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#1 of 21 Old 01-26-2010, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've spent most of this evening reading through the various lawyer threads here and have learned a lot, but I had a few more questions. I was hoping some of you could help me out!

A little background on me:

I will be finished with my BA in American Studies either next January or March (depending on if I take a term off or not.) I'm not a traditional student, I will be 32 in a couple of weeks. My plan is to start law school in the fall of 2011 which gives me over a year to prepare. I have two young boys who will be in fourth grade and first grade then. The biggest challenge is that my husband is active duty military. We are moving to Cleveland this summer and (for the first time in his career) are guaranteed to stay put for four years.

Now for my questions:

1. Am I being realistic? I'm a little concerned about being able to handle law school and still have time for my family. Since my husband is military, I have to be the flexible one (i.e. picking up sick kids from school.) We will have no family in the area to help out, so it will almost all be on me.

2. I don't particularly want to be a trial lawyer or work in any big law firm. I am more interested in research and writing. I think I would love to also get an MLIS and work in a law library. If I were to do any kind of litigation work, it would be either with CPS or child welfare. Does anyone have any experience with any of these?

3. I'm not too worried about making a ton of money as an attorney, but I will need to make enough to pay off student loans! How hard will it be with moving every 2-4 years. If I graduate in 2014, my DH will only have 6 years left until he retires, so I will only have to move a couple more times.

4. Since we will be in Cleveland, my school choice is between Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. Does anyone have an opinion on either of these schools?

Any advice would be appreciated!

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#2 of 21 Old 01-26-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Though I generally try to dissuade anyone form being a lawyer, it sounds like you are entering into law school with realistic goals. I want to caution you that if any part of the back of you mind wants to be a law professor, this entire summary will change.

However, if your goals are not to be a SCOTUS law clerk or a big law associate, you don't need to graduate int he top ten percent of you class. As such, I think you can do law school with you kids being the age they are. You can expect about 4 hours of class time every day four or five days per week. I would explore opportunities to get a simultaneous MLS, if available. That could change your schedule somewhat. I didn't have much of a problem doing school when my kids were also in school, and studying after they went to bed. You will not be cooking gourmet meals, volunteering at your kids' school, sewing any of your own clothes, etc..

If you can get in-state tuition, your loans will be substantially lower. If you can limit your borrowing to that available from the U.S. Dept. Of Ed., your repayment options will be more humane.
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#3 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for your reply!

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Originally Posted by rivkah View Post
I would explore opportunities to get a simultaneous MLS, if available. That could change your schedule somewhat.
Neither of the schools there in Cleveland have an MLIS, but I was considering doing it at our next duty station, if we are near a library school. Or maybe doing it online.

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I didn't have much of a problem doing school when my kids were also in school, and studying after they went to bed. You will not be cooking gourmet meals, volunteering at your kids' school, sewing any of your own clothes, etc..
LOL! I don't do any of that now (except volunteering at school!) So your entire life wasn't consumed by law school? Talking to my sister (no kids) it seems like all she does is go to school and then come home and study; seven days a week!

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If you can get in-state tuition, your loans will be substantially lower. If you can limit your borrowing to that available from the U.S. Dept. Of Ed., your repayment options will be more humane.
I should get in-state tuition because my DH is active duty military. It's still enough money that it makes me cringe to think about it. It's quite a bit more than what I had planned on spending for graduate school. I have to look more into it, but I should have about 18 months left on DH's GI Bill that I think I can use, so that will help a ton.

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#4 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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I didn't have children while in law school, so I can't give you BTDT feedback on that. Though I know others who did, for myself, I don't think that I could have made it work.

I try to dissuade anyone from going to law school who isn't firmly convinced that s/he wants to practice or teach law. "Interested in research and writing" is still a pretty broadly expressed sentiment; is law school really necessary to pursue a career that involves research and writing? Not necessarily.

I would recommend coming at this from two different directions: first, what do you like/want to do and what degree will let you do that; second, how would a law degree enable you to do what you like or want. Digging deeper into the kinds of careers that you'd like to pursue, what your likely income would be, and how prevalent/realistic your opportunities would be in the areas that you may be moving to before your husband retires also would be a good idea.

As for not wanting to do Biglaw, and what that will mean for your academic goals and job prospects: not to contradict Rivkah, but the number of lawyers/law students with good credentials from highly rated schools who are currently unemployed is at an all time high. People are considering jobs that they wouldn't have deigned to just two years ago, yet law school admissions are still increasing, IIRC. That's a whole bunch of people already "in the pipeline" ahead of you. I certainly can't predict what the job market will be like when you're graduating, but I think you should take anyone's advice with a big grain of salt; none of us has had experience in a market like this, with the debt loads that private law degrees now impose and competition from an overabundance of lawyers/law students.

Choosing between Cleveland State and Case Western: Case is private I think, so in-state tuition breaks won't be possible. Case has a more national reputation, however, which will come into play if you need to use your JD somewhere other than Ohio.

Thought: could you pursue an online MILS first, while in Cleveland, and save the JD for a later time? I say that because it's my sense that it is the more "portable" degree of the two.

Sorry to leave unfinished thoughts, time to start the AM scramble to school/work. Best of everything to you as you make these decisions.
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#5 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When I say "research and writing," I mean it from a legal standpoint. My brother is an attorney and I worked in his office for a time after high school. I never really liked going to court, but I really enjoyed looking up past cases for him, etc.

Before we knew we were moving to Cleveland, I had planned to go to graduate school for either an MLIS or an MSW. The MLIS could be done online, but the MSW was dependent on whether we got stationed near a school that offered it. With a law degree, I figure I can do a little of both; especially if I were to work with child welfare.

As for doing a JD at a later time, it may not be possible. In the past 15 years, this is the first time we will be stationed near a law school. Not only that, but it is the first time in 15 years that we are (somewhat) guaranteed to stay in one place for four consecutive years. I may not get another chance.

I'm not too worried about getting a job after my DH retires from the military. We plan on moving back to my hometown. My brother is an attorney and my sister will graduate from law school next year, so I will have a job waiting for me with them, if no where else. What I am worried about is the six years between my graduation date and when DH retires. We have the potential to move 3+ times. Of course, we could always get lucky and only move once. Nothing is set in stone.

Anyway, thanks for your advice. I am definitely not just looking for "rainbows and roses" type of advice here. If it honestly doesn't sound like it would work out for me, I need to know pretty soon. I have less than a year to take the LSAT and start sending in applications

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#6 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbamama View Post
As for not wanting to do Biglaw, and what that will mean for your academic goals and job prospects: not to contradict Rivkah, but the number of lawyers/law students with good credentials from highly rated schools who are currently unemployed is at an all time high. People are considering jobs that they wouldn't have deigned to just two years ago, yet law school admissions are still increasing, IIRC. That's a whole bunch of people already "in the pipeline" ahead of you. I certainly can't predict what the job market will be like when you're graduating, but I think you should take anyone's advice with a big grain of salt; none of us has had experience in a market like this, with the debt loads that private law degrees now impose and competition from an overabundance of lawyers/law students.
I think that this is a valid point to consider. However, I should clarify what I said.

Pretty much the ONLY thing that matters in getting a job at Biglaw are (1) where you went to school, and (2) your grades. There are exceptions of course, but that is the general rule. If you rule out a career in Biglaw, or a prestigious clerkship, your grades probably matter less. How much they will matter is highly dependent on your situation, goals, and geographic location.

In my experience, what made law school difficult was the competition. (I was in the top 5% of my class during the first year, got a biglaw job, and ended up somewhere in the top 20%.) Had I been content to just do my best and be in, say, the top 50%, I think law school would have been far less stressful and easier.

I also want to clarify that when I say you can make it work, I mean you can make it work by studying in all your spare time--or almost all of it. I was able to do this by using the time I had when my kids were in school, in bed, and on weekends. In my experience, people with kids who go to law school tend to be more efficient. We don't run marathons, go to bar review or pub night every week, go on dates, text friends, update Facebook pages, or generally any of the fun activities the childless get to do.

Good luck in your decision.
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#7 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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I know this is not what you're hoping to hear, but here goes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanwinds View Post
A little background on me:

I will be finished with my BA in American Studies either next January or March (depending on if I take a term off or not.) I'm not a traditional student, I will be 32 in a couple of weeks. My plan is to start law school in the fall of 2011 which gives me over a year to prepare. I have two young boys who will be in fourth grade and first grade then. The biggest challenge is that my husband is active duty military. We are moving to Cleveland this summer and (for the first time in his career) are guaranteed to stay put for four years.

Now for my questions:

1. Am I being realistic? I'm a little concerned about being able to handle law school and still have time for my family. Since my husband is military, I have to be the flexible one (i.e. picking up sick kids from school.) We will have no family in the area to help out, so it will almost all be on me.
No. You're not being realistic. Your DH is active duty, which means you will move at least every 4 years. Unless he is senior enough to stay in the same state/locale, or you are going to be geo-bachelors, you are going to be looking at taking multiple bar exams. Which means cost--it costs a lot to sit for the bar; delay--you probably won't be working between the time you take the bar and are admitted, which can be months; and stress--trying to study/prepare while caring for your little ones. Moving frequently will also diminish your ability to advance/get raises in whatever field you practice, regardless of how good you are. If you are looking at public sector work, this is even more true, as raises are often based on longevity rather than performance, IME.[/QUOTE]

Quote:
2. I don't particularly want to be a trial lawyer or work in any big law firm. I am more interested in research and writing. I think I would love to also get an MLIS and work in a law library. If I were to do any kind of litigation work, it would be either with CPS or child welfare. Does anyone have any experience with any of these?
If you're not interested in Big Firm work (and I don't blame you!), have you thought about how much you'll actually be making? In So. Fla. in 2008, CPS attorneys and guardians ad litem were making about $45k. Consider what your loans will be and what size payment you'll actually be able to make monthly without dipping in to your Huz's BAH, and whether this is likely to bump you in to the next tax bracket.

Quote:
3. I'm not too worried about making a ton of money as an attorney, but I will need to make enough to pay off student loans! How hard will it be with moving every 2-4 years. If I graduate in 2014, my DH will only have 6 years left until he retires, so I will only have to move a couple more times.
Is your Huz definitely only doing 20? Of course you know it's stressful to be moving around so often, but it is even worse when you need a job right away because you have $1500 in student loan payments going out every month.

Quote:
4. Since we will be in Cleveland, my school choice is between Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. Does anyone have an opinion on either of these schools?
No opinions on either school. If you do decide to go, I would strongly recommend a public university just for financial reasons.

It looks from your siggy like you're interested in another baby in the future. Is your Huz's income going to be enough to cover your loan payments/expenses if/while you're on maternity leave?

Quote:
I should get in-state tuition because my DH is active duty military. It's still enough money that it makes me cringe to think about it. It's quite a bit more than what I had planned on spending for graduate school. I have to look more into it, but I should have about 18 months left on DH's GI Bill that I think I can use, so that will help a ton.
In-state tuition is not necessarily the case. My DH is getting an MBA (paid for by the military) and it was a fight to get in-state tuition because we are not presently residents or becoming residents of this state. Definitely follow up with an admissions counselor before you take the word of a school's website. Is there a cap on what your Huz has left on his GI Bill?

Anyway, I'm sorry that this was so negative. I just wanted to get it all out there. As you can tell, I feel like I made a bad decision when I went to law school, although at the time I didn't anticipate being married to a military member or having a child. The short of it is that it is really hard to be an attorney, military spouse, and a mother. It sounds like you are asking all of the right questions, and I hope that whatever you decide works out for you.
Good luck with your decision!

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#8 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanwinds View Post
I've spent most of this evening reading through the various lawyer threads here and have learned a lot, but I had a few more questions. I was hoping some of you could help me out!

A little background on me:

I will be finished with my BA in American Studies either next January or March (depending on if I take a term off or not.) I'm not a traditional student, I will be 32 in a couple of weeks. My plan is to start law school in the fall of 2011 which gives me over a year to prepare. I have two young boys who will be in fourth grade and first grade then. The biggest challenge is that my husband is active duty military. We are moving to Cleveland this summer and (for the first time in his career) are guaranteed to stay put for four years.

Now for my questions:

1. Am I being realistic? I'm a little concerned about being able to handle law school and still have time for my family. Since my husband is military, I have to be the flexible one (i.e. picking up sick kids from school.) We will have no family in the area to help out, so it will almost all be on me.

2. I don't particularly want to be a trial lawyer or work in any big law firm. I am more interested in research and writing. I think I would love to also get an MLIS and work in a law library. If I were to do any kind of litigation work, it would be either with CPS or child welfare. Does anyone have any experience with any of these?

3. I'm not too worried about making a ton of money as an attorney, but I will need to make enough to pay off student loans! How hard will it be with moving every 2-4 years. If I graduate in 2014, my DH will only have 6 years left until he retires, so I will only have to move a couple more times.

4. Since we will be in Cleveland, my school choice is between Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. Does anyone have an opinion on either of these schools?

Any advice would be appreciated!
First, I'm in law school and have a 1yr old. So my experience is different than your will be.

Law school is not very flexible, the first year is incredibly demanding (I can't even describe my first year and how hard it was - and I didn't have a baby until Jan of my second year!). Not having people around to help you will make law school much harder. I have friends who are married with kids here, and they all tell me that their husband's are so helpful and are really helping them make it happen - so your husband even if his work schedule isn't flexible should be willing to support you in whatever ways he can.

As for where to go to school, I know nothing about the ones that will be close to you - BUT if you are worried about loans, public schools are almost always cheaper than private ones. So, if you can get into the public school thats your best bet as far as loans go. That said, private schools are usually easier to get into b/c they are more expensive and if you can afford it they'll give you more slack. (although, and I could be wrong, Case Western sounds familiar and I may have been admitted there without even finishing my application - if thats the case and its easy to get in, its probably REALLY hard to STAY in)

good luck
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#9 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I thought I'd also chime in with the think carefully if you actually need a law degree to do what you want bandwagon. You've mentioned that you like the research and writing aspect of law. Unless you have a burning desire to make sure that your name is attached when things are submitted to the court, you do not need to be a lawyer to do that. You could be a Paralegal instead. And, a paralegal certificate should, I think, be cheaper, available on-line, and more portable.

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#10 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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I'm not a military spouse but concur with most of what Kate said above. When I first saw your post, OP, I was a little concerned about the fact that you are planning to move around (given the military). Remaining a licensed attorney or getting licensed in the state in which you move will be highly challenging. This is especially true at the outset of your practice, as in many states you must have practiced at least 5 years in order to waive into another jurisdicition. I am currently licensed in two states but they are sister states and it is not that impractical for me to maintain my licenses. For states like New York, not only do you have bi-annual registration fees, but you also must take so many continuing education courses bi-annually to maintain your registration (additional costs).

Editing: originally asked if you would consider an LLM (Masters of Law - which focuses on research) but was reminded that in the United States, pursuit of an LLM may only be available after one has received a J.D. You might want to check into it.

I am in Big Law but ended here via an acquisition of my prior boutique firm by my current firm. I love the practice of law and didn't realize how much I would love it until a few years into practice. It was worth the time and expense investment for me. I count myself very fortunate, however, because the market isn't too rosey for recent grads. From what I've read, there has been a huge influx of new graduates in the market and the competition has gotten much tighter. This is especially true in government jobs and in non-profit jobs, and experienced lawyers are competing for these same positions.

Given that you are planning to take out student loans, I would carefully consider your choices. My student loans are more per month than what we spend on food, utilities and transportation combined. Combine this with the on-going cost of maintaining your license (and in some cases - purchasing your own malpractice insurance) and you've got a lot of money going out the door every year to just maintain the status quo.

Good luck with your decision. It is a hard one, but I have to admit, I never have regretted my choice.

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#11 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First, let me say once again, thank you for all your replies. Especially the negative ones! If I do decide to go through with this, I need to be as prepared as possible and know the good and bad of the situation.

Quote:
No. You're not being realistic. Your DH is active duty, which means you will move at least every 4 years. Unless he is senior enough to stay in the same state/locale, or you are going to be geo-bachelors, you are going to be looking at taking multiple bar exams. Which means cost--it costs a lot to sit for the bar; delay--you probably won't be working between the time you take the bar and are admitted, which can be months; and stress--trying to study/prepare while caring for your little ones. Moving frequently will also diminish your ability to advance/get raises in whatever field you practice, regardless of how good you are. If you are looking at public sector work, this is even more true, as raises are often based on longevity rather than performance, IME.
Yes, my husband is currently active duty. Once I garduate, he will only have six years left until retiement. As a Warrant Officer, he will only be in 3-4 year billets (unless he takes a boat which is two years), so we will only move three more times at the most.

Quote:
If you're not interested in Big Firm work (and I don't blame you!), have you thought about how much you'll actually be making? In So. Fla. in 2008, CPS attorneys and guardians ad litem were making about $45k. Consider what your loans will be and what size payment you'll actually be able to make monthly without dipping in to your Huz's BAH, and whether this is likely to bump you in to the next tax bracket.
I am extremely fortunate to not have to worry about finding a high-paying job. We are lucky enough to be able to live comfortably on DH's salary alone. Anything I make before he retires will all be able to go to student loans. After he retires, we will have my salary, his retirement check, and his salary from his new job (he plans on still working after he retires from the military.)



Quote:
Is your Huz definitely only doing 20? Of course you know it's stressful to be moving around so often, but it is even worse when you need a job right away because you have $1500 in student loan payments going out every month.
No, DH is doing at least 25. The student loan payments are what is making me nervous, but I should be able to find a job that pays enough to make the monthly payments; even if it is not actually practicing law at the time.


Quote:
No opinions on either school. If you do decide to go, I would strongly recommend a public university just for financial reasons.
Unless I get a gigantic scholarship to Case, I have decided not to bother with that school. Cleveland State is a public university and the tuition is about half of what it is at Case.

Quote:
It looks from your siggy like you're interested in another baby in the future. Is your Huz's income going to be enough to cover your loan payments/expenses if/while you're on maternity leave?
We're actually not actively trying anymore for a baby. If it happens we'll be happy, but it probably won't. Yes, DH's salary should be able to cover the cos of another child. Can I defer student loan payments while on maternity leave?

Quote:
In-state tuition is not necessarily the case. My DH is getting an MBA (paid for by the military) and it was a fight to get in-state tuition because we are not presently residents or becoming residents of this state. Definitely follow up with an admissions counselor before you take the word of a school's website. Is there a cap on what your Huz has left on his GI Bill?
I will get in-state tuition because DH is active duty and stationed in the state of Ohio. I will double-check with the school, but I am 99.999% sure.

Yes, there is a cap on the GI Bill. I get 36 months total and should have about 18 months left when I start law school. One year's tuition at CSU is approximately $16,500. The GI Bill will cover up to $477 per credit hour. So, my first year I will only need to pay $2,190 in tuition. The second year would only be $7,055. So, my student loans for all three years should be about $25,745, plus whatever I need for books and fees. Also, the GI Bill will pay for the LSAT.


Quote:
Anyway, I'm sorry that this was so negative. I just wanted to get it all out there. As you can tell, I feel like I made a bad decision when I went to law school, although at the time I didn't anticipate being married to a military member or having a child. The short of it is that it is really hard to be an attorney, military spouse, and a mother. It sounds like you are asking all of the right questions, and I hope that whatever you decide works out for you.
Please don't apologize! If I wanted only happy answers, I would have just read the school's website. I really need to know the reality of what I am considering!


Quote:
Originally Posted by thyra View Post
First, I'm in law school and have a 1yr old. So my experience is different than your will be.

Law school is not very flexible, the first year is incredibly demanding (I can't even describe my first year and how hard it was - and I didn't have a baby until Jan of my second year!). Not having people around to help you will make law school much harder. I have friends who are married with kids here, and they all tell me that their husband's are so helpful and are really helping them make it happen - so your husband even if his work schedule isn't flexible should be willing to support you in whatever ways he can.
My husband is really supportive no matter what I choose to do. (He's excited that I get to support him when he retires!) Unfortunately, being military means he isn't always available when I need him. I've talked with another military spouse who is currently in law school and she mentioned having an on-call babysitter. That is something I am going to look into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbond View Post
I thought I'd also chime in with the think carefully if you actually need a law degree to do what you want bandwagon. You've mentioned that you like the research and writing aspect of law. Unless you have a burning desire to make sure that your name is attached when things are submitted to the court, you do not need to be a lawyer to do that. You could be a Paralegal instead. And, a paralegal certificate should, I think, be cheaper, available on-line, and more portable.
Did the paralegal thing...definitely not for me. The pay was not worth the crap I had to deal with!

I really want to be able to help people and I think with a law degree, I have a better chance of doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
I'm not a military spouse but concur with most of what Kate said above. When I first saw your post, OP, I was a little concerned about the fact that you are planning to move around (given the military). Remaining a licensed attorney or getting licensed in the state in which you move will be highly challenging. This is especially true at the outset of your practice, as in many states you must have practiced at least 5 years in order to waive into another jurisdicition. I am currently licensed in two states but they are sister states and it is not that impractical for me to maintain my licenses. For states like New York, not only do you have bi-annual registration fees, but you also must take so many continuing education courses bi-annually to maintain your registration (additional costs).
I read somewhere that government jobs do not have to be licensed in each state. Is that true?


Quote:
Maybe someone already mentioned this, but have you considered an LLM (Master of Laws)? It is different from a professional degree and is geared toward legal research.
My sister mentioned this, but I was under the impression that you had to have a JD before considering an LLM. Is this not true?

Quote:
I am in Big Law but ended here via an acquisition of my prior boutique firm by my current firm. I love the practice of law and didn't realize how much I would love it until a few years into practice. It was worth the time and expense investment for me. I count myself very fortunate, however, because the market isn't too rosey for recent grads. From what I've read, there has been a huge influx of new graduates in the market and the competition has gotten much tighter. This is especially true in government jobs and in non-profit jobs, and experienced lawyers are competing for these same positions.

Good luck with your decision. It is a hard one, but I have to admit, I never have regretted my choice.
It would not be my first choice, but I know I would always have a position with my brother and sister.

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#12 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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oceanwinds, it sounds like you're doing your research! If your DH is a Warrant and will have 21 years (I think?) when you graduate, then that's sort of different. Money-wise you're probably going to be alright (from my grossly shallow perspective) for the few moves you'll have to make. I don't know whether you'd be able to defer loan payments for maternity leave or not, but I couldn't. I was being paid during a portion of it, so maybe that had something to do with it....

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I read somewhere that government jobs do not have to be licensed in each state. Is that true?
This is true, but these jobs are very hard to find. I am licensed in Florida and working for Texas, but the job I'm in is technically a judicial office, so my time here is not considered "the practice of law." This is only important because my work here will not count towards years of practice when I try to waive in to another jurisdiction. If being geo-bachelors or going to DC (where you can waive in easily) is an option, then maybe it wouldn't be a completely awful idea.

I think here in the states you generally do get a JD before an LLM--I'm not sure what good the LLM would do you without the JD. I know in the '70's LLB's were an option...that's what Vincent Bugliosi has. Just a thought.

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#13 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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I just want to chime in one more time.

I really do generally discourage anyone from going to law school. I hated law school and I hate being a lawyer. However, I really think you should consider it.

If what you say about GI Bill $ and tuition are true, then it doesn't sound like you are really going to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt. If you are interested in a pubic sector job, there are lots loan forgiveness programs. It is funny, because I always hear how hard those jobs are to find, but I know lots of people who have them. (I have not yet decided to pursue a public sector job, but I hope to in the future).

You sound like you have a much better idea of what being a lawyer is all about than most, having worked in your brother's firm and having worked as a paralegal.

The reason that I would encourage you, if you decide you want to go, is that you sound experienced and educated and money is not your goal. I know law school is so stressful when you are in it, but looking back, all you do is read books and take some long tests. It isn't that darn hard. It is not really fun at all, either. The hard part is the competition and the time it takes. It will be three long years for you and your kids, but I found that I had more time with my kids than I do now. It isn't a part-time job, it is a full-time job. It isn't that flexible, but it is more flexible than most jobs (usually you don't have classes 9-5).
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#14 of 21 Old 01-27-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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Oceanwinds, I agree with justKate and Rivka, you've done an impressive amount of research and are probably more on top of things than any prospective law student I've talked to. I'm sorry if my earlier post seemed condescending.

For the government jobs/bar admission question:

Like justKate said, state government jobs that don't require local bar admission would be defined as being outside "the practice of law."

It's true that to be hired for federal lawyer positions you only need to be admitted to practice somewhere in the US, its territories or possessions. A quick search on USAJOBS.com would confirm this. But, on the other hand, I know of at least one federal agency that reportedly has a policy (official? unofficial?) that requires that one seek admission to the jurisdiction that they're located in. I'm thinking specifically of the US Attorney's office here in DC. This might be a function of how much court time AUSA jobs require, or an anomoly due to DC's unique status as a "non-state": here the federal prosecutors handle both federal and local criminal matters.

I dunno, but thought I'd throw it out there.

Best of everything!
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#15 of 21 Old 01-28-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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You sound well-prepared and like you've done your research. In addition, not having so much financial pressure will give you an advantage. I was driven into BigLaw post-law school, largely for financial reasons, and it took us years to come out from under, money-wise.

First year law will be tricky in terms of kid-flexibility, because you don't get to choose your courses/schedule. Second and third year, you have more opportunities to choose what you take, which makes it easier to work around kids, even if you sometimes decide not to take a class you'd like for scheduling reasons.

I did law school with kids, and had a baby part-way through, and it worked all right. You certainly have more flexibility than when you're working full-time! You just need not to swan around dramatically for hours in the library wailing about how hard the upcoming exam is, like the kidless divas you'll come across in law school, and you might not have time to join the intramural rugby team, if that bothers you.

I think that if you have anyway to combine it with a MLIS, that would be clever. Certainly you can find more family-friendly work as a law librarian than as a lawyer. However, if you live in a smaller centre, you may not find as much demand for law librarians - they tend to be found at large courthouses, law schools, and large firms. I also know that our librarians tend to do the basic research, just 'pulling' sources from databases, while the research and writing is done by practicing lawyers, so you may want to think about that.
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#16 of 21 Old 01-31-2010, 03:39 AM
 
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I'll chime in -

I started law school at 29 and had dd during the summer between 2nd and 3rd year. I was lucky to be in a 4 year program, so the pace was slower. The biggest benefit of the nontraditional program was that the students were much more low key than the 20 year old recent college graduates, so mentally the craziness that is completely unnecessary in law school wasnt there.

I loved law school and I love being a lawyer -I cant see myself doing anything else. This is partly because I had a burning desire to pursue this field and went in a bit older and wiser. My first job was as a children's attorney in the CPS system: a job that will break your heart and leave you broke. I was working crazy hours in an understaffed office for an overworked boss. It was really hard to not carry the stories of my clients home with me in my heart, and interfered with my ability to focus on my daughter. From that I went to being a prosecutor for a few years, to my current position at a small civil firm where I am extremely happy.

Being a lawyer is a calling and an awesome responsibility. Because of my student loans I have to work. On the other hand my salary has meant that my husband is not burdened with being "the provider" and has given our family a high degree of flexibility.

What ultimately pushed me was the realization that I did not want to wake up at 40 and regret what I could have done, but didnt because of fear. As hard as law school and the Bar exam was, the regret would have been much worse.

Good luck!
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#17 of 21 Old 02-02-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanwinds View Post
I've spent most of this evening reading through the various lawyer threads here and have learned a lot, but I had a few more questions. I was hoping some of you could help me out!

A little background on me:

I will be finished with my BA in American Studies either next January or March (depending on if I take a term off or not.) I'm not a traditional student, I will be 32 in a couple of weeks. My plan is to start law school in the fall of 2011 which gives me over a year to prepare. I have two young boys who will be in fourth grade and first grade then. The biggest challenge is that my husband is active duty military. We are moving to Cleveland this summer and (for the first time in his career) are guaranteed to stay put for four years.

Now for my questions:

1. Am I being realistic? I'm a little concerned about being able to handle law school and still have time for my family. Since my husband is military, I have to be the flexible one (i.e. picking up sick kids from school.) We will have no family in the area to help out, so it will almost all be on me.

2. I don't particularly want to be a trial lawyer or work in any big law firm. I am more interested in research and writing. I think I would love to also get an MLIS and work in a law library. If I were to do any kind of litigation work, it would be either with CPS or child welfare. Does anyone have any experience with any of these?

3. I'm not too worried about making a ton of money as an attorney, but I will need to make enough to pay off student loans! How hard will it be with moving every 2-4 years. If I graduate in 2014, my DH will only have 6 years left until he retires, so I will only have to move a couple more times.

4. Since we will be in Cleveland, my school choice is between Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. Does anyone have an opinion on either of these schools?

Any advice would be appreciated!
This is awesome! I'm going to hop onto your bandwagon, because I'm in a quasi-similar situation. Please let me know if you don't want me butting into your thread.

I'm AD Army, stationed in WA. I have two years until I can get out and I'd like to go to Law School when I do. I'll have a full GI Bill to use, which will help with tuition. One good thing about the GI Bill is that I'll get BAH, which will help out immensely. A LOT hinges on my ability to be accepted to University of WA.

I do have one question--time spent per day. Is it equivalent to a full time job? How does Law School compare?
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#18 of 21 Old 02-02-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sarah W View Post
This is awesome! I'm going to hop onto your bandwagon, because I'm in a quasi-similar situation. Please let me know if you don't want me butting into your thread.

I'm AD Army, stationed in WA. I have two years until I can get out and I'd like to go to Law School when I do. I'll have a full GI Bill to use, which will help with tuition. One good thing about the GI Bill is that I'll get BAH, which will help out immensely. A LOT hinges on my ability to be accepted to University of WA.

I do have one question--time spent per day. Is it equivalent to a full time job? How does Law School compare?
Ahh! Same Sarah that was stationed in KW?! If so, then you'll have no problems, because you're a rock star. For me, it was roughly equivalent to a FT job that you really care about, with more intensity towards the last weeks of each semester. Is your Huz AD as well?

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#19 of 21 Old 02-02-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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Ahh! Same Sarah that was stationed in KW?! If so, then you'll have no problems, because you're a rock star. For me, it was roughly equivalent to a FT job that you really care about, with more intensity towards the last weeks of each semester. Is your Huz AD as well?
Yes, same Sarah. DH is AD, too. What's nice is if it's just him, we don't have to worry about PCSing unless we want to.
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#20 of 21 Old 02-02-2010, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is awesome! I'm going to hop onto your bandwagon, because I'm in a quasi-similar situation. Please let me know if you don't want me butting into your thread.
Butt away! The more insight the better!

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Originally Posted by Sarah W View Post
Yes, same Sarah. DH is AD, too. What's nice is if it's just him, we don't have to worry about PCSing unless we want to.
You were in Key West? That's home for us! We lived there from 2002-2007, but DH was born and raised there and his whole family still lives there. I miss it so much, but we try and visit once or twice a year.

Mama to: turtle 6August01 and frog 28May05 and ttc#3
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#21 of 21 Old 02-03-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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You were in Key West? That's home for us! We lived there from 2002-2007, but DH was born and raised there and his whole family still lives there. I miss it so much, but we try and visit once or twice a year.
Small world, huh? We were there 07-09 and hoping to go back tour after next. Okay enough taking over your thread! [/hijack]

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