Post # 1
I am just looking for some advice from qualified lawyers.
My original choice of degree at University was Law however I changed this when I came across another joint Hons degree (Forensic Sci with Criminal Law). The Criminal Justice System interests me hugely however I did not have the money to continue with the postgrad at the time.
I have worked for 5years in finance and do a lot of contract law which I found I have a natural flare for. Although I don’t have a law degree so I cannot practice.
I have found a graduate conversion course and, at age 28, am thinking of pursuing law as a career. It is incredibly difficult to get a training contract where I live And where I work does not have a legal department so I would need to look externally. I would be studying part time whilst working in my finance job.
My question is, am I too late to enter the legal industry? I fear, going for a training contract, that younger graduates would be favoured over me. I know I’m not ancient but I’m still a lot older than most! Any advice appreciated x
Post # 2
It’s never too late. I went to law school when I was 28 and graduated when I was 31. I have been practicing for over 11 years now. I think it benefitted me, when I was looking for a job after law school, that I had worked before and had an entirely different career – the people that interviewed me seemed to like that a lot. But your past work esperience wont really matter once after your first job – you’ll be just like everyone else. No one cares how old you are. There are tons and tons of really old lawyers.
Post # 3
jennessey85: Not too late at all! I’m not a lawyer, but I am a legal assistant in a mid-level firm in Chicago. We hire associates right out of law school all the time and their ages vary greatly. If you know that is what you want to do, I say go for it!
Post # 4
While I am not a lawyer, I did complete 1 year of law school (but eventually withdrew). I was 26 when I started, and there were many older students, especially in the part time program because like you many needed or wanted to keep their jobs. I wouldn’t say you are too late to enter the legal industry and employers usually take into consideration previous work experience so your background can work in your favor.
If you’re truly interested, and it’s feasible, go for it – that way you never have to worry about the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. Good luck!
Post # 5
It’s never too late to go to law school. BUT I would wait until you can go to school full time. I can’t imagine being a 1L (first year of law school, very challenging) AND working. Law school is a full-time job (and then some) in and of itself.
Post # 6
It’s definitely not too late to start. I went at 22, but had many classmates who started at your age or older, especially in our part time program. I caution you that the outlook for legal jobs is still not great, so I would only go if your work paid for it or you have a great scholarship. Will your current company give you a legal position after you graduate or are you hoping to leverage it elsewhere? I’m also not sure what a graduate conversion course is; would you still be getting a JD?
ETA: I would also consider the program’s ranking before deciding to go. Law is very prestige driven and just having a JD is not enough to get a job anymore. I graduated in 2014 from a first tier school and some of my classmates are still underemployed.
Post # 7
We have a lawyer in our office, brand new, at 52 years old. I mean, good for her, but in my experiance with her I feel like her memory is not good (or as good as some of the younger attorneys) and she seems to be on a constant power trip (1.5 years now). But this is just my opinion.
Btw, I am a mid 20’s paralegal
Post # 8
Monikax3x3: OK – I’m half that age at 28! Hopefully the clockworks are not yet too rusty 🙂
Post # 9
I felt like, when I went to law school at 24, that the students in their early 30s had some advantage with their life experience and work when competing for jobs. They seemed more focused and it showed when it came time for Law Review and jobs. I think you are at the perfect age to enter law school, imo. I have only been in practice for a couple of years though so I guess take it for what it is worth. (Our best interns have been my age as well)
Post # 10
jennessey85: I think you’ll be fine but please do keep in mind that you may find a/ many paralegal(s) who know more than you as far as documents go…especially if they have a degree or cert.
The attorney we have here constantly has to establish that she is an attorney, treats us like we are beneath her, etc…
Post # 11
I went to law school when I was 30 after a 10 year career as a flight attendant! Totally doable and I’ve never had an issue finding a position because of my age. In fact, as PPs have mentioned, it may well have been an advantage for me.
Post # 12
horriblegb: 100% agree. I was 22 when I started law school and didn’t understand the concept of a mortgage. The older law students who had more life experiences definitely had an advantage in law school. I had a lot more to learn simply due to my young age.
Post # 13
jennessey85: I googled some of the terms you use (“graduate conversion” and “training contract”) and it seems like you’re in the UK? I ask because clarifying where you are might make the advice more helpful. I’m in law school in the US so I have no perspective on training contracts, but many students at my law school are older. I was 26 when I started, and two of my closests friends were 28 and 30 respectively. We’re all doing very well.
In general, I don’t think 28 is too old to switch careers.
Post # 14
jennessey85: I’m not in law school, but Darling Husband is! He’s graduating in May, and he started at 24. Even just those two years, when he worked and got a Master’s degree were huge: most of his classmates who are graduating with the best jobs are older and had work experience of some kind.
Like PPs have said though, law school is a huge investment, and the job prospects still aren’t great, unless you’re at a top school and are at the top of your class. Most schools simply aren’t worth the debt you’ll go into. Do a lot of research before you decide to attend – focus on employment outcomes! Darling Husband goes to a top 25ish school and a bunch of his friends are still graduating without jobs.
Post # 15
annb9: You don’t have to go to a top law school to get a great job, though. That’s definitely true for bigger cities. I live in a smaller state and went to the only American Bar Association accredited school in the state. The school is public and far from a top tiered law school. I did very well and landed a Court of Appeals clerkship after graduation because attorneys and judges in my state like to hire graduates who went to my law school. Moral of the story – it depends what state you live in. If you want to practice law in NYC, Chicago, SF, Miami, LA, etc., then yes, graduating from a top-tiered school is close to necessary.