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Author Topic: 37 and thinking about law school....  (Read 6640 times)

Avenue

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37 and thinking about law school....
« on: August 02, 2010, 04:09:05 PM »
ok about me, im 37, single, former wall streeter who quit the biz a little over 3 years ago. mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer shortly after i left work, so ive spent the last 3 years going to chemo and doctor appointments. in that time we all know what happened to the jobs on wall street (though i hear theyre starting to come back). anyway, my mom passed away 3 weeks ago  :'(  and now im at a crossroads...go back to finance or head off to law school?
i have no doubt about getting into law school, i finished undergrad in 3 years with a 3.97gpa in my major, and i worked for one of the best wall street firms out there. nor do i worry about the debt, heck ive had zero income for the last 3 years...somebody out there is bound to give me a scholarship   :P
now get this, i dont find law particularly attractive, i dont care for shows like LA Law, and have no desire to work at a big firm (trust me, we hired a few people from cravath swaine & moore and sullivan & cromwell, and they told me all the horror stories about working at places like that), but i just want a stable career (which means, NOT wall street), where i can set my own hours (ie; private practice...after 10 years of 12+ hour days, i now value quality of life more than obscene amounts of money, and if i am gonna work 12 hour days, its gonna be for myself, and not da' man!  :) ), and make a decent living.
so am i nuts to think of law? yeah i know, im grieving right now and under a lot of stress, so i'll continue to decide what to do...just want to hear peoples thoughts. and oh yeah, after 3+ years away from wall street, getting a job will not be easy. oh dear  ???

thanks very much

PS; my moms doctors had told me to seriously think of med school cause they think id make a great doctor...but even i know that at my age thats completely out of the question. wish i had thought of that 10 years ago !!!!! hahaha

Hamilton

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 09:54:25 AM »
I am sorry for your loss.

I went to LS at about 37 while enjoying a succesfull career.  I mainly finished law school b/c it helped with my current career, I was getting a great scholarship, and I wanted to finish what I started - not out of some passion for law.  Intellectually it was an interesting experience, but the prospect of actually practicing as an attorney became very unappealing to me given my current professional situation.  Given the option, I would not do it over again.  When we were in our mid-20s and burning to get ahead in the world we actually enjoyed putting in prutal hours on thankless work so we could climb the ladder.  When I graduated law school in my early 40s I though 'I have already paid my dues once, no way am I going to go back to the bottom, put in 70+ hours a week on low-tier tasks, and do it eagerly with a smile on my face while competing with people half my age whom I have little in common with.'  In LS at 37 you are something of an outsider - think what it will be like at a firm reporting to partners 10 years younger than you.

If you worked at a top Wall Street firm, my guess is that you do not do things half-@$$ed.  LS is a big time commitment and a lot of hard work if you want to be in the top % of your class.  If you want to do it for intellectual stimulation - go for it.  But why pursue something that does not light a fire in your belly?  Do some research, there are a ton or articles and web sites regarding the over-supply of lawyers, unemployment in the field, and increasing trend in the number of JDs.  Why become a part of this mess?

Instead of law, why not think about a career that truly intests you and actually benefits society?  Build upon what you already have and get back in the game.  Getting back into Wall Street after 3 years off will be a lot easier than getting into law by way of law school started at 37.   

Avenue

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 04:11:04 PM »
thanks guy, i appreciate your thoughtful replies.
gonna take a month long vaca in europe soon so i'll think long and hard about whats next.

many thanks!!!

Hamilton

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 09:54:07 AM »
Good luck.  Life is too short to be doing something you do not truly love.

thanks guy, i appreciate your thoughtful replies.
gonna take a month long vaca in europe soon so i'll think long and hard about whats next.

many thanks!!!

hereIgoagain

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2010, 01:58:03 AM »
Sorry for your loss.

I started law school in my 30's after a successful career in the business world. It was always my dream to go to law school.
You have to be very passionate about this field to really justify adjusting living like a student again, studying late night when everyone is out having a good time, being talked down to by a professor and having your normal life halted while everyone else your age is moving forward. For me it was worth it because it was my dream and I have loved every minute of it.

Best of luck to you and follow your heart.


tryinLawSchool

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 02:05:18 PM »
ok about me, im 37, single, former wall streeter who quit the biz a little over 3 years ago. mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer shortly after i left work, so ive spent the last 3 years going to chemo and doctor appointments. in that time we all know what happened to the jobs on wall street (though i hear theyre starting to come back). anyway, my mom passed away 3 weeks ago  :'(  and now im at a crossroads...go back to finance or head off to law school?
i have no doubt about getting into law school, i finished undergrad in 3 years with a 3.97gpa in my major, and i worked for one of the best wall street firms out there. nor do i worry about the debt, heck ive had zero income for the last 3 years...somebody out there is bound to give me a scholarship   :P
now get this, i dont find law particularly attractive, i dont care for shows like LA Law, and have no desire to work at a big firm (trust me, we hired a few people from cravath swaine & moore and sullivan & cromwell, and they told me all the horror stories about working at places like that), but i just want a stable career (which means, NOT wall street), where i can set my own hours (ie; private practice...after 10 years of 12+ hour days, i now value quality of life more than obscene amounts of money, and if i am gonna work 12 hour days, its gonna be for myself, and not da' man!  :) ), and make a decent living.
so am i nuts to think of law? yeah i know, im grieving right now and under a lot of stress, so i'll continue to decide what to do...just want to hear peoples thoughts. and oh yeah, after 3+ years away from wall street, getting a job will not be easy. oh dear  ???

thanks very much

PS; my moms doctors had told me to seriously think of med school cause they think id make a great doctor...but even i know that at my age thats completely out of the question. wish i had thought of that 10 years ago !!!!! hahaha

I'll be just turning 36 when I graduate with my Bach, and 39 when I graduate from Law school. So I say go for it! If it is what you want, especially after you have been through, go for it!!!

MeganEW

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 03:38:29 PM »
I'm sorry for your loss.  :(

I'm not sure law is going to get you where you want to be, though, from a quality of life perspective.  I'm a mere applicant as well, but I worked in support staff roles at an investment bank and a BigLaw firm.  Associates in BigLaw work hours similar to analysts for similar pay (though higher salary / lower bonus), only they have professional degrees.  BigLaw partners are typically the highest paid attorneys, and they often make less than directors at investment banks.
I know you're not interested in BigLaw.  I'm also the daughter of an attorney.  Highly respected by his peers, my father's salary topped out at $90k as Chief Deputy Prosecutor and $115k as a judge.  That's after 20+ years of practicing, though in a LCOL area.  His highest salary, though, is likely lower than you made your first year on Wall St.  He definitely was home more than the young associates in BigLaw, but he still regularly worked 10+ hour days (not to mention the work he'd do at home).
I imagine the salary for small law is somewhere in between my dad's and BigLaw.  Hopefully some attorneys in smaller firms can pop in with ballpark figures in terms of hours and pay.

Ultimately, I don't really see law as a high quality of life type of career.  I'm pursuing it because I'm a total law dork and want to make it official, but if I was smart, I'd stay in my current field.  I'm at a Fortune 500 retailer.  The pay is good, there's room for growth, and it is truly a 40 hr/week job, even at the director level.  With your experience, this would be a logical step for you.

Good luck! :)
Acceptances: UIUC, IUB, Fordham, W&L, OSU
WL: Notre Dame
Rejections: NYU, Northwestern

megee333

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 11:02:38 AM »
Hi,

I just turned 40 last week and after 10+ years in IT anything will be better!

What I feel about law is that it interests me quite strongly, maybe no burning passion but then what job really does that?

I`m doing the PT 4 year route starting Fall 2011, so a long road but a career that I`ll do for another 30 years ..


MEMEMEME

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 11:32:06 AM »
I am 25 and my mother died in July of cancer and I am prepping for the LSAT through the grieving process, etc. HOWEVER, I have always wanted to go to law school and I think at the very very least you should wait until you clear your head more before you decide if you want to take out tens of thousands or more in debt at 37. Plus, if you don't find it very interesting, think about it...you either have to live solely on student loans OR work and go to school and your life will be HECTIC even with a part-time program. And if you're studying something that you don't like a lot and are busy as hell, your life will feel like hell for a few years, in my opinion. It doesn't sound like it's a good match for you. Money is nice, but I intend on doing a four year program and am dreading being at youngest 40 before it's all gone unless I make it big somehow and can just dish out the loan repayment. You're 37 and you don't even like law. PLUS, law isn't like it used to be. Sure, it pays a decent salary but expect that you could make in the 50's or 60's for a long time, possibly forever. It's much more likely these days to stay at that salary than ever make 100K plus..AND Don't assume you will get a scholarship because you don't have any resources and had a 3.97 GPA. What if you bombed the LSAT? No money. You might get in, but NO MONEY. And, remember how broke all of the "traditional" students are nowadays? Well, that's my two cents and sorry for your loss, I know how it feels. I loved my mother very much too. The only reason I am gambling with law school (which is a huge gamble) is because I already have worked in law as a paralegal and know what it is and have desired to be a lawyer since age 10. I don't know what you like, but if you want a solid career with possible scholarships, etc. you should become an accountant or study computers. Healthcare and engineering are also in need but I don't know how much you want to start over with your education or what skill sets you have or if you were a broker/financial advisor or investor. If you were a financial advisor, perhaps you should consider being a compliance person for brokerage firms and subsequently an expert on securities law suits. No law school debt or time burden required.

louiebstef

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Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2010, 10:11:44 PM »
I am 25 and my mother died in July of cancer and I am prepping for the LSAT through the grieving process, etc. HOWEVER, I have always wanted to go to law school and I think at the very very least you should wait until you clear your head more before you decide if you want to take out tens of thousands or more in debt at 37. Plus, if you don't find it very interesting, think about it...you either have to live solely on student loans OR work and go to school and your life will be HECTIC even with a part-time program. And if you're studying something that you don't like a lot and are busy as hell, your life will feel like hell for a few years, in my opinion. It doesn't sound like it's a good match for you. Money is nice, but I intend on doing a four year program and am dreading being at youngest 40 before it's all gone unless I make it big somehow and can just dish out the loan repayment. You're 37 and you don't even like law. PLUS, law isn't like it used to be. Sure, it pays a decent salary but expect that you could make in the 50's or 60's for a long time, possibly forever. It's much more likely these days to stay at that salary than ever make 100K plus..AND Don't assume you will get a scholarship because you don't have any resources and had a 3.97 GPA. What if you bombed the LSAT? No money. You might get in, but NO MONEY. And, remember how broke all of the "traditional" students are nowadays? Well, that's my two cents and sorry for your loss, I know how it feels. I loved my mother very much too. The only reason I am gambling with law school (which is a huge gamble) is because I already have worked in law as a paralegal and know what it is and have desired to be a lawyer since age 10. I don't know what you like, but if you want a solid career with possible scholarships, etc. you should become an accountant or study computers. Healthcare and engineering are also in need but I don't know how much you want to start over with your education or what skill sets you have or if you were a broker/financial advisor or investor. If you were a financial advisor, perhaps you should consider being a compliance person for brokerage firms and subsequently an expert on securities law suits. No law school debt or time burden required.

MEGEE333,

Re-read the post above.  I totally agree with MEMEME.  I am a (newly minted) paralegal headed to LS because it is what I have always wanted to do.  In fact, I was already making in the 60's as a middle manager and am quite aware that will be close to what I'll probably make as an attorney.  The point, you don't care as much if you LOVE what you do.

Without that passion, PLEASE listen to MEMEME and wait and think before wasting time, effort and money on something that is not your passion.  Please take my advice.  I am a retired naval officer, 46 years old.  I wouldn't steer you wrong and none of us are patronizing you.  Best wishes in whatever endeavor you choose.
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"