Should CPA with Kids Go to Law School? Dear Prudence Tells Couple to Crunch the Numbers

A well-known advice columnist has been asked to weigh in on a certified public accountant’s dream of becoming a lawyer.

His wife, who is also a CPA with a good job, tells Dear Prudence that the problem is the couple has two young children and has just finished paying off their undergraduate student loans. Should her husband’s dream come before the family’s needs?

“Your husband must have been spending so much time poring over other people’s books that he’s neglected to read about the prospects for new law school graduates. I’ll sum up: not good. Sure some of the 40,000 lawyers being churned out each year are finding decent jobs, but overwhelming numbers are not,” writes Emily Yoffe in her Slate magazine column.

She suggests the wife urge her husband to sit down together and crunch the numbers, taking into account both the cost of law school, his likely salary as a lawyer and his lost CPA income. Even if the tally doesn’t support the idea of law school now, the dream could simply be deferred for a few years until the children, now 1 and 3, get a bit older and the economy improves, Dear Prudence says.

One reader then suggests night law school (Yoffe says this still isn’t a good idea when the kids are so young) and a second, who is also a CPA and just graduated from law school, says it was “incredibly difficult” to find work as an attorney, and legal jobs don’t pay as well as jobs for accountants.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Bad News Gets Worse: 2011 Grads Face Tightening Job Market” “Sticky Wages Depress Associate Hiring; BigLaw on Track to Become ‘Older and Dumber’” “Was It Worth It? With Debt of Up to $250K, Some Law Grads Are Dubious” “Law Prof: Economics of Legal Education Are Broken Because of Exacting Standards, Loan System”

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