Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Need some brutally honest advice

I've been scouring these sites for the past six months. Its lawschooldecision03/10/17
Dude let me just say that as someone from family of idealist jbot03/13/17
Of these, I'd pick Mizzou. Full scholarship plus stipend in newsolo03/10/17
My 2 cents is this.... Generally, a law school is only re qdllc03/10/17
^ This. Outside of HYS or possibly top 10, go to school whe hairypalms03/10/17
You have no idea if you "really enjoy the law" because you h tcpaul03/10/17
dbl post superttthero03/10/17
Generally, you want to get as little debt as possible, in an bucwild03/10/17
What exactly have your encounters been with the law such tha physicssezno03/10/17
Tcpaul speaks the truth: Unless you're presently working in 6figuremistake03/10/17
You should not go to law school. 1) Debt - avoid it. Esp sjlawyer03/10/17
Aside from the terrible job prospects for new grads, the num kretan18203/10/17
what do you mean by "do good work and make a difference"? defensivelawyer03/10/17
Life is a journey. Have at it. Avoid debt like the plague. T jeffm03/10/17
Credited. You should find something else to do besides law. shouldalearnedmath03/10/17
jeffm's final point can't be stressed enough. Fair or not, pauperesq03/10/17
You say you find law interesting, but there's a difference b thedarkscrivener03/10/17
I would wait on Fordham and Brooklyn, and then use those off bingojackson03/10/17
If you want to do public interest work, go volunteer your ti molawmo03/10/17
I know this is a little out of the box, but I don't think th posthocergoproptrhoc03/10/17
considering your aspirations, your only 2 considerations sho dingbat03/10/17
Trump is cutting non-military federal spending.Do you think mrlollipop03/10/17
I agree with tcpaul above. I think this point needs to be superttthero03/10/17
Oh, Lord. What part of law do you "really enjoy?" Writin anothernjlawyer03/10/17
Flame. If OP was real and had scoured this forum for 6 month mrtor03/10/17
Yeah, this sounds really strange. Even today, I can't imagin lazlo03/10/17
"It's a lot more rewarding than rescuing some derelict who h fartacus03/10/17
I'm in trans/finance. It phucking sucks. I read gov regs d thelegalwhore03/10/17
A bit hard without knowing more about your situation. Kind wutwutwut03/10/17
I don't think you should go unless you are fine living in St flharfh03/10/17
I didn't read all the responses, so maybe a little duplicati jd4hire03/10/17
Went to school with a guy who got big law at 38/39 or whatev orgdonor03/12/17
Most of those schools you mentioned aren't that good. Being cranky03/12/17
odds are really against you at age 35, or as a 40 yo new gra xstockholmsynhostag03/12/17
For what it's worth, I had a classmate enter law school as a 2breedbares03/13/17
There is always an exception to the rule. It's these types hairypalms03/13/17
I went to law school when I was 33, in 1993. I went to a bel jhbufford03/13/17
I think he should take your story with a green assault. For cocolawyer03/13/17
I wish interest was that low in '93. I graduated then, inte porochi03/14/17
Like everyone else has iterated, avoid debt at all costs if banana03/13/17
Missouri* is what I meant. banana03/13/17
I went to one if your listed nyc schools. It took me five ye adamb03/13/17
I would pick University of Missouri; the ease with which you jcad03/13/17
Good point. Many schools will hand out scholarships to attra orange903/13/17
another way to look at your potential journey is through ide lowiqgentile03/13/17
Do not go to law school! Even if just for the reasons give heythere03/13/17

lawschooldecision (Mar 10, 2017 - 5:19 am)

I've been scouring these sites for the past six months. Its been enlightening and terrifying. I've had my heart set on law school because I truly find the law interesting and believe I could do good work, making a difference. I know I would be fairly set on public interest / government work. I know, I know. The heart wants what it wants though. I'm also incredibly debt averse having already paid off my private undergrad loans. The state of the legal job market is just about heartbreaking to me. That said, I am not law school or die. I'm 35 years old and if I have to walk away from this path, I will find something else worthwhile. I just really enjoy law. With that, I would love to get some advice from those that know more than I. Below are the schools I have heard back from. I'm still waiting on six others which is crazy because I have to start letting the schools I've gotten into know within the next three weeks.


George Washington U.
Scholarship: $90,000 over 3 years
Yearly tuition: $54,000

Emory
Scholarship: $109,000 over 3 years
Yearly tuition: $52,000

U of Missouri
Full tuition covered + $1500 a year stipend
At this school, I also have free room for the three years

Cardozo
Scholarship: $144,000 over 3 years
Yearly: $55,000

Pennsylvania State
Scholarship: $144,000 over 3 years
Yearly: $51,000

I'm still waiting to hear back from Fordham, Brooklyn Law, USC, UCLA & Columbia.

I currently live in NYC and while I would love to stay, I don't know how anyone can live here for three years with no income. That alone would add 100K to student loan debt. I also know myself to know that I can't live in the long term outside of a major metropolitan area. I'd love to hear anyone's honest thoughts. Even if its that the numbers don't add up, and I should run far away from law.

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jbot (Mar 13, 2017 - 5:53 am)

Dude let me just say that as someone from family of idealistic lawyers, but who myself escaped the law school cult, I can't tell you how many people I meet who are either ex-lawyers or dreaming about pursuing their real dream rather than than slaving at soulless firms to defend the riches of corporations.

Take this with a grain of salt because I'm obviously biased. But more people should skip straight to the "I'm a recovering lawyer" phase. And even Atticus Finch didn't have to climb out from a pile of debt.

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newsolo (Mar 10, 2017 - 5:59 am)

Of these, I'd pick Mizzou. Full scholarship plus stipend in low COL area. Access to two metro area in state (if someone from NYC considers STL and KC as metro areas).

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qdllc (Mar 10, 2017 - 6:21 am)

My 2 cents is this....

Generally, a law school is only regarded in the region where it sits. There seems to be a preference to "hire local graduates." So if you go to school in Missouri but want to work in NYC, you better have an impressive transcript or you'll have to start at a more "local" firm and once you establish your professional reputation, try to move on to NYC.

That, or have people helping you network like crazy in NYC so you have a real shot at getting hired there post-graduation.

I went to Wyoming. A classmate wanted to go work in DC post-grad. They pretty much laughed at him. He's working for the feds now, but in Virginia...with help from his dad getting him into a clerkship for a federal judge. The DC crowd just looked down their nose at a Wyoming graduate...regardless of how well he did in school.

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hairypalms (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:47 am)

^ This. Outside of HYS or possibly top 10, go to school where you ultimately want to practice. I agree - no one is going to know how the graduates are from Wyoming in NYC. You would have great difficulty even getting an interview in this scenario. Again, go to a school in the state or region where you ultimately would like to practice.

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tcpaul (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:06 am)

You have no idea if you "really enjoy the law" because you have never practiced the law. So get that notion out of your head. Maybe you will enjoy it, which is doubtful, but you shouldn't make your decision on that unfounded belief.

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superttthero (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:18 am)

dbl post

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bucwild (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:14 am)

Generally, you want to get as little debt as possible, in an area in which you want to practice. Where do you want to live/work?

At first glance, Missouri may look tempting. But, I suggest you seriously look at how their graduating class is doing. I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. During my three years in Missouri (St. Louis), I never met a single attorney from Mizzou. All of the locally trained attorneys graduated from WUSTL or St. Louis University. Granted, Mizzou may have more clout outside of St. Louis. But to be honest with you, I didn't know Mizzou even had a law school before visiting this thread. Make of that what you will.

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physicssezno (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:17 am)

What exactly have your encounters been with the law such that you can know you love it?

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6figuremistake (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:31 am)

Tcpaul speaks the truth: Unless you're presently working in a legal capacity and observe what the attorneys at your firm/organization/company do on a daily basis and you just need the JD to make the jump into their roles, you're really just speculating.

"Public interest" law can be just as hard to land as BigLaw and doesn't pay nearly as well.

You're 35 years old; I am too, but I made the LS school mistake about a decade earlier. I'm just now overcoming that foolish decision - and I had a lot of good breaks.

Trust me, you do not want to be pushing 40 and end up in the same position as plenty of second tier graduates. If you absolutely have to go, don't take on a dime of debt. Nonetheless, even without debt, being nearly 40 with 3 years out of the workforce isn't a position I would envy. There is a lot of age discrimination when it comes to entry level legal jobs, you're going to be stuck wherever you go to school (for legal opportunities at least), and it could be really difficult to worm back into non-legal work.

Honestly, do yourself a huge favor and don't go to law school. Lots of tier 2 (and low tier 1) graduates end up in doc review and similar tough positions. It's a little easier to bounce back in your 20's. If you're willing to take the pay cut, see if you can get a job at a state agency or get a managerial role at not for profit with your existing credentials.

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sjlawyer (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:41 am)

You should not go to law school.

1) Debt - avoid it. Especially significant debt, which all of the schools you listed will put you in (except Mizzou) at any age, but especially after age 30.

2) Location. Based on the fact that you currently live in NYC, odds are you a) prefer a city and b) prefer a coast (likely east - which is fine). These schools will put you on those coasts (except Mizzou) but see #1. Mizzou will keep you debt-low but you will have highly limited access to the coasts.

3) Opportunity cost - age 35 is a prime earning year. You're likely losing out on a minimum of $150K in salary over 3 years and probably much more.

4) Public Interest and Gov't will give you a pay cut after your graduate relative to your earning power now.

5) There's no guarantees you'll have any job whatsoever. None of your current admits have great employment records. Fordham is a weird school, USC/UCLA can do okay and Columbia is obviously solid but you're headed straight to big law at age 38, which is rough.

If you're totally deadset, I'd suggest you reevaluate and consider nights. It sucks, but you can earn a JD in 4 years. Plus, many of the schools w/ night programs near you (Rutgers?) will be accessible and inexpensive. However, please see #1 as you should still avoid debt.

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kretan182 (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:12 am)

Aside from the terrible job prospects for new grads, the number one deterrent I think for you is your age, as others have said. Not only is their age discrimination for older grads, but you are in your prime working years, and the lost income while you are in law school will be significant.

Unless you are going to school for something that is currently high in demand and that teaches you a real marketable skill, stick to your job and work your way up.

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defensivelawyer (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:34 am)

what do you mean by "do good work and make a difference"?

that sounds nice...but potentially troublesome

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jeffm (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:42 am)

Life is a journey. Have at it. Avoid debt like the plague. Take as free a ride as you can get. Forget law school credentials/prestige. I don't think it matters as much as being debt-free.

Whatever you currently do, realize that a 3+ year absence from it might make it very hard to get back in. It's kind of like when women decide to take off 5 - 10 years to raise babies. Once you are out that long, it's hard to go back.

Finally, at 35, you'll graduate around 38 - 39. You are kind of old. Most employers will not hire you because of your age. When they are looking for baby lawyers, it is irksome to see a 40 year old baby. That's just the way it is. If you have some connections in place, that could help.

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shouldalearnedmath (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:58 am)

Credited. You should find something else to do besides law. Both because of age and the fact you said you could find something else.

And if you don't want to stay in MO area, don't go to school there. Avoiding debt is excellent advice, but no one in NYC will take you seriously. I'd take closest school that still is credible for NYC where you can have least debt.

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pauperesq (Mar 10, 2017 - 10:14 am)

jeffm's final point can't be stressed enough. Fair or not, you're going to have a difficult time getting hired at that age.

And as others have mentioned, the opportunity cost of three years back in school, even with no or little debt on the other end, is a tough pill to swallow at your age.

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thedarkscrivener (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:44 am)

You say you find law interesting, but there's a difference between "the law" and "practicing law". Have you ever spent time working with lawyers so you know what their job day-to-day looks like?

Also wanting to "make a difference" is probably the worst reason to go into the law. You are guaranteed to be disappointed. On the chance you get a job after you graduate working in public/government law, are you willing slog through a stressful 30-year career for one or two shining moments, where yes, you did make someone's life better?

You'd make more of a difference donating to your favorite charities or volunteering.

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bingojackson (Mar 10, 2017 - 10:01 am)

I would wait on Fordham and Brooklyn, and then use those offers to negotiate between Cardozo and Brooklyn. I have a feeling at least one of those will offer you a full ride. For what it's worth, when I applied in 2012 Cardozo offered me a similar scholarship, while Brooklyn offered full ride plus a living stipend.

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molawmo (Mar 10, 2017 - 10:04 am)

If you want to do public interest work, go volunteer your time at an organization you support. See if you can angle your way into a job that way.

If you want to work in Government, you'll need to go to law school in the region you intend to work. That way you can get internships and work connections through your school. This is still a bad bet though.

What are your undergrad credentials? What's holding you back from just applying at government agencies now?

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posthocergoproptrhoc (Mar 10, 2017 - 10:41 am)

I know this is a little out of the box, but I don't think there is an easy answer to the situation you're in.
If you really like the idea of working in law and you want to work PI/gov consider forgoing law school (and its debt/removal from the workforce for 3 years) and maybe go for a paralegal job. Some smaller PI and gov agencies lean heavily on them and give them some substantive interesting work. The salary difference isn't that different and considering that you won't need to pay for law school and will have a salary for 3 years instead of having to pay for the COL.
If you're okay taking a bit of a prestige hit and not signing esq after your name, it's not such a bad option

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dingbat (Mar 10, 2017 - 10:44 am)

considering your aspirations, your only 2 considerations should be the geographic area you'll want to practice and the total cost.

Missouri offers the best deal financially, and if you're ok with practicing in that area, go for it.
If, on the other hand, you won't want to stay in Missouri after graduation, then it's a no-go.

Cardozo and Penn State are offering pretty good scholarships, but don't forget that the cost of living is quite high. If you can live cheaply (pro-tip: don't go to bar night too often; second pro-tip: avoid campus housing) NYC and Penn are pretty cool.

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mrlollipop (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:14 am)

Trump is cutting non-military federal spending.Do you think there will be more fed jobs when you graduate. Finding state jobs are highly depended on who you know. Remember that 10s of thousands of T14 graduates and lawyers are dying to get government jobs. And you are competing with veterans.

You are already 35 and will be 38 when you graduate

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superttthero (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:18 am)

I agree with tcpaul above.

I think this point needs to be hammered: the practice of law and "the law" are different. To read about history/politics and the after-the-fact precedent of an interesting case can be fun. Thinking about how laws can affect society generally can seem like it has benefit, be rewarding.

The practice of law is not these things. It's hussling as a solo to get clients and get favorable settlements with as little legal work as possible (either for flat fee crim or for contingency cases), or refiling the same motions over and over again defense side. As a fancy "biglaw" attorney, same. You are dealing with high pressure business closings OR you are mainly worrying about Discovery disputes for 75% of a big case. Gov't work is just like any other gov't job, you have a never-ending case load you are expected to push (using their narrow guidelines) while dealing with gov't office bureaucratic challenges.

You are not going to be slicing a novel area of law and finding intellectual reward unless you are very lucky or very deep into gov't/private career (IF THEN).

If you "love" the law, I say go get a Masters in History or Sociology and get into Harvard (or another ultra elite school only) for a Ph.D. You ALSO won't make money, but if you "love" the law, you can study it there more.

Loving "the law" and being a lawyer is more like "loving" to read and getting a job as a library janitor (your only enjoyment will be on your spare time).

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anothernjlawyer (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:21 am)

Oh, Lord.

What part of law do you "really enjoy?" Writing and rewriting the same briefs? Making 15 exhibit binders, A-ZZX? Sitting in court waiting for 2 hours for your case to get called? Dealing with psychopathic partners or whiny, entitled "legal services / public interest" clients? You're old enough to realize that watching Law and Order doesn't count.

You want to "make a difference?" Join the Peace Corps. It's a lot more rewarding than rescuing some derelict who hasn't paid rent in 2 years and saves on garbage bags by trying to flush all her trash down the toilet from eviction by her "heartless landlord."

If government work, which is pushing paper around for a limited period of time each day for a pretty good salary, is "what the heart wants," you should spend more time in strip clubs.

Have 2 of three or don't go:
1) Admission to HYS.
2) Graduation debt under 75K.
3) Family-guaranteed law job upon graduation.

You don't have these. You shouldn't go.

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mrtor (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:49 am)

Flame. If OP was real and had scoured this forum for 6 months, he would not have talked about "making a difference" through the practice of law. He's looking to rile you guys up.

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lazlo (Mar 10, 2017 - 2:35 pm)

Yeah, this sounds really strange. Even today, I can't imagine law schools giving out such huge scholarships.

On the slight chance this isn't a troll post, assuming OP is working and supporting himself in NYC, perhaps go to Cardozo at night, or one of the other NYC schools if they give a tuition break. This would all but preclude BigLaw, but at 35 no way you're getting BigLaw anyway.

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fartacus (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:57 am)

"It's a lot more rewarding than rescuing some derelict who hasn't paid rent in 2 years and saves on garbage bags by trying to flush all her trash down the toilet from eviction by her "heartless landlord." "

Lol, somebody upthread asked what OP meant by help people - this was almost the exact thought I had, the only time I've ever dealt with civil legal services they were screwing landlords and wasting time with garbage motions.

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thelegalwhore (Mar 10, 2017 - 11:50 am)

I'm in trans/finance. It phucking sucks. I read gov regs daily and then work on transactional agreements. I sometimes fantasize about being a park ranger or working for Porsche as a car salesman or being a helicopter fighter pilot like my brother. Most corp work sucks balls and a lot of legal is no different than corp work.

im not sure what public interest work/govern work entails, but personally speaking i think it would suck. but at 35 i'm sure you have some experience doing something related to this so not gonna question you.

like most of the previous posters, if you want to go to law school, i'd recommend the following:

(1) Your post-grad debt situation is PRIORITY 1. Make sure you have ZERO DEBT. Even debt at 50K will be super hard because you want to do public interest/gov work which pays CRAP. ZERO DEBT. TAKE THE SCHOLARSHIP. Do you have rich parents? rich spouse? save enough from previous work experiences? I would hands down take BKL FULL RIDE SCHOLLY over Columbia Full Tuition.

that's pretty much it. try to graduate with zero debt.

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wutwutwut (Mar 10, 2017 - 12:04 pm)

A bit hard without knowing more about your situation. Kind of leaping off sjlawyer's comments - what is your undergrad, what are you doing with it, are you employed now, what do you do, how much do you make?

Even without knowing the above....

Don't go to Missouri unless you want to stay there. I looked at last year's stats and while it's not horrible* (about 70% got FT law jobs), all of them stayed in MO except a handful who got employment in Illinois (East STL?) or Kansas (KC?).

"I'm still waiting on six others which is crazy because I have to start letting the schools I've gotten into know within the next three weeks." What does this mean? Back when I applied, this time of year just meant I had to pay a bit of seat-hold money at all the schools I'd been admitted to, and gave me breathing room to flesh out my decision making process. If that's still the case, don't worry about it, just waste a few hundred to keep your options open.

As mentioned, I think Mizzou's a mistake unless you want to live in podunkville, in which case it's your best option. And I'd be shocked if you got substantial $$ out of USC, UCLA or Columbia, and you say your debt averse, so just forget them, period.

Emory - Atlanta's got a lot of fuzzy touchy feely SJW type public interest groups. May be the place for you. So, what about beating Emory over the head with your substantially higher scholarships at three of the others? Try opening an email conversation about how you'd love to learn the law at Emory, which meshes so well with your desire to be about making a difference with your law degree, but you are debt averse and have substantially higher offers from schools that cost just as much. They'll blink, I bet.


* I'm trying to imagine a topic other than law school where I would characterize a 30% failure to obtain jobs as trained as "not horrible". Guck.

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flharfh (Mar 10, 2017 - 12:12 pm)

I don't think you should go unless you are fine living in St. Louis or Kansas City, as the Mizzou deal is pretty good. Anything that involves a significant amount of student loan debt should be a non-starter for you at 35.

There are lots of ways to do public interest work. You don't have to be a lawyer. Besides, the reality is much different from the idealist's vision.

What is your current field? Do you make good money? If so, you may have grass is greener syndrome.

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jd4hire (Mar 10, 2017 - 1:57 pm)

I didn't read all the responses, so maybe a little duplication. My thoughts - if you want the law and you know it, pursue it. Based on responses from schools and tuition, you won't be in near as poor of a position of many others coming out.

I would question what makes you like the law so much and would make you enjoy doing it. Have you shadowed an attorney or know what they do on a day to day basis?

My wife just got a public interest gig (she interned at the agency back in 2010). That said, she will be an over worked attorney spending all day in court, not getting the time she needs to adequately represent her clients. And while it is public interest work (defending individuals who have had abuse and neglect charges brought against them) and she'll feel good about some of the cases she works on, in others she will hope that parental rights are terminated or abuse charges are successful. In short, I don't know if she'll have a warm fuzzy feeling on a daily basis.

Notwithstanding, I circle back to where I started - if it's what you want and you are debt averse, go for it. As to schools, I'd stick around NYC if you want to practice there afterwards. This is banking on your ability to get a job, but my rationale is this - if you will always be doing public interest work, you'll qualify for the public interest loan forgiveness and at that point, it's all monopoly money. My wife took a pay cut and left the opportuntiy to potentially run a firm so she could qualify for public interest loan forgiveness. She left school with 180k, which is now at 285k (notwithstanding regular payments once loans kicked in). Based on repayment calculators, had she stayed on IBR, the amount forgiven would have resulted in a tax bill that would have been well over 100k (so after 25 years of payments, they forgive the whole, and then put you on a nice payment plan with the IRS).

The big assumption on my theory is that the public interest loan forgiveness programs still exist and that you are able to secure a job that qualifies for the programs. These are obviously huge assumptions.

In general, I tell people to avoid law school like the plague unless they are receiving a free ride or close thereto and have a connection or in for post graduation employment. Just this week I met with a tier 4 law student who is on academic probation after her first semester (sub 2.0 gpa) and I made her cry when I told her that potentially the best advice I have for her is to drop out, see if the school will work with her on any money owed, and get a non-legal job ASAP.

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orgdonor (Mar 12, 2017 - 12:56 pm)

Went to school with a guy who got big law at 38/39 or whatever. Washed out after a year or two. It's an outrageous amount of work to be doing at that age. Public interest is a non-starter. You'll be making very little money. Forget about a family in that case.

But if you don't want a family/marriage, then your results may be different.

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cranky (Mar 12, 2017 - 6:23 pm)

Most of those schools you mentioned aren't that good. Being 35, you will also face age discrimination. Legal employers interviewing at law schools want young people in their 20s who can work the long hours and not talk back. As the others said, don't go to Mizzou unless you intend to stay there. You didn't mention what you're currently doing and if you are married with a family. Still, those schools you mentioned are very expensive, even with some scholarship money, and there's still a big chance you'll come out unemployed. Although public interest legal jobs don't pay well, they are very competitive, often going to Ivy League types (well, the more prestigious jobs at least).

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xstockholmsynhostag (Mar 12, 2017 - 7:24 pm)

odds are really against you at age 35, or as a 40 yo new graduate....as you hit 40 your stamina for work, stress , and general life krap will decline, and fewer people will want to give you a break, or be patient with you.
(BTW how likeable are you? and your data is...?)

odds that you will achieve minimum financial success and satisfaction are very low

the journey is not just three years, but add at least .5 year with bar exam, and then you have to develop expertise in the legal field....add, say five years. YMMV.

The general trend is ominous including more automation, firms monitoring legal expenses ever closer, and perhaps the last decade for the US Empire, are not harbingers of prosperity for the class of 2020

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2breedbares (Mar 13, 2017 - 12:07 am)

For what it's worth, I had a classmate enter law school as a second career, she was older than you. We went to a TT (now a FTT) and she ended up at a smaller firm. Six years out, she's at a biglaw firm. Not sure if she likes it. But she is doing well for herself.

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hairypalms (Mar 13, 2017 - 6:59 am)

There is always an exception to the rule. It's these types of unicorn stories that drive law schools. Yes there are outliers that beat the odds, but unless OP has a job lined up with a family member or unless OP is a patent type with a Ph.D. to explain the age differential, I would pass on law school. Law firms like 'em young so they can work you to the bone.

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jhbufford (Mar 13, 2017 - 8:09 am)

I went to law school when I was 33, in 1993. I went to a below-tier 3 school; BUT, I had no interest in clerkships or law firms. I had been doing community work and found myself involved in legislative issues, and had been writing a newsletter on these issues.... I did not plan on taking the bar exam, until I looked at it my second year and saw that it was not overly difficult..... I wanted a JD to supplement my interests . . . and going to law school (with my eyes open) proved to be a good thing, career-wise, money-wise, and self-satisfaction-wise.... I have a JD preferred job..... and love federal gov't job.

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cocolawyer (Mar 13, 2017 - 2:08 pm)

I think he should take your story with a green assault. For one the cost of law school in 1993 and 2017 is a WORLD apart. The job opportunities is also a WORLD apart.

Where you may have had to go 40k in debt this poor shlub, if he goes anywhere but Missouri, will be 200k in the hole. Student loan interest rate in 1993 was 2.5-3.5 percent. Now grad plus loans are around 7.5 percent.

Where you never wanted to be an attorney, this guy does. Your hours and stress at a federal government, non-attorney position is going to be substantially less then him working at a firm. Being in your mid thirties trying to start at a firm is going to kill him, without the benefit of a pension plan.

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porochi (Mar 14, 2017 - 1:05 am)

I wish interest was that low in '93. I graduated then, interest on my federal loans, Stafford, was 9%. But at my school the hourly rate hit $156/credit hr. my Sr. yr. I thought that was downright highway robbery back then. My the times have changed.

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banana (Mar 13, 2017 - 12:57 pm)

Like everyone else has iterated, avoid debt at all costs if you can. I was lucky to have graduated from law school with no debt. It made me pick a lower ranked school, but not having those bills every month is a godsend if you end up being unemployed almost a year post graduation/bar passage (like me). Just something to consider. Good luck, OP. I'd pick Michigan.

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banana (Mar 13, 2017 - 2:45 pm)

Missouri* is what I meant.

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adamb (Mar 13, 2017 - 1:45 pm)

I went to one if your listed nyc schools. It took me five years to land an ADA position, fortunately a lateral with commensurate pay. I soloed beforehand, those years were lean. If you're hetero with kids, not doable.

PSLF helps with debt. But most of the NYC schools you listed should give you free tuition with a good lsat.

I am in ny 30s, a little younger than you, but I look like I'm in my 20s. Age can work against you if you look oldish and graduate at 38.

Employment in NYC happens, but pick what you want to do and intern there for three years. Still, no guarantees.

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jcad (Mar 13, 2017 - 2:36 pm)

I would pick University of Missouri; the ease with which you will live your life after those three years without much debt will be a godsend, and compare that with your peers who have to worry.

Nevertheless, when you are attending a less than stellar school and your peers are less than stellar students, you need to make certain that you are putting in the work; the end goal is to gain enough skills to pass the bar.

Also you should check and see if your scholarship is conditioned on grades. Would your grades have to be in the top 25%? Then keeping such scholarship will be a risky proposition.

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orange9 (Mar 13, 2017 - 6:58 pm)

Good point. Many schools will hand out scholarships to attract students, but will condition them on being in the top XX%. The following year, they take away a bunch of scholarships but have the students tied in.

As far as the schools go, Mizzou and Emory are good choices. Both are in relatively low COL areas (I am in the NY area so everything is low COL to me). Mizzou would possibly lock you in regionally, but coming out debt free puts you way ahead of the game.
Emory on the other hand is a well regarded school outside of the region which could still land you a job in NY or other big metro areas. Even if you do not get into NY, the school still has a good enough reputation that you would get a look in other areas outside of Atlanta, unless you decide to stay in Atlanta. Also, while you would still have the loan, it would be a lot more manageable than my monopoly money figure.

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lowiqgentile (Mar 13, 2017 - 10:15 pm)

another way to look at your potential journey is through identifying milestones:

semester 1 GPA top 25% with other scholarship students, semester 2 the same, OCI, keep GPA up, pass Bar exam, get job no 1, no2 no 3.....if anything goes little - much awry then you are just a nameless statistic.....you will probably fail , and the willpower to attempt an recovery at age 40 will cost you more than you can now imagine

That is why JDU'ers often say HYS ...because then there is only one milestone......

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heythere (Mar 13, 2017 - 10:22 pm)

Do not go to law school! Even if just for the reasons given by sjlawyer.

If you want to do something "worthwhile" become a teacher in teach in inner city schools, become a patient medical billing advocate for the poor, develop some tech for the poor. Almost anything is better than joining the legions of lawyers that serve the needy.

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