43 Year Old Lawyer - Is this possible How do I start?

Hi Everyone:

Thank you for reading this.

I can’t believe I have ‘finally’ decided to take the next step in these thoughts I have had in my mind for years. . . So, here goes nothing . . .

I am a 43 year old lawyer. I have practiced law since 1996. 4 years ago, I tried exiting the law, and; I am getting pulled back in for financial reasons. If any of you have ever been in litigation, you will know why I tried to exit.

My desire to help people, and; to heal people finds a very tough audience in the law.

I am definitely on a journey of discovery right now with my career path.

One difficulty, is that I am the sole income producer for my family, and; I have two young children, and; one on the way. My wife is a stay at home mom.

I have thought about Med school in Costa Rica (my mother and father’s native country). I have four cousins in Costa Rica that are MDs, and; one of them is the government director that posts MD’s throughout the country.

Aside from the rigors of law school and law practice, the only classroom time I have done in the past few years, is as a University Professor.

I really have ‘no clue’, how I would do with mathematics, chemistry, etc. Lawyers, although dealing with logic; do not necessarily study math. There is a joke I made up, “The reason I studied law instead of medicine, is because I was not really good at math”.

The other issue; sad to say; is income. My income on ocassions reached about 20K per month. However, as mentioned, I tried exiting the law practice, but; the income is pulling me back in. I am willing to make some financial sacrifices, but; my wife might say, "Now what if you go through all of this, and then decide that you do not want to practice medicine, just like the law? Good question? Any suggestions?

So here it is:

  1. Should I consider a Med School in Costa Rica (which one); can I come back to California and practice?

  2. Can I somehow get tuition or sponsorship so that I can study full time;

  3. Is this good for my young kids to experience (ages 4,6, and one on the way), or; am I being selfish? Should I just kill these innocuous thoughts; suck it up; and practice law;

  4. Do I have a fighting chance if I have not looked at any math in literally decades.

    Anyway - any suggestions that you have would be tremendous. I struggle with my next steps. I do not desire to practice law, and; unfortunately due to the real estate down turn, I am forced back into the work world. Which is probably a good thing - being part of the ‘community’, instead of just playing golf was a big womp on my head - directing me back to discover ‘calling / vocation’ and financial fulfillment.

    On this journey unfortunately, I have also thought of other paths to take right now. So, I am really in a search mode. . .and trying to determine where to fly.

    I believe that my personal make up of helping people, and; desiring to heal people would be fulfilled with medicine. Plus, the financial end is probably in par with what I am accustomed to.

    One last question. Energy, although I am pretty athletic, I am 43. Honestly, can I keep up? I know the commitment that it took to get my Juris Doctors. But then again, I was 27 when I entered law school.

    Oh, how long will it take me, as a general rule?

    Thanks for your helpful input.


A lot of these questions you are asking are ones where you and your family are going to be the only ones capable of coming up with the right answers.

From an observational stand point, here’s my 2 cents. You are older and wiser than I am so please take it for what it’s worth.

  1. Should I consider a Med School in Costa Rica (which one); can I come back to California and practice?

    Have you considered what kind of impact this would have on your family? With 2 young children and an infant on the way, it seems like there would be a ton of pressure on your wife if you went to school in Costa Rica. If you are the loan bread winner for the family, are you financially secure in your savings to maintain your family’s standard of living for the next 4+ years while you are in school?

  2. Can I somehow get tuition or sponsorship so that I can study full time?

    Yes financial aid is available but from what my brother and sister in-law tell me, it is only enough to cover basic needs during school. This might be a hard transition for someone making upwards of 200K a year.

  3. Is this good for my young kids to experience (ages 4,6, and one on the way), or; am I being selfish? Should I just kill these innocuous thoughts; suck it up; and practice law?

    I’d talk to your family about this. If you want my opinion, I would state that based on what I know of your current situation; this would be hard on your family.

  4. Do I have a fighting chance if I have not looked at any math in literally decades.

    The math component surprises me as a lot of schools do not put a heavy emphasis on math. You don’t need to know differential equations to get into medical school. At my undergrad, I tested out of the premed math requirement and I do not consider myself to be a math person. You’d be surprised how capable the mind is when you get it back into shape. I think the math should be the least of your concerns.

    Again, our backgrounds are completely different. I’d seek the advice of an old premed who went into this process with a family and career established already and see what their experience was like.

Dear HugzMonster:

Thank you for taking time from your schedule to answer my inquiry. I truly appreciate it.

First and foremost, it is good to hear your positive thoughts on the math end, and; your encouragement as to getting the ‘mind’ back into shapes. That was refreshing! I think I can handle that part then.

You are correct in saying that this would be an interesting transition for my family. Even this morning at breakfast we were discussing this road we are thinking of traveling. Obviously, we are going through scenarios and thinking it through.

The good thing is that we are fairly flexible, and; we (the family) are willing to make the financial sacrifice to pursue calling, if that is what we are supposed to do. Yet; as you clearly perceived, it gets more interesting when you have little ones. ‘Calling’ takes into account the impact on the little ones, and; their needs. The days of just packing a backpack and getting on a plane have passed. So, your insight is definitely on point.

We have been able to trim our living expenses way down. I have rented my guest house, rented a room to a pre-med student, got rid of the Au-pair, and; many of those perks that were not needs. I think most of the major withdrawls have occured, yet; I am certain that we will need to become a little more lean if we take this road.

Even though we have taken many steps to decrease our lifestyle, our expenses are certainly more than, say; a single student or married couple with no kids.

So, my question is, if you (or anyone reading this) knows what would be a reasonable budget for a med student with family, that would be helpful. (Obviously, if this is Costa Rica, then; the cost would be substantially less).

As to why Costa Rica. I have travelled to CR at least one to three months per year since I was a young boy. My wife and I have often considered moving to CR for a time. We think it would be an excellent experience for our kids. They would get to play with cousins, and; get to know extended family. Plus, they would learn spanish fluently. Yet, you are correct, it is still a pretty major transition. Luckily, they are not in their teens yet, as; that would make such a change even more difficult.

So, the question, then; Med school in Costa Rica, or; the US? I think cost would be the issue. Plus, would I be able to return and practice in California?

All in all, I think if I determine what the budgetary needs are, and; am able to obtain financing, whether through loans, aid, my savings, family, etc. Then, I may be in good shape.

Maybe, start here in the US, and; get some of the prerequisites completed, while insuring success.

I am going to take your advice, and; seek out those possibly with a similar background, age, and children. However, your insight is very much on point, and; greatly appreciated.

I would be happy to hear if you have additional thoughts to some of my questions noted, plus; your thoughts on how to start.

Thanks again.

Well Everyone! I’m Doing it! I’m actually going to Medical School! Life, and; God have a way of drawing you to what is pounding in your heart. Two years ago, I made this post. 10 years ago, the thought of medical school was in my thoughts. I am finally taking the plunge. There are obstacles in the way, yet; they are minor in view when the comparison of passion and vision come into play. I am heading to Costa Rica in July, and; will be attending UCIMED. All with my 8 year old, 5 year old, and 11 month old baby, and; wife. . . A big step. Hello the world of healing ; 0 )