I've been having this nagging feeling that I should go back to school. I have always had the feeling in the back of my head that I would do well in law school, and many members of my family have wondered in the past why I never went.
The problem is that I am 35 years old and I already have debt from getting a MFA that I probably will never use. Boy, was that a mistake. I feel like I am going to be stuck doing administrative work and will never be able to advance without having a more professional degree.
Having the additional debt doesn't necessarily bother me - I can just pay it off at the lowest monthly payment possible. The hours and work don't really bother me either.
Am I too old, though? That is my big question.
Unless you already have connections and can get in to a top program, do not go or you'll have two degrees you aren't using. The job market is awful.
Only go to law school if you enjoy helping corporate shits get away with crimes.
Those are the only jobs that pay and there are a lot fewer of them than their used to be.
Never too old. When I was in law school, students were in their mid-30s and 40s. No one was treated any differently.
BUT--there are no jobs right now. And the legal market is unlikely to revive to its former levels. If an MFA was a mistake because you have debt, a law degree would be a bigger mistake.
Only if you have a genuine interest in the law. Talk to practicing lawyers first.
My best friend went to law school at 40. Became the top lawyer in a town of 35000 almost overnight. You age is an advantage when you enter the market place.
If you are not a top flight student the jobs will be sparse and low paying. So many lawyers can't get a decent job and are left to handle small time criminal defense cases at rates the county wants to pay.
Consider a graduate degree is something like public or municipal administration.
An MBA will make you more marketable.
Your age is not much of an issue, but look at job stats for lawyers where you want to practice. Law schools have seen a big downturn in applicants this year.
[quote]Your age is an advantage when you enter the market place.
Only if you're going out on your, otherwise, age is a disadvantage, especially in the private sector. Firms want young people who will work 60-70 hours week for the promise of partnership, etc., do what they are told without question and so on.
I just finished both an MBA and a Masters in Accounting in the last couple of years. Headed to law school next year. If I can't get a decent job after that, then I might just become a porn producer. lol
No. There is a glut of lawyers. Firms want young kids that they can abuse with obscene amounts of billable hours each week. The list against it goes on and on.
Unless it's a childhood dream or something, then perhaps. Sounds like you just want to make a better life for yourself though. Best thing to do would be to get into something with computers, but the problem with that field is that there's a bias against anyone starting out that's even slightly older.
I'd say try to get a gov't job and at least have a decent wage and maybe a pension, but there's no guarantee anymore that the pension will have to be paid out to you when the time comes.
We're going to be known as something of a lost generation that got caught between paradigms. It sucks. Not for all of us, some will come out of it just fine. But the notion of getting your B.A. and being guaranteed a middle class existence is gone, gone, gone.
2 Since when has enforcing the law of contract, developing a run down area etc been helping corporates get away with crimes?
R10, not trying to be confrontational, but why haven't you been able to get a job with a Masters in Acct and an MBA?
I am sure the OP is not looking for the kind of job you have described. If he was, he would be well advised to never consider a law degree.
R13, I have a job, but it's a boring mid-management position. The two masters degrees are my insurance if law school doesn't pan out. I'm prepping for my CPA license exam and plan to take it (and hopefully pass) before heading to law school.
what about your student debt load?
Don't know if R17 is direct at me (R10/R16), but my two masters are fully paid off. I'll be taking loans for law school (about $150K to $200K for 3 years).
OP - I assume you are r16 and r18. please re-read this thread. the answer to your question is NO.
R16/R18 here. I am not OP.
My two cents though: don't go to law school if you are not prepared to pass the bar exam at all costs. That's like becoming an accountant but not passing the CPA exam, or going to med school without getting your medical license. Like any job, if you're prepared to work hard at it, and if you truly enjoy doing it, then you'll be successful.
Just keep in mind that a law degree and the subsequent bar exam require lot of money, time, and effort. If you're only half-heartedly interested in this career, then look for something else that you'd rather do.
for most people who go to law school, "passing" law school is no big deal and while the bar is a bit of an effort, no big deal as well. DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL if you do not go to a top 20 school, are not set to graduate in the top 20% of your class, and do not have a clear idea of purpose in why you are going to law school. I am a practicing atty, went to a top 20 law school, am currently a partner, etc., etc. law school was fairly easy, the bar was fairly easy. the work is mind numbing, and I would not do it again if I could go back.
The job market for attorneys is horrible, even worse than reported because law schools pump up the hiring numbers so that their programs don't completely collapse. OP, seriously, this would be the worst thing you could do. You'll have debt, no job and would have wasted three years of your life.
A lot of attorneys these days are doing "contract" (AKA temp) work reviewing documents. I work in a law firm we've had ten of them working in a stuffy conference room for the past six months. It doesn't look like fun.
Isn't immigration law lucrative? Especially with the reform that's coming?
OP get your CPA license and see how far you go in 5 years or so. Your CPA license will let you explore way more fields of work than a law degree. By then you will probably have a better feel if you want to go to law school or not.
OP, if you go to law school now, how long will it take you to become a lawyer? Have you already completed courses and programs that are applicable towards this?
I would say go for it, because you will never forgive yourself if you don't. You should probably look out for alternative careers where you can also you your law degree, or jobs will be harder to find.
I think it's admirable that you want better for yourself in life, and are actively pursuing it instead of just "settling". Good for you!)
What about working for Legal Aid or the Public Defenders Office?
Yeah, basically, you are too old. Not unless you want to take on $150,000 in student loan debt, none of which can be discharged in bankruptcy. Ever.
Can this type of program be fast tracked at all? And is it cheaper to finish quicker? I'm just asking because I'm considering a change too. I'm 22, so I wonder how long it will take me (I've thought about law too, but want a medicine)
That is what most lawyers end up doing because there aren't any jobs. Public defender jobs pay shit and you represent the criminal elements.
[quote]Can this type of program be fast tracked at all? And is it cheaper to finish quicker?
It's all about money, so the price structure is rigged so you will pay the same if you attempt to get through the program faster than the traditional three yeas.
[quote] OP, if you go to law school now, how long will it take you to become a lawyer? Have you already completed courses and programs that are applicable towards this?
There are none. Law school is a big money maker for universities. No matter your previous education, you will have to take the same number of credit hours at the law school -- typically 90 hours.
I went back at 35, OP, and I don’t regret it for a second. Yes, the debt is frightening, but I’d rather owe the government a crapload of money than hate my life so much that the thought of going into work in the mornings makes me physically ill. I think sometimes people who say that law school isn’t worth it under any circumstance don’t understand how awful it is to work in a profession you hate with every fiber of your being. However, I’ll echo everyone else in saying that you shouldn’t do it if you don’t love the law. That’s a lot of money to spend if you’re going to end up right back where you started, wanting to jump in front of a truck because you hate your life. The only difference will be that now you have crushing debt to contend with as well
Go to the best school you can if it’s in the Top 25; otherwise go to the cheapest school you can. If you happen to live somewhere with only one state school, you’re in luck, as it will be both cheap and good. Also, be realistic about your job prospects. Even at the bottom tier of schools, it’s not that easy to end up in the top 20% when you’ve been out of school for a long time and are competing against 22 year olds who can stay up longer and often don’t have jobs and other commitments that eat up their time, so your prospects are going to be limited. You’ll never get the corporate jobs, and you’ll have to work three times as hard as everyone else to even get your foot in the door because no one wants an older worker with experience who might stand up to them. Once you accept that, you’re good to go.
Do you want to sit in a room of assholes and sociopaths, who will pretend to be your friends and then back-stab you the first chance they get? If so, go for it.
Yikes, I swear there were paragraph breaks when I wrote that. Sorry.
Almost everything a lawyer does is about confrontation. Written, verbal, etc., it's all about arguing. That can get really old. But some love it.
R33, here you need to put a blank line between your paragraphs.
Here are some not so fun facts:
Law school class of 2012, 9 months after graduation, unemployment rate: 13%.
Percent of graduates employed in jobs requiring law degree and bar passage: 58%.
National median salary for new law school graduates: $61,000.
Four of my best friends from college went to law school. Now, 20 years later, none of them practices law. I've never known a profession with more unhappiness.
Think very carefully, OP.
27/30 Public defender's offices are actually facing significant budget cuts at the moment and public funding will be focused on the DA's office which prosecutes criminals rather than defends them. There are therefore fewer jobs there too. You may not get into a big corporate firm, but a small, local firm doing probate, divorce, employment law, real estate work etc may be a better bet
All I got out of law school was a severe drinking problem and a six figure debt.
Don't go, OP.
Isn't the job market for lawyers especially really shitty? It's the go-to career for people who don't know what to do with themselves.
[R33] I am a lawyer and I know what it feels like "to feel physically ill going to work everyday" and "To work in a profession I hate with every fibre of my being".
[R41] and then you start practising law and your severe drinking problems gets worse.
[OP] Good luck, but do your research into everything. I left e legal career in my early 30's and re-trained as a Physiotherapist. In the UK British Politicans have it in for lawyers right now and there are huge cuts and changes to costs that it is not possible for a law firm to make a profit anymore. I pity all the kids starting University not knowing about these changes. That when they leave University with their prize - a law degree and massive debt, that it is actually not worth the paper it is printed on.
i currently attend a top 30 law school. i am in the top 10% of my class. there are no jobs. this is the biggest mistake i have ever made and you are a giant moron if you attend law school in this economy. the legal bubble burst. it's not coming back. and believe me, you're not passionate about the law. the law sucks.
DO NOT GO!
You will regret it, trust.
So... WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE?!?!
[R48] anything but law.
OP: former legal assistant (disabled, not because of the law) here. You have been given very good advice. But at your question, what should you do with your life: perhaps medicine is a better answer? Baby boomers (moi) only getting older; big population segment (till we start/continue dying off) that needs more and more care. I don't have all the answers; sorry, but I remember when I was working and there were hideous deadlines, I would occasionally say, vis-a-vis lawyers: "...at least doctors save lives!"
Hear, hear, R11.
I've come to terms with the govt job part. My girlfriend just got hers and I'm going to apply next. At least I'll be safe for the time of my working life or for a few years at least, and four weeks holiday in the summer to do what I bleeding want, with what little money I'll have.
I'm going to Switzerland this year.
I feel for you, R45. I've just spent two years doing administrative work at a law school and I can say I hate the field even more than when I got in. Thankfully I'm changing jobs now, but I can say the profession does not attract pretty people (for the most part). And Law students are hated all over the university (which includes many, many fields).
Exactly what I was thinking R50! Medical professions seem to be at least useful.
Now my mother is a doctor and while I was growing up I vowed never, ever to enter that dreadful profession, but I can see now that it is useful and there will always be a need for doctors, especially as R50 since baby-boomers are ageing (and not dying, ahem).
If you only want to have a safe job, go for a govt job though.
After working in the private sector for years , and now that I work for the public, I can say that it feels very different to know you're being at least useful and not just turning in profit. I've stayed two years at my job and this is the longest I've stayed anywhere. It's not a dream job by any means but then I doubt very much our generation, unless one comes from privilege, will have any taste of a dream job.
Thanks [R52]. I understand Lawyers are not great people to work for in fact they are probably the worse. I understand the hatred but we are not all bad eggs.
53 - Even government jobs are not safe at the moment during these times of cuts and of course without profits in the private sector there would be nothing to tax to pay for the government jobs
45 - Trust me, most of the large corporate law firms are making ample profits after a recession blip
Baby boomers need Family Trusts written.
Seems like there would be work in that arena.
I have a friend who is in her second year of law school at age 54.
She wants the training and mental discipline to use in her work in politics.
R57: even with the caveats, including my own, posted here, good for your friend to go to law school at that age; I am really impressed! Best wishes to her.
Give us your financial stats OP...we'll play Suze Orman!
Debt...retirement savings...current salary, current amount of savings....
Is your MFA in the dance? Chorus boy work can be fun.
Well, I decided to apply to the part-time MBA program (top 15) and was accepted. Now the question is whether or not to go. It would take about 3 years because I want to keep working.
Too many lawyers out there now and don't forget those student loans. If possible go for CPA, much better demand.
Here is OP in 10 years:
"The problem is that I am 45 years old and I already have debt from getting a MFA and a law degree that I probably will never use. Boy, were those both a mistake."
Will you employer pay for part of the tuition if you are getting your MBA degree on the side R60?
Is your MFA a Masters in Art, or Accounting? Or something else?
OP, 3 years will pass and you will either be simply 3 years older or will be 3 years older and have your degree. Simple!
It sounds to me like you are more comfortable being an academic than working in the real world. If I were you, I'd give what I'm saying some thought and if I'm right, try to figure out how to make it in the real world or if you can't do that, perhaps pursue teaching.
You don't want to be too much in debt with student loans. You can't file bankruptcy to get out of them. Do you really want to pay the minimum amount for the rest of your life?
You aren't too old, but you do seem to be too stupid. Your trailer park dwelling relatives wondering why you didn't go to law school isn't a ringing endorsement.
He hasn't added much lately but there is much to read.
A friend of mine aced the LSAT about nine years ago and rec'd a full scholarship to John Marshall in Chicago. JM isn't a very good school but it has a record for getting alums judgeships through its alumni network. My friend finished his JD is 2 1/2 years, worked for a white shoe firm for two years, went to the USAO, and is now a judge.
I tell this story because, if you can ace the LSAT and get a school to pay your way, your decision might be made for you.
[quote]I already have debt from getting a MFA that I probably will never use.
Now you want to add to that debt when you don't even know if you could pass law school or pass a bar exam. Do you want to keep adding to past mistakes?
OP, I went to law school at age 37. I don't regret it. It is a great combination with accounting. Someone I went to law school with did the fast track program where she finished in 2 years and 3 summers. She worked part-time at her accounting firm so she graduated with very little debt. Then she moved to a law firm that was thrilled to get her. She was an older student as well. Good luck.
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