Originally Posted by bobandjess99
I'll tell you right now, not a single lawyer in my circle of friends is employed right now, well, at least not as a lawyer. One did get a job as a bank teller so they wouldn't starve, and another one is doing odd construction jobs. *grimace*
They say if you really love something, the money doesn't matter, but honestly, unless you can afford to pay for the schooling, pay for the bar fees, etc, just for the FUN of it, you might want to think really long and hard about trying to enter such a difficult field right now.
I was going to post just this. I'm running out the door, will try to come back later to flesh out my post, but the market for legal services is a MESS right now, with many, many experienced lawyers unemployed due to layoffs.
Even if you could afford to pay for the schooling, for my part, I can think of lots of other things that I'd rather do with $150,000 . . . bet you could too!
ETA: Okay, I'm back. I'll apologize upfront, I might be longwinded or duplicate other posts.
First, just to clarify that when you say that you want to go to law school, you want to obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. That's the common understanding of what going to law school leads to. I ask because you mentioned UMUC in your intial post, and, to my knowledge, UMUC doesn't award a JD degree.
Now, my biases: I didn't have a family while in law school, and frankly don't see how I could have managed. Others did, though, so I don't think that's an insurmountable obstace, just depends on your situation. Others will have more insight on this.
I'm strongly of the opinion that the only reason to go to law school is to get the credential that will allow you to sit for a bar exam so that you can be a lawyer and practice and/or teach law. There are exceptions here and there, and many people "know somebody" who never practiced but had a successful career in "X." It's my theory that those folks would likely have had those careers regardless. The thinking that a JD is a "just a good degree to have" or "opens doors even if you don't ever practice" was rampant in the 90s; I still hear it sometimes. I strongly disagree.
So, that takes me to my first questions: do you know why you want to be a lawyer? Have you worked with lawyers? Do you have an idea of what they do on a day-to-day basis? Why do you think that you'd like to do that? If any of your answers are no, I'd take advantage of any informal or formal mentoring/career counseling services that I could to try to get more information on this front. Your college might offer such a program, I regularly let students from my college "shadow" me for a day to get a sense of what I did.
Online law school? In my opinion, don't do it. To sit for a bar, most states require that you graduate from a law school that's accredited by the American Bar Association and no online program currently has ABA accreditation. There are exceptions, California, and I believe, DC, will allow folks with degrees from non-accredited schools take their bar exams. But they have to jump through additional hoops -- take additional tests, or complete significant course work at an ABA accredited school. Here's a link
to FAQs on the ABA's site that might help with accreditation questions.
As I think a PP mentioned, this issue also affects your ability to move from place to place. This article
might be helpful for understanding these issues in a general sense, though I can't vouch for its accuracy or completeness.
Law school admissions are competitive, you'd have to take the LSAT and disclose all of the prior coursework that the law school applications called for. In my day this was all your post H.S. work at any institution, and I can't imagine it's changed. This is a serious requirement, failing to comply can have repercussions down the road
. The guy in the linked story eventually had his license to practice suspended for three years, in part because he didn't disclose he'd failed out of med school.
Argh, sorry to have written a book, and though I have more thoughts I'll stop now. Please feel free to PM or post back with any more questions, I'd be happy to answer if I can.