Legal employment at 52

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
reydingo

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Legal employment at 52

Postby reydingo » Wed May 02, 2018 11:42 am

All-

I am posting this question to make a decision about when to attend law school and pursue a legal career. I am currently in the US Army, on my 9th year of service. I am AA, 38 (I started late) and got picked up for Major. At this point in my career, it would be better for myself and family if I stay in. I would only go for 20, and the benefits would put me in a unique, positive situation.

The problem is my age by the time I finish law school and look for employment. My initial intent was to serve 4, which turned into 6, which turned into 9. In each case, it was always "2 more years" after the initial service, until I arrived at the situation. My post Army intent was to go to law school and pursue an in house legal position with the airlines, after a few years working for the FAA or a law firm with an aviation speciality. I acknowledge it would be challenging at 36, but now it seems strange to hire a first year 50 plus attorney as a second career. But outside of Army career ambitions (something always comes up) said aging in would set my family up for success. So for all of you who have BTDT, what have you witnessed with 50 year old first time attorneys.

sparkytrainer

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Re: Legal employment at 52

Postby sparkytrainer » Wed May 02, 2018 12:27 pm

You are going to struggle to find anyone willing to take a 52 year old associate. It means by the time you actually know something, you are 60 years old.

No offense man, it sounds like you have a really interesting life, but law isn't going to be your path. Conceivably you can get the military to pay for school, so I would suggest something like an MBA.

I have a buddy who recently got out after 10ish years and was deciding between law and MBA. He spoke to some lawyers, and realized it wasn't worthwhile to be a 40 year old 1st year associate with years of actual learning and training to still go. He went and is finishing his MBA right now at a top school and has a job lined up doing developing tech stuff in foreign countries and couldnt be happier.

My honest suggestion: Go get an MBA and do consulting or find one of literally hundreds of super interesting careers that would still be open for a mid 40s ex Major.

albanach

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Re: Legal employment at 52

Postby albanach » Wed May 02, 2018 12:33 pm

reydingo wrote:All-

I am posting this question to make a decision about when to attend law school and pursue a legal career. I am currently in the US Army, on my 9th year of service. I am AA, 38 (I started late) and got picked up for Major. At this point in my career, it would be better for myself and family if I stay in. I would only go for 20, and the benefits would put me in a unique, positive situation.

The problem is my age by the time I finish law school and look for employment. My initial intent was to serve 4, which turned into 6, which turned into 9. In each case, it was always "2 more years" after the initial service, until I arrived at the situation. My post Army intent was to go to law school and pursue an in house legal position with the airlines, after a few years working for the FAA or a law firm with an aviation speciality. I acknowledge it would be challenging at 36, but now it seems strange to hire a first year 50 plus attorney as a second career. But outside of Army career ambitions (something always comes up) said aging in would set my family up for success. So for all of you who have BTDT, what have you witnessed with 50 year old first time attorneys.


Your biggest challenge for your chosen career path is finding a job with the FAA or one of the few aviation practice groups at a large firm upon graduation. If you started late in the army, you're gong to be very familiar with taking instruction from those younger than yourself. That's will go some way to alleviate the concerns of many. One other concern, if you join a firm, is whether a 50 year old is going to manage the lifestyle (or lack of lifestyle) that comes with the intense workload. I guess the military background might help here too, but others can probably comment more specifically.

Finally, you might need 5 years at a firm before you can transition in-house. I know little about airlines, but you'd still be joining a legal department as a relatively junior attorney, now aged 55+. That too, could be difficult.

cindyv

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Re: Legal employment at 52

Postby cindyv » Tue May 08, 2018 4:28 pm

Hi there,
I’m responding not as a BTDT, but as an I’m in the same boat-er.

I was a teen mom so college had to wait in favor of work. Long story short, I’m almost 45 and have one semester left of undergrad. I’ve always wanted to practice criminal law and while it may be impractical to hire a 49 year old woman, I’m still giving it a go. I’m going to be 49 anyway, might as well be 49 with a law degree! I’m hoping for a scholarship, which I’m definitely on track for, so that if finding employment does become an issue, my JD won’t be a financial burden.

My husband is a corporate insurance defense atty with a fairly large firm in Florida. They’ve hired plenty of older attorneys - in fact, one woman who was in the military and came into law later in life (she was in her 40s) ended up being one of their best lawyers. She’s now the head of an insurance company’s in-house firm.

One of my professors in school this year is my county’s public defender (not A public defender, THE public defender) and she often mentioned the diversity in new attorneys (incl age) in her office.

I think your success in finding employment is going to come not only from your performance and ability but also the type of law you hope to practice and the type of firm you want to work in. What types of law interest you? What do you hope to do with a law degree? Maybe you could reach out to some people who work in those areas to get some input?

Either way, you’re going to be 50 anyway - why not be 50 with a law degree? (Especially if you can get one for free)

Synapse2018

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Re: Legal employment at 52

Postby Synapse2018 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:47 am

It’s difficult to say. As you know, discrimination against the elderly in the labor force is very very prominent. I still think you’ll be able to find work, but you’ll have to take the appropriate steps to Make sure your resume does not give your age away.



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