Thinking about Law School at 41

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uh1999
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Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:55 am

Hello,

I am a 41 year old IT professional who is considering attending law school. The theme of my life is late bloomer-- I attended college at 24 and didn't enter the workforce until 30. I guess I was still "finding myself."

In college, I played Division I football at a mid-major college. My major was accounting. I graduated with distinction and with a 3.78 GPA. After working two years as an accountant, I became bored and caught the IT bug. I quit my job and attended an accelerated IT program, which earned me B.S. in Information Technology, with a 4.0, from a school whose admissions requirement is an active credit card.

I worked as an IT professional shortly in the private sector. Afterwards, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and served six years with three tours to Iraq. After my military service, I decided to work for a defense contractor, specializing in systems administration and integration, in the Washington, DC area.

My legal ambitions are prepare for the LSAT and to attend law school part time in the DC area. I am looking at George Mason and UDC, because of proximity (Mason is 20 minutes from my home) and cost (UDC is extremely cheap).

I plan to finance my legal education from my finances (loans are NOT an option, as I hate debt). Since I served in the military during a time of war, I was granted the 9/11 GI bill which allots $36,000 for higher education and monthly stipend. Further, my employer has a tuition reimbursement program that allots $8,000 per year. Between these two funding sources, my out-of-pocket expenses will be minimized greatly.

At 41, I have no illusions about making a smooth transition into the legal profession given that age discrimination prevalent in the job market. Further, I am not prepared to sustain a 50% pay cut. IT professionals with security clearances can earn between $100,000 and $150,000 in the DC area. If I didn't have a mortgage, I would gladly take the pay cut.

Since my motivation to attend law school is to earn a law degree and represent folks who cannot afford an attorney, I am perfectly content with practicing law pro bono and part time after law school. Another route is to parlay a job in the legal department of my employer.

Does this sound like a feasible plan?

Am I missing anything?

Any advice is welcomed.

03121202698008
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:56 am

Are you not eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill? It pays way more than $36K if you can convert...like BAH, 100% of any public school, and Yellow Ribbon to defray difference not covered if not public.

Be warned, DC is super competitive even for top schools. You will have difficulty from all schools outside the T14...I'd only consider that if you were locked in with your employer or something.

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Veyron
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby Veyron » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:59 am

Lol, a part time lawyer, now I've heard everything.

Also, the 3.78 GPA is the one that matters because its the only one that LSAC will take into account.

03121202698008
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:02 pm

Veyron wrote:Lol, a part time lawyer, now I've heard everything.

Also, the 3.78 GPA is the one that matters because its the only one that LSAC will take into account.


Yeah, not really sure how you practice part-time since everything is basically during business hours. Even real estate closings that happen in the evening require title searches and filing at the recorder's office during the day.

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Wholigan
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby Wholigan » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:08 pm

I imagine if you do well on the LSAT, you should get some merit aid from Mason, assuming they give merit aid to part-timers. Some schools do, and some don't, and I'm really not sure. If you can do that, between your GI bill and employer contribution, I imagine you might be able to go to school for nearly free. So if you don't mind the huge time sink for 4 years, I guess it would be doable. I just wouldn't do it expecting any economic return ever from getting a JD. Not saying it's impossible, but it's unlikely you will ever see an opportunity at increased earnings from getting a JD from a low T1 when you already make $100k+. If 4 years of time is worth it to you to do pro-bono work on the side, I would go. But it might be worthwhile to consider ways to assist underserved communities with your existing skills as well.

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20130312
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby 20130312 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:09 pm

You could form a club with this poster :D

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Grizz
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby Grizz » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:12 pm

Yeah bro, law's not a part-time jerb, either go to law school with the intent on becoming a lawyer as a full time jerb (would not recommend because you already seem pretty successful), or don't go at all.

Go volunteer if you want to scratch your do-gooder itch.

freestallion
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby freestallion » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:19 pm

Wait, first you say you are not willing to sustain a pay cut, and then you say you want to represent poor people??
Further, I am not prepared to sustain a 50% pay cut. IT professionals with security clearances can earn between $100,000 and $150,000 in the DC area. If I didn't have a mortgage, I would gladly take the pay cut.

Since my motivation to attend law school is to earn a law degree and represent folks who cannot afford an attorney, I am perfectly content with practicing law pro bono and part time after law school. Another route is to parlay a job in the legal department of my employer.


This makes no sense. NO way you will be making $100,000 to $150,000 as a private lawyer from schools like George Mason; and there is NO way you can make that kind of money as a public interest/legal aid/poverty lawyer.

littlebit
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby littlebit » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:27 pm

Sounds like you are a high achiever that gets bored easily. Not sure that law is a good choice for you - but I think you would be successful the first year of law school, which is the most important year for success. Also, I think your background would help in admissions, especially if you are an URM. You would still have a good 20 years to practice law, don't see a problem with your age.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:09 pm

blowhard wrote:Are you not eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill? It pays way more than $36K if you can convert...like BAH, 100% of any public school, and Yellow Ribbon to defray difference not covered if not public.

Be warned, DC is super competitive even for top schools. You will have difficulty from all schools outside the T14...I'd only consider that if you were locked in with your employer or something.


I am eligible. I didn't know it pays much more than 36K. Thanks for the information.

Another reason why I am considering law school is that I don't want to waste my benefits on a diploma mill such as Phoenix, American Public University, and other online schools.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:10 pm

Veyron wrote:Lol, a part time lawyer, now I've heard everything.

Also, the 3.78 GPA is the one that matters because its the only one that LSAC will take into account.


I didn't know that that was impossible. Thanks.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:12 pm

Wholigan wrote:I imagine if you do well on the LSAT, you should get some merit aid from Mason, assuming they give merit aid to part-timers. Some schools do, and some don't, and I'm really not sure. If you can do that, between your GI bill and employer contribution, I imagine you might be able to go to school for nearly free. So if you don't mind the huge time sink for 4 years, I guess it would be doable. I just wouldn't do it expecting any economic return ever from getting a JD. Not saying it's impossible, but it's unlikely you will ever see an opportunity at increased earnings from getting a JD from a low T1 when you already make $100k+. If 4 years of time is worth it to you to do pro-bono work on the side, I would go. But it might be worthwhile to consider ways to assist underserved communities with your existing skills as well.


That is it. Money is not a motivator for attending law school. That window in my life has long passed.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:14 pm

freestallion wrote:Wait, first you say you are not willing to sustain a pay cut, and then you say you want to represent poor people??
Further, I am not prepared to sustain a 50% pay cut. IT professionals with security clearances can earn between $100,000 and $150,000 in the DC area. If I didn't have a mortgage, I would gladly take the pay cut.

Since my motivation to attend law school is to earn a law degree and represent folks who cannot afford an attorney, I am perfectly content with practicing law pro bono and part time after law school. Another route is to parlay a job in the legal department of my employer.


This makes no sense. NO way you will be making $100,000 to $150,000 as a private lawyer from schools like George Mason; and there is NO way you can make that kind of money as a public interest/legal aid/poverty lawyer.


I am willing to sustain a pay cut if my mortgage was paid off. My mortgage is my only debt, presently.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:16 pm

littlebit wrote:Sounds like you are a high achiever that gets bored easily. Not sure that law is a good choice for you - but I think you would be successful the first year of law school, which is the most important year for success. Also, I think your background would help in admissions, especially if you are an URM. You would still have a good 20 years to practice law, don't see a problem with your age.


I am an URM. However, I hate the idea of that being appealing to admissions. But that's the world we live in.

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sunynp
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby sunynp » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:23 pm

I know of people who do some part- time work as pro bono attorneys in immigration clinics where the work is on a weekend or for a few hours after work. As long as you don't care about making money as an attorney, I'm sure you will be able to find places to volunteer that need help on a limited basis or for discrete periods of time.

Don't worry about URM status, if you are entitled to it, you should use it. There are policy reasons for the designation of URM status at schools, it isn't a moral issue.

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KMaine
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby KMaine » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:41 pm

sunynp wrote:I know of people who do some part- time work as pro bono attorneys in immigration clinics where the work is on a weekend or for a few hours after work. As long as you don't care about making money as an attorney, I'm sure you will be able to find places to volunteer that need help on a limited basis or for discrete periods of time.

Don't worry about URM status, if you are entitled to it, you should use it. There are policy reasons for the designation of URM status at schools, it isn't a moral issue.


+1 to all of this. You will not be getting into debt. I think that you will be able to find a way to practice law that is personally satisfying to you. And take any URM bump you get and run with it. Best of luck.

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Veyron
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby Veyron » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:47 pm

uh1999 wrote:
Veyron wrote:Lol, a part time lawyer, now I've heard everything.

Also, the 3.78 GPA is the one that matters because its the only one that LSAC will take into account.


I didn't know that that was impossible. Thanks.


If you're willing to work for free you can do anything you like but its kinda like being a "part time" teacher. The problem is say a case you think requires only a little amount of work ends up generating enough work to keep 2 lawyers busy for 40 hours a week - you think the judge is just going to let you off the hook? I suppose you could try to pawn it off but who would you give such a labor intensive case w/o compensation to?
Last edited by Veyron on Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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20130312
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby 20130312 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:53 pm

I don't have any specific advice, OP, but what you are trying to do is noble and respectable. My hat is off to you, sir. Best of luck!

horrorbusiness
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby horrorbusiness » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:56 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:I don't have any specific advice, OP, but what you are trying to do is noble and respectable. My hat is off to you, sir. Best of luck!


i read this twice but i cant find the part where you're a bad-faith troll, what happened to you bro

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20130312
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby 20130312 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:09 pm

horrorbusiness wrote:
InGoodFaith wrote:I don't have any specific advice, OP, but what you are trying to do is noble and respectable. My hat is off to you, sir. Best of luck!


i read this twice but i cant find the part where you're a bad-faith troll, what happened to you bro


I came across a person on TLS that deserved to be commended. Shocking, but apparently not impossible.

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MormonChristian
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby MormonChristian » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:22 pm

I vote, go part-time in law school and then decide from there. Also, take the LSAT and then get back to us. Yes, though, many schools give scholarships to part-time students. I been offered some.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:33 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:I don't have any specific advice, OP, but what you are trying to do is noble and respectable. My hat is off to you, sir. Best of luck!


Thanks.

uh1999
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby uh1999 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:34 pm

MormonChristian wrote:I vote, go part-time in law school and then decide from there. Also, take the LSAT and then get back to us. Yes, though, many schools give scholarships to part-time students. I been offered some.


I plan to take the LSAT in June or September. I enrolled in a prep course. I will let you know how it goes.

anewaphorist
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby anewaphorist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:45 pm

Yes, though, many schools give scholarships to part-time students. I been offered some.


Sweet grammar and dogma, MormonChristian.

memo2partner
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Re: Thinking about Law School at 41

Postby memo2partner » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:29 am

You have to get into a top 14-that needs to be your goal. With law, it matters big time what school you go to (employers will take somebody at median at Georgetown over somebody top 10% at Mason). With your military background, are you eligible to do JAG? If you want to do public interest, JAG will definitely be a good experience (and you could transition into DOJ from JAG). If you want biglaw, time to lock yourself in your bedroom and start studying hardcore for the LSAT (you really need to be at a t-14 to have any realistic shot, especially in DC--Mason and UDC don't cut it).




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