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pursuit of education and career change, seeking advice


maverick111
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maverick111
  • Undergrad

I am at a point in my life where I have firmly made the decision that I want to pursue an education and career as lawyer.

Being 32 years old and working as a tradesman for most of my life I have an obvious uphill battle to make my dream a reality.

As it stands I feel like the most realistic opportunity for me to obtain my undergraduate degree is with an online program while working full-time. I have found a few universities offering fully online, self paced 4 year programs which initially seem to meet the requirements of most of the law schools which I would eventually like to attend.

I would like to know if applying to law schools with an online degree would be seen as a disadvantage in the selection process?

If all goes according to plan I would be 36-37 years old when applying, will my age be a detriment to my application and will it hinder my employment options as I would be seeking entry level work at the age of 40.

I have reflected on the opportunity cost of attending law school, tuition, changing careers and the risk involved, I still feel that this is something I have the passion and motivation to do and that I feel I need to do for my future self.

Are there any other considerations I may be missing?

Thank you in advance to anyone who may be able to provide some guidance, advice or motivation.

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LMP
  • Law Student

If you've taken the time to reflect and have come to the conclusion that law school is something you want to do, I think you should go for it.

But I'll give you the same advice I give all potential applicants, regardless of age, really consider why you want to practice law and what you think that will look like. 

In your particular situation I'd tack on another piece of advice. It seems you're doing this undergrad simply to go to law school. Do a little digging, you don't always need an undergrad to get in if you have a fair amount of other life experience. I'm not an expert on this route and I'm not saying you'd qualify, but look into it.

Further, don't just pick any old undergrad. Right now you really want to go to law school. But you may change your mind, you may not be able to afford it, you may not be able to get admitted. Whatever the case may be protect yourself be picking an undergrad that'll provide you some utility should the unexpected happen. 

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Turtles
  • Law Student
1 hour ago, maverick111 said:

Are there any other considerations I may be missing?

The big question I would have is why law? Is there something absolutely unique about law for you or may there be other opportunities that could satisfy you without nearly the burden of 7+ years of education? 

Why not become a pilot? Investment banking? Engineering? Nursing? Intelligence Analyst for the DND? Management consultant? If it's money that draws you, there may be a better path. If it's prestige, there may be a better path. If it's helping people, there may be a better path. At this stage of your life, don't set your sights on one path and invest your time and money into it until you have considered all your options and have reasonable confidence this is the right path for you.

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cherrytree
  • Lawyer
On 11/24/2022 at 1:12 AM, Turtles said:

The big question I would have is why law? Is there something absolutely unique about law for you or may there be other opportunities that could satisfy you without nearly the burden of 7+ years of education? 

Why not become a pilot? Investment banking? Engineering? Nursing? Intelligence Analyst for the DND? Management consultant? If it's money that draws you, there may be a better path. If it's prestige, there may be a better path. If it's helping people, there may be a better path. At this stage of your life, don't set your sights on one path and invest your time and money into it until you have considered all your options and have reasonable confidence this is the right path for you.

Seconded. I would also strongly recommend you go on Facebook, LinkedIn etc. to look for pages of law student organizations that cater to mature students who took less conventional paths to get to law school, look for folks who are active there, reach out and see if you can set up chats with them to get their perspective on what they wish they'd known when they applied to law school. Alternatively, I would reach out to the Admissions Office via email and ask them to refer you to student leaders of these organizations that cater to mature students (for example, I know Osgoode has a Mature Students Association with a strong membership), see if you can ask them a few questions that will help you decide whether law school is right for you with a more informed perspective.

I entered and graduated from law school in my 20s but many of my good friends from law school are older students who embarked on this path middle age. Particularly for those who come from less economically advantaged starting points and spent their 20s-30s making ends meet or prioritizing other commitments in life (for example, raising children), while initially presenting itself as a hopeful opportunity to regain control and aim for a better life, law school turned out to be quite a different journey as they lived through it.

Last but not least I would recommend OP read through these very helpful posts by a fellow forum user asking similar questions earlier in the year:

 

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Pantalaimon
  • Lawyer

While the above posts have excellent food for thought, I did want to jump in and say it's possible and, more than that, can lead to good outcomes. I don't know about the online undergraduate, but I have two friends from law school who attended in their forties and both really enjoy being a lawyer. Neither seemed to have any notable difficulties securing articles, so I gather that their age didn't hold them back.

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goodisgood
  • Law Student

Doubling down on LMP's words, there are some universities in Canada with mature or access categories where you wouldn't need to do a full undergrad (like Western) as long as you have work experience. At uOttawa it says you might not need any undergrad at all, though they do need some kind of evidence that you can succeed academically, which means showing success in at least some undergraduate courses. I'm sure there are more. Read carefully as the criteria can be different for different schools. 

I'm attending law school starting in my early 30s. There are people younger than me and people older than me. What all these older folks have is a passion for a specific area of law that they can speak about (ie. immigration, social justice, etc). As long as you have that, I know my older friends all managed to secure summer jobs in their areas of interest. 

On a practical note if you're really interested in this, try writing a mock LSAT with rigorously timed conditions to get an idea of your starting point:

https://www.lsac.org/lsat/prepare/official-lsat-sample-tests
https://7sage.com/lsat-practice-test-sample-questions/

If you're applying without post-secondary/minimum post-secondary I'm guessing the LSAT becomes more important, and it can be a very big hill to climb up for some people (and often takes a long time to iron out). Your journey and timeline will shift if you're starting in the 140s vs starting in the 160s. 

Edited by goodisgood
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