Too Old for Law School?

Advantages of Going to Law School Later in Life

Lawyer doing research in chambers
Robert Daly/Getty Images

Do you think you're too old for law school? As the economy continues to stagnate, more people are going to law school later in life. A growing number of law students are in their forties and beyond.

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

Starting school later in life presents unique advantages and disadvantages.

If you think you're too old for law school, review the advantages below. Be sure to also check out these related resources:

Advantages of Going to Law School Later in Life

  • Flexible Educational Options - Because older workers tend to have other major commitments such as a full-time job and/or a family to raise, returning to law school can present a challenge. The good news is that 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 educational institutions are offering online programs as well.
  • Work Experience - Older students bring other talents to the table and have obtained a diverse range of transferable skills from prior careers. As a result, many law firms and organizations value previous work experience. For example, in weighing candidates for a job as an intellectual property lawyer, all other things being equal, employers may choose the candidate with 15 years' experience in the engineering field over a recent law school grad with no work experience.
  • Life Experience - Law schools seek variety in their incoming classes and life experience may give you an edge in the admissions process. In addition, life experience is often appreciated by employers. If you have life experience that relates to the job you are seeking, be sure to highlight it in networking discussions and job interviews.
  • Maturity - Research shows that employers view older workers as more mature, reliable, stable, honest and committed. Older graduates are more focused and grounded and know what they want in a career and an employer. This maturity can be an advantage both in the law school admissions process and in the post-graduate job-seeking process. For example, older workers are less likely to struggle with waking at the crack of dawn to commute to work or to challenge established dress codes by wearing short skirts, revealing clothes or other inappropriate attire.