|ONE HELL headnotes:
A funny thing happened
during my mid-life law school adventure
- by Alice Marie Beard
Just as a middle-aged woman coming out of 20 years of mothering is not the typical new law student, my law school experiences should not be seen as typical. The journal I kept is the uniquely personal account of one returning homemaker spending nine months as a first-year law student at Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, with one particular set of students, teachers, and administrators.
For forty years I'd kept journals and written letters to friends and family. When I started law school, I began an online journal to serve as a monthly letter to friends.
Soon after beginning the journal, I emailed a professor who runs a web site called JURIST. I wrote to tell him of a web page I had created to share a recent court decision -- my contribution to the "information super highway." Because of that, the professor found my journal and asked to use it. With great naiveté, I said, "Sure. Just spell my name correctly, and I'd like to retain the copyright." That was my only connection with the JURIST.
JURIST called my journal "TAKING TO THE LAW: A First Year Law School Journal." Then, a New York Times' reporter wrote about it [here], and a reporter from an American Bar Association magazine wrote about it [here]. The publicity caused its own difficulties; it was a time just before "blogging" became ordinary, and the journal drew more attention than it merited.
When I decided to go to Catholic's law school, I made the wrong choice. However, with probably more luck than I deserved, I ultimately landed at the perfect law school for me, and I completed my J.D. as just one more law student.
How the adventure began
After twenty years as a genuine full-time mom, on the last possible day for applying, I hand delivered an application to CUA's law school. It wasn't a well thought out plan, but that's how it happened. And, having an extra seat to sell at their law school, CUA offered to sell me the seat for $24,500.
Questions folks asked
why'd you decide to go to law school at your age?"
welcome to link to my words, and anyone is welcome to
print a copy of ONE HELL for
personal use. However, you are not welcome to reproduce
at another web site, and/or to distribute en masse.
In her mid-fifties, after a quarter-of-a-century as a housewife and mom,
Alice Beard graduated from a law school ranked # 38
and passed a bar exam that only 57% passed.