So, I got accepted into a top 100 law school at the tender age of 52. I am excited in that I always wanted to be a lawyer, took my first lsat back when dinosaurs walked the earth, but other priorities prevailed. Will start fall 2011; but have a question...... how will my "classmates" view me? really don't want 4 years (going part time due to job) of being alienated.... just curious.
I'm not quite in your boat, but I'm not that far from it. Let's just say we're rowing in the same lake.
I think they're going to view you as old. However, I think there are two things that will impact this:
1. Is it near the top? Or more like 80-ish?
2. Is it full-time or part-time?
Frankly, a lot of the schools lower down the pecking order have quite a few non-traditional students. It's not that we old folks can't go to schools like Harvard and Yale, but frankly, if we were the types who could nail down a 179 LSAT and a 3.92 GPA, we wouldn't be looking for a career change in our 50s. We'd be pondering retirement after shooting out of the cannon at full speed when we were youngsters.
I think a lot depends on your personality. If you act like "the old guy" and want to talk about a bunch of stuff that isn't interesting to anybody, then they're going to find you annoying and generally avoid you. However, if you have a good personality, can recognize group dynamics and are not a chore to be around, it shouldn't be that bad. I struck up a conversation with a few "kids" on preview day and if they were put off by my age, they sure didn't show it.
Of course, I was talking to them about things they were also concerned about: the job market, job prospects, what law school will be like, where are the good places to live near campus, etc.
So, I don't think being old will be that big of a deal at a lot of schools.
The folks who are going to have trouble will be the old guys who go in thinking that they have a bunch of wisdom to impart on young people and who never shut up about how they did this, or that, or whatever. The other law students aren't your kids, they're your peers. If you show them that respect, they will likely reciprocate.