How to Know if You Are Too Old for Law School

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 26, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We always focus on college-aged students and whether they should go to law school. But what about nontraditional law students? Should mid-career professionals go to law school? What about the middle-aged?

Law school is apparently a sucker's bet in this economy, and unemployed attorneys have no one to blame but themselves. Is ditching an established career for law school really worth the risk?

Some say no.

Many law schools embrace the nontraditional law student. There's even a special student group -- Older Wiser Law Students (OWLS). Still, there are compelling reasons why law school may not be the best mid-career move. They include the following:

1. You don't need a law degree. Law school is not necessary for a change of career, especially for those who want to engage in nonprofit or public interest work. There are a ton of law-related jobs that don't require 3 years and $100,000 in debt.

Plus, young attorneys are dumbing down their resumes. It may not be wise to smarten yours up.

2. Age discrimination. As unfortunate as it is, such discrimination persists. It's also a bit rampant at larger law firms. Older employees are often less desirable -- they're harder to mold and have less years to contribute.

3. Law school is high school. And it's not just the lockers, either. The insular environment breeds the same sort of pettiness and immaturity you experienced at the age of 16. You may try to stay out of it, but the drama is too pervasive to ignore.

Even if your classmates are ignoring you because you remind them of their parents.

Nontraditional law students have it hard -- perhaps worse than everyone else. So before you ditch the job, talk to attorneys who have done it before.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard