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Career change to law - seeking advice on transition

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#1 Beancat

Posted 03 December 2018 - 12:06 PM

Hi All
Seeking some practical advice.
I'm looking at enrolling in a 3 year graduate entry LLB next year at UNE.

I suspect I will be about 48 when I finish.

I have two degrees and have worked in legal policy for nearly 20 years (including being Director of a legal policy unit in state government in environmental law) and now I want to actually practice law, probably family or criminal law.  I am not looking to chase big dollars - I think I'd be happy working in legal aid or a small firm. I know there is a severe over supply of lawyers but I think I can use my contacts to get in the door in a few places

Academically I think I would be fine (from work experience and I did first year law years ago but had to drop out for family reasons).

I want to know - if you have studied law and transitioned later in life - how did you find it/manage it?  How did you fit in the practical legal training post the LLB?  How did you go starting from the bottom again in a new field?

I was thinking the best way for me to transition would be to probably get a job in a govt law department in the policy areas I am familiar with while still studying and then transition to a smaller firm once I have finished.

Any thoughts or tips?

#2 Lady Gray

Posted 03 December 2018 - 12:16 PM

Deleted for privacy

Edited by Lady Gray, 03 December 2018 - 01:21 PM.

#3 Beancat

Posted 03 December 2018 - 12:25 PM

Great advice LG - I wont quote :)
Particularly good advice re doing some para legal
Did you do the PLT by distance ed as well?  2 weeks on site is a breeze - I can definitely manage that.

Thanks for the advice on the hours - agree its a hard slog from what I have seen. I figure if a I don't like it I always have legal policy work to fall back on and having the legal degree would just be an added tool to my toolkit -I like the way lawyers think and think the degree would definitely no be wasted.  I could also teach (I have a dip ed as well as an eco degree).

Out of interest what are you doing now?

#4 Lady Gray

Posted 03 December 2018 - 12:56 PM

Deleted for privacy

Edited by Lady Gray, 03 December 2018 - 01:21 PM.

#5 Serinitynow

Posted 03 December 2018 - 03:21 PM

Hi Beancat. It could work. But it would be hard.

I think age discrimination is an issue even in government for mature age junior lawyers.

I have been practicing for 18 years and have only come across 2 I can recall in that time. They had amazing academic records which helped them get jobs plus one used to be an architect and wanted to practice in construction law which may have helped.

One of my fiends at uni was a mature age law student but never managed to get a legal job. She only had a credit average academic transcript though which may have counted against her.

It sounds like your senior policy roles could be enough to overcome this - especially if you wanted to work in a related area like for the EPA or DPE.

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