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It would appear that I am not the only one, ?? for a potential student @ age 47

melissa2539melissa2539 Quakertown, Pa.

I just turned 47. My undergrad degree is in Mental Health Technology from Drexel in 1992. I have spent many years managing Dental offices and currently I am caring for a elderly family member. I do not want to go back to the dental field. My husband is finishing his MA in Investigative Forensics and it is time for me to make a move. I have a lot of time during the day and night to read and study. Most likely Temple at night would be the best option. I meet with my LSAC adviser today. My plan is to take the LSAT in December considering my start date would be next fall, if I am admitted. I have read through many responses here and feel a little set back. I am a firm believer that everyone can accomplish their goals, if they set their mind to the end prize. Thoughts, comments, words of advice..... All appreciated !!!

Comments

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    Nearly everyone is going to give you the same advice: don't go to law school. The market has adjusted, but it remains a highly questionable investment.

  • Adam LillyAdam Lilly Cumming, Georgia
    edited July 2016

    @samglover said:
    Nearly everyone is going to give you the same advice: don't go to law school. The market has adjusted, but it remains a highly questionable investment.

    Yep. The value proposition is questionable for people like me, who graduated at 25. Since you'd have about a 15 year career expectancy, that seems like an easy "no."

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @melissa2539 said:
    I am a firm believer that everyone can accomplish their goals, if they set their mind to the end prize.

    Lemme dial back the pessimism a bit and try to address this. What is your goal?

    If it's to graduate from law school, you can definitely accomplish it. Law school is hard, but if you get in it's mostly a matter of hard work and perseverance. But what then? If you can come out without debt, sure, do it. If not, you'll need to decide on a further goal.

    If it's to practice law, then how? Starting your own firm is really difficult—and probably moreso now than it has been—but also very achievable with hard work and perseverance. I often say being a lawyer is a really hard way to make a decent living, and that goes double or triple for solos. But you can accomplish it.

    If your goal is to work at a small firm, you can accomplish that, but there are some caveats. Small firms that pay well and are willing to hire someone right out of law school are few and getting fewer. And there is a lot of competition for the positions that do get advertised. Knowing someone can help, but it's no guarantee. Call the likelihood of accomplishing this goal a bit better than a coin flip.

    If your goal is to work at a big firm and make big bucks, well, that's harder. You're probably going to need to get into a top law school and graduate near the top of your class. If you're looking at night school at Temple, it's not a realistic goal for you.

    I hope this helps. I'm not trying to come down on you. I think it's really important to know what you want to do with it.

  • rmarthur67rmarthur67 Milwaukee, WI

    We are the same age. I graduated law school in 2012, as a new career. Hiring was difficult when I got out, so I started my own law firm. It's been okay, but I'm single with no social commitments, so I can work 7 days a week when it is necessary (and it usually is necessary).

    Don't go to law school, unless you have a very specific plan for being a lawyer, accounting for all the debt you are going to have. I'd give that advice to a 21 year old, but it is even more important for you, because you can't afford to spend 5-7 years "finding yourself" after you graduate.

    Example: one of my law school classmates of similar age was employed at a company where she could easily move to a better position if she had a law degree. The company encouraged her to do it, and she has that better position now after graduation.

    Another example: a different classmate is the executive director of a prominent nonprofit advocacy group, and a law degree would enhance her stature in the community. She has no incentive to graduate with honors, although she is fully capable of doing it, because it would provide no extra value. She's taking her time going through the part-time program.

    If you don't have a similar, very specific plan for law school, don't do it. The debt will ruin you.

  • melissa2539melissa2539 Quakertown, Pa.

    Good morning all,
    I appreciate everyone's openness and candor regarding my situation. I spoke to my LSAC adviser. Plan will be to take LSAT, see how I do. If I do poorly (planning on tutor and pre tests to learn how to improve my score) I will may not pursue.
    I am looking at Rutgers or Temple because I have to go PT. So, I am already limited that way. I take care of a elderly family member, after many years of managing a dental practice. I have so much time on my hands during the day. With all this being said I am thinking and RE thinking my process and decisions. Please keep your thoughts and info coming.
    Regards.

  • EagleLegalEagleLegal Louisiana

    You’ve mentioned the tactics (where you’d apply, how you’d prepare and find time to study) but nothing about strategy. Namely, how will you finance this, can you afford to have no income to speak of for 3 years, and what kind of legal job you are shooting for to make the investment pay off in the 15 years of work-life expectancy you’ll have.

    If you’re doing this because you have a financial need to work, I think it’s a very bad idea. A 3-year educational program, which if you count your LSAT and bar exam prep time is really 4 years, is a poor investment for someone who will be in their 50s when they are able to start working as a lawyer. The hard truth is, age discrimination exists and many employers will be doubtful about hiring a 50-year-old new lawyer. But that’s on top of the already brutal job market for lawyers.

    If you’re going to borrow the money to go to law school, it’s an even worse bet. You’ll be paying student loans at age 65 or later, and you should take a look at some repayment tables. A person making even $75,000 a year with a full slate of loans to pay off has relatively little money left at the end of a given month . . . for years afterward. And few lawyers start off making that much.

    If you’re paying cash for your schooling, there are better investments for your cash, that will give you a better return over 20 years.

    The better play for you, is to become a paralegal if you want to work in the legal field. 40 to 60 grand a year with no student loans, over the next 20 years, is a pretty good future income. Compare to lawyers- many of them make less than 60 grand for years after law school, if they ever do make more money than that, and if they have loans to pay, they have to live like someone making 28 to 35 grand a year, and it weighs down their credit so it’s hard to get a loan for a house or a car. Financially it makes no sense for you to go to law school.

  • AFFAFF United States
    edited July 2016

    If you know starting out that you really want to work as a government attorney, like a prosecutor or public defender, then it's not a terrible idea. Go meet with a few now to be sure. I know someone who went to law school at age 50 on borrowed money with the intention of being a prosecutor. He did, got hired, and his 10-15 year career will end in loan forgiveness. I never asked him if he was glad that he did it. I'm not sure.

    If you're taking on a lot of debt without a clear idea of what you want out of it, then it's a bad idea.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @AFF said:
    If you're taking on a lot of debt without a clear idea of what you want out of it, then it's a bad idea.

    This is really just good advice in general. After all, you wouldn't buy a fixer-upper house without at least a pretty good idea of whether you could fix it up to meet your needs, within your budget. But it feels like people often ignore the cost-benefit analysis when it comes to law school.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @EagleLegal said:
    The better play for you, is to become a paralegal if you want to work in the legal field.

    This is a great point. If it isn't your dream to become a lawyer and if you aren't determined to do it one way or another, even if that means starting your own firm, maybe get into law practice another way.

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