Have you ever argued with a family member and then heard them say “you should have been a lawyer with that quick tongue of yours”, well, even if you are approaching middle age, there’s still time. This might be your chance to give them a reason to say those words literally.
So what if you have three kids or you are paying off a mortgage or are stuck in a job that you have to keep because you like to eat food and have a place to stay, does this mean you cannot study to pursue your dream of becoming a lawyer and getting paid to be argumentative and to think out of the box?
If you do have lots of responsibilities, then online study could be the answer. But whatever way you manage to do your studies, this is the moment you have been waiting for, the answer is, you can do it! Law school is all about passion and not something like medicine or engineering where a certain age makes a difference to your career. What matters in law is that you learn to assess and think critically and can draft.
Does age matter?
It is a myth that age is important in law. Yes, if you start your training and further studies after your bachelors (as is in most countries), you will finish it earlier and hopefully beat the cut-throat competition and land a job at a good time. But what if you are a vice president at a company who decided at the age of 36 that they are going to pursue law as a new career path? Does this mean that you are too late? The truth is you will always be an asset to the firm/place that is hiring you as long as you are worth the investment. The only thing that does not work in an older candidates favour is the work-life balance. It gets harder to balance a full time law course or even a part time one with case readings, assignments, staying current and passing those exams with your kids and partner vying for your attention. As a younger applicant, is much less likely to have to worry about families and other responsibilities, and will have the time to spend all nighters reading 250-page judgments.
Can you make the commitment?
An important factor while considering the law life, or rather a life of law, is that you are ready for the commitment it requires. If you have a partner will they start feeling neglected by your new passion? Law school is one of the most holistic places for a person. Not only do you grow as a professional but you also become more confident about owning the stage, knowing the audience, collecting facts, shooting out data and will always have a pen on your person. The change is drastic and regardless of age. Law school is career and life changing.
It’s never too late
Law is for all ages and if that is your calling, what’s stopping you now? As a mature student you will have an awful lot of life experience and knowledge to contribute to classes – and you will finally be able to follow your dreams.
Studying an LLM as a mature student
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should study an LLM as a mature student.
1. Subjects specialisation
An LLM is an excellent opportunity to dive into an in-depth study of a particular area in the law that you had been interested in when pursuing your LLB certification. There are a variety of LLM subjects that you can focus on and specialising in one area can be very beneficial when you are choosing a firm to be part of and help to give you the competitive edge when applying for a job.
2. Building experience & skill development
Studying an LLM will give you advanced skills in different areas such as critical analysis, research, negotiation, persuasive speaking and writing. This makes an LLM a great choice for those planning to have a legal career, since it is a respected employer certification and is acknowledged as providing the necessary skills to be successful in law.
3. Expand legal network
One of the most significant advantages of an LLM is that it gets you many more law connections. Whilst you are studying your course you will meet fellow LLM students, law academics and representatives from legal firms at networking events. These connections can give you more opportunities to get a great job and start off on your career path.
4. Add value to your CV
An LLM qualification is a great way to fill any gaps on your CV. Many employers are very keen to hire lawyers with LLM certifications due to it being indicative of advancement in law subjects and competence. In short, having an LLM on your CV is likely to give you the edge when being shortlisted for a job interview at a law firm over those who don’t have one.
5. Salary increase
In addition to adding value to your CV and providing the opportunity for career advancements and new career opportunities, an LLM can also help mature students justify a salary increase.
6. Academic stepping stone
A Master of Laws can also be used as a stepping stone for those who want to follow an academic route, for example those who want to study a PhD. By studying at a postgraduate level of an LLM the student will have a better view of whether academia is for them and they want to move on to study a doctorate.
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