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Author Topic: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children  (Read 4372 times)

areopagite

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Prospective law students with children, spouses or both face unique challenges when it comes to applying to and attending law school, but I think that we also have some advantages in terms of motivation, maturity and perspective.  This thread is a place where we can discuss these things (and hopefully share advice and encouragement).  So, to get things started:

I'm married with a infant son, several years out of undergrad, and hoping to start LS in fall 08.  Quiet time is a rare thing around our house these days and it made studying for the LSAT especially tough.  On the upside, though, I eventually became accustomed to taking practice tests  with a screaming baby and a barking dog in the background and, when some candidates at my Sept 07 test nearly suffered a mental implosion from a noisy distraction during the third section, I barely even noticed.

I certainly wouldn't have had the motivation that I do if it were not for my family.  Law school and the subsequent employment (I hope) it will bring means a lot more now that I have a son to raise.

I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts on these or related topics.  For instance,

How have you and your spouse dealt with the stress of the LSAT and applications?

How has family life limited or expanded your possibilities when it come to law school?

Do you think that parenthood has prepared you in any way for law school?


I know that we family guys/gals are in a minority on LSD but I also think that we have a lot of valuable input.  I hope to hear back from some of you.

Cheers,
John Dewey on standardized tests:

"It reminds me of how we weighed pigs on my grandfather's farm.  You lay a board over a fence, put the pig on one end and pile rocks on the other.  Then you guess how much the rocks weigh."

saradsun

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 11:06:55 AM »
Well I'm almost 40 with 5 kids, 3 from a previous marriage in their teens, and 2 with my current spouse in their toddler/preschool years. I would never have had the discipline necessary to study for the LSAT right after college due to burnout so I'm very pleased with my Sept score.

I think we're gonna "go for it." We're gonna uproot the fam and move to law school. My dh is a network admin so he can pretty much find work anywhere. My two oldest are planning on staying here with their father to finish high school here.


How have you and your spouse dealt with the stress of the LSAT and applications?

It was a rocky summer, that's for sure, but we all just sucked it up and dealt with it so I had time to study. With teens, I had built in babysitters. Applications haven't been too bad. I just worked on them when I had time.

How has family life limited or expanded your possibilities when it come to law school?

The fact that I have a spouse to support me emotionally and financially through law school is HUGE. He's a great and very involved dad, so I have no worries about whether he can shoulder the burden through law school. He's really excited for me to take this step.

Do you think that parenthood has prepared you in any way for law school?

Absolutely. Kids have taught me that you can do almost anything for X amount of time. Also, I've been a stay at home mom for much of my adult life and I'm really really ready to do something else now. Plus, my childbearing is now done so I don't have to worry about maternity leave, breastfeeding, etc, while in law school or working.

areopagite

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 11:21:59 AM »
Thanks for the response saradsun and congratulations on your prospects.  It looks like you'll have a very exciting cycle!

If you don't mind my asking, what was it that prompted you to try law school in the first place?  I'd be very interested to hear.

For my own part, my wife had left her job to take care of the baby and we were going broke on my teaching salary.  I saw one of those local tv ads for a personal injury attorney and the thought popped into my head that, hey, I could do that.  Not that I want to do personal injury or solo practice work, but as corny as it sounds, that's what first got me thinking about applying to law school.  I began doing some research into the local schools and got an idea of what it would take to get in and get a job when I was done.  Now we've invested so much time and effort into the process, there's no looking back.

Any other family 0L's care to share what prompted their decision to apply?
John Dewey on standardized tests:

"It reminds me of how we weighed pigs on my grandfather's farm.  You lay a board over a fence, put the pig on one end and pile rocks on the other.  Then you guess how much the rocks weigh."

saradsun

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 11:35:02 AM »
Well for me I had actually always planned on being a lawyer. I "took a year" off after undergrad (and getting married) and then discovered my incredible fecundity that birth control did not seem to be able to control. I actually started this process one previous time, in 93, then discovered I was pregnant yet again.

I didn't consider it again after my divorce, probably because my self-esteem had really taken a beating and I think its taken this long for me to really feel like me again (divorce is harder on a person than the death of a spouse according to some research). So early this summer, with my youngest at 18 months (and my fecundity tied in knots), I decided it was time to go back to work or something but when I started looking it was clear I'd have to commute at least an hour both ways, due to my rural location, and wouldn't make much, if anything after day care anyway. So I started a lot of self-reflection and brainstorming and late one night it just struck me, hey, I could go to law school NOW, its not like there's a law against it in your late 30's/40's :).

So I researched and researched and then got study materials and studied, and voila, here I am, ready, for the most part, to change my life.

country girl

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 11:49:59 AM »
Hey!  Im glad you started this post as we parents do have a much different experience than many others!  I am 21, a senior in college, and a single mother  ( my baby is 2 1/2 )

On the upside, though, I eventually became accustomed to taking practice tests  with a screaming baby and a barking dog in the background and, when some candidates at my Sept 07 test nearly suffered a mental implosion from a noisy distraction during the third section, I barely even noticed. 
Ha, ha, that is so cute!

How has family life limited or expanded your possibilities when it come to law school?
I think that having a daughter has limited my possibilities a bit.  Well, not really the possibilities, but what i am willing to give up.  For instance, i hesitate to move far away to go to law school because my daughter wont have much contact with her father or grandparents if we live hundreds of miles away.  I still may move away, but it will be a much more important decision than if i did not have a kid.

Do you think that parenthood has prepared you in any way for law school?
Oh, yeah.  I think parenthood has made me more determined to achieve my goals.  It also has led me not to take myself too seriously and take time to "smell the roses" and appreciate the small things instead of being overly focused on success, which is my natural tendancy.


Overall, I think that we parents/family people have a little bit tougher time, especially, for me, simply finding the time to fill out apps, write the required essays, etc.  But i also thinkg that we have a lot of motivation and drive that will actually help us do well in law school and as lawyers.    ;D


areopagite

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2007, 12:00:47 PM »
Hey country girl, thanks for the post.  Cute pic, too...she looks thoughtful.

I agree that the decision to move is much more complicated with a child in the picture.  But I really like what you said about a son or daughter's ability to put everything in perspective.  I know that my values have changed dramatically since my son was born; things that were important before are not now, and things that were unimportant or unconsidered have become of the eseence.

Best of luck on your applications!
John Dewey on standardized tests:

"It reminds me of how we weighed pigs on my grandfather's farm.  You lay a board over a fence, put the pig on one end and pile rocks on the other.  Then you guess how much the rocks weigh."

ADL

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 05:56:28 PM »
Hi!
i've been on this board off & on for over a yr and i've been preparing for this whole process since then.

i'm a single mom w/a 14 yr old.  i wanted to go to law school when i first started college in '91, but had my son in '93 so i didn't finish school.  i eventually finished in '04 & was so burnt out from going f/t, working f/t & being a mom & live in girlfriend (at that time) that i didn't even think i could actually open another book again.

but after working w/attys for some time, i started to believe i could do it again & i knew that it's something that i have REALLY wanted to do for 15, 16 years.

How have you and your spouse dealt with the stress of the LSAT and applications? sorry, no spouse to deal with!  :)
i've applied to 6 schools so far & have visited 3 schools.  the process isn't bad so far.  it's much better than studying for the LSAT  >:(.  i started studying for that thing in Oct '06 & took the test in Feb.  squeezing time in to study after work was the hardest part.  especially on those days when i wanted to veg out w/my son & watch silly shows on tv.

How has family life limited or expanded your possibilities when it come to law school? i'm not sure since i'm not attending yet.  but it's been great taking my son to open houses, studying for the LSAT w/him studying for school together.  he's been EXTREMELY supportive, even when he's bored of hearing me talk about it all.  i hoping this will help him get a glimpse of what it'll be like for him in a few yrs when he's applying to college.

Do you think that parenthood has prepared you in any way for law school? right now i'll guess (since i'm not attending) that the only way parenthood has prepared me for law school is that it has taught me how to press on when you're so exhausted & you think you can't do this anymore, but you HAVE TO.  i'm pretty sure there will be days in ls that are the same.

that's my story. 

lostsailor

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 12:53:44 PM »
I don't have a child, but I have a 26 year old girlfriend who does (4, almost 5 year old) who entered the PhD program this Fall at a large university, to work on getting a doctorate in Marketing. It's pretty sobering to watch what her life is like, and I'm imagining there are a lot of similarities between programs, from what I've heard, read and seen.

One of the biggest things that she's had to become a master of is prioritization. Also time management. You'll be putting in over 60 hrs/week year 1 of law school, so finding that time is imperative. For her, it means getting up at 4am(when it's quiet), studying until her daughter gets up, getting her fed and off to school, then back to work for the rest of the day until she either can pick her up around 5:30pm, or have a member of her babysitting army take over for a while. She has about an hour or so to play with her, get her fed, bathed, read to her, and have her in bed around 8pm, then back to studying/working until her eyes won't stay open. That's 7 days a week, pretty much. It's insane, and she already is questioning if she's made the right choice.

A big question she must ask herself constantly is WHY she's doing this, and the answer is: for her daughter. So, knowing why you want to go to law school, and it being a strong enough answer to keep you going through the worst of it seems VERY important. I fully expect it to be overwhelming for me at times, and I don't even have a kid. She also knows/knew the amount and types of sacrifices that would have to be made: time with her daughter, missed income (although she's working as an RA and with grants, etc...makes a decent wage), no time to play, go on trips, see family, or do much of anything. For her daughter, she's constantly being shuffled around and told to play so she can study or work on papers much of the week. And I only get to see them infrequently while school is in full swing.   

Don't really have a point to all this other than to share what life in school can be like with a child. Focus is key, and the knowledge that sacrifices will have to be made everywhere to succeed, just like when we get out of school. If you have a spouse or S.O., just thank God. You have to be very good at keeping your eyes on the prize.

azoraraine

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007, 05:00:15 PM »
Single mom, 3 kids under four years old here.  I'm forty, and was pretty much content to float along in life before the fecundity bomb dropped on me.  Now, with their dad "making bad choices" (gotta love toddler-speak), it's sort of on me to step up - both financially, and in terms of setting a good example for their future working lives.

I've pretty much decided to give up on the top 30 school I really want to go to in favor of the just barely top 100 one that has evening and part-time options, because I'm not comfortable with throwing them all in daycare right now after subjecting them to a divorce while they were still in diapers.  Hopefully if I work hard enough there will be a job at the end of what will no doubt be a long road.

I'm one of those people who finds it a lot easier to do for others than for myself, so my kids have lit a well-needed fire under my butt.  I already work a half-time job while they are sleeping, and get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, so I feel moderately primed for school;-)  Hope I'm not kidding myself...But, honestly, how much harder can 1L be than a 17 month old and 2 newborns?

S

saradsun

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Re: "Family Law": General discussion for 0L's with spouses and/or children
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 09:10:20 AM »
azoraraine

Ack! twins with a 17 month old. I can't imagine. I had a 3 year old, an 18 month old, and a newborn, but that's at least spread out a bit. Those years are just a BLUR. It was so hard.