritten the downtown building height ordinance for the city of Vancouver, Washington. I was really thinking of a masters in urban planning but I thought I would enjoy law much more.

It looks like I will be attending McGeorge in Sacramento so that we can be close to my in-laws. This should make it a lot easier on my wife and thus on me.