Police Officer to Law School ?

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n4866b
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Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby n4866b » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:31 pm

Hello

Just found this forum.....

In the not so distant future (3 yrs) , I will be retiring at the "old" age of 48 as a Investigator/Detective from my major city police department. I have a Bachelors degree, however (this is 26 years ago) unfortunately my college days were spent chasing the opposite sex and consuming adult beverages. My GPA was 2.5.

Over the years I have become friends with various judges and prosecutors, who have offered to write letters for me. I assume this cannot hurt. I feel that my background in law enforcement and investigations would carry into a law career well, and serve me well as a trial attorney or criminal defense attorney.

Questions:

- Assuming I can score a decent LSAT, I am curious how the law schools would look at my application package and "profile".
- How "open arms" / warm reception would a older student get on a law school campus
- Etc

comments, ideas, welcome, thanks

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legalease9
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby legalease9 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:44 pm

You'll be fine on the law school reception aspect. Everyone will probably treat you like anyone else in the school. And most people respect the police, even if they have hung up their uniform.

In terms of getting in, your GPA is going to kill you going to the top schools. Your experience will help, but that GPA is still going to harm you. What state are you in? Consider public schools in your state (cheaper). Plus a school in your state MAY look even more highly upon a long-term police officer from their state going to law school than an out of state school. Which schools you get into will be so completely LSAT dependent that its difficult to suggest anything specific until you have that official score.

If you are going to law school because you want to be a lawyer, then you will be fine, and I encourage you to go for it.

n4866b
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby n4866b » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:50 pm

legalease9 wrote:You'll be fine on the law school reception aspect. Everyone will probably treat you like anyone else in the school. And most people respect the police, even if they have hung up their uniform.

In terms of getting in, your GPA is going to kill you going to the top schools. Your experience will help, but that GPA is still going to harm you. What state are you in? Consider public schools in your state (cheaper). Plus a school in your state MAY look even more highly upon a long-term police officer from their state going to law school than an out of state school. Which schools you get into will be so completely LSAT dependent that its difficult to suggest anything specific until you have that official score.

If you are going to law school because you want to be a lawyer, then you will be fine, and I encourage you to go for it.


State school, near my city. Texas. Due to family, etc situation and undergrad scores I cannot move off and attend a Ivy League school or other top school. I know and accept that. It is what it is.

03121202698008
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:51 pm

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Last edited by 03121202698008 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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traehekat
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby traehekat » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:58 pm

If you haven't already, you will quickly find by way of browsing this forum that your GPA/LSAT have an enormous impact on your admission to law school. Unfortunately, even though you are long removed from your GPA, it will still be a big hurdle to overcome. However, if you do well on the LSAT there will be plenty of schools who would love to admit you, considering your background/experience. The best thing you can do for your admissions chances is to study like hell for the LSAT, get a great score, and apply as early as you can (September/October).

As far as going back to school at your age is concerned, I think anyone would be excited to have a fellow classmate with your background. I'm 22 and I would love it! I think that is one of the best aspects of law school - often times the student body is incredibly diverse, not just in age and race, but in their life experiences.

The best thing is not only will students want you as a classmate, but almost any law school is going to want you, too! Do well on the LSAT and give them a reason to look the other way, so to speak, on your GPA.

Good luck!

n4866b
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby n4866b » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:03 pm

Hey great answers, thanks guys. I am literally sitting here and refreshing my browser.

Another question - should I consider re-taking some of my old classes (which are now available online) and trying to juice up my GPA or is this a lost cause? Save my energy for something else, etc?

Indeed I need to do well on the LSAT, duly noted.

Thanks and keep the info coming

03121202698008
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:05 pm

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Last edited by 03121202698008 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Reedie
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby Reedie » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:10 pm

With a 26 year gap, and experience in a legal related field, you are going to be able to explain away the 2.5 provided you can grab a good LSAT score (study your butt off). With that said, you probably will have a tough cycle, and should apply broadly and keep your expectations limited. What I mean by that is, there aren't going to be a ton of safeties for you. It's going to be a crap shoot, because of how uneven your application will likely be. Don't retake classes, focus on the LSAT and proving you have the mental tools to get the job done. Good luck!

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ArchRoark
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby ArchRoark » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:11 pm

Kill the LSAT... get a 170+. Apply to NU. With your work experience I would imagine you would have a decent shot with them.

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traehekat
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby traehekat » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:12 pm

blowhard wrote:
n4866b wrote:Hey great answers, thanks guys. I am literally sitting here and refreshing my browser.

Another question - should I consider re-taking some of my old classes (which are now available online) and trying to juice up my GPA or is this a lost cause? Save my energy for something else, etc?

Indeed I need to do well on the LSAT, duly noted.

Thanks and keep the info coming


It wouldn't help. They only count classes up until you receive your first bachelors.


This also goes for any masters program you may be interested in for GPA boosting purposes. If you completed a masters with a 3.8 or something, it would not be counted in your overall GPA reported to law schools, but rather it would be considered another soft factor, like the resume or personal statement.

Danteshek
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby Danteshek » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:15 pm

It would have been hugely beneficial to have a cop in my criminal procedure class. The prof was a former AUSA but could not speak from the perspective of an actual police officer.

My opinion: take an LSAT class, study hard, and live with your score. Apply to all the law schools in the area that you could go to and go to the best one you get into. Go even if you only get into a lower ranked school. Of course, this is assuming you actually want to be a lawyer.

n4866b
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby n4866b » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:42 am

Guys all excellent points, thank you very much. I am going to toss the idea of trying to boost my 26 year old GPA, and instead (as suggested) focus on the LSAT.

I will do that and continue to network and expand my contacts, and try to obtain some contacts at the law schools that I will be applying at.

Thanks again....

270910
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby 270910 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:06 am

n4866b wrote:Guys all excellent points, thank you very much. I am going to toss the idea of trying to boost my 26 year old GPA, and instead (as suggested) focus on the LSAT.

I will do that and continue to network and expand my contacts, and try to obtain some contacts at the law schools that I will be applying at.

Thanks again....


Just for the record - while doing well on the LSAT will open up more school options as well as scholarship money, with your background and goals you won't really need to go to the absolute best law school in town. I'd imagine that if you kept up your interested in criminal prosecution/defense while in law school you'd be a very attractive candidate at DAs offices and the like. It's really for people looking to break into gigantic corporate law firms, federal clerkships, or the legal academy that really feel the "top law school or bust" pressure. Obviously competition for jobs is still tough, and the school you go to and grades you get will matter. It just won't be quite as dire as you see many people on this forum suggesting to one another given your aspirations and experiences.

rando
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby rando » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:30 am

Just to play the other side of the coin...

Have you actually thought about how old you are as it relates to the legal profession?

I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic. But I can't help but worry that it will be a waste of your time and money when all is said and done.

For argument's sake - you will be done with law school ~52 yrs old. Most lawyers I know say that it takes a good 5-8yrs to get to know what you are actually doing. And double that to be actually good at what you are doing. Even assuming that you beat the curve, and that being a trial lawyer you will likely learn the trade faster, you will be a solid 60yrs old when you are actually starting to peak at your practice.

On paper there is no doubt that DA's/PD's would love to have you. But you may have some trouble getting past the age thing.

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Grizz
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby Grizz » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:53 am

rando wrote:Just to play the other side of the coin...

Have you actually thought about how old you are as it relates to the legal profession?

I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic. But I can't help but worry that it will be a waste of your time and money when all is said and done.

For argument's sake - you will be done with law school ~52 yrs old. Most lawyers I know say that it takes a good 5-8yrs to get to know what you are actually doing. And double that to be actually good at what you are doing. Even assuming that you beat the curve, and that being a trial lawyer you will likely learn the trade faster, you will be a solid 60yrs old when you are actually starting to peak at your practice.

On paper there is no doubt that DA's/PD's would love to have you. But you may have some trouble getting past the age thing.


As a followup, there was just an article in the ABA journal about an older, experienced attorney who had trouble finding work. http://abovethelaw.com/2010/07/what-can-you-do-with-a-j-d-whatever-it-is-dont-get-old/

Not saying your situations are analogous (you are younger with limited legal experience, she was a little older with tons of experience), but this really is something to think about. If you know people in the industry, ask around to get a feel for your unique situation.

Danteshek
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby Danteshek » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:55 am

rando wrote:Just to play the other side of the coin...

Have you actually thought about how old you are as it relates to the legal profession?

I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic. But I can't help but worry that it will be a waste of your time and money when all is said and done.

For argument's sake - you will be done with law school ~52 yrs old. Most lawyers I know say that it takes a good 5-8yrs to get to know what you are actually doing. And double that to be actually good at what you are doing. Even assuming that you beat the curve, and that being a trial lawyer you will likely learn the trade faster, you will be a solid 60yrs old when you are actually starting to peak at your practice.

On paper there is no doubt that DA's/PD's would love to have you. But you may have some trouble getting past the age thing.


If you are fit and look like Tommy Lee Jones and/or Bruce Willis, I think you'll be fine.

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atkinsa
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby atkinsa » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:15 am

I have a friend who did this. He went to a low ranked state school, did well, and became an ADA. He said that being a police officer didn't help him in school, but really served him well as an ADA. He's currently running for judgeship after a few years of practice. I'm not sure you would be trying to go to a large firm or anything like that, especially this late in your working life, but small firms and DA offices would look favorably on your experience. I would go for a strong LSAT. People like to say it's 40% gpa and 60% LSAT, but I think LSAT is actually weighed much more than that, especially if it has been a while since you went to undergrad.

03121202698008
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:43 am

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Last edited by 03121202698008 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

rando
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby rando » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:17 pm

blowhard wrote:
rando wrote:Just to play the other side of the coin...

Have you actually thought about how old you are as it relates to the legal profession?

I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic. But I can't help but worry that it will be a waste of your time and money when all is said and done.

For argument's sake - you will be done with law school ~52 yrs old. Most lawyers I know say that it takes a good 5-8yrs to get to know what you are actually doing. And double that to be actually good at what you are doing. Even assuming that you beat the curve, and that being a trial lawyer you will likely learn the trade faster, you will be a solid 60yrs old when you are actually starting to peak at your practice.

On paper there is no doubt that DA's/PD's would love to have you. But you may have some trouble getting past the age thing.


He could still have 20 years of practice left. Many older lawyers just take fewer cases but continue to practice. It wouldn't take 5-8 years to know what you were doing as a DA. Especially not as an experienced cop. Many skills overlap. If he was a PA resident for instance, he could attend Temple for less than $20K and then practice into retirement.

OP, it really comes down to how much debt you'd be taking on. I don't know if I'd take on $200K in debt at that age. But if you could get schollys or had some kind of tuition assistance from your dept/state, it may not be a bad idea.


Your conclusion would be spot on if your premise were correct. I grant that being a prosecutor may take less time to perfect than some other practice areas, but you are kidding yourself if you think someone a couple years out of school can actually take care of themselves in private practice, a DA's office, public defender, etc.

03121202698008
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:20 pm

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Last edited by 03121202698008 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

n4866b
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby n4866b » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:59 pm

Again, good posts. Yes- the "age question" is something I am thinking about. Another possible career option is expert witness work and attorney investigative work (my background and training is in white collar and financial, gambling, fraud crimes).

But you know what? Screw all that. I just want to "go for it" and get the JD. (!)

and combine my work experience with my (one bridge at a time, but, this is a discussion) law degree in a private practice environment

n4866b
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby n4866b » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:09 pm

rad law wrote:
rando wrote:Just to play the other side of the coin...

Have you actually thought about how old you are as it relates to the legal profession?

I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic. But I can't help but worry that it will be a waste of your time and money when all is said and done.

For argument's sake - you will be done with law school ~52 yrs old. Most lawyers I know say that it takes a good 5-8yrs to get to know what you are actually doing. And double that to be actually good at what you are doing. Even assuming that you beat the curve, and that being a trial lawyer you will likely learn the trade faster, you will be a solid 60yrs old when you are actually starting to peak at your practice.

On paper there is no doubt that DA's/PD's would love to have you. But you may have some trouble getting past the age thing.


As a followup, there was just an article in the ABA journal about an older, experienced attorney who had trouble finding work. http://abovethelaw.com/2010/07/what-can-you-do-with-a-j-d-whatever-it-is-dont-get-old/

Not saying your situations are analogous (you are younger with limited legal experience, she was a little older with tons of experience), but this really is something to think about. If you know people in the industry, ask around to get a feel for your unique situation.


Well I don't know the market demand for "shopping center lawyers" but I would hope my situation is different.....

Danteshek
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Re: Police Officer to Law School ?

Postby Danteshek » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:22 pm

n4866b wrote:(my background and training is in white collar and financial, gambling, fraud crimes).


Perfect. Apply to SEC Enforcement Division and Treasury Department for your 1L summer internship.




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