Is 27 too old to start law school?

Absolutely not. I started law school slightly younger than 26, but a significant proportion of my cohort were 26 or older. Some were even approaching 40. A lot chose to work before coming to law school and bring valuable experience from their previous careers. While there remain a good number of people who begin their JDs right after completing undergrad, doing so is by no means a requirement, and the majority of schools will prefer to see work experience on your application when you apply. For some, like Northwestern, it’s virtually a requirement to be admitted.A number of people (myself included) would argue that there is a significant advantage to starting law school with more life experience. You’ll have a better idea of how employers function, how to interview, and how to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Short version: no, there’s literally no basis for saying that 26 is too old for law school. (READ MORE: Andrew Stahl , J.D. (2020). Is 27 too old to start law school? https://www.quora.com/Is-27-too-old-to-start-law-school.)


By way of background, I attended law school and practiced law for nearly a decade before becoming an education-entrepreneur. One of the businesses that I run focuses on career counseling. I provide the background so that you understand I answer your question based on being both an attorney and a career advisor.

Related to law specifically:

(1) The strongest law students are usually older than those right out of college.

This comment is partially based on fact as I believe Yale Law School, among other elite law schools that can choose their students, has an average age that is somewhere in the mid-twenties.

This is also based on my personal experience. I was 22 when I started. The three students that stood out immediately were in their mid to late twenties. One became a Supreme Court clerk, one was the editor and chief of our law review, and the other graduated first in the class.

This also makes sense. Work and life experience usually give one an advantage. For example, one of three mentioned above was a graduate of the US Naval Academy and then a Navy SEAL. I doubt he wasted energy complaining about the work load or stressed about his grades. He likely just got down to work, uncomplaining and unworried.

(2) You may have a better chance of admission

This is a big “it depends”. But if your work or life experience is interesting or prestigious or demonstrates your fit for law, you will likely be a stronger candidate than those coming right from college. This matters a great deal for your career because law is a prestige obsessed profession. Gaining admission to the highest rated law school possible is usually best.

Related to careers:

(1) 27?! You are a kid!!! Your generation will likely work until 70–75. Indeed, 80 would not be a stretch. To consider yourself too old when you have at least 50 years left in a career is a sign that you are very, very young!

(2) The number of cliches about not taking chances - “the only chance you’ll regret is the one you didn’t take” etc. - emanate from millions of older people lamenting that they should have taken more chances.

I’m sure your situation has some complexities. But this is an easy answer. (READ MORE: Daryl Capuano, CEO at Career Counseling Connecticut (2007-present), (2016). Is 27 too old to start law school? https://www.quora.com/Is-27-too-old-to-start-law-school.)

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