Back to the Books

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit too ambitious I think. The thought of attending law school has crept once again into the far corners of my mind that I retreat to in day dreams.

I’ve considered law before, quite seriously, several times and here I am again. With graduation from Harvard only one year and one semester away I’ve been counting my money wondering if I’ll have enough to retire by the time I graduate at the ripe old age of 25. But even with the most optimistic of market conditions I still won’t have enough at that point to hang up my work boots forever.

So there I will be, in a year and a half, with my Bachelor’s, my not-quite-big-enough self-made trust fund and a job that lets me go to school for free. So what’s the only logical thing to do? Get some more schooling in! The only attractive options to me are either a J.D. or a Masters in economics, political science or something closely related to those two subjects. Now, going part time, all the Master’s programs I like take a minimum of 2 1/2 years. A couple of the J.D. programs I’ve been looking at take only 4 years. That’s 3 nights a week with the summers off.

So basically I’ll be able to get a J.D. with just 1 1/2 years of school in addition to what I’d otherwise be taking anyway to get the Masters, so why not go for it? I’m practically already decided in my head right now. It will just be a matter of taking the LSAT next June and then submitting applications in October of next fall.

The only thing standing in my way is myself. I get into moods where I think, ‘Gosh, all that work! For what?’  ‘What’s so great about a J.D.?’  ‘It’s not worth it. Just continue that nice slow semi-retired life you’re on.’

The one negative of law school over a Master’s program is the cost. My work benefit is a limit of $10,000/year of tuition. A Master’s, going part-time, could probably come in at right around that price range, maybe a tiny bit higher, but I could cover a few thousand myself no problem. But law school, yikes. Tuition: $26k/year. That leaves me with $16k/year to pickup on my own. That could seriously cut into my growing early-retirement fund.

Though, I can rest easy knowing that though I’ll lose approximately $50,000 to tuition (after tax breaks) it will allow me to get those especially interesting policy advisement positions or other such jobs that I drool over. A job that I would probably work even if they didn’t pay me. So I’ll have money from that to make up for the early losses to tuition.

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