4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

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JDeezy
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4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby JDeezy » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:19 pm

Have my LSAT done, have already taken two years off before applying, thinking about applying in Fall 2014 to start Fall 2015. I am a 2011 college grad.

I'm sure this has been covered ad nauseum and obviously its a personal decision, but one of the factors for me will be whether a) I'll be out of place at law school or b) too old for firms at OCI. I'd like law school to be a "social" experience and learn from those who I meet as well as from my classes.

I know that there are plenty of late 20s at law schools, but I'm wondering from those with experience to answer a) and b) above.

Many thanks.

In case it is relevant I'll most likely land at a lower T14.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby Doorkeeper » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:23 pm

1) The people who go to law school are normally between 0-4 years out of undergraduate. You'll fit in fine. This being said, you'll be on the older end of the spectrum, but I really don't think you'll have too much of a problem interacting with those who have been out of school 1-2 years vs. 4 years. Those just out of college are a whole different issue, but I wouldn't be concerned.

2) Firms will have no problem recruiting someone who is 22 vs. 26. In fact, many firms now prefer to have associates who have work experience prior to starting at the firm. I don't think being a 27 SA will be a problem at all (so long as you don't have issues taking work from someone that's around your age). If you were like 35, then maybe this might be a valid concern.

If you're targeting the bottom T14 and want biglaw, Northwestern might be a place to look into more carefully.

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DougieFresh
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby DougieFresh » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:28 pm

As another "old" applicant in next years cycle (currently 26, will be 27 when starting school) Id like to hear peoples thoughts on this.

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BlueJeanBaby
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:34 pm

I feel like age has little to do with maturity. I'm about 25 and have great friends that are 21 and 30 alike. I also have a few good friends that are between 25-30 and doing just fine socially in law school (I'm applying to hopefully start August 2013 myself). I don't think it'll be a big deal. No worries! :)

gregfootball2001
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby gregfootball2001 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:41 pm

I'm 33, and a 1L. Have a good amount of friends in school from low twenties to mid thirties, don't feel out of place at all. Did great on the unofficial midterms (which mean nothing). Every lawyer I've talked to is interested in my former profession in a positive way. Haven't done OCI yet, obviously, but I think any negative would come from low grades way more than my age. Good luck!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:30 pm

Old here. You'll fit in fine.

keg411
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby keg411 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:48 pm

I started 1L at 28 (I'm a 3L and 30 now), and it really wasn't a huge deal. It can suck at times if you're female and single, but other than that it's not really a big deal social-wise. And it's definitely not a big deal job-wise; although the more interesting your pre-law school career, the better.

Gator_Law
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby Gator_Law » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:03 am

You will be just fine. When you are 40+ and in law school, you tend to stick out, but being 26-28 is only a few years older than average. I honestly can't imagine a scenario where your age would impede your ability to have a healthy social life in law school. I have friends ranging from 21-29 (I'm 22) and age has never played a factor whatsoever. Don't worry about it.

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RickyRoe
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby RickyRoe » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:44 am

I'm a 28 year-old 1L and asked this question to a recruiting director at a big firm. She said very plainly that it wouldn't matter for me at 28 because they actually preferred people who had other careers before law to give them a different prospective and more maturity. However, she did add that there was an age where she probably would look at them differently, but you aren't in any danger of that.

Taking a few years off is not a bad thing, but I wouldn't suggest wasting those years either. That doesn't mean you have to work for a law firm or anything, just do something interesting. Travel, volunteer, whatever you want to do, but don't just work at Starbucks and play video games the whole time. Personally, I feel like I could have done more during my time off because all I did was bartend, which may look bad to some people. And I feel out of place, but never because of my age.

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scifiguy
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:31 pm

hmmm. Would employers automatically know your exact age?

I look super young for my age and have a friend that's 27 and looks 18.

analytic_philosopher
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby analytic_philosopher » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:44 am

scifiguy wrote:hmmm. Would employers automatically know your exact age?

I look super young for my age and have a friend that's 27 and looks 18.


From your resume, they know how many years ago you graduated from college and what you've been doing since then. They care about this more than they care about your age.

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RickyRoe
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby RickyRoe » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:16 am

H
analytic_philosopher wrote:
scifiguy wrote:hmmm. Would employers automatically know your exact age?

I look super young for my age and have a friend that's 27 and looks 18.


From your resume, they know how many years ago you graduated from college and what you've been doing since then. They care about this more than they care about your age.


Here is an ethical question for the board:
My situation- Finished my undergrad courses 4 years ago (summer 2008), but I didn't actually fill out the paperwork for graduation (including completing an internship and a few other clerical requirements) until this summer. I did this for 2 reasons; 1) was considering taking a few easy classes to try and raise my very low GPA and improve my chances at law school. Never did this though, figured in the end that it was better to just spend that time and money on the LSAT. 2) I was just a bartender and had no need for a college degree until I was ready for law school so I just kind of never really got around to it.

Anyways, I couldn't find a good paying job and knew I would eventually go to law school (thought it'd be sooner though). I ended up just bartending for the better part of my time off in the same city and for the same bar as I worked in undergrad. Did some volunteer work that I can include, but for the most part I am kind of embarrassed by my resume and lack of any real-world work experience for someone my age. However, people are usually shocked to find out I'm 28 and most people in my law school think I am fresh out of undergrad.

So, would it be unethical to put my undergrad class as 2012, covering up the fact that I spent 4 years basically f***ing around? Technically 2012 is the year I graduated, so nothing would be inaccurate, and I don't know how to explain away the fact that I have never had a job that made me get up before noon. However, it might be kind of misleading I guess considering I haven't taken a college class since 2008. Then again, I'm not going to lie about anything if asked, I just want to look better on paper.

Does anyone have an opinion on this?

rad lulz
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby rad lulz » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:55 am

JDeezy wrote:I'd like law school to be a "social" experience and learn from those who I meet as well as from my classes.

What will actually happen is after a semester you'll want to avoid law students.

GreentoJD
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby GreentoJD » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:44 am

RickyRoe wrote:Here is an ethical question for the board:
My situation- Finished my undergrad courses 4 years ago (summer 2008), but I didn't actually fill out the paperwork for graduation (including completing an internship and a few other clerical requirements) until this summer. I did this for 2 reasons; 1) was considering taking a few easy classes to try and raise my very low GPA and improve my chances at law school. Never did this though, figured in the end that it was better to just spend that time and money on the LSAT. 2) I was just a bartender and had no need for a college degree until I was ready for law school so I just kind of never really got around to it.

Anyways, I couldn't find a good paying job and knew I would eventually go to law school (thought it'd be sooner though). I ended up just bartending for the better part of my time off in the same city and for the same bar as I worked in undergrad. Did some volunteer work that I can include, but for the most part I am kind of embarrassed by my resume and lack of any real-world work experience for someone my age. However, people are usually shocked to find out I'm 28 and most people in my law school think I am fresh out of undergrad.

So, would it be unethical to put my undergrad class as 2012, covering up the fact that I spent 4 years basically f***ing around? Technically 2012 is the year I graduated, so nothing would be inaccurate, and I don't know how to explain away the fact that I have never had a job that made me get up before noon. However, it might be kind of misleading I guess considering I haven't taken a college class since 2008. Then again, I'm not going to lie about anything if asked, I just want to look better on paper.

Does anyone have an opinion on this?
Similar situation, although I had a job during the intervening years. I put down the year I actually graduated, even though I should have graduated 5 years prior. As you note you technically graduated in 2012 - hence you are the Class of 2012 under any scenario. It would be incorrect to say otherwise, which leaves you with three scenarios in my opinion.

1. If you look young enough and don't put your bartending and volunteer stuff on your resume: Employers might not even catch that you screwed around for several years. I don't think they're allowed to ask about your age directly either, so if you don't open the door by discussing such things no one would be able to affirmatively find out that you didn't do much for four years. It's not unethical as long as you don't lie. No one in the legal world needs to know that you are 28 so you're not failing to disclose anything material to the job. Be prepared though to have a response if asked about your past, see below.

2. If you look old or you decide to include the jobs: Be prepared to be directly and indirectly asked about what this period of time was all about. Have a compelling story that spins your decision to take time off into something positive.

3. Include 2012 grad year and the jobs: Own it outright, but still spin as above.

I did #3. I had my jobs and graduation date, so it inevitably lead to questions about the timing and how it all worked out. Invariably I had to explain that I started college, left for 5 years, then returned to graduate when I knew I wanted to go to law school. Granted I was in the military and I wanted to include that information, but I think employers appreciate a more mature candidate so if you can spin your time off at all (such as if you were any sort of assistant manager-like job who happened to bartend) it would be more to your advantage. Ultimately your law school grades will trump all, though, so concentrate on knocking those out and come OCI your background will make for interesting interviews and do little to hinder you.

thegrayman
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby thegrayman » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:18 pm

I started law school in that age bracket last year. It wasn't awkward for me at all because I look young, pretty much everyone thought I was fresh out of undergrad.

The only awkward moments were the "big reveal" when someone either does the math after you've been talking about what you did before law school, or just straight up asks you how old you are. I had a pretty awkward moment when someone was giving me life advice from their perspective since they were older than me, only to find out that they were actually 2 years younger than me...

Some people don't say anything, others look at you with an expression of shock and say "YOU'RE [age]?!??!!?" You either take it as a compliment that you look young, or you take it as a "you're old as hell" sort of thing for them to say to you.

For OCI: It didn't come up as in employers asking me point blank, but obviously they know better than to ask. It comes up more along the lines of seeing that you've been out of undergrad for a long time. How they look at it I have no idea. I had some decent work experience before law school, I feel like it helped me (but not much if at all).

I think that downside will be starting a career, because honestly I won't be "fresh out" of school, more like "finally out."

bdm261
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby bdm261 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:38 pm

thegrayman wrote:I started law school in that age bracket last year. It wasn't awkward for me at all because I look young, pretty much everyone thought I was fresh out of undergrad.

The only awkward moments were the "big reveal" when someone either does the math after you've been talking about what you did before law school, or just straight up asks you how old you are. I had a pretty awkward moment when someone was giving me life advice from their perspective since they were older than me, only to find out that they were actually 2 years younger than me...

Some people don't say anything, others look at you with an expression of shock and say "YOU'RE [age]?!??!!?" You either take it as a compliment that you look young, or you take it as a "you're old as hell" sort of thing for them to say to you.

For OCI: It didn't come up as in employers asking me point blank, but obviously they know better than to ask. It comes up more along the lines of seeing that you've been out of undergrad for a long time. How they look at it I have no idea. I had some decent work experience before law school, I feel like it helped me (but not much if at all).

I think that downside will be starting a career, because honestly I won't be "fresh out" of school, more like "finally out."



I'll be 27 when I start school but I get the whole "you look young" thing a lot. The other day a girl at work was surprised when I told her I was 26, she thought I was 20.

Should I have nothing to worry about in regards to being a 4-5 years past the typical age of a 1L?

Legal employers, like any other, cannot inquire about your age I assume? But I have heard firms do not like recruiting people aged 30+ because they're not "fresh" enough? How would they find out someones age?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:44 pm

You guys will all be fine.

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bandenjamin
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby bandenjamin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:56 pm

bdm261 wrote:
thegrayman wrote:I started law school in that age bracket last year. It wasn't awkward for me at all because I look young, pretty much everyone thought I was fresh out of undergrad.

The only awkward moments were the "big reveal" when someone either does the math after you've been talking about what you did before law school, or just straight up asks you how old you are. I had a pretty awkward moment when someone was giving me life advice from their perspective since they were older than me, only to find out that they were actually 2 years younger than me...

Some people don't say anything, others look at you with an expression of shock and say "YOU'RE [age]?!??!!?" You either take it as a compliment that you look young, or you take it as a "you're old as hell" sort of thing for them to say to you.

For OCI: It didn't come up as in employers asking me point blank, but obviously they know better than to ask. It comes up more along the lines of seeing that you've been out of undergrad for a long time. How they look at it I have no idea. I had some decent work experience before law school, I feel like it helped me (but not much if at all).

I think that downside will be starting a career, because honestly I won't be "fresh out" of school, more like "finally out."



I'll be 27 when I start school but I get the whole "you look young" thing a lot. The other day a girl at work was surprised when I told her I was 26, she thought I was 20.

Should I have nothing to worry about in regards to being a 4-5 years past the typical age of a 1L?

Legal employers, like any other, cannot inquire about your age I assume? But I have heard firms do not like recruiting people aged 30+ because they're not "fresh" enough? How would they find out someones age?


Speaking as an "Old" (35); it's not really so much that you're not 'fresh' enough, unless you define 'fresh' as willing/able to put in crazy hours and put firm above all other obligations in life. I'm sure many firms have tried and found that other obligations (spouse, children, elder parents who may require care/attention, etc) have made associates who fall in to this age bracket less desirable than other recently law school graduates.

There are also likely some people who worry about the age difference in reporting relationships. For example at my age, a senior associate who is 28 years old may feel somewhat uncomfortable with given me direction, or I may be uncomfortable receiving directions from some snot nosed kid. :D

So when a firm has a choice between a 26 year old with great grades/law review/normal big-law requirements, and a 38 year old w/same. It just makes more sense for them to higher the younger person (even if that's not what they will say publicly). If I were a hiring partner, I would feel the exact same way.

Now get off my damn lawn!
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dingbat
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby dingbat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:05 pm

Seriously, don't worry about it. I'm in my 30s and it's barely noticeable.
There are several people in my section that are around 30. The only real difference is if you make it an issue yourself.

(oh, or if you have family obligations)

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nygrrrl
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:32 pm

dingbat wrote:Seriously, don't worry about it. I'm in my 30s and it's barely noticeable.
There are several people in my section that are around 30. The only real difference is if you make it an issue yourself.

(oh, or if you have family obligations)

This.
As for OCI, the only time age was mentioned was in my practice interview; that interviewer noted that he thought it would help me in interviews - if I spun it right it could make me stand out in a positive way. (Firms are not allowed to ask your age but I had expected some inferences about things like taking direction from younger associates; there were none.) My WE was mentioned in just about every interview; I had the feeling that what was important to employers was hearing how I planned to transfer my job skills to a new field.
TL; DR - Seriously, don't worry about it.

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BlaqBella
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby BlaqBella » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:40 pm

bandenjamin wrote: For example at my age, a senior associate who is 28 years old may feel somewhat uncomfortable with given me direction, or I may be uncomfortable receiving directions from some snot nosed kid. :D


You seldom if ever find a 28-year old who is a senior associate. A senior associate is usually someone with 8+ years experience. A 28-year old is more along a mid-level associate.

bandenjamin wrote:So when a firm has a choice between a 26 year old with great grades/law review/normal big-law requirements, and a 38 year old w/same. It just makes more sense for them to higher the younger person (even if that's not what they will say publicly). If I were a hiring partner, I would feel the exact same way.


Not necessarily. Often times an older associate brings real world and work experience that is invaluable to a firm. It has been my observation that firms may show favorable bias towards the applicant with work experience who is an expert/knowledgeable on things that will prove beneficial to clients v. a K-JD applicant with little to no work experience.

I've seen firms hire older applicants who were scientists, management consultants, accountants, analysts, bankers, CFAs, etc...the list goes on.

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pauwelsd
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby pauwelsd » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:13 am

Started Law School at 27. Will graduate at 30. Most people in my class are mid-20s, and I am by no means the oldest (I'm pretty sure we have more than one 50+). Everyone gets along, everyone hangs out and I never once suspected that I was passed over at OCI because I'm "older."

You all will be fine.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: 4 years off after UG, starting law school at age 26-28

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:59 am

I am way older than all of you (older than dirt!) and I have run into the thing where employers wonder if I'm willing to get down in the trenches and do the grunt work/be supervised by someone younger than me. (In part this is because I had a whole other career which entailed being in charge of a bunch of stuff, so they worried I would still expect to be in charge.)

However, if you address this directly, you can usually assuage any concerns. AND I really don't think that's going to be an issue for someone starting at 26-28 (I was 38 when I started school). The average 1L age at my school was 25-26 and a few years outside that isn't going to make the slightest bit of difference.

I'll admit I was exactly at the beating hub of the law school social scene, but that was about my own choices, not anyone treating me differently; no one excluded or ostracized me.




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