In my 30s and thinking of going to law school...?

20 years ago, I attended Columbia University and was a religion major. Later, I studied classical music and education. These days, I am an unemployed single mom who wants to pay the bills and make my son proud of me! Earlier in life, I had neither the financial need nor the self confidence necessary to seek an interesting career in law. Finally, at age 37 and needing to support myself and my son, I believe that I am confident enough to pursue a law degree!

In school, I was always great at tests. I scored a 740 in the verbal portion of the SAT and a 720 on the GRE verbal section. I scored the maximum possible on the English teacher test (Praxis.) I enjoyed studying Latin and five other languages for fun. Basically, I have a good memory and enjoy keeping track of a lot of trivia (which I do not consider so trivial, in fact.)

First, do you think a law school would accept me? Next, what sort of career in law would you recommend I pursue? (Maybe something like tax law or real estate law? I have no interest in litigation. The idea of becoming a judge and issuing decisions is fascinating to me. I am highly interested in all matters pertaining to moral issues.) Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!


Note: my GPA in my education degree was 3.8 but for my undergrad, it was only 3.1. I was a 16 year old college student initially, who withdrew from a great number of courses in the first two years of college, preferring to party in NYC. Later in my college education, my grades were mostly As, bringing up my average! But I graduated over 15 years ago....does it still matter?

Update 2:

I know the job market may not be optimal for law right now, and it's not always the most interesting thing in the world. However, at my age, not having fully used my brain for the past 20 years and missing the learning experience, I actually crave law school. Of course, I do want a degree to translate into SOME steady employment. I would never have done this in my twenties. I once got a legal secretary job to support my music career in New York, and I ran from the office after the first day. Yes, I have taught music and I am a music teacher. It can be fun, and although I never taught in New York, my friends there make 80 dollars an hour teaching. (Here in Philly, the rate is less than half of that.) It must be my new parenthood that is making me desire a greater connection to the society around me than that pursuit affords.

Update 3:

I looked up the phrase "mature applicant" with regard to law school admissions, and only programs in Canada showed up in my results. Does anyone know if a similar type of application process exists in the U.S. for someone my age?

13 Answers

  • CatLaw
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, it is true that it is never to late to go for the career that you want. I went back to law school at 39. In order to get in you will need to take and score well on the LSAT which is a law school entrance exam.

    Before you go one step further look at these two websites

    1. about the lsat and getting into law school

    2. The American Bar Association info on becoming an attorney

    Will law school accept you? Probably. Right now all law schools are concerned about is money. It is expensive to go to law school and you will probably end up with massive student loans.

    Some law schools have evening divisions which make the law school experience run 4 years, instead of 3 years day division. You will not be able to work and go to law school for the first year if you are in day division.

    Law school is tough. Think of the worst and hardest class you had in undergrad and multiply it by 10, that is close to a law school class. Unlike undergrad you cannot take one class her and one class there. You must follow the curriculum which is 4 or 5 required classes per semester. The homework is enormous.

    Because you are older, have a family, have had a life you are not like the vast majority of law students you will probably find out that you do not fit in. Because of the high level of competition within law school those that are different are isolated. But that will make you a better attorney because you will learn the subjects without the option of leaning on others. If your career path is to be a solo practicioner you will need to be able to do it all alone.

    If you intend to practice in the US you probably cannot get your education in Canada. Remember law school rules are picky, full of red tape, and make the student jump through hoops. Law school itself is like 3/4 years of being hazed in a big fraternity. What you lean in law school is the theory, where the law came from, not how to do it. It would be like going to carpentry trade school and not being told how to use hammers. You will have very few options in law school to pick your own classes, most of it is required classes and classes to train you to take the bar exam.

    If you can survive law school being a lawyer is a wonderful job. I graduated in my early 40's and could not get a job because of my age -- was told to my face. I then marketed myself as a contract attorney and would work per project/per month at any law firm. I had so much work I could have been working 24/7 and got great experience. I now have my own firm. Now I can say it was worth it. Good luck.

    Source(s): Illinois attorney
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  • roath
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Going To Law School At 30

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  • jigar
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Going To Law School At 40

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Many schools have a "mature" applicants category - and your life experiences may also be counted for some holistic schools.

    Have you written the LSAT yet? That will be a big indicator of which schools would accept you - that plus your GPA.

    That being said, my comments are as follows:

    1. it is never too late - but are you sure what you are getting yourself in to? if i could do over, I would not choose law - and i am only two years out (late twenties)

    2. tax law is quite specialized - most require an accounting or finance background

    3. real estate is general practice - not great right now because of the market, but assuming you graduate in 3/4 years - you should right on the upswing. that being said, RE is boring as hell - so i could recommend commercial rather than residential

    4. if you want to become a judge - you should do litigation, or something like family law (something that requires a lot of time in court) - also, not sure about your intended jurisdiction, but in mine, there is a 10 year min. of active practice requirement if you even want to try to become a judge

    5. lastly, i would stay far far away from moral issues - unless you want to be a poor lawyer. unfortunately, law is business. it is not about justice, or equality. dont be fooled.

    and on the off note- if you have a classical music education, why not trying teaching, or doing gigs? In comparison to the time and effort, I made way more money teaching my instrument than my salaried position as a corporate commercial lawyer.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Throw your money out the window. Seriously, the United States has way too many lawyers. Most lawyers do not make that much money and some cannot even find a job. Recently, there was an article in the Boston Globe about an experienced lawyer, who lost his job, he could not find a law job after months of searching and is now selling furniture. Even crap paying lawyer jobs for 35K-45K will be fought over. Can you imagine having $150K in law school debt and getting paid $35K a year?

    Don't worry you can get into a law school. I bet you I could find a law school that would take me with 1.0 undergrad GPA! If you are willing to pay the money almost anyone can find a law school that will take them look at Appalachian Law School, Massachusetts School of Law, Nashville School of Law, Birmingham Law School as examples of schools that will take about anyone, some do not even require an LSAT or you can do Kaplan's law school, Concord School of Law on the internet and never step foot in a law school.

    Law is the most over-rated, over-romanticized, over-hyped profession and it is only getting worse as more law schools open. If you are going to invest time and money in a career, especially later in life, it better pay off, most of those jobs are in healthcare. Law school is turning into the big lie.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The legal job market is terrible right now. You don't need a "mature application" every law school will accept students at any age. Your GPA is not all that great and you need an LSAT score, schools usually weight GPA and LSAT scores equally or LSAT heavier.

    Also I don't know if you have considered the cost of this decision. Law school is expensive and there is no financial aid, just student loans. It cost $25,000 to $45,000 a year to attend, this would be a substantial debt to take on at your age unless you can find high paying employment which is difficult to find right now and you can't be too picky about what area of law you will practice.

    Good luck on your decision.

    Source(s): 3rd year law student
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  • 1 decade ago

    If you ran from a Legal Secretary position after only the first day, I wonder why you are so interested in the field of Law now.

    Warning! Jobs in the field of Law are drying up FAST!! This is not a good field to invest time and/or money into. This is a SHRINKING vocational field. Many reasons. Many people today (mistakenly) think they can do their own legal work, thanks to the Internet. Also, we simply have WAY TOO MANY Legal Professionals - we have an absolute GLUT!! ("Legal Professionals" includes, but is not limited to: Attorneys/Lawyers, Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries, Bailiffs, Court Reporters, etc, etc)

    Law school will cost approx $150,000+.

    You can't just become a Judge - you have to know people, VERY important political people. Plus you have to practice law for at least ten years as an attorney.

    Even IF you finish law school, you won't be able to find a job when you are done. Since this vocational field is shrinking, many new attorneys/lawyers are, themselves, having to work "down" as Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries, Bailiffs, Court Reporters, etc, etc, to simply try to keep some of THEIR bills paid <<THIS would be your competition. And the competition is FIERCE!!

    Now... the law schools know this, but they won't tell you the truth >that the job market/economy is SATURATED with WAY TOO MANY Legal Professionals. Instead the schools will feed you a fairytale and will LIE to you. The root of the problem is we have too many law schools. We are in a recession, and the schools are fighting for their own survival - they will tell students ANYTHING to get to the students' money. (Which is why they won't tell you the truth about the job market for the field of Law.) AND these schools continue to recruit and churn out even MORE Legal Professionals.............

    If you don't believe me, then just do a SEARCH here on Yahoo Answers to see what other posters are saying about the current status of the field of Law.

    In the book "So You Want to be a Lawyer?" by Marianne Calabrese and susanne Calabrese (ISBN 0-88391-136-1): "The United States has more lawyers than any other country in the world. About 38,000 students graduate >EACH YEAR< from 200 law schools in the United States. The competition is very keen for jobs and clients."

    If you want a JOB when you are done with your studies, consider and look into the field of >>>HEALTHCARE! <THIS is where the jobs are! and scholarships!

    Good luck.

    (This was intended as personal opinion, and not intended to be used as legal advice.)

    Source(s): life been there - done that been in the field of Law for twelve years also am an employee of a law school, so I KNOW (too much?!?) wish someone had warned ME sooner................ so now I TRY to warn/help others (that will listen)
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  • 1 decade ago

    The legal profession is in crisis. Every year, more and more people graduate from law school, but there are fewer and fewer jobs. Even the largest and most reputable law firms are experiencing unprecedented cutbacks. I don't expect the situation to improve in the coming years. You are better off saving the money you'd pay for law school and invest in a franchise or small business.

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  • 5 years ago


    In my 30s and thinking of going to law school...?

    20 years ago, I attended Columbia University and was a religion major. Later, I studied classical music and education. These days, I am an unemployed single mom who wants to pay the bills and make my son proud of me! Earlier in life, I had neither the financial need nor the self confidence...

    Source(s): 30s thinking law school:
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  • 5 years ago

    You will take on a huge amount of debt that you will never pay off if you go to law school; the legal market is terrible. No one will want to hire a brand new lawyer in their 40s; firms want someone young. You need to focus on paying for your child's education; you taking out $150,000 that you will never be able to pay back.

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