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Author Topic: Am I too old for law?  (Read 5006 times)

fzc23

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Am I too old for law?
« on: January 07, 2013, 11:36:44 PM »
I am a 37 year old wondering if I have the time necessary not only complete a degree in law, but do so in a manner that secures me a position which would successfully pay off my debt within a time frame which would allow me to live on some of the money I earn.  I have a 3.6 GPA in Economics.  I have not taken the LSAT.  Is it worth it?  No family.  Just me in need of a career change.  All and any input is appreciated. 

Cher1300

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Re: Am I too old for law?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 12:05:57 PM »
I just turned 43 and am in my second year of law school part-time evenings and work full-time during the day.  One of the people in my study group is over 50, works full time and did well enough to be on law review and moot court.  I really think one is never too old, but be realistic about the fact that it will take you a while to get in the habit of studying again especially being out of school for so long.  If you do well enough on the LSAT or can work part-time to keep your debt manageable, it will be worth it.  Graduating at 40 or 41, you still have about 25 years to work and pay off any debt you incur.  Lastly, most schools are looking for a diverse student body and will welcome an older student with life experience.  Good luck with whatever you decide! 

jack24

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Re: Am I too old for law?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 01:40:45 PM »
I am a 37 year old wondering if I have the time necessary not only complete a degree in law, but do so in a manner that secures me a position which would successfully pay off my debt within a time frame which would allow me to live on some of the money I earn.  I have a 3.6 GPA in Economics.  I have not taken the LSAT.  Is it worth it?  No family.  Just me in need of a career change.  All and any input is appreciated.

I think you should clarify your question a little.   What type of law would you like to practice?  What size firm/organization?  How much money do reasonably expect to make?
 If you do well on the LSAT and don't go into a lot of debt, then "time" isn't really an issue

If you were gunning to work at a large law firm, you would be wise to talk to some biglaw lawyers.  I've heard that it is difficult for older people to get into internships with large firms (and some government agencies).    But if you'd like to get a license and start your own practice, I don't think age is a significant factor.

jonlevy

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Re: Am I too old for law?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 05:20:22 PM »
3 years of law school plus another 6 months studying for the bar is a lifestyle change not a career change.  Job prospects are not the best these days; you may want to research other possibilities that require maybe 18 months and yield a quick Masters degree.

Griffin

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Re: Am I too old for law?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2013, 06:00:39 PM »
I am in a similar situation, wondering about my age. Here are the details:

I decided I wanted to go to Law School at age 28, but have not yet finished a bachelors degree. Went back to College, pulled my GPA from the pathetic grade it was to a 3.49. As a sophomore, I ran out of personal funds to be able to pay for college, was denied a Pell Grant, and refused to take out student loans and bury myself in debt, so I joined the Army and became an interrogator in order to take advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Texas Hazlewood Act (Provides for a Public College education up to your Doctorate Degree or 150 Hours, which ever comes first). I am currently attending Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio pursuing a degree in Justice Administration. I will be finished in about a year and a half. I am now 31 and will be discharged from Active Duty in January of 2015. If I finish on time this gives me about 6 months to study for the LSAT without any college distractions, ETS from the Army in January and begin attending Law School. My overall goal is to become a prosecutor.

There are three Law schools I am considering attending, in oder of choice: Baylor, UT Law, UH Law, and South Texas College of Law. I realize two of them are private but they are Yellow Ribbon Schools and my GI Bill will take me through Law school with them.

My questions is, what advice would you more experienced, or anyone with advice that would help, give to me in my current situation?


Maintain FL 350

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Re: Am I too old for law?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 05:38:12 PM »
My questions is, what advice would you more experienced, or anyone with advice that would help, give to me in my current situation?

I was about the same age as you when I started law school, and my biggest piece of advice is this: minimize your debt, maximize your experience.

It sounds like you already have the debt part figured out, and that's good.

By "experience" I mean legal experience via internships, part-time jobs during law school, summer associate positions, etc. The job market is still likely be very competitive when you graduate, and it's imperitive that you bring some actual skills to the table. Good grades or a good pedigree alone don't really cut it anymore (unless you're graduating from someplace like Harvard). Many firms don't really have the time or money to train someone, and they look for people who can hit the ground running.

Many law students, however, focus almost entirely on grades, and perhaps complete one or two lightweight summer positions. As a result, there are plenty of newly minted lawyers pouring into the market, but very few who actually know what they're doing. (You'll find when you get to law school that practical skills training is usually minimal).

You can give yourself an advantage by finding positions at busy firms or govt offices where you won't just be a gopher or researcher. I had an internship during law school that allowed me to write motions, work on discovery, and make court appearances (including a civil bench trial). Instead of doing it for one summer, like most of my classmates, I stuck with it for the rest of law school. That kind of experience will allow you to effectively compete against others who have gone to bigger name schools, or who have higher grades.

As far as being a prosecutor, take all the criminal law and trial advocacy courses you can during law school, and intern or volunteer at the local DA's office. Personal connections are very important for those jobs. Hiring at the DA's in my state (CA) is very bad right now, but TX might be better. If you can't land an internship with the DA, look into criminal defense firms. You'll learn criminal procedure at either one.

Without an LSAT score it's tough to speculate about which schools to apply to, although all the ones you mentioned have good regional reputations. If possible, take an LSAT prep course. They're expensive, but I think they're worth it.

Hope that helped, and good luck.

simonh

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Re: Am I too old for law?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 11:47:07 AM »
Hi,

I am 44 and am a lawyer only 2 months now (in Israel). I have started when I was 39. Here it takes 3 years to complete the degree, 1 year apprentice and than 6 months for the bar exams.

I think the the main consideration in such a case is whether you can "survive" and enjoy this path. After all, the fact that you will become a student is a change in your life but it shouldn't necessarily stop you from continuing your life. You will meet new people and some of them will be your friends and you will have the opportunity to see the world in a new way, as a lawyer. Being a law student is an unforgetable experience.

Can you afford it? It is only up to you to answer this question.
In my case I didn't pay a dime for my studies and I was paid by the school instead. If I had to pay for it, then I couldn't afford it.

G.L.

Shimon Halevi
Israel