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November 21, 2006

Never Too Old To Go To Law School

A 91 year old from South Wales recently received his law degree from the University of New England.  It's never too late to learn.  When we stop learning, well, we stop living both figuratively and most often literally.

The second semester I taught my class on how to open your own law practice right out of law school, I had a student who was well into her seventies.  She was an elegant English woman from an affluent town.  She chose to get her law degree at night because during the day she was caring for her dying husband.  While she didn't want to neglect her heartfelt responsibilities to her spouse, she also knew she needed to tend to herself as she was vital and involved. She originally signed up for my class because she needed to fill the time slot. (Yes, alot of students stumble into my class that way!)  About half way through the semester she approached me and almost brought me to tears with what she had to say.  I don't  repeat the story so I can bring attention to myself.  I repeat the story because of the life lesson she imparted when she said, "Susan.  In your lifetime maybe you will meet five people who will make a profound impact on your life.  I wanted to tell you that you are one of them.  I didn't go to law school expecting to graduate and get a job. After all, who is going to hire me at my age.  Before I took this class I thought my life was just about looking backwards and celebrating the life that was.  I now know that my life can be about looking forward."  With what she learned in the class she realized she can use her degree to help others in a similar situation as herself because they will relate to her and she can still contribute in a way that gives her life meaning and helps others going forward.  I'll never forget her.

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