Advantages of Going to Law School Later in Life

Lawyer doing research in chambers
•••

Robert Daly / Getty Images

Maybe you've been considering lost opportunities in your youth, remembering how you always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. You finished college and life happened. Maybe you started raising a family, but one thing led to another and you never got around to continuing your education. Is it too late? Are you ever too old for law school?

Many would tell you no. As the economy continues to struggle—and it will always continue to have its ups and downs—more people are going to law school later in life. A growing number of law students are in their forties and some are even older. 

You're never too old to return to any school. Many older students find legal employment and older law school graduates have been recruited into all legal sectors.

Starting—or going back to—school later in life presents unique advantages and disadvantages. If you think you're too old for law school, consider these advantages of going back to school for a graduate degree later in life. 

Flexible Educational Options 

Older workers tend to have other major commitments, such as full-time jobs and raising their families. This can make going to law school a real challenge. But it doesn't have to be. More options exist today for older students than ever before. Many law schools offer evening programs and part-time programs. Online learning is exploding and more and more educational institutions are offering this option.

Work Experience

Older students bring other talents to the table than just what they've learned in school. They've often developed a diverse range of transferable skills from their earlier careers.

Many law firms and organizations value this previous work experience. You don't have to write it off. Include it in your resume and mention it in your cover letters. For example, employers will often choose the candidate with 15 years' experience in the engineering field over a recent law school grad with no work experience when weighing applicants for a job as an intellectual property lawyer,

Life Experience Counts, Too 

Law schools seek variety in their incoming classes and your life experience can give you an edge in the admissions process. Life experience is often appreciated by employers as well. If you have experience that relates to the job you're seeking, be sure to highlight it in networking discussions and job interviews.

Benefits of Maturity

Research shows that employers view older workers as more mature, reliable, stable, honest, and committed. Older graduates are more focused and grounded. They know what they want in a career and from an employer.

Maturity can be an advantage in both the law school admissions process and in a post-graduate job hunt. Older workers are less likely to struggle with waking up at the crack of dawn to commute to work, and they're usually less inclined to challenge established dress codes by wearing short skirts, revealing clothes, or other inappropriate attire. They might also be more reliable and responsible simply because they know their families depend on them.

All these factors can tip the sale in your favor when you're applying to law school and after you've earned your degree and passed the bar. Don't automatically write off going to law school without giving it some serious thought. 

  • Lawyer Entering a Law Library

    What's the Right Age to Go to Law School? Can You Be Too Old?

  • Older man in an interview

    Here Are Some Helpful Tips for Making a Mid-Life Career Change

  • Vet examining a puppy

    Are You Too Old to Go to Vet School? Begin a New Career After 40

  • Senior Students in Classroom

    These People Prove You're Never Too Old to Go Back to School

  • Image shows a group of employees of various ages, races, and genders sitting in a meeting together, with the camera focused directly on the older female employee

    Want to See Examples of Ageism in Action?

  • Older male police officer standing by patrol car

    Are You Too Old to Become a Police Officer?

  • Smiling senior female executive at lunch meeting

    Career Advice for People Over 40

  • Man holding briefcase

    Can You Become a Lawyer Without Going to Law School?

  • Closeup of Harvard Law School building

    Make Your App Stand Out With These Law School Admissions Tips

  • Lawyer flipping through papers

    Here Is a Look at the Advantages and Benefits of Public Service Work

  • Law Student standing in library holding books

    Things to Avoid As an Undergrad Preparing for Law School

  • Person at job interview.

    Tips and Advice for Age-Proofing Your Resume

  • Lawyer flipping through papers

    Should a Paralegal Go to Law School?

  • USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, books on desk in library

    Should You Go to Law School as a Nontraditional Student?

  • Businesspeople shaking hands before meeting

    Helpful Tips and Job Search Strategies for Older Workers

  • Young students in a classroom

    Here Are Some Helpful Tips to Help You Before Starting Law School