How Age Affects Your Law School Application
Your decision to pursue law school can depend on a number of things from out-of-pocket cost to career goals. But what about age?
According to numbers by LSAC, the average age of law school students is between 22 and 24. However, experts say, there are a number of paths to law school. And age shouldn’t be a deterrent for those who are intent on getting their law degree.
What’s Helpful to Know?
Many law students will spend their undergrad years taking courses in public speaking, logic, or philosophy.
For older applicants, it may be difficult to connect relevancy with their undergraduate degree and a law school education.
If that’s the case, it may be helpful to understand what you’ll need to know to do well on the LSAT.
“Most law schools require applicants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree,” Fred Decker of the Houston Chronicle writes. “If you’re older than 50, chances are you earned your degree many years ago. If you do need to go back and earn a degree, no specific major is mandatory, but courses in math, public speaking, philosophy and logic can all be useful.”
A Leg Up in Career and Life
Many older applicants may have an advantage over younger ones in terms of career or life experience.
“Older law students are typically entering at least their second career, and often a third or fourth,” Decker writes. “That depth of life experience can be an asset because older students are likely to stay focused during law school.”
That experience can also have a positive influence in helping to build connections, Decker says.
“…a mature lawyer can usually draw on a well-established network of business relationships to build a clientele,” Decker writes.
Older applicants should note that there are certain disadvantages to pursuing law school at a later age.
For one, many firms may be reluctant to hire an older applicant over a younger one.
“Some firms prefer to hire younger, inexperienced workers who are willing to work for less money, as well as for other reasons, such as career longevity, trainability, and commitment,” Sally Kane, of the Balance Careers writes. “Age discrimination can be a challenge for older workers, and today’s tough job market only exacerbates the situation.”
Experts say older applicants should consider their decision to pursue law school seriously before committing. “Becoming a lawyer after 50 isn’t a decision to take lightly,” Decker writes. “At a time when other people are enjoying their highest-earning years, you’d be starting over in direct competition with people who are 25 or 30 years younger. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into.”
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