Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

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Rjcollins
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Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Rjcollins » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:06 am

Hello all. My name's Ryan, first-time poster long-time lurker.

Short Version:

I'm 26,coming up fast on 27. I just got my bach degree in Political Science (I know, I know). I graduated with very good grades, but I don't feel mentally or financially ready to start law school, nor have I studied for or taken the LSAT yet. My current plan is to wait until I'm 30 and apply then. Will I be too old then for T14 -> Biglaw to be a realistic option?


Long Version:

For a long time my goal has been to attend a T14 law school with the goal of going into biglaw when I graduate. I've considered working in immigration law if I don't get my JD with too much in the way of debt. I'm pretty well-read at this point on what that process would be like and what the practice of law actually entails. That being said, due to some changes in my personal life, I don't feel mentally ready to take on the emotional and financial commitment of law school.

Part of this is because my wife, who put me through undergrad, wants to start college and she utterly loathes her job, so I really don't want her to have to put moving forward on hold for me. The other part is that during college I've discovered a passion for writing fiction, something which I've already had some (very moderate) success at and would like to pursue it further, which I feel would be difficult with the amount of dedication that is required to succeed in an elite law school and a big law firm.

My current plan is to try the whole "starving artist" thing while my wife does her UG degree, and then reevaluate law school in 3-4 years. There are, however, a few factors that are giving me pause.

The first is that I had already started college late after dropping out of high school when I was 17 and then working in my family's restaurant for five years. I was able to graduate college in 4 years while I continued working with a 3.9 GPA, some volunteer experience with CASA, and an internship in my city's legal department. While I am proud of what I've accomplished thus far, it caused me a lot of anxiety that I started college so late and I spent a lot of time feeling "behind" everyone else my age. I'm not looking forward to spending the next several years with that same feeling.

I also am not very enthused about my current job options. Against all wisdom and advice I stuck with the political science major, which pretty much leaves me with the non-law school options of public administration work, signing on with an NPO, or starting a band. The best offer I've gotten so far is a canvassing gig with Planned Parenthood. I can't relocate for work at the moment, and I'm just not very happy with what's available locally. Furthermore, I feel like I'm selling myself short a bit if I don't further pursue my education to get a higher paying job.

Anything that anyone can offer by way of advice would be much appreciated.

cavalier1138
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:07 am

No, it's not too late.

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ashrice13
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby ashrice13 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:19 am

Im gonna be honest, I only read the short version.

But it's not too late. There's a lot of topics asking this or a similar question on here and the answer is that age doesn't matter.

I'm going to be 29 when I attend and I actually feel I have a slight advantage in this application process because work experience is important.

You'll be fine applying at 30

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Deardevil
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Deardevil » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:13 am

Never too late. Do what your heart desires; you still have decades ahead of you!

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Capitol_Idea » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:14 am

cavalier1138 wrote:No, it's not too late.


I started Biglaw at 31 and I'm not the oldest in my hiring class. It's no hurdle at all.

gregfootball2001
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:15 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:No, it's not too late.

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Lincoln
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Lincoln » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:24 pm

I started law school at 29 and felt that my older age was an asset more than anything.

Also taking time off is the best thing you can do for yourself.

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cannonballer
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby cannonballer » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:56 pm

I'll be 30 when I start and I'm incredibly grateful for the years I've had since undergrad to develop life skills and perspective.

CPAlawHopefu
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby CPAlawHopefu » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:18 pm

Most 24-25 year olds have no WE. Tons of internships, retail/service jobs, and several in secretarial role. They can't compete with someone who spent almost a decade making a progressive career of their own. I, for example, have headed financial audits and have traveled internationally to close seven figure deals. My resume shows a steady progress from an entry-level associate to a senior managerial position. I don't see how this could put anyone at disadvantage (unless you spent your 20's jumping from one fastfood chain to another and have made zero progress in life).

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:05 pm

CPAlawHopefu wrote:Most 24-25 year olds have no WE. Tons of internships, retail/service jobs, and several in secretarial role. They can't compete with someone who spent almost a decade making a progressive career of their own. I, for example, have headed financial audits and have traveled internationally to close seven figure deals. My resume shows a steady progress from an entry-level associate to a senior managerial position. I don't see how this could put anyone at disadvantage (unless you spent your 20's jumping from one fastfood chain to another and have made zero progress in life).

Your work experience doesn't put you at a disadvantage, but plenty of K-JDs compete just fine.

rntojd
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby rntojd » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:45 am

I was 36 when I went to law school. As my handle implies, I am a registered nurse, and worked my way through school. So, I went the evening division route, graduating just shy of my 40th birthday. It didn't hinder me, except that I had no time for Law Review, Moot Court etc, as I was also a single mom of a teenager. My nursing background made it possible for me to land a job in a smaller firm, but BigLaw wasn't interested in me. Which was fine because I wasn't particularly interested in BigLaw either. I did know some people my age and even a bit older who got offers from large firms.

The classmate chosen by the student body to speak at our graduation was a man well into his 60s. He was a brilliant student who was well respected by professors and students alike. Had he chosen to actually practice law (rather than continue in his already lucrative profession), I have no doubt he would have received multiple offers.

Short answer: No, 30 is not too old.

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O.J.
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby O.J. » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:07 pm

I got you all beat, I'll be 45 when I start.

It's all about circumstance. I've already had a career. I have a family, own my home and I have savings and no debt issues. I can afford it, and I'm about to live out a childhood dream as a second career. I'll still have 15 solid years as an attorney before I retire.

So no, age is not an issue.

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hemicat27
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby hemicat27 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:29 pm

As a 3L in my late 30s who is counting down the days till graduation in the spring, I would go with a hard no. 30 is not too late! LOL. When I started considering if I should go, I kept coming back to how old I'd be when I graduated. I kept wondering if being almost 40 entering a new career was too late. And then a friend of mine told me something that has stuck with me to this day. She said "Well, you're going to be 40 anyway. You can either be 40 and be a lawyer, or you can just be 40. It's up to you." So I chose to be a lawyer.

Bottom line: If it is something you really want, then it's never too late! I'll echo the person above, I also feel like, at times, my age gives me an advantage. It took me a little while to adjust to law school, but once I figured out what worked for me I've been at the top of my game. I also agree that my focus had to be more narrow than some of my classmates. I didn't have time for Law Review or Moot/Mock Trial, etc. But I've never had trouble getting internships/externships, and I even had a job offer from my first internship before the end of 1L summer. I can't take the job because I'm not staying in the area, but it just shows that experience is desirable.

So I say go for it if it's something you want and you're willing to put in the work!

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O.J.
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby O.J. » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:53 am

Hemicat, that's hilarious! That is the same quote which motivates me every day to stick this out. I'm going to reach my late 40's either way, as a lawyer, or as someone who wished he was a lawyer. :)

CMac86
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby CMac86 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:17 am

I hope not. I'll be at least 33 when I start school.

As far as the whole "starving artist" thing, depending on what you play, I know of a federal gig that is hiring and has decent pay/great benefits if you're willing to move around a bit.

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Pomeranian
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Pomeranian » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:09 pm

The TLS consensus seems to be that if there's something else you want to pursue, you should do that before going to law school. Law school will always be there, and it's hard to switch to a different field once you are in law school.

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northwood
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby northwood » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:21 pm

Absolutely not. If this is what you want to do (be a lawyer) then you have to go to law school.

laggyking
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby laggyking » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:13 pm

same here. 26, will be 27 early next year. The thing is, 30 is kinda late compare with those kids who will be 25-26 when they graduate. but you got more experiences in your life, you wont make lots of stupid mistakes during the work, you will see problems differently, biglaw will know that once you get the job, you will be pretty much settled and wont change job quickly. those experiences will help you success in biglaw.

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dannyswo
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby dannyswo » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:23 am

hemicat27 wrote:As a 3L in my late 30s who is counting down the days till graduation in the spring, I would go with a hard no. 30 is not too late! LOL. When I started considering if I should go, I kept coming back to how old I'd be when I graduated. I kept wondering if being almost 40 entering a new career was too late. And then a friend of mine told me something that has stuck with me to this day. She said "Well, you're going to be 40 anyway. You can either be 40 and be a lawyer, or you can just be 40. It's up to you." So I chose to be a lawyer.

Bottom line: If it is something you really want, then it's never too late! I'll echo the person above, I also feel like, at times, my age gives me an advantage. It took me a little while to adjust to law school, but once I figured out what worked for me I've been at the top of my game. I also agree that my focus had to be more narrow than some of my classmates. I didn't have time for Law Review or Moot/Mock Trial, etc. But I've never had trouble getting internships/externships, and I even had a job offer from my first internship before the end of 1L summer. I can't take the job because I'm not staying in the area, but it just shows that experience is desirable.

So I say go for it if it's something you want and you're willing to put in the work!

Well put.

OzStriker1
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby OzStriker1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:15 pm

Never too late!

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Incrementalist
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Incrementalist » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:39 pm

I actually felt that way because I will be 30 when I enter in the 2018 cycle. It wasn't until I spoke with my dad that I realized it is never too late to pursue something when you have the passion for it. So after speaking with him it gave me a new perspective and different outlook on things. I wouldn't trade the life experiences and the friends I made in grad school before trying to pursue law school.

Fetter
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby Fetter » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:03 am

I am aware my reply is coming a bit late, but I felt that I needed to reply to you. I do not think you would be too old to go to law school at 30. If you feel like going to one of the big schools would be a negative experience because of your age, you could always consider a smaller law school when you reevaluate in a few years.

I am currently 27 and this is my first year in law school. My partner is working so that all of the bills are paid and has picked up a lot of slack with the children. I will be 30 when I graduate law school. Even if you decide not to go to a top tier law school, or even the best school in your state, do not let that keep you from your dream. If you want to go into law, do not let your age stop you. 30 is not old to start law school and you will still have many years left to practice.

Best of luck in your creative writing endeavor now and your legal endeavor in the future.
Last edited by Fetter on Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KMart
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Re: Is 30 Too Late for Law School?

Postby KMart » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:53 am

the answer, for future readers, is almost always going to be a resounding no.




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