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Author Topic: To older students - and those who already have jobs.  (Read 2504 times)

Remittitur

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To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« on: April 12, 2010, 10:38:37 PM »


 Hello,

 I am almost getting into my mid 30's, and I have a full time job. I work at the court. I really enjoy helping people , and it gives me great satisfaction in putting a smile on their face because they got great service and information they were looking for. That said, I took the LSAT test, pretty much on a dare, and I got 160 (top 81%). All of a sudden prospect of a "good" school is very real, but I do not want to give up a job. I want to enhance my ability to serve the public- maybe become a PD or work for DA's office, but some schools, in  20-30's range, are in different states. One offered scholarship.

 I would like to know if there are any other older students, from 30 to 40 years of age, who are/were in similar situation? What did you do or plan on doing?  Did you decide to take law school while still working or went into it full time and quit your work? How is your experience in law school as an older student if you are already there? If you got scholarship, does it only pays for tuition and not housing, books, food?

 I would sincerely appreciate all of your opinions on this matter.
 Sincerely,

 

cooleylawstudent

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 11:26:53 PM »
There are a lot in their 40's at my school, and if you have a 160 you go for FREE!
http://www.cooley.edu 


cu014628

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 11:41:35 AM »
36, starting this fall.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 12:03:02 PM »
Good, I know a lady in her 60's who started last term. Compared to  her, you're a spring chicken.  ;)

36, starting this fall.

cu014628

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 12:10:00 PM »
Good, I know a lady in her 60's who started last term. Compared to  her, you're a spring chicken.  ;)

36, starting this fall.

Wow -- I was of the mindset graduating by 40 was essential ... I hope there is someone older than me in the fall :)

chi2009

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 12:12:35 PM »
I'm a 32-year old 1L and there are a lot of people my age and older at my school.  I did not quit my job - I go part time in the evening, which only takes one extra year.  I think it's worth the extra year since I won't have nearly as much debt as I would if I quit my job to go full time.  I know from my undergrad and grad student loans that a lot of debt severely limits your options.  The evening program and older students have a different culture than the day program and younger students, and it gets harder and harder to relate to 22 years old right out of college when they insist on complaining about how hard their life is even though many of them have never even had a job.  But the camaraderie among the evening students is pretty solid and helps a lot.  

It's extremely difficult and you have to be totally committed and disciplined.  Believe me, you will gain exceptional time management and coping skills.  No one who has not gone through this has any idea what it's like - my current employer seems to regard this as just some hobby I picked up.  So be prepared to stand your ground and do what you need to do to succeed.  It makes no sense to pay more than $100K for a legal career and then compromise your future by worrying about keeping your friends and family happy.  A lot of people at my school who started out as evening students eventually transitioned into the day program and gave up their full-time jobs, either because of the stress or because they got part-time clerkship.  If you already have a job in the legal field, you may be better off just sticking with that.  

I got a merit scholarship because I made the dean's list my first semester, but it only covers tuition.  Still, it's better than nothing.  There are tons of scholarships out there - you just have to take the time to research them and fill out all the applications.  It's very time consuming, but worth it if it ends up saving you $100K or more.  Ultimately, I decided that if I didn't go to law school, I would probably regret it years later because it's always what I wanted to do anyway.  I just got distracted by the corporate world that paid me pretty well, so it was kind of hard to bite the bullet and go back to school.  If you really want to do it, you'll make it work.  If you're on the fence about it, I'd think long and hard before making the investment.  Once you start and pay the hefty first year's tuition, it will be really hard to quit.  

laughing_heir

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 07:02:31 PM »
I hated my job and gladly quit it to go to law school.  I'm at a public law school with a substantial scholarship similar to OP's (few strings). I'm over 40 and have a family, and we all moved so I could do this. I hope to have less than 30K in loans when I get spat into the job market next spring.  I am very happy at my law school, have friends, feel welcome, have a pretty good GPA and get great support from administration and faculty. I have felt absolutely no marginalization on the basis of my age.  In a couple of cases it has worked in my favor.

Here are some things I wish I'd known before jumping in:

1) The salary range for lawyers is bimodal, and many JDs are working for less than 50K a year. That includes many public defenders.  The lawyers in the upper salary curve do not seem to be the ones who talk about "helping people".

2) EVERY point you add to your score on the LSAT translates into significantly better scholarship offers.  Waiting a year and taking a class to bump your score will probably be cost effective.

3) Lots of kids in law school have been studying law since they started popping pimples, with lawyers who are in the family or close friends.  And many of those kids are really smart and work really hard. Probably, the higher your school is ranked by USNWR, the more of these people you'll see crowding the top of the curve.  They are insanely well prepared.  Just coming in "ready to learn" is like starting a 5K ten minutes late.


If I'd known the economy was going to tank so bad in 2008 I probably wouldn't have taken the plunge.  I'd have kept saving money and kept my job. But I hated my job. I'd be much less happy than I am today.


cooleylawstudent

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 07:30:50 PM »
Honestly, you could've  lost that job with the economy. This is the time to train. It always taxes my mind to understand how peoples brains are wired backwords. They think, "the economy is bad, I cant do school now" then "the economy is good I can quit working and go to school" WTF?! Go to school when its hard to get work not when its easy. Thats the point of school.

laughing_heir

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2010, 12:40:42 AM »
I would have loved to lose that job, since the severance $ would've been handy.  I kept waiting and waiting but they wouldn't lay me off...

cooleylawstudent

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Re: To older students - and those who already have jobs.
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2010, 11:22:04 AM »
that plus unemployment too. The fine art of getting laid off.....I recommend an American classic called "office space", very inspirational.

I would have loved to lose that job, since the severance $ would've been handy.  I kept waiting and waiting but they wouldn't lay me off...