Volume 3, Number 4 • September 2005

 Dear Mike

By Mike McBride

I’m 42 and ready to go back to work after a “family break.” I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, and have worked in corporate, regulatory, and policy roles most of my career.

Cash flow being in limited supply, I want to start earning my way as I go through a law degree course. Would it make sense to become a paralegal first, then start law school? Do paralegal courses count toward a law degree?

Thanks for any help you can be.

— “Lawless in Seattle”

Dear “Lawless in Seattle”:

Congratulations on completing your family break and pursuing your dream to become a lawyer. Your corporate, regulatory, and policy experiences will serve you very well. Unfortunately, paralegal courses will not count toward a law degree. If you desire to go directly to law school and become a lawyer, I recommend that you take the appropriate steps, including preparing for the Law School Admissions Test and applying to an American Bar Association-accredited law school.

Given the limited supply of money, I recommend applying for scholarships. It might make sense to land a job at a law firm or a government or regulatory agency so you can have some practical experience while you attend law school part-time. It will also give you an excellent preview of various career fields, and potentially, a leg up on a job when you graduate.

D. Michael McBride III directs the Indian and gaming law practice group at SNEED LANG, P.C. in Tulsa.  McBride is a Director of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and serves on the ABA Standing Committee for Judicial Independence.  He is past chair of Oklahoma Bar Association’s Indian Law Section and is a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law.   McBride represents tribes and tribal entities as well as entities and individuals doing business with tribes.  Additionally, he serves as a justice on the Pawnee Nation Supreme Court.  He can be reached at mmcbride@sneedlang.com,   (918) 583-3145.

Got a question for Mike?
Email D. Michael McBride III at D.Michael.McBride.III@abanet.org

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