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Becoming a lawyer is a long process that requires going to college and law school and then taking a bar exam. While many people go to law school shortly after college, it is possible to become a lawyer after you turn 30. There are benefits to attending law school and becoming a lawyer later in life. For instance, students may be more financially stable because they can enter school with less debt and non-traditional students can apply their professional experiences to law school and the practice of law. However, someone over the age of 30 may find it difficult to balance their career and family life with the process of becoming a lawyer.
Enroll in a bachelor's degree program at an accredited college or university. In order to go to law school, you must earn a bachelor's degree first. Many students over 30 years old, also known as non-traditional students, have obligations that students who attend college immediately after high school do not, such as a career or a family. If you cannot commit to a four-year degree program, enroll in an online correspondence program or a part-time program. There is no required major to go to law school, so you can pursue any course of study that interests you.
Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is the law school entrance exam used by law school admissions committees. In order to take the LSAT, you must create an account with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). In order to do well on the LSAT, you must adequately prepare for the exam. Applicants who are over 30 and have other obligations should enroll in a prep course that fits their schedule. Kaplan, Princeton Review and PowerScore offer online programs that are self-paced, or seek private tutors to fit your schedule.
Begin the law school application process. Law school applications are completed through your LSAC account and can take several weeks to complete. You must submit your application, letters of reference and personal statements to the LSAC, which will send the information to the law schools that you choose. When completing your application and personal statement, emphasize your life experiences. As someone over the age of 30, you have different insights about life, family and a career than those in their 20's and your life experiences can make you an attractive candidate for law schools.
Apply to an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school. You must graduate from an ABA-accredited law school to sit for the bar exam in most jurisdictions. When applying to law schools, consider a law school that offers an evening division or part-time program. These programs are geared toward non-traditional students because they allow you to work while in school and provide greater flexibility in scheduling. Further, the part-time and evening division law school programs take four years to complete which allows you to carry a lighter course load instead of three years like the full-time program.
Join a group for non-traditional students while in law school. Many law schools have student groups and associations for students who are older and returning to the classroom, who are married or who are parents. These groups provide social networking activities for non-traditional students and provide information to help them succeed in law school while having a career and family obligations.
Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The MPRE is a multiple-choice exam that tests your knowledge of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. You can take the exam in your final year of law school or after you have taken the bar exam. Someone who is 30 years old, or older, may wish to take the MPRE after the bar exam so that she can focus on completing law school and begin to study for the bar exam.
Study for the bar exam. The bar exam is a two- or three-day exam depending on the jurisdiction in which you take it. It is one day of multiple-choice common questions about the law called the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) and one or two days of essay questions with a performance test. You must commit to studying for the exam in order to pass, which is difficult when you are over 30 years old and have other commitments. While bar review programs, such as BARBRI and Kaplan PMBR offer different course options, such as podcast lectures or Internet lectures, to tailor your studies around your work and family schedule, you should take off work for six to eight weeks to avoid distraction and focus on studying for the bar exam.
Hal Bartle has been writing professionally since 2009. He has been published on various websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Saint Joseph's University and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law.