Part 1 – How I Came to be an Online Law Student
I’ve been asked a number of times how I decided to go to law school, and why I chose an online program. The follow up question I ask myself is, how have I survived into my third year.
I decided to focus my blog writings on this topic. My previous blogs have been focused on the political environment, and believe there’s plenty to read about that through other avenues. I doubt my political rants are really adding anything new.
Truth be told, when I started looking for law programs, I wasn’t looking for myself. I especially wasn’t looking for an online degree. I was living in Reno, NV, and had a friend who had political ambitions there. He was a graduate of West Point, served in OEF/OIF (Afghanistan and Iraq…look up the abbreviations) and really has some political game. We had talked about his ambitions, and he was also about to start his own family. I encouraged him to consider going to law school, and had done some initial research on where he could attend.
That was the primary catalyst; searching for someone else about how they could get a law degree to help pursue their own ambitions. But there was another issue. I had already been thinking about my own “what’s next” question, and what am I going to do for the remainder of my working life.
Like many, I was caught in the depression of 2009 in Reno. Some called it the “Great Recession,” but if you were in Northern Nevada, and your core competency was PR/Advertising, it was a depression. Unemployment was the worst in the country, and I did everything I could to stay afloat. In the end, I used all of my resources, and was faced with working through my retirement years. I had started my own PR/Marketing company in 2010 and won a four-year contract with the state in 2011. It wasn’t a great contract. I had to have it, so I priced it to win. Two years into it, I began looking at what was down the road. My youngest daughter would be graduating high school in 2014, and I would be single-empty-nester-dad that wanted to eventually live on a boat. To do that, I felt my own small PR/Marketing agency might not carry me as far as I needed it too, and I was trying to figure out how to re-tool.
The law school research was about to come in handy.
As I looked for law school options for my friend, primarily thinking of traditional schools, I saw a web ad for an online school. I decided to do some additional research, and considered how this might be my friends best option. Then one morning, Friday, June 28, 2013 to be exact, while lying in bed and doing some web digging with my morning coffee, I was reading through some information about a couple of online law schools. I sat down my coffee, literally pushed myself up and said to no one other than the cats, “Why am I not doing this myself?” They had no response, other than to look back at me with that same stare as when the cat box is full. I stared back and told them both I was applying to law school. Still no response.
And now we come to how the life goal of living on a boat ties into law school. I love the water, always loved being on a boat, but didn’t have a good plan on how to get there. This is the part that is sometimes fun when I’m at a party and someone asks, “Why did you go to law school at this age?”
I reply, “Well, I basically have to work the rest of my life, and I want to live on a boat.”
“So you went to law school?”
“To live on a boat?”
Without pictures, surely you can imagine the confusion on their face? I briefly explain this dream of living on a boat would require me to continue working. I’m told there are only two “truths” in the world.
I decided to add a third truth.
3) No matter where you live, there’s likely a courthouse nearby.
Wherever I’m able to live, I’m pretty sure there will be a courthouse, or a law firm nearby. If the manner in which I get to my boat, and living a lifestyle I enjoy, is to be involved in the legal sector, then that’s what I decided to do. Law is never going away. I had looked into law school right out of college, but I was deterred by my lackadaisical GPA. My own fault. I can’t change what’s behind me, and I can’t waste time comparing myself to where other people my age are. I was recently reminded, that others successes are not my failures. So I’m here now, trying to make this part of my life as complete and fulfilling as possible… and doing pretty well by most accounts.
This is my new blog approach; my journey through an online law school program. Where I am, my experiences as an online student, working full time, and where it might take me in life.
If you are interested in following along, I’ll try to keep it relevant and avoid rants. At the moment, I’m writing it as I go, without any outline, but with more to come.
As my recent posts have been much more politically focused in this political year, I should quickly note; I’m Charles Pullen, and I approved this blog.