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To old to go to law school?

abhylerabhyler Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited September 2010 in Law School
What are your experiences or knowledge about this topic? I have been looking to go to law school for the past 3 years and I'm afraid it's a little late, but I cannot stop thinking that I do want to go. As I'm not doing anything about it...I'm getting older as we speak. Anyways, I am 37 years old...so I'd be in my 40's when I'm done. Any ideas?
Post edited by abhyler on

Replies to: To old to go to law school?

  • johnshadejohnshade Registered User Posts: 380 Member
    Several of the most successful people in my class at Vandy were in their 30s and 40s, including about half of the law review editorial board. If you want it, go for it.
  • GreybeardGreybeard Registered User Posts: 2,355 Senior Member
    I've known a number of people who entered law school in their thirties, forties, and even fifties. I had a friend who had a classmate in his seventies.

    To the extent your motivation for going to law school is an interest in increasing your remuneration, it is true that the older you get, the shorter your remaining career will be, and the less time you'll have to repay student loans. The opportunity cost represented by three years in school becomes a higher percentage of your remaining work life.

    I can't point to any statistics on this, but it is my impression that lawyers tend to remain in the work force longer than most other people. It is one field where it's possible to scale back your hour, particularly for those who are self-employed. Even if you expect to retire at 65, you'll have 25 years left in the labor market after you graduate. That's a good chunk of time.
  • bizymombizymom Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    ok, so if you decide to go to law school, in 4 years (one year to apply, three to attend), you will be 41 years old and a lawyer. if you don't go to law school, in 4 years, you will still be 41 -- will you still be regretting not being a lawyer?

    there were quite a number of older students in my law school class -- mid 30's, mid 40's and "not telling" -- they in general had a much more focussed approach to being there and what they wanted out of law school and a legal career. i didn't keep in touch with all, but many of the ones i know about, had very satisfying legal careers.

    the real issue i think you have to address is why you want to go to law school -- is it based on a realistic understanding of why you want to be a lawyer? if anything, i think an older student is more likely to have that than someone straight out of college who goes to law school since they don't know what else to do or because people have always told them they should go to law school.

    law school is expensive -- not just the out of pocket expense, but also in terms of giving up whatever livelihood you currently have. so just make sure its really something you want -- but if it is, don't let age be what keeps you from pursuing it.
  • NeonzeusNeonzeus Registered User Posts: 1,234 Senior Member
    If there's something you really dream of doing, you should pursue it. The years will pass whether you pursue your dream or not. You're going to be 45 in a few years whether you earn a JD or not, so why not be able to say you're 45 and a lawyer! You will almost certainly not be the only person your age in your law school class.

    From a practical standpoint, you probably need to consider whether your personal situation is such that you can afford to be out of the workplace for a few years. You will also have to consider the difficulty of finding a job with your JD in view of the poor market for new legal grads.

    When you graduate, your earning potential will be based on being a new grad, which may be frustrating. I asked an engineer working for our company who was considering going back to school whether in a few years she wanted to be (1) a new lawyer trying to find an entry level legal job, or (b) an engineer with 5-8 years of experience. I reminded her that her options included getting an advanced degree in her field of engineering with the $ that she would have used for law school.

    You might want to consider going to law school part time so as not to totally give up your current career until you're sure that being a lawyer will get you where you want to be in life.

    If it's your dream, go for it!
  • lskinnerlskinner Registered User Posts: 914 Member
    I think you should keep in mind that there's a lot of age discrimination in law firm hiring. Law firms prefer young associates who are easier to dump on. So if you are planning on working for a firm after graduation, it might be difficult to find work.

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but the reality is that going to law school is very expensive in money as well as opportunity cost.
  • Pierce&PiercePierce&Pierce Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    i go to a private school and there are a lot of old people in some of the lectures... probably in their late 40's/early 50's.

    i think older people would be best served by going to a private law school where alumni connections are great upon graduating.
  • toronto_guytoronto_guy Registered User Posts: 261 Junior Member
    I do not believe there is an age limit per se. Probably past 35 or so the best option is to go at night and keep the day job, especially if you enjoy what you are doing. In the US you are more fortunate than in Canada where PT or night law school is a really new thing and is an excellent option.

    When I went to law school, we had the retired janitor who used to clean the faculty building as a student. You are never too old!
  • marcfle81marcfle81 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Ok im so glad I joined this group. I have really been feeling like I was to old to finish. I'm only 27 but, most of my friend are done with school and I have not even completed my BS yet. But thanks for the confidence, I feel alot better about law school after reading your post.
  • marcfle81marcfle81 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I have a question - - does paralegal experience help in Law School? I mean is it good to work as a paralegal while in law school?
  • dg5052dg5052 Registered User Posts: 778 Member
    Paralegal experience may help, to the extent you are familiar with some of the jargon. I started law school at 26, after having been a court reporter for 4 years. After reporting innumerable court cases and depositions, I really thought that I knew what law school would entail--and I was TOTALLY wrong.
    Nothing can prepare you for what law school is like--even sitting in on a class or two might give you an inkling, but just be aware that the actual experience is a unique one.
  • lorriehlorrieh Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    hi there. thanks for your post. I realyl have always wanted to go to law school but have been in the corporate world for 20 years. I am in a position to go now. Any schools you can recommend for people who are older and looking to go to law school more out of motivation to help people than to make money?
  • max64dmax64d Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Hey everyone,

    I'm wondering if I can get some no-s**t analysis from you about my possible chances of getting into a reasonably decent law school (or any at all for that matter). The only variable remaining is my LSAT score (for which I'm starting a Kaplan prep course starting in a few days with hopes of taking the LSAT in October). I understand that this score alone is a major factor, but I am curious nonetheless. Here's some quick information about me, LSAT score nonwithstanding:

    -3.5 GPA (BS in Finance)
    -31 years old
    -Current military pilot in Guard (AH-64D Longbow, AH-64A Apache & UH-60A/L Blackhawk)
    -Good Letters of Recommendation
    -Very dynamic person
    -Wanting to get accepted into a Dual MBA/JD program

    Any thoughts you guys/gals have on this topic would be well taken and greatly appreciated. Thank you and I hope to hear from you!

  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Registered User Posts: 5,888 Senior Member
    I cannot help specifically with law school but my mother began her doctorate program in Clinical Psychology at age 40 and graduated four years later, the same year she became a grandmother!

    She was not satified with the jobs she found after graduation but gained some valuable experience in her field of interest and went on to found a high school for teenagers who struggle with mental illness. It has become a very successful school and after 15 years she just sold it (she loved it but it was a lot of work.) Now she is transitioning into private practice.

    In fact, the success of the school is what has allowed my 62 year old father to go back to school and he is half way through his Masters degree in Mathematics. He has taught community colllege at night in his field of expertise when he could make the time, always with a dream of someday teaching math at a cc fulltime. He's almost there!

    My husband just began his doctoral program at age 44. People were surprised but having seen my parents do it successfully, I am behind him 100%. We're all going to be working into our later years, why not be doing something you love?
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Registered User Posts: 5,888 Senior Member
    Max, Are you eligible for the new GI Bill? If so, find out which law schools are willing to work with you in terms of tuition. Some colleges are working with undergrads so that students do not have to pay more in tuition than the GI Bill will cover but there are typically only a few slots available per school. Perhaps law schools are doing the same?
  • 2Leashes2Leashes Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    My dad went to law school in his 30s while holding down a day job and raising a family. He graduated summa cum laude at age 38. A very good criminal lawyer, I might add. However, I'm not sure if it was just his age or "the times", but after awhile he became disenchanted with the whole judicial system and the dishonesty of some of the young "whippersnappers" who were coming in. It felt like it was more about who could drive the fanciest car and wear the snazziest clothes. He drove an old clunker and while he looked very nice, he certainly wasn't vying for a GQ-look. Maybe things are different now. He started working as an attorney in 1968 and finally retired from the bar in the early to mid 2000s. By then he was doing mostly pro bono work for family members or friends. It was sometime between then when he started feeling disatisfied. I remember him telling me once that sometimes he just wished he had gone to work for the telephone company like some of his h.s. classmates. Put in his 30 years and retire with benefits. LOL Of course, that was back before they started cutting out retirement packages or encouraging people to retire early.

    Back when he was in law school there were no computers, of course. He would sit up all night pounding away at his typewriter. I honestly didn't know how he worked all day and came home at night to write papers, etc. He even used to bring along his typewriter to the beach whenever we made a day of it. There he would be sitting under the large umbrella, typing away. He is an excellent litagator. In fact, I love to argue with him!
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