Law School Discussion


Should I consider applying to law school?

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1 (33.3%)
You have the background to be a great lawyer!
0 (0%)
Stick with social work
2 (66.7%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Voting closed: July 24, 2011, 07:25:53 PM


« on: July 14, 2011, 07:25:53 PM »

I'm not sure how much debt you have from undergrad, but it sounds like quite a bit since you keep deferring your loans.

I'm also starting law school at 41.  I didn't score high on my LSAT either and am going to a tier 4 school.  Financially, however, I am in a much better position and will be working with an attorney that already has a practice - so I know I have a job.  I'll be working full time and going to school at night so my debt when I graduate should be between 50 and 60K campared to 150K that many kids coming out of undergrad going straight to law school will face.

That being said, you'll need to have a high LSAT score to obtain scholarship money.  Since you are low income, there are grants you may qualify for that could help you, but I think the real issue is that you already sound defeated.   If taking the practice LSAT has you discouraged, I don't know if you'd be up for the challenge and stress of three years of law school and the bar exam. 

If you are determined to be a lawyer, keep practicing on the LSAT.  You should find a study group for it.  Many times working with other people can help you with the issues you are having.  Mastering the LSAT doesn't happen overnight - I certainly didn't MASTER it and have never been good at standardized tests.  However, you should be comfortable taking the test before signing up for the real thing.  Try to have fun with it and don't sign up for the LSAT until your practice test scores are consistently better. 

Given your personal situation I think law school could be financially devastating and take you to the breaking point personally.  I am all for cheerleading and recognizing that the odds can be beat, but this is no Lifetime television drama.  Law school takes (1) a LOT of money, (2) a tremendous amount of time, and (3) intense focus.  As a single parent, law school will be very difficult and take 3 to 4 years away from you being available to raise and nurture your child - you will be a less-than part-time parent.  My wife raised our 3 kids when I was in school, so I missed a LOT - I can see the affect of that gap in my presence and nuturing.  I would NOT do it again if I could do it over.

Dedicate your time, money, and efforts into something better for your situation.  Law school is no magic bullet.


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Without providing much personal guidance, I'll just give you my view of the probabilities at play here.

Around 55% of law students will actually find a job that requires a law license (The lower you rank in your LS class, the worse your chances are)
Of those law students, only 20-30% will start with a salary over $60,000.
Of those 60K+ professionals, less than 25% will actually enjoy their jobs.   

So at this point, only 3-5% of law students will end up in a job that starts at over $60,000 and enjoy their job.

Of those students who end up  in jobs that don't require a law license, the vast majority could have landed the job without law school.

Of those students who start out in law jobs under $60,000, the market is insanely competitive for enjoyable positions and public interest positions.  For example, one prosecutor or public defender position generally gets 100+ applicants.  Many of those applicants are highly ranked former students who were on law review.   Legal aid came to interview at my school and 40 3Ls interviewed (Highest ranked school in the region)

So sure, you can fight through your personal obstacles and make something of your self.  Many people in your situation do very well... but look at the numbers.  The "average" law student ends up in a low paying, extremely stressful, extremely competitive market.   And this phenomenon is caused by the mere fact that some students end up loving the law and making a ton of money, and every student thinks they will fall into that group if they work hard.


Recent graduate in the top quarter at the top law school in my region, law review editor, moot court, two great internships under my belt.   Sent out over 100 letters and 500 emails, asked everyone I know for a referral, currently doing part time contract work.  (at least it's in the legal field)

I agree with the advice you've received.  It would be very tough for you at this point!

Good luck though!