There were three advantages (and some disadvantages) to going to law school at age 58. My first step was that the stakes were different. I had had a moderately successful career as an editor and author, and if law school didn’t work out, I could step back into a more familiar role. (Maybe it’s with my tail between my legs, but I could probably pretend.) The second benefit was that I had a reasonable idea of how the world worked. I understood business, I had been involved in politics, I knew the media, I had been an adjunct professor for years, and I had even served in the military, a short time ago and a long time ago . I didn’t consider myself an expert in anything, but I was much more exposed to most things than my classmates and often recognized the events depicted in the cases we read about.
But the most significant benefit was that I wasn’t afraid to admit it when I didn’t understand something. I often raised my hand, not as a gunner willingly answering a teacher’s question, but to say, “Sorry, I don’t understand. Could you please explain it again? I heard a collective sigh of relief from about a third of the class, and the occasional muttered comment, “Thank goodness the old man doesn’t understand either.”