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Author Topic: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?  (Read 5174 times)

erbilliards

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non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« on: September 09, 2008, 12:04:17 AM »
I am a non-traditional student (33) finishing undergrad work. I am considering law school and have enjoyed reading this forum tremendously. I am wondering if there are any non-trad graduates who would be willing to share their overall experience. If you could go back in time, would you still pursue a law degree. Financial considerations, time considerations, work satisfaction considerations,...etc.



pig floyd

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2008, 12:27:59 AM »
All of it.  Even the bad parts.
I hate science because I refuse to assume that a discipline based in large part on the continual scrapping and renewal of ideas is unconditionally correct in a given area.

Terrible Ivan

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2008, 07:49:28 AM »
After 10 years of meaningful work doing things I loved for a company I loved, law school is the best job I've ever had. I chose the right school, picked the right neighborhood for my family, live on the right budget, and am loving (nearly) every day. I would do it again but would still not go to law school any earlier than I did.

I also just finished OCI. I'm telling you...non-trads at my school did considerably better at call-backs and early offers than the trads amid a slumping job market.

mtfbwy

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2008, 08:05:53 AM »
I finished undergrad at 35, graduated from law school this past May, and have started working (nervously awaiting bar results!).  Personally, being an older law student and associate really hasn't been any harder than being an older undergrad, perhaps even less so.  Most people I've encountered assumed I was indeed older, but not "this old."  As long as you're comfortable with the fact that your peers will be 10 years younger than you (and you'll be older than many of your superiors once you're a lawyer), your age shouldn't present a problem.  As noted by another poster, your age can sometimes be an asset for finding a job. 

If you read this or any other law-related online forum, most of the negativity that gets directed at non-trads comes as a result of a particular type of law student: late 20's - late 30's, who either had some sort of career (e.g., engineer, IT, accountant, etc.) or was independently intellectually engaged prior to law school (i.e., reads alot, is politically passionate, etc.).  The non-trad at issue, seemingly as of the first day of classes, trys to contribute his or her personal experiences to the class discussion, and it's often totally unrelated and adds nothing.  Add to this the fact that many a non-trad opts for the infamous "wheelie bag" to tote his or her books (despite the fact that many schools have lockers), and we thus have a recipe for disdain from traditionally aged students.  Mind you, these are law students, many of whom are predisposed to find fault with their peers, casting aspersion on people for any deviation from what they deem to be the proper way of dressing, speaking, or whatever.  But such does not need to be the fate of all non-trads.  

As you likely noticed as an older under-grad, being a bit older can have its advantages (e.g., you likely weren't enjoying the same social and sex life distractions as traditional age college students).  Those sorts of lifestyle advantages are still there in law school, but to a far lesser extent, as law students tend to be a relatively driven bunch (or least when it counts - at exam time).  

You note that you're "considering" law school...does that mean you've not yet taken the LSAT?  Your LSAT score is THE single most important part factor.  Do NOT fall for the admissions materials that indicate that your GPA, personal statement, life/work experience, etc. will be considered.  Those other factors only matter in very close cases.  Your LSAT score has a direct bearing on your other concerns (i.e., financial and employment).  You have to decide now what sort of lifestyle you want as a lawyer.  Most lawyers work alot, but if you're going to take on $100k+ in law school debt, you have to be both willing and able to land a job at a large firm (or at least a midsize firm paying $100k+ to first year associates).  

"Able" is the operative word.  The rank of your school and/or your rank at a lower ranked school will determine (for the most part) your ability to land such jobs.  Your LSAT will determine your school.  There are always exceptions, and everyone has unique considerations (e.g., do you have kids, spouse, etc.?), but in general, if your LSAT gets you into a top 14 school, or a top 30 (perhaps lower, but no lower than 50) IF that school places VERY well in your desired location, then go that route.  If not, go to the school that will allow you to graduate with the least debt.  

Good luck.

erbilliards

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 11:57:33 AM »
mtfby,

Thanks for the insights.

"You note that you're "considering" law school...does that mean you've not yet taken the LSAT?"

I have not yet taken the LSAT. I graduate undergrad in Dec., should finish with a 3.8 UGPA. My plan is put forth the time and effort to thoroughly prepare for the LSAT, hopefully scoring well enough to keep my options open. By "well enough", I mean in the range of 170+ (I have a history of doing well on standardized/aptitude tests), as without substantial financial aid I won't be choosing law school. I can't justify $100k range debt/cost. Add in lost income while taking time off to go to law school and you are in the quarter million dollar range for total investment.....just daunting. I'm also geographically limited. I own property, have a family, and have business ties that will mean my school choices will be limited to the state of New York. All that being said, my main motivation in returning to school has been preparing for a "2nd" career, as I'm becoming dissatisfied with my present work. My biggest criteria for my "2nd" career will be intellectual stimulation, and job satisfaction. I want to get more "enjoyment" out of my work life. Do you find your law career stimulating work? If its not too intrusive, what area of law do you work in?


Refused Party Program

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2008, 10:17:07 PM »
I was an engineer in my former life, in the late 20s/early 30s age group (but no wheely bag for me thanks) and while I think I made the right choice now, there were moments where it was difficult. This was especially true at the start of 2d semester. If you are looking for something that is challenging and engaging, this is a pretty good call (at least in my opinion). You will get some traditional, logical, problem solving but you will also have a wild card people element that keeps things interesting.

I had a pretty sweet situation and there are times when I miss it. I did make my life more difficult by going to law school, but that isn't a bad thing really. I like the excitement.

I go to a school that is pretty young and I have an active social life and enjoy being there. You will find your place, even if it is among people that may be younger than you.

I do think that being older and having work experience has helped me do better in the job search. I also think that it puts things into perspective a little more. It isn't the end of your life if you get a B. You might be less tolerant of biglaw sweatshops (that is a good thing). You might be less likely to define your self worth by how much money you make or being Mr. Smarty pants in class or what firm you work for.  I think because I have life experience, I realize there is more to life than "career accomplishments" (at least career accomplishments as many law students define them).

Good luck with your LSAT. Take lots of practice tests, it is a hard standardized test. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me.

redcement

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2008, 11:14:27 PM »
To the nontrads who posted: thank you for your insight, and your optimism. It's funny, there are nontrad undergrads with those wheelie bags as well...and with the "I-wash-my-kids-mouths-out-with-soap" bizarre, off-topic additions to the class discussions.

For myself, I did not do so well on the lsat, but I am interested in law, esp. public advocacy and criminal law (OK... so that's all I've been exposed to so far). I am a word nerd and a work horse, and I think I'm meant to be a lawyer. I figure debt will be just a part of my life, even with consolidation and income contingent repayment plans.

dbgirl

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2008, 01:08:45 AM »
Has it occurred to anyone that a lot of "wheely bag" toters are disabled and can't use backpacks?

I got a lot of teasing about this in law school - no one ever cared WHY I needed a bag, just having one was inherently "uncool."  ::)

When you have somebody dying because they are poor and black or poor and white or because of whatever they are ... that erases everything that's great about this country.

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Team Pam

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2008, 10:45:39 AM »
I've never before heard/seen the non-trad=wheelie bag connection... all the wheelie bag students at my school are short, petite girls who'd probably tip over if they tried to carry their casebooks on their backs.
UPenn '10

Thistle

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Re: non-trads, with the benefit of hindsight would you do it again?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2008, 10:46:20 AM »
no, i would not.
non ex transverso sed deorsum


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