Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

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luckylady
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Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby luckylady » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:58 pm

I'm concerned that a) I'm too old and b) I won't get a good job. I am 40 years old, mother of 5, and have no substantial work experience and no good prospects. I had planned to apply a few years ago, but the economy got me scared. My two main interests have always been law and psychology, so I thought that I would start the prerequisites for a psychiatric nurse practitioner program, which is also a three year program. I have taken a few science classes and I really don't enjoy it, which has me thinking that maybe I should just go with what I think I would be better at. I have a 3.8 GPA from a large (but not prestigious university), and my LSAT was 170 - nothing else remarkable to note except that I did finish my degree as an adult with a family. I also grew up economically disadvantaged, but that was a long time ago! I most likely can't move for school, so I think BC would be my first choice.

I have a big family and a lot of bills/debt. I would have to make about $100,000 yearly in order for this to be worth all the time, effort, and money. You all know much more about this than I do, I'm sure - what are my chances for getting in to a good school and getting a good job? FYI my areas of interest would be divorce, custody, adoption, mediation etc. Thank you for any information!

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BlaqBella
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:13 pm

If you can't relocate out of Boston or its environs I highly suggest you apply to BU over BC and Harvard Law School.

Your numbers are very good where you can expect some scholarship $$$ thrown your way to attend BU. Also, BU has better job prospects than BC. Harvard speaks for itself.

luckylady
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby luckylady » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:19 pm

Thank you for the reply. I guess my concern is that there are so many truly accomplished applicants who are 10 or 15 years younger than I am - why would I be accepted? And I honestly don't see Harvard accepting a 40 year old housewife when the best of the best wants to go there!

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BlaqBella
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:25 pm

luckylady wrote:Thank you for the reply. I guess my concern is that there are so many truly accomplished applicants who are 10 or 15 years younger than I am - why would I be accepted? And I honestly don't see Harvard accepting a 40 year old housewife when the best of the best wants to go there!


You're misinformed my dear. Harvard, like most other elite law schools take a holistic approach to accepting students. While numbers are most important (GPA, LSAT), non-traditional factors can also help applicants gain admission. They cannot deny you on the basis of age alone (that's against most equal opportunity policies anyway!).

Please don't think you're not worthy of Harvard simply because you are a 40 year-old housewife. If I was you, I would use that unique experience (there aren't many applicants with your experience of being a mother, etc.) to your advantage. Bring to light that experience in a diversity statement or personal statement. But whatever you do, do not limit where you apply because you do not think you are worthy enough!!

ETA: Apply to Boston University and Harvard University and see who takes a bite. You have nothing to lose here!

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:26 pm

luckylady wrote:Thank you for the reply. I guess my concern is that there are so many truly accomplished applicants who are 10 or 15 years younger than I am - why would I be accepted? And I honestly don't see Harvard accepting a 40 year old housewife when the best of the best wants to go there!

they won't use your age to deny you. I'm pretty sure it's illegal. I think you need at least 3 more points on the LSAT to have any legitimate shot at Harvard, but as of right now, you may want to consider early decision to BU, since it offers a full ride. I know people with far worse stats who have gotten it.

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twenty
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby twenty » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:30 pm

I would absolutely go with full ride ED at BU in your situation. With five kids, are you really wanting to be putting in 80-hour weeks in biglaw, or be locking yourself into working ten years in PI law with hours that aren't much better to pay off law school debt?

You won't be making 100k a year right out of BU, but you'll have virtually no debt, and you'll definitely have a lot more flexibility come graduation time.

drive4showLSAT4dough
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:34 pm

luckylady wrote:Thank you for the reply. I guess my concern is that there are so many truly accomplished applicants who are 10 or 15 years younger than I am - why would I be accepted? And I honestly don't see Harvard accepting a 40 year old housewife when the best of the best wants to go there!


Law schools make decisions that are almost completely determined on LSAT and GPA. Don't worry about age as negative in their view. It may well be a positive, but only at the margins (when comparing you to another 3.8 / 170).

I'll bite on Blaqbella's characterization of BC, though. (But I have no dog in this fight.) BC has better overall percentages for long-term, full-time, legal jobs. BC has better placement in big law. And, FWIW, BC has a better reputation in Boston firms. However, BU has a better reputation in academia.

BC:
--LinkRemoved--

BU:
--LinkRemoved--

Harvard:
--LinkRemoved--

Obviously, $$$ is the biggest factor, and unfortunately neither BU nor BC is overwhelmingly generous with aid. The strongest argument for BU is to apply ED -- which, if accepted, comes with a full tuition paid for.

EDIT: Scooped on the BU full ride x2

luckylady
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby luckylady » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:40 pm

Thank you for the replies. Any ideas as to whether I would have good employment prospects? How much I could expect to make when starting out?

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piccolittle
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby piccolittle » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:44 pm

Most importantly, why do you want to be a lawyer? What do you want to do? The interests you listed won't translate into a $100,000 job, because the salary distribution is bimodal and the top starting salaries are all in biglaw. I think you could certainly get into Harvard (even better chances if you retake, which I think you should do), but you need to know why you want to enter the profession. You have more risk than most when it comes to getting a job, because you have a family to support and striking out will put you deeper in debt than you can hope to climb out of otherwise. Think hard about what you want to do, research the sh*t out of the whole process on this site and the internet generally, and go in with your eyes open and a plan B, C, D & E.

Also, at my CCN, the kids who are striking out are the ones without work experience. Your background will be a hindrance, which is why I say do not settle for anything less than HYS. Your lack of professional work experience is HUGE. If you have to apply now, I would find a paralegal position or something professional ASAP. Then take your job hunting experience now, multiply that times three and that will be the law job hunting process once you have the time and money investment of a year of law school behind you. That's how it's going to be. Why don't you have a job now? Give yourself the best shot at employment, because firms will naturally gravitate towards the candidates with work experience. It would be one thing if you were 40 with 20 years of a successful career behind you, but in order to sell yourself as a lawyer at this stage, you need to have a very strong pitch.

If you want to go back to school, why don't you get an Accounting degree or something that teaches you everything you need for a certain profession and feeds directly into gainful employment? Law school is not one of those degrees.

JMHO. Sorry if this seems harsh, but I am watching so many people at my school strike out because they have no work experience, and these are 23-year-olds right out of college. Good luck!
Last edited by piccolittle on Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:45 pm

BC places better. BU offers full rides with ED acceptances. Apply ED to BU, apply to BC and Harvard as well. If you don't get the BU full ride you'll likely be able to negotiate BU and BC against each other, at which point you should go with the one that gives you more money.

Odds are against you making 100K out of BC/BU. Entry level salaries are bi-modal, meaning that a significant portion of students will make 125-160K and the rest will make well under 100K (like 40-60K, if they can find legal employment at all.) There aren't many jobs in the middle of those two ranges for students right out of law school. BU and BC in recent years have placed 30-40% of students in the jobs which pay a lot (big firms) or will lead to high pay quickly (federal clerkships). So the odds are against you, but it's not a crazy move for most people if the debt is limited. Your situation is obviously unique so you'll have to talk to your family and take everything into account.

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twenty
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby twenty » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:52 pm

luckylady wrote:Any ideas as to whether I would have good employment prospects?


Define "good". The Atlantic reported that 53% of college grads are un/underemployed*, and I promise you that percentage is much higher for non-STEM majors. Out of BU, for example, about 60% of the kids are getting jobs, 90% of those are legal jobs. If it's law school for free, or work as a secretary part time, BU for sure.

How much I could expect to make when starting out?


Either 55k a year, or 160k a year, and not a whole lot in between.




*http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/53-of-recent-college-grads-are-jobless-or-underemployed-how/256237/

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North
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby North » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:00 pm

OP, are you a minority?

luckylady
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby luckylady » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:07 pm

I am not a minority - white female.

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cinephile
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby cinephile » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:08 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
Either 55k a year, or 160k a year, and not a whole lot in between.




55k is too generous. For the class of 2011, a third of the class was working at $10 hour on a school funded "fellowship" 9 months after graduation. 55k is actually a really good outcome out of BU. Many people will do worse.

Also, even if you got a full ride, how much would you be borrowing for living expenses each year? Does your kids' father contribute substantially toward their living expenses? Otherwise the cost of going to school might be too expensive even if it's tuition-free.

luckylady
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby luckylady » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:16 pm

My husband supports all of us with his salary - I have been a stay-home mom so while we would not be relying on whatever money I make to live on, it certainly would be nice to have extra money, be able to save, etc. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner I would pretty much be guaranteed to make $90,000+ upon graduation, so the thought of earning half that is depressing.

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BlaqBella
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:30 pm

luckylady wrote:My husband supports all of us with his salary - I have been a stay-home mom so while we would not be relying on whatever money I make to live on, it certainly would be nice to have extra money, be able to save, etc. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner I would pretty much be guaranteed to make $90,000+ upon graduation, so the thought of earning half that is depressing.


But even for most nursing practitioner programs, you're looking at debt to attend (unless paid for by a hospital employer). In fact, as someone who has also considered the nursing practitioner route, I know that most employers will not be interested in hiring a nurse practitioner with limited clinical experience. Another issue you have to consider is the fact that nurse practitioners are now required to obtain their PhD/DNPs to qualify. So that's more years of schooling + debt + limited job prospects given limited clinical experience.

The key here is to focus not so much on how much you'll make but how much debt you will graduate with. With your numbers, BU Law at full-tuition is close to a sure bet. Apply to BC and Harvard as well.
Last edited by BlaqBella on Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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North
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby North » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:33 pm

BU's full ride ED seems like the best choice here, unless the outside shot you might have at H appeals to you.

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cahwc12
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby cahwc12 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:07 pm

North wrote:BU's full ride ED seems like the best choice here, unless the outside shot you might have at H appeals to you.

I can't find any non-URM stats on LSN about any BU full ride in the past few years:

http://bu.lawschoolnumbers.com/applican ... 00&type=jd

Only URMS seem to be getting 100k+

What are the numbers like for ED admits for full ride and why do they appear to be missing from LSN?

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North
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby North » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:27 pm

I found one when I expanded the LSAT range downward. Tiny sample, but it seems like she has a very solid shot given BU's medians.

KevinP's New Medians Thread wrote:Boston University (#26): 166 (-1), 3.75 (+.03), 211 (-31, -12.8%)


For a proxy, take a look at GW's ED admit rate for people with less than or equal to OP's numbers. Same full ride deal, higher ranked school, better medians, sought-after legal market, and all but one are accepted. OP should have no problem getting the full ride at BU.

luckylady
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby luckylady » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:23 pm

Thank you for all the information! Another thing I was thinking about is getting a certificate in mediation - does anyone have information on this career path? And if I seem confused - I am! Lots of time spent taking care of everyone else - now that my youngest is in school, I really want to find something that I enjoy and am good at to keep me busy.

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cahwc12
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby cahwc12 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:40 pm

North wrote:I found one when I expanded the LSAT range downward. Tiny sample, but it seems like she has a very solid shot given BU's medians.

KevinP's New Medians Thread wrote:Boston University (#26): 166 (-1), 3.75 (+.03), 211 (-31, -12.8%)


For a proxy, take a look at GW's ED admit rate for people with less than or equal to OP's numbers. Same full ride deal, higher ranked school, better medians, sought-after legal market, and all but one are accepted. OP should have no problem getting the full ride at BU.


Sorry to de-rail, but which other schools offer full-tuition ED's?

NW
GW
BU

Are those the only three?

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Should I apply to law school? Will I get a job?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:50 pm

cinephile wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
Either 55k a year, or 160k a year, and not a whole lot in between.




55k is too generous. For the class of 2011, a third of the class was working at $10 hour on a school funded "fellowship" 9 months after graduation. 55k is actually a really good outcome out of BU. Many people will do worse.


This! Too many 0L's and 1L's actually believe NALP statistics. The fact of the matter is that that salary data, along with the accompanying bimodal outcome chart, only represents 41% of all first year salaries -> That obviously means that 59% of all salaries are not included. It is an accepted theory that the higher salaries are disproportionately reported, and that would leave a sea of low salaries that are not included in that data. If that accepted assumption is true, and everything seems to indicate that it is, that means that the actually salary distribution is likely a very high mountain range from $0-$60K, a very low mountain range from $60-159K, and a negligible (if that) uptick from that low mountain range at $160K.

Also, there are also misconceptions as to what happens to median students at schools that place ~30% of their class in big law. Many 0L's and 1L's believe that if a school places a lot of students in big law, the remainder of the class must be competitive in non-big law law firm positions (which isn't true). What that does mean is that while the top of the class at those schools place better, the rest of the class does not do better than students at other schools that do not place as much of their class in big law -> this is sort of like T14 students that fail to get a prestigious job and thus end up in the same boat as everyone else.




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