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Future attorneys and doctors have the most difficult and stressful schedules while they’re working towards their degrees. Many will enter college immediately following their high school graduations, but as A. Harrison Barnes points out, there are a growing number who are waiting until after they’ve begun their families before they return to college. recently spoke with an aspiring lawyer and he tells us of the unique struggles of returning to law school after forty. He is employed as a corrections officer full time and attends school full time as well. Keep reading for this enlightening interview.

LA: How many hours of the day are devoted to either school or work?

Stephen: Because I’m in corrections, my work schedule is never consistent. I work midnight shifts, day shifts and second shifts with the prison system. That’s where most of my difficulties come in to play, but I have managed to keep the total hours to around twelve a day on average.

LA: What about your employer? Is the facility aware of your educational pursuits and what, if anything, does it do to ease the burden?

Stephen: Well, first…my boss is very supportive and has encouraged me the past couple of years since I made the decision. He works with me each semester in an effort to ensure I can realistically juggle the demands of school and a crazy work schedule. I don’t expect preferential treatment, but everyone I work with is extremely supportive and they keep saying my success is their success since my goal is to make a difference in the American prison system as a whole.

LA: And family?

Stephen: They’re great. Absolutely the best ever. I don’t have children, so I can’t say how children would affect my days, but my wife is very supportive and in fact, she’s the one who surprised me with converting one of the guest rooms into a quiet place for me to study. My parents live in the same city, and they too are great.

LA: Is it ever too overwhelming and have you considered walking away?

Stephen: (Laughing) Oh yes…on a daily basis. But I know it’s nothing I’d ever do, it’s just frustration with there not being enough hours in the day. I wouldn’t abandon this journey for anything.

LA: So why now? Why not transition from high school straight into college?

Stephen: Wow. Well, honestly, I think we gain confidence as we grow older. I’m not sure I felt like I could handle the pressures then. And too, I wanted to get to work, start making my own money and like every other 18 year old kid, get my own place. I guess I just wanted that more than a degree at that time.

LA: Where are you now? How much longer before this journey is completed?

Stephen: Actually, two more semesters and then I’m off to take the state bars. I’ve been preparing – and dreading – that part since the beginning. It’s that whole sense of the unknown, I guess.

A. Harrison Barnes, who is also an attorney and founder of, says he can relate to Stephen’s journey. In fact, he says most lawyers can and especially those who wait several years before returning to school can relate.

So what’s next for Stephen? Graduation, bar exam and then his first stop is He knows the best career paths can be found here and the most prestigious firms trust the process.

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