Law School with a Family

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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tuffyjohnson
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Law School with a Family

Postby tuffyjohnson » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:29 pm

I've got 3 children in grade school. I am most worried about never seeing my kids/wife. I am worried that law school will be to cut-throat for a guy with that many kids. Some wisdom please. I already know what it's like to study for six hours on most Friday nights having gone to a rigorous M.A. program.

Is law school a bad idea with this situation? Looking at #80-120 ranked schools. I

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby holdencaulfield » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:50 pm

It's going to be an uphill battle, but sure, you can balance parenting with lawschool, assuming your wife is supportive.


Much more worrisome (and the reason lawschool may be a bad idea for you) are the long term financial implications...especially if you go to a TTT. At the very least, do not go unless you get a fullride with little or no stipulations.

Bobnoxious
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby Bobnoxious » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:01 pm

I tried finishing my undergrad 15 years ago with 2 toddlers and a job as an l-t-l truck driver. I couldn't do it. Now they're starting college and I'm finishing up the undergrad and sitting for the LSAT in June. I wish I had stuck it out then, but I didn't have the willpower or the self-discipline needed. It's do-able, but it isn't easy. I wish I had stuck it out then and if I knew then what I know now I would have. Good luck. Look at it like a job with a TON of overtime and lots of hoops to jump through, some painful and some not so painful and you can do just fine with it.

Oh, yeah, like the last poster said...you NEED NEED NEED your wife backing you all the way, and if you've got family and friends who support you it will be much easier.

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tuffyjohnson
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby tuffyjohnson » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:29 pm

I keep telling myself there is summer, spring break, christmas break, etc...

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sarahmargie
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby sarahmargie » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:43 pm

I have five young children (including two twin toddlers) and I go to a school somewhere in the top 20. The main problem I have is that my classmates (aka my competitors) have substantially more time to devote to the study of law than I have. Sometimes I get bitter. My husband is supportive, but that only goes so far, because he can't do my schoolwork for me.

A couple of thoughts on the subject:

We get no points for potential. Law firms will not be "understanding" about how hard it was for us; we have to meet the same expectations as a student who has nothing to do but drink and do schoolwork.

Socializing with your classmates and doing networking events is VERY important, so you must not give in to the temptation to just skip them. I go to way more of these things than I feel like I have time for, but I'm still known as the girl who never goes out.

I'm sure you can do it. I'm doing it. It's a balancing act, with constantly shifting priorities.

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haus
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby haus » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:52 pm

You may want to check out the 'OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)' thread, as several of the commenters are parents as well.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=143047

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tuffyjohnson
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby tuffyjohnson » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:11 pm

sarahmargie wrote:I have five young children (including two twin toddlers) and I go to a school somewhere in the top 20. The main problem I have is that my classmates (aka my competitors) have substantially more time to devote to the study of law than I have. Sometimes I get bitter.


I'm wondering if a lower ranked school might be a better option since my kids are so young. I wonder if that would be less cut-throat. I don't really want biglaw anyway.

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cinephile
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby cinephile » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:34 pm

tuffyjohnson wrote:
sarahmargie wrote:I have five young children (including two twin toddlers) and I go to a school somewhere in the top 20. The main problem I have is that my classmates (aka my competitors) have substantially more time to devote to the study of law than I have. Sometimes I get bitter.


I'm wondering if a lower ranked school might be a better option since my kids are so young. I wonder if that would be less cut-throat. I don't really want biglaw anyway.


In some ways, the lower ranked schools are more cutthroat since your classmates know that fewer of you have a chance of making it.

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sarahmargie
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby sarahmargie » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:47 pm

My school is not cut-throat. All law schools (regardless of rank) grade on a curve. That means that you are assessed not by how well you do against some objective standard, but by how do you in comparison to your peers. I doubt a lower-ranked school would be easier in that sense. The fact is that no matter what school you go to, you will be graded and probably given a class rank that compares you to your classmates, and all those classmates will have a lot more time to study than you do. :D

ETA smiley face because I didn't realize how bitchy I sound when I type. It's because I"m bitter.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:53 pm

cinephile wrote:
tuffyjohnson wrote:
sarahmargie wrote:I have five young children (including two twin toddlers) and I go to a school somewhere in the top 20. The main problem I have is that my classmates (aka my competitors) have substantially more time to devote to the study of law than I have. Sometimes I get bitter.


I'm wondering if a lower ranked school might be a better option since my kids are so young. I wonder if that would be less cut-throat. I don't really want biglaw anyway.


In some ways, the lower ranked schools are more cutthroat since your classmates know that fewer of you have a chance of making it.

Exactly - when the options for everyone are good, no one needs to be cut-throat.

FWIW, my law school classmates were the nicest people, and while there's tension because you're all graded on a curve, there was no competition otherwise - everyone was super nice and helped each other out. And going to a lower-ranked school assuming you would do better is a really really dicey proposition.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby Lacepiece23 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:53 am

I sit next to one person in class that has a family and kids. One of the nicest people I know in my class. While she/he has never gone to a social event this person has plenty of time for the fam. I'm a K-JD so I often ask this perosn questions of what its like. The response is normally that its just another job, and they treat it as such. Don't worry law school isn't all that much work if you are smart with your time. It definitely can be done. Biglaw another story.

Ti Malice
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:42 am

tuffyjohnson wrote:Is law school a bad idea with this situation? Looking at #80-120 ranked schools. I


It's not necessarily a bad idea for someone with a family to go to law school. But it's a horrifically bad idea for someone with a family to go to that level of law school.

B90
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby B90 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:40 pm

A few thoughts: first, I have to say that it is different for fathers than mothers. Women tend to struggle more with "mother's guilt," especially since society tends to be harsher on women for "taking time away from their kids". Honestly, I don't think full time school is that different from a full time, high-pressure professional job with overtime expectations.
I know someone who graduated from law school last year, who has a wife and three kids. I will pass on a few of his suggestions, as well as my own:
Guard your family time. This should be free of any talk of law school, unless anyone directly asks you (if your kids are young, I doubt they will).
Get a good babysitter. Budget for childcare. If you have family nearby who can help, that is great but have a conversation about how much they are able to do so no one feels like they are being taken advantage of/taking advantage of others.
Obviously, spend time with your wife. Make sure you still talk about/do some of the same things that were important to you before law school. This is an exciting change (hopefully), and of course you want to share your excitement, but don't upstage/overshadow. Also, don't do the opposite and avoid all talk of school and classmates, since that could make her feel shut out (sorry if I sound like a marriage counselor/make your wife seem needy).
Finally, one thing that people often don't consider: try to encourage your wife to get out by herself and with her friends. The guy I mentioned told me he often felt guilty that "studying" meant sitting in coffeeshops or the library reading while she was at home with three kids.

kryptix
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby kryptix » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:18 pm

I had a daughter during Law School and a lot of my friends in the part-time program have 1-3 kids as well, including some of the women. Its definitely doable, you just have to be able to study in 1/4 the time the people going full time do, and not be too bitter about not getting straight As. I will say though that the part time class did much better at OCI than the norm including the ones with kids so its not like you won't be successful. Employers do take things like kids and full time jobs into account and you can land better jobs than you would expect for your grades.

That said, my method is to reserve at least 1 day each week for the family (usually Sunday) where I won't work or do school work unless an emergency hits at work or I am behind and have a paper due right away etc. I keep the long hours of school work for after the wife and baby are asleep and generally leave the apartment at 8 am and get back at 11 pm. At a certain point it really starts burning you out, at which point hopefully you already have a job so you don't have to worry about grades any more. Even getting home to eat dinner at 11 though, remember that you'll likely still want to give the kids a bath or tuck them in, so don't plan on sleeping before 1-2 on any night to restart the grind :).

Vacations are precious, take them and enjoy, you already have a family etc, and presumably a career, don't stress about legal employment like your K-JD class mates.

I would recommend going part time rather than full time though to save money (unless your SO makes enough to support you, tuition, and the kids, at which point you will have parenting duties in addition to school).

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iShotFirst
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Re: Law School with a Family

Postby iShotFirst » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:27 pm

I dont understand the studying for the quarter of a time analysis- How many hours of class do you have a week? Probably 15 first year. Treat it as a job, work 55-60 hours a week. Thats 40 hours of studying a week, assuming one hour lunches and no work on the weekends. Do people really believe that K-JD students are studying 100+ hours a week? Most of my classmates consider sitting in the library studying and include that in their "totals"... not taking into account that while in the library they are mostly chatting.

If you already have 3 kids and you have been working/studying your intense MA, you know what it is to work hard, more so than most of these K-JD people anyways. I've treated it like a job (far less hours than my old job even at 55-65 hrs per week) and everything has been fine. Just study when you are at "work" and relax when you are at home with your family just like any other normal job.




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