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post #221 of 369
I am so glad that you started this tread! I haven't had time to read through all the posts, but just wanted to chime in as another atty mama. I'm currently officially working "part time" at the state's attorney's office doing felony appeals, but I also teach several classes a semesters as an adjunct professor. In my spare time (ha!ha!) I do some real estate closings. I've been practicing for 10 years now (Wow, how time flies!!)

I went from full time work with dd1 to PT with dd2 and started slowly adding activities over the last four years. I like working but I also don't want to be committed to a 9-5 job. For me, it is about the flexibility. During the semester, my time is spread thin, but when it ends, it is nice to have a few months off. I also like that I can make my own hours, basically. So long as I get the work in and maintain status quo, it's ok. The PT work is not terribly fulfilling right now, but I really enjoy teaching and doing independent consulting projects. Not to mention, they pay better! In a nutshell, I am very glad I went to law school and would do it over again. Not crazy about the loans and the fact that I'm not making more money, but I also know that there is a big price to pay for that big salary. For now, I am content where I'm at. With #3 on the way, I'm going to just see where things take me.

So nice to meet you all!!!

Libby
post #222 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochymama View Post
this is such a great resource for me...i've been thinking about law school. it would probably take me a year or two to get ready.
i actually took the LSAT 10 years ago but kind of lost my steam for a number of reasons. i guess i just wasn't ready.
i'm still not sure its the right option for me (cost, my age, my ability to parent and be in school and maintain my part time business?) but i love reading about all the different experiences you ladies have had. it's helping me get more clarity so thanks!
part of the challenge for me would the fact that i would be 41 or 42 and just getting started with law school and there are only two programs in my area. the public university is very competitive (not sure i could get in) and the private university is outrageously expensive.
i would have to be really fired up to move the whole family in order to make this dream a reality!

anyway, i could ramble on but let me just end by saying i'm glad to hear all the different experiences and we shall see what's ahead...

this thread makes me feel like it's really a possibility and not some crazy pipe dream.
Well I'm by no means an expert about law school since I'm a 1L but I am an expert on what the last 14 months of my life have been like since I decided to plunge in. I'm 39, almost 40 and will be 42 when I graduate. I split my family, leaving my 2 oldest in Nebraska, and moved with my husband and 3 youngest to attend Berkeley.

one step at a time.

1) Decide what you want, short term and long term. For me short term was an LSAT score that would get me a full ride to my local state law school. After researching my long term goals, however, it became clear that getting a higher paying job and even public interest and government jobs, was easier from a top university. Or you'd have to graduate top 10%.

2) Study for and take the LSAT. I studied for 11 weeks. Every day. Took lots of practice tests in a test environment (library) to build stamina.

3) Depending on your LSAT evaluate your options for school and apply. The information is out there on what gpa and lsat scores translate to what kind of money at what schools. lawschoolnumbers.com. Conventional wisdom says apply before Dec. 1, before T-giving preferably. I applied by Nov. 5 (though I don't think it was particularly helpful). Use what's unusual about you or your situation in your personal statement. Go figure. Liberal hippy law school wanted the mother of 5, living in nebraska with 3 biracial kids. Who would've guessed

4) Wait. This was the hardest.

5) Decide after getting your offers. This was the second hardest thing I did. Don't plan on being able to make a decision at your leisure. I had to commit to receive my scholarship before I'd heard back from my top choices. And then I couldn't stay on any waitlists. Start doing some initial planning and research though once you start getting an idea where you've been accepted and might get money. Money offers for me didn't come until March/April.

6) Move.

There is NO way I would have attempted this process if I'd looked at the big picture. I took it step by step.

Study for LSAT. Apply, lets see what happens. If you are on the lower end of the financial scale like I was with one income and 5 kids you can get waivers on for the LSAT fee, the LSAC fee, and application fees. Plus, you get waivers depending on your numbers.

And numbers. Its a numbers game. GPA + LSAT = admission and money offers. And from the reading I've done, I wouldn't take out loans unless going to a top 10 law school. Period. If you can't get into one, only go with a full ride, or close to it, scholarship. However, if you get a good LSAT, and it IS learnable, totally, you can get money SOMEWHERE. (edit, I'm by no means suggesting that those who have decided differently are wrong, but these were the things I decided for ME.)

HTH. Like I said, totally not an expert on what comes next, but I lived and breathed LSAT and applications for 9 months.

Good luck, feel free to pm me with questions of any nature
post #223 of 369
:

I've been thinking (almost afraid to think) about law school for a little while. Thanks to all of ya'll for sharing your experiences.
post #224 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post

Going to law school for free is a stretch and a long shot, I think. Not too many people get a full ride to law school these days and I've been out of school a number of years. Law school itself is so competitive just to get into these days...I don't anticipate a full scholarship...maybe some scholarships but not a full ride.
Dependent on your numbers first, application package second. The money is out there, but you have to have the gpa and LSAT. If you are looking at a top 10 Virginia is known for some loose pockets.
post #225 of 369
I wasn't going to add my experience because I have been out of law school for so long but it looks like not that much has changed.

I graduated in '88. It had never even occurred to me to have children. Did three really awful years in a big firm, did a few more years at half the salary in a non-profit, then started my own practice. I graduated from law school with about $35,000 in loans.

Had DS #1 when I was 31. I was completely clueless about kids and the reality of child care. After he was born, I found breastfeeding very important to me. I also found that reliable in-home child care (I didn't want to use day care) was extremely hard to find and it was not unusual for nannies to quit without warning or simply fail to appear when I was due in court. I have no family but my MIL was willing to help out when I went to court. Btw, DS wouldn't take pumped milk. So from the time he was born, I worked part-time (25-30 hours) and lots from home. My office was a short walk from my apartment and both were perhaps 20 minutes from court. It worked for a while but then my MIL got sick and I lost reliable child care. I closed my office when I was pregnant with DS #2. I have wanted to work part-time but I have never been able to hold on to child care reliably enough to find an OOH legal job of any note.

DH is in-house counsel for a corp and works reasonable (9-6:30ish with minimal travel) but inflexible hours. Part-time is not an option for him.

I never knew of any contract legal work one could do from home. I have looked a few times but have never found any. Maybe I am not doing it correctly. Any hints on finding that kind of work would be greatly appreciated.

So I am twenty years out of law school (graduated as a law review editor rock star), will finally finish paying my loans in a year or so, and from what I can figure am largely unemployable as a lawyer with my current parenting responsibilities and have been told by the time I don;t need child care I will no longer be employable at all. I admit I homeschool three kids and have no child care so that limits my availability a great deal. But I would LOVE to be working part-time as a lawyer. And I find it really depressing that I may never find a full-time legal job when my kids are older because I have been out of the full-time OOH work force for so long

I hear lawyers say they work part-time and that means what non-lawyers would call full-time. I would like to work 20-30 hours a week, mostly from home or in an office nights and weekends. If there is a way to practice law that way, I haven't figured out how.

If I knew before law school what I know now, I really don't know what I would do. I know that I would not have kids again without being much more sure of how I would be able to work outside the home afterward. If I already had kids and I didn't have family child care, I am not sure I would go to law school.

Just me.
post #226 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I would love to get my law degree, and have been thinking of doing so for years. However, I would love to work in public interest law and I think with law school loans, I would pretty much have to work for a regular law firm in order to pay back my loans and support myself and my child.
I don't know all the details of the programs (yet), but there are federal programs out there that will repay the balance of your student loans after you work in public service for 10 years. And they give you a reasonable payment plan during those 10 years (since you won't be making much money).

That might be something to think about!
post #227 of 369
I am soooo happy to have found this thread!

I graduated from law school in 2006 - I went straight into a clerkship without taking the bar because my judge had an unexpected out of term opening right after graduation. I worked for him for a year and a half before I had my son. I went back and clerked for a different judge this summer, which was fantastic - I worked halftime from home, and did 3-4 mornings/week in the office. It gave me great balance. But - it was just a temporary spot.

As of Friday, I am home again FT with DS (yay!) but I know that our finances can't support that arrangement longer than next summer, max, and I get a little antsy and lonely being at home all the time. At the same time, I don't want to take a typical job working 40+ hours and put DS in a FT daycare situation. Sigh. It's really, really, hard. I know I could go back to a clerkship in January. Or take the bar next February and then look for a job. Part of me wants to get out and practice (I always wanted to be in court as a DA or a PD), but the other part of me wants to find a more long term alternative arrangement so that I have more time with DS.
post #228 of 369
I need some career advice from other lawyer mamas who aren't going to be all "You didn't go to BigLaw! You suck!". Please help!

Right now, I'm working at a medium-sized insurance company in this totally bizarre and odd position. Originally, the job was supposed to be a paralegal-level position focusing on regulatory and compliance issues for a particular kind of business we do. I'm an attorney, but I was also 22 weeks pregnant, newly graduated and desperate, so I took the job and have been doing pretty well at it. Then, they re-orginized the department, I got moved into Marketing (which makes no sense to anyone and is basically a skirmish in an ongoing feud between marketing and legal) where most of my compliance tasks have been taken away and I'm asked to function as sort of a shadow-attorney for the marketing folks (like I said, feud) outside of the supervision of our actual legal department. They're referring to me as an attorney, they're representing me as an attorney to marketers, and the scope of my practice is outside what is acceptable for a paralegal, especially since I'm acting completely without supervision from an attorney, which isnt' a problem for me but would be for a de facto paralegal. They're also paying me on the low range of what they'd pay a paralegal while asking me to do attorney level work. The whole situation is screwed up to the nth degree.

My review is coming up, and I seriously need to advocate for a better situation in life before I lose my ever lovin' mind. Ideally, of course, they'd just realize I was brilliant and wonderful and move me to an Attorney position with a concommittant pay raise. But that hasn't happened, and I'm not sure how to present the issue to my supervisor in a politically correct manner that doesn't basically say "Look, here's the way this is screwed up, fix it rightnow!"
post #229 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post
I need some career advice from other lawyer mamas who aren't going to be all "You didn't go to BigLaw! You suck!". Please help!

Right now, I'm working at a medium-sized insurance company in this totally bizarre and odd position. Originally, the job was supposed to be a paralegal-level position focusing on regulatory and compliance issues for a particular kind of business we do. I'm an attorney, but I was also 22 weeks pregnant, newly graduated and desperate, so I took the job and have been doing pretty well at it. Then, they re-orginized the department, I got moved into Marketing (which makes no sense to anyone and is basically a skirmish in an ongoing feud between marketing and legal) where most of my compliance tasks have been taken away and I'm asked to function as sort of a shadow-attorney for the marketing folks (like I said, feud) outside of the supervision of our actual legal department. They're referring to me as an attorney, they're representing me as an attorney to marketers, and the scope of my practice is outside what is acceptable for a paralegal, especially since I'm acting completely without supervision from an attorney, which isnt' a problem for me but would be for a de facto paralegal. They're also paying me on the low range of what they'd pay a paralegal while asking me to do attorney level work. The whole situation is screwed up to the nth degree.

My review is coming up, and I seriously need to advocate for a better situation in life before I lose my ever lovin' mind. Ideally, of course, they'd just realize I was brilliant and wonderful and move me to an Attorney position with a concommittant pay raise. But that hasn't happened, and I'm not sure how to present the issue to my supervisor in a politically correct manner that doesn't basically say "Look, here's the way this is screwed up, fix it rightnow!"
Eek! Are you called to the bar, or are there also issues with them using someone who's not licensed to give them legal advice?

If that's the case, I'd raise it directly with them, because there's liability issues.

If you're called to the bar, and want your de facto attorney position to be recognized, I'd say something like "Over the last [period of time], the type of work that I do in my department has shifted to focus more on the types of tasks and advice that an attorney typically provides. In fact, the department has come to rely on my designation as an attorney in dealing with clients. This has helped me to realize that I am very much ready for the challenge of moving my career back onto the legal track, and I believe it has also helped the firm realize how it can benefit from my doing so. That being the case, I'd like to discuss formalizing my position here as an attorney."
post #230 of 369
Can any law school alum, or current students, help me out? I'm researching this elsewhere, too, but I'd like to get into a state/public university school of law (hopefully tier 1 or 2).

What do you think I'd need as a minimum undergrad GPA and LSAT score to get in?

And who would you use as references? I have a bachelor's degree and about a decade of professional work, but I've been a SAHM for a few years.

Any advice?

Thanks!
post #231 of 369
LSAC used to graphs on the different gpas and scores at various schools. If you haven't registered there, do so. You'll need to to take the LSAT and apply to schools anyway.

lawschoolnumbers.com
chiashu has some good info if you play around with it.

LOR: If you can get GOOD academic ones, or at least 1 good academic one, DO IT. They want to know what professors think of your work. GOOD being operative. You don't want a mediocre LOR. I got a prof I'd stayed in touch with (yes, for 17 years) and my most recent boss. I wish I'd gotten 1 more academic one though.

top-law-schools.com
lawschooldiscussion.org
post #232 of 369

Re-entering the workforce

Anyone out there willing to peruse my resume for me? I have been home, doing very part-time work the last 4 1/2 years. Mostly wills, business formation and cases for friends. I am because of the current economic environment seeking employment and bummed about it. Anyone have any advice about what to put on my resume and further willing to take a peek and edit? Anyone have any success reentering the work force? If so will you send me your success story? I need some motivation
post #233 of 369

Lawyers’ Salaries: Mommy Penalties, Daddy Bonuses, and Pure Gender Effects

Thought other mommy lawyers would find this as interesting as I did - particularly those like me whose kids have both a lawyer mommy and a lawyer daddy. http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=4218
post #234 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajake View Post
Thought other mommy lawyers would find this as interesting as I did - particularly those like me whose kids have both a lawyer mommy and a lawyer daddy. http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=4218
Thanks for posting mamajake! Very interesting.
post #235 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellejar View Post
Anyone out there willing to peruse my resume for me? I have been home, doing very part-time work the last 4 1/2 years. Mostly wills, business formation and cases for friends. I am because of the current economic environment seeking employment and bummed about it. Anyone have any advice about what to put on my resume and further willing to take a peek and edit? Anyone have any success reentering the work force? If so will you send me your success story? I need some motivation
I might not be too too helpful (just graduated from law school and haven't even heard if I passed the Bar or not yet!), but I was recently looking for a job myself, so I'd be happy to check out your resume if you still want someone to. Just PM me!
post #236 of 369
How did you finance law school? And if it was pure loans, how much do you owe now in student loans? Is it worth the debt with your take home pay as a lawyer?

I had $30k in undergrad loans, which I am almost done paying off. I don't know if I really want to be back in debt again for school...
post #237 of 369
I just discovered this thread and do not have time to read all the posts right now, but it is very interesting.

I am a second-year transactional associate in a big law firm. I started law school with 2 kids, jut shy of 30 years old. I am now expecting #3.

My husband works at home, but hates what he does, and is slowly transitioning into full-time stay-at-home dad status.

To answer the questions above, I financed my law school education with a tiny scholarship and lots of loans. I now have $90,000 worth of student loans, including those for my MA (I was a teacher in a former life). Yes, you read that right--just shy of 100k. My monthly payments are about $1200 per month. I went to a great public school, but I was an out-of-state student.

In general, I like my job OK. I'd rather be a fill-time restaurant critic or write for the New York Times Review of Books. I am in an area of practice that allows me a little more freedom than many people. I work in a subset of tax law that is boring and difficult, and most people like to avoid it. I find that law can be expectantly parent-friendly. At least in my firm, nobody cares if you come to work at 7 am or 11 am, so long as you are billing hours. I leave for midwife appointments whenever I want, I can attend school functions, I frequently work from home. That being said, at times it is very, very difficult to concentrate on complicated transactions or documents when I have morning sickness or I am thinking about what I need to pick up at the store on the way home.

And "Client Development"? Forget about it. I work a lot and I try to spend time with my children whenever possible. The last thing I want to do at 7 pm is attend a cocktail party or even worse, play golf. I guess when more CFO's and GC's start attending la leche league meetings and hanging out at the city market....
post #238 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by rivkah View Post

And "Client Development"? Forget about it. I work a lot and I try to spend time with my children whenever possible. The last thing I want to do at 7 pm is attend a cocktail party or even worse, play golf. I guess when more CFO's and GC's start attending la leche league meetings and hanging out at the city market....
post #239 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by rivkah View Post
I just discovered this thread and do not have time to read all the posts right now, but it is very interesting.

I am a second-year transactional associate in a big law firm. I started law school with 2 kids, jut shy of 30 years old. I am now expecting #3.

My husband works at home, but hates what he does, and is slowly transitioning into full-time stay-at-home dad status.

To answer the questions above, I financed my law school education with a tiny scholarship and lots of loans. I now have $90,000 worth of student loans, including those for my MA (I was a teacher in a former life). Yes, you read that right--just shy of 100k. My monthly payments are about $1200 per month. I went to a great public school, but I was an out-of-state student.

In general, I like my job OK. I'd rather be a fill-time restaurant critic or write for the New York Times Review of Books. I am in an area of practice that allows me a little more freedom than many people. I work in a subset of tax law that is boring and difficult, and most people like to avoid it. I find that law can be expectantly parent-friendly. At least in my firm, nobody cares if you come to work at 7 am or 11 am, so long as you are billing hours. I leave for midwife appointments whenever I want, I can attend school functions, I frequently work from home. That being said, at times it is very, very difficult to concentrate on complicated transactions or documents when I have morning sickness or I am thinking about what I need to pick up at the store on the way home
Thank you so much for your post.

I've been considering law school for some years now, but have always been a bit reluctant for two reasons: money and time. The student loan figures you shared are quite scary (and real) to me. I self-financed my undergraduate education, and it cost me $30k in student loans, even with some scholarhships. I'm just about done paying that off.

I don't really want another $30k to $90k in student loans! I've priced law schools, and even the more affordable ones would cost about $50k. At least.

I already have a pretty good career (er...rather had at one point) and I can make about $50k or so, give or take, so I keep weighing the pros and cons of getting a law degree/working in a field I find interesting/making more money to the current ability of working in my current field, which I find interesting, with almost no student loan debt now, and a slightly lower salary.

I admire you for going to law school at age 30 and with children! That took some effort, I am sure. I am a little unsure how much time and effort, money aside, I really want to devote to law school when I have a young child.

Thanks for your post! I found it very helpful!
post #240 of 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellejar View Post
Anyone out there willing to peruse my resume for me? I have been home, doing very part-time work the last 4 1/2 years. Mostly wills, business formation and cases for friends. I am because of the current economic environment seeking employment and bummed about it. Anyone have any advice about what to put on my resume and further willing to take a peek and edit? Anyone have any success reentering the work force? If so will you send me your success story? I need some motivation
Sorry I missed this when you posted! I'd be happy to look at your resume. I'm in the same boat myself -- maybe we could motivate each other?

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
How did you finance law school? And if it was pure loans, how much do you owe now in student loans? Is it worth the debt with your take home pay as a lawyer?
I financed law school solely with loans and graduated 15 years ago with just under $40K in debt. This was a public school with in-state tuition, with me financing 100% of tuition, living expenses and bar study expenses. I made my last payment in January 08. I was really, really lucky. Most of my contemporaries had twice that amount in loans, at least. And tuition costs have only increased since then.

Only you can determine whether it's worth it. I will say that it was the lowest interest debt that I've ever had, so having it hang around for 10-15 years wasn't as painful as say, um, that huge Visa bill. It was easy to pay off (or not, as I chose) with my former big firm salary. I liked that job (general litigation, mostly complex defense work) for a long time, but it eventually wore thin (and wore me thin in the process). I cannot imagine myself leading that lifestyle as a parent, and am currently trying to figure out how I can use my prior experience in a more family-friendly position.

This is a tough decision to make, there are a lot of moving parts. Have you worked in a legal environment? Do/did you like it? Do you have your LSAT scores yet? Have you considered your post-law school career path? IME most folks who end up unhappy just "fell into" an area of practice, a firm, or whatever, without much planning.

Sorry to pepper you with questions -- old litigators never die, they continue to cross-examine . . . .

Best of luck in working through your decision.
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