Howdy! My name is Chris Dunn and I am currently a 3L law student here at the University of Missouri. My parents were military so I grew up all over the U.S. and in Germany, but the Kansas City area is home. I too served in the military and was able to travel extensively. Following the Army, and graduate school, I worked about 20 years in local government, mostly as an urban planner. There, I was able to work with some great attorneys on some very cool property law issues. But for some reason it never occurred to me to consider law school until about 3 years ago. Then I had a conversation with our city attorney on a zoning matter and he suggested I consider law school. I am very happy I did.
Without much guidance on how to get into law school I applied to eight law schools, which was far too many. I didn’t even know if law schools accepted students in their mid-40’s when I started the process. During the application process, it became clear to me that there is a noticeable difference in law schools, their staff’s attitude, and the way they communicate. Some schools even seemed to have a bit of an attitude. Fortunately, the best “customer service” in the process clearly came from the admissions staff at Mizzou. I was accepted to 7 of the 8 schools where I applied and one even offered me a full ride. However, I was also picking a community where I planned to live, play, ride my bicycle, and grow personally and professionally.
To settle the matter I attended each of my final three school’s admitted student receptions in the spring. The Mizzou event cemented my decision to come to Columbia! The faculty, student ambassadors, and school staff were so amazingly friendly and you could tell they genuinely liked each other. Best of all, the reality I found once I got to law school confirmed my impressions from the reception. The faculty and staff are professional, skilled and genuinely nice. They truly care about making their students' experience here rich and rewarding.
Now, a word of caution: Being a full time law student in your late 40’s is tough. No matter how smart, successful, and capable we might have been in the “real world” this is a challenging program for most students, let alone a student like me who has been out of school for a few decades. But without a doubt this is the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever done (besides being a father). So, if you are also mid-career and you are thinking of giving law school a try please contact me for an objective view on what it takes to survive law school at our age. Also, you’ll quickly come to appreciate the energy and optimism of your younger classmates, and when the professors make the occasional historical reference in class you won’t have to look it up!