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Thank You Thursday: “She motivated me to start law school at the age of 42”

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So, last week, I wrote about the  importance of saying thank you , and noted that I’d be starting  a Thank You Thursday column, open to readers who want to thank someone who’s made a difference in their life. The first installment comes from business and estate planning lawyer, Paula Schaefer:

In 1997, I worked in city government, a position that I generally enjoyed. At that time, a 77-year old part-time administrative assistant Lorraine Foster worked in my office. She was a rather sharp-tongued woman who was comfortable speaking her mind. One day she lectured me that I was lucky to be a young woman at that time in history. I was flattered (because I was 42 at the time and no longer considered myself “a young woman.”)

Lorraine’s parents had the financial means to pay for her college; however they would do so only if she went to nursing school or became a teacher. She wasn’t interested in either profession so went to work instead. She had guts! She worked in the U.S. Navy and later became the right hand for a successful CPA. At 77, she was still working in order to keep her mind sharp; she had always dreamed of studying accounting and becoming a CPA. Lorraine regretted that she had not done so.

I went home that night and thought that I did not want to be 77 years old and living a life regretting that I had not studied law.  I was the 3rd oldest student in my first year law class and frequently older than my law professors.  I’ve had a few law jobs, some great, some not so great, and am now officially soloing. It’s been a challenge and often scary, but I will not be 77 and saying coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Thanks Lorraine Foster!

  • What a great story! I went to law school in my thirties. I thought I was young, but I had a childhood friend slightly younger than me who thought she was very old. She would rhetorically ask me, “do you know how old you will be when you get out of law school”? I’d tell her, the same age that I will be if I don’t go to law school. … Thank you for your story!

  • I remember a lawyer told me, ‘you can be 40 with a law degree or 40 without a law degree. Either way you’re going to be 40.  Which is it?’

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