If you are a recent law graduate without a job, you might want to skip this story. Because this is not a story about a law school taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from inexperienced kids and helping them find legal employment. Law schools don’t really do it.

Instead, this is a story about a law school charging a reasonable price to help lawyers-turned-homemakers get back into the practice of law. The job market might be pretty tight for recent graduates under 30. But this program is having success in helping graduates from back in the day who are over 40.

And, again, the law school is offering a reasonable price for the program!

The New York Times has the report on a new initiative at Pace Law School for people (mostly mothers) who stopped practicing a long time ago and are now looking to get back into the game:

Called New Directions, the course consists of 11 weeks of classroom refresher training and then an 11-week internship working as a lawyer in any of a number of settings, including law firms, government and nonprofit agencies and corporate offices. Pace offers two sessions a year, typically of 12 to 18 lawyers each…

The cost is $7,000; participants may qualify for retraining grants of up to $3,000 from the United States Department of Labor.

Considering Pace Law charges over $42,000 for a year’s worth of schooling, $7,000 for 11 weeks sounds like a steal. Really, $7,000 is probably more in line with what a semester of law school cost back when these women went to school in the first place.

And, unlike most of law school, I could imagine those being 11 valuable weeks. If you look at the women the Times interviewed, we’re talking about people who have not been practicing for a decade or more. We’re talking about people who graduated from law school in the early eighties. Pace’s program would be worthwhile even if it was just an 11-week confidence booster.

All of the women the Times interviewed say that the program helped them get jobs, so it doesn’t seem like the program is just some intellectual dalliance for bored housewives. They had careers which they relinquished to raise children (I’m struck that the program is 95 percent women, suggesting that there are very, very few Dads who give up career ambitions to assume child-rearing responsibilities), and it seems like they are serious about getting back into the workforce.

Of course, if we’re at the point where we are reintegrating lawyers who voluntarily left the workforce decades ago, it puts even more pressure on recent, inexperienced graduates. But that’s a problem for the people who are paying $42K to graduate with a 2013 Pace Law degree. Maybe they can go back home and live with their mothers who just took their jobs?

From Stay-at-Home Moms to Back-to-Work Lawyers [New York Times]


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