Is a Mid-Career Law Degree Right for You?
Does the idea of getting a law degree make sense as a career change if you're already past the age of 30? For many, it not only makes sense but helps them invigorate their careers and leverage experience they already have in a unique way. With a decade or more of IT, business, engineering, or marketing work behind you, a mid-career legal degree can supercharge your earnings potential and open up dozens of interesting career options. And, if you currently have a J.D., getting a master's level law degree can do the same. Licensed attorneys who get master's and doctorate degrees in the field have the chance to teach at the university level, do specialized research, offer their services as top-level consultants, and more. Here are some key points to consider if a law degree is in your future.
Know Your Niche
As a latecomer to the legal profession, you won't have as much time to explore all the various career niches as fresh college graduates do. Instead, you can short circuit the process by deciding ahead of time which area of law you'll specialize in. Consider disciplines like public criminal defense, corporate taxation, patents, bankruptcy, divorce, and dozens of others. Research what each type of lawyer does in order to get a feel for what is of interest to you. Also consider your background. For example, if you currently hold an MBA with a focus on taxation, then tax law might be a field in which you could advance rapidly.
Cover Costs and Earn the Credential
In addition to attending school and earning good grades, there's always the question of financing. As early in the process as possible, look into taking out a loan from a private lender to cover the entire cost of the program. For instance, a private lender who has a budget based repayment plan can be an ideal choice for mid-career legal students.
Network Before, During, and After Getting the Degree
As an older student, it's imperative that you make the most of your time. That's why it's so important to network from day one. Make as many connections as possible with people and institutions that can help you find work as soon as your studies are complete. The good news is that because you already have work experience, it's often much easier to land a job as soon as you graduate. But the key is networking, which should be an ongoing process before, during, and after your studies are completed.
Work With a Career Counselor to Identify Opportunities
For those in their 30s attending law school, career counselors are worth their weight in gold. Spend the money to get a one-hour consultation, and perhaps an additional hour or two, from a licensed career advisor. Be sure to supply a detailed personal history, references, a resume, and other pertinent data when you first meet. These highly trained experts can help your hone in on several positions for which your experience and education are near-perfect fits. With that kind of advice, your job search will move along rapidly.
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