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Career Change: Becoming a Lawyer in Your 30s

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It’s never too old to follow your dreams. If you are worried that you’re too old to become a lawyer, don’t be. While there might be some unique challenges you face, you are not too old to earn your law school degree and become a practicing attorney.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about becoming a lawyer in your 30s, including some obstacles you might face and how to deal with them.

Prepare for the Necessary Sacrifices

Law school is demanding, and you will have to put it ahead of virtually everything else in your life. This means possibly quitting your job to pursue your studies. While some schools have flexible schedules for working students, you might not want to spend your evenings in class for years at a stretch. Think about whether your studies are able to be balanced with your job, family, and other commitments. Yes, you are choosing a career that suits your personality but it also needs to suit your life.

Be honest about what changes you’ll have to make and consider how you’ll cope with the sacrifices. Are you ready to spend time away from your family, possibly quit your job or invest all your mental energy into studying and internships? It’s a lot to take on at once, so this initial planning period should help you emotionally prepare.

Think About the Financial Impact on Your Future

Unless you have a high income and major savings, it could be difficult to afford law school. You’ll likely have to look into borrowing loans from a private lender to pay for your graduate law degree. How will this obligation impact you and your family for years to come? If you have a spouse or dependents to think about, will you be able to afford your lifestyle while working full-time and paying back your debt?

Sometimes, you may decide it’s best to wait and save a bit before you enter law school. Paying down as much debt as possible, or avoiding it altogether, gives you the most positive financial outcome. Of course, lawyers are all well-paid, so you don’t reach a point where you’re unable to pay back your loans if you know how to budget.

Be Prepared for Some Potential Biases

Age discrimination is illegal, but that doesn’t mean biases don’t exist. Some older law school students struggle to secure internships or employment right away because firms prefer younger candidates who will settle for a lower salary. If this happens, don’t let yourself be discouraged. You can persevere and demonstrate that you are just as valuable as any other candidate in their 20s.

The best way to counteract any age biases is to make yourself as knowledgeable and skilled as possible. When your achievements and academic performance are undeniably some of the best, employers will see you as the asset you are.

Get Your Applications Together Early

If you’ve been out of college for a decade, then you probably don’t have your college records on hand. Reach out to your former school, request a copy of your transcripts and find your degree. You should also look for an LSAT tutor who can help you create an LSAT study schedule and prepare for the exam. Your score has a huge role in determining what schools you’ll be accepted into. For someone who has been out of the education field for a while, additional time is beneficial to get back into the groove of studying.

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