What significance does work experience have?

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avidreader
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:49 pm

What significance does work experience have?

Postby avidreader » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:16 pm

I am 33 and have never had a "real" job. I've never wanted one, and am probably unqualified anyway. I have a 3.6 from U.Va. I support myself teaching SAT and GMAT prep courses for a major test-prep company. (I got a 740 on the GMAT.) I have been doing this for years, living frugally as is my nature. I suspect I'd do really well on the LSAT.

I started college thinking I would go to law school, and richly enjoyed high school mock trial competitions -- I was a attorney in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. (I know mock trial and actual legal practice are two very different things, though.) I was named top performer at my school for whatever that's worth.

Why haven't I applied before? The debt and the horror stories from others scared me away.

But I know I should have a career, if only for long-term financial stability, and I always felt drawn to the oral and written argumentation involved in legal study. Also I do know of people who've successfully found high-paying jobs, so if they can do it, maybe so can I. That's not to say I will necessarily apply.

My question is:

***********
Will my lack of work experience, given my age, prevent law schools from admitting me?
***********

I searched the forums and did not find a similar situation. Thanks for any thoughts.

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Lawquacious
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:38 pm

avidreader wrote:I am 33 and have never had a "real" job. I've never wanted one, and am probably unqualified anyway. I have a 3.6 from U.Va. I support myself teaching SAT and GMAT prep courses for a major test-prep company. (I got a 740 on the GMAT.) I have been doing this for years, living frugally as is my nature. I suspect I'd do really well on the LSAT.

I started college thinking I would go to law school, and richly enjoyed high school mock trial competitions -- I was a attorney in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. (I know mock trial and actual legal practice are two very different things, though.) I was named top performer at my school for whatever that's worth.

Why haven't I applied before? The debt and the horror stories from others scared me away.

But I know I should have a career, if only for long-term financial stability, and I always felt drawn to the oral and written argumentation involved in legal study. Also I do know of people who've successfully found high-paying jobs, so if they can do it, maybe so can I. That's not to say I will necessarily apply.

My question is:

***********
Will my lack of work experience, given my age, prevent law schools from admitting me?
***********

I searched the forums and did not find a similar situation. Thanks for any thoughts.




No, lack of work experience will not be a problem. Work experience can be a boost, particularly in legal hiring, but lack of it shouldn't be a problem, particularly re: admissions.

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Samara
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby Samara » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:58 pm

Hmm, I'd be interested to see how a cycle like yours would turn out. I'd just like to give my two thoughts.

1) Under "normal" circumstances, saying that a lack of work experience won't hurt you is credited. However, this is definitely not a normal situation. Looking at you on paper, I would have big questions about why you suddenly, after (presumably) over a decade without a "real" job, decided to apply to law school. I would wonder if you were capable of or prepared for the rigors of law school, not to mention legal employment. If I were you, I would seriously consider getting at least one year of substantive work experience before applying. You're already old by law school standards, so what's another year or two? If you didn't want a "real" job before, what makes you think you'll enjoy being a lawyer?

2) Don't automatically assume you can ace the LSAT. I know next to nothing about the GMAT, but I do know that the GRE was a joke compared to the LSAT. You will want to take the October LSAT if you are applying this cycle, which only leaves you six weeks to prep if it turns out to be tougher than you think.

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bk1
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby bk1 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:04 pm

1. I don't think it will look that bad since you have actually been employed and so it will actually show you working on your resume. It's not as if you've spent a decade mooching off your parents or living off a trust fund.

2. If you have never wanted and feel that you are "probably unqualified" for a "real job" then why would you invest three years and thousands of dollars towards getting a degree whose primary purpose is to place you in one of those jobs?

avidreader
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby avidreader » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:39 pm

All fair questions. I tried to briefly indicate my motivation in the OP, but realistically I cannot go on like this. What will happen to me in my old age? I have little savings. What will happen if I have a health emergency? I have no insurance. For these and other reasons, in our society one must work. If so, why not make as much as possible, and do something I had already been attracted to in the past? Doing mock trial in high school, I had no doubt I would be a practicing lawyer someday. The debt just always concerned me. I feel as if ultimate success (employment) involves a lot of factors out of my control.

On the GMAT/LSAT comparison, I've taught & tutored the former extensively and can say the Reading Comp and Critical Reasoning sections are very similar to those on the LSAT. It would just be Logic Games that are new. I've checked out two prep books from the library and done two sets of LG problems; I got 10/12 right. Not timed, but not bad for a first try. So I think I can handle it with more prep.

Something else I just thought of: rec letters. My profs sure would be shocked to hear from me. However, two that I am thinking of actually asked me, when I was in their classes, for clean copies of the papers I had wriitten for them so they could show them to others as models. (If you're surprised, believe me, I was too at the time.) So at least they would have that to write about.

And to the member who recommended workiing for a year; I have a liberal arts degree. I have found that is totally unmarketable. I can't even think of a professional job (meaning one that is salaried, not hourly, and includes benefits) that I could apply for.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:53 pm

As a veteran of the discount brokerage industry I can say we will hire just about anyone who can fog a mirror. You might have to work next to MTal, which could be a disaster, but there are health and retirement benefits. You also will learn more in six months working for Ameritrade, Schwab, Scottrade, Options Xpress, etc. than you learned in four years in undergrad.

If you want to go to law school this year, or ever, just destroy the LSAT. But just attending any law school is not only not a way to improve your financial situation, the debt provides a recipe for financial ruin.

avidreader
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby avidreader » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:45 pm

I checked the sites of all of those, and all of their listings required experience, often lengthy, and a thorough background in the industry.

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Moomoo2u
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby Moomoo2u » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:28 pm

I don't know why you've described your work as "not real". If it's only various part time jobs, then maybe, but even then it's not like you were working part-time at a hot-dog stand (i love hyphens).

I assume you had prep-work and teaching itself is a very demanding job. I wouldn't think this would put you at a disadvantage with a high LSAT score. After all, that's what the PS/DS essays are for. You can explain your motivation and schools like NU might even be more likely to take you because of your work experience.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: What significance does work experience have?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:19 am

avidreader wrote:I checked the sites of all of those, and all of their listings required experience, often lengthy, and a thorough background in the industry.


LOL




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