It all starts out like a dream relationship. You and your spouse graduate from college, get married, and even move into your first house. Your spouse now brings up the idea of going back to school. He has always wanted to be an attorney but put it all on the back burner. Now that things are somewhat calmed down the opportunity has presented itself. Instantly, a lot of thoughts go through your head – thinking about exactly how do you become a lawyer? How much does it cost? Or how long does it take to become a lawyer? These questions are valid and important to discuss before making a decision.
What’s Involved in Becoming an Attorney?
Graduating from high school and college are the first steps to becoming an attorney. After getting your four year degree you need to apply and attend law school to get your Juris doctorate degree. After law school the bar exam needs to be taken. Finally, after passing the bar exam a newly appointed lawyer will be sworn in. Including high school, it’s an 11 year journey to become a lawyer. Law school is typically only 3 years though.
What’s The Cost Associated With Becoming an Attorney?
Some schools can be as “inexpensive” as $20,000 a year and more prestigious schools can cost upwards to $50,000 + for each year. The good news is that there are a lot of student loan options available. Interest rates are pretty reasonable and you can take out a little more then what school costs to help cover additional living costs. Some people take out loans to make up for the lack of income the miss out on if they are going back to school later on in their life.
Paying Our Bills? Where Do We Start?
Student loans are available to individuals looking to go back to school. Most student loan programs understand that working full time while attending school isn’t plausible. For the spouse not going back to school is can sometimes be difficult for them to understand but it’s an important part to recognize in order to be supportive. Bills need to be paid but you would be amazed how much you can save by just making small cuts from your normal spending patterns. For example:
- Making your coffee at home – each coffee from Starbucks costs $3-$5.00
- Readjust cell phone plans – $5-$10 per month can be saved by downgrading data & texting plans.
- Downgrade or cancel your cable – Netflix and RedBox is an extremely cheap alternative to cable saving nearly $50.00 per month.
- Call up insurance companies – Do you need full insurance on your car? Can you raise your deductible on your house? These have their pros and cons but you’re looking to cut just a little from several bills. This option can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
- Nobody said the money aspect of going back to school would be easy but outlined above are just a few options to easily save hundred dollars per year. When you’re living off of an income that is less then what your use to every dollar saved counts.
Being Supportive Is Hard But Rewarding
It’s never convenient for you or a spouse to go back to school. It’s a big commitment, expensive, and adds stress to the entire family. Knowing that your significant other is supportive of your career choice is very rewarding. They will remember that you stuck with them and you both can share stories and laugh about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ experiences together. Life isn’t always meant to be easy, hopefully you both can get through this together and enjoy more good times later on in life.
Nicholas is a husband to a law school student and has gone through the debt and pressures of getting a family member going back to school. To help other aspiring lawyers he created how-to-become-a-lawyer.com which lists all the legal requirements and law schools by each state.