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CPA’s Law School Dreams Are a Nightmare for CPA Wife

Earlier today, we shared a nice little story of an accountant who hustled after his dream of playing Major League Baseball. Heart-warming, really. It just goes to show you what can happen when you've completely given up on your dreams, made a practical decision because, you know, life and all, and you have a support system behind you. Now we bring you part of the show where we discuss someone who has a dream and in the dogged pursuit of it, he might just sabotage the whole operation.

In yesterday's Dear Prudence column, a CPA/wife/mother (the presumed chronological order) is concerned that her "Law School Husband" (also a CPA) is leading their family into a head-on disaster:

My husband and I have been married for five years and have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. Since we met, my husband has been kicking around the idea of going to law school, but never (even with my encouragement and support) took the LSAT when we were dating or even early in our marriage. He finally took the exam over the winter and got a good score. This fall he is submitting applications to law schools. However, I am dreading this process. We are both CPAs and make a good combined income, but cutting out an income and adding on tuition would be pushing the limit of our finances. My husband offered to take out student loans, but I cringe at that thought since we just paid off our undergrad loans. My husband feels that law school is "his dream" and he doesn't want to give it up. On one hand I understand that, but on the other hand this will put a financial strain on our family. From a practical standpoint, l think he had plenty of time to pursue this dream after college, but now we have a mortgage and two very young children to consider. I want to approach this with respect for his dream but also the practical considerations of our family. 

We picked up on this from our friends at Above the Law and Staci Zaretsky writes, "This sounds like a major husbanding fail to me," and hopes that "they […] break out some spreadsheets and do a cost-benefit analysis." This largely echoes the response from Emily Yoffe (aka Prudence) and their reasoning is the dismal condition of the legal job market. While I agree that LSH is clearly has his blinders on here, I don't agree with the contention that his career options are so piss-poor.

LSH's experience as a CPA is a perfect skillset to parlay with a career in law. I wrote about CPAs who went back for their JDs a couple of years ago and the people I spoke to were very pleased with how their careers progressed. Two of them work in estate and tax planning while another is a litigator who defends CPAs in malpractice lawsuits. The combination of understanding the nuances in the law and being deft with numbers is something that stand-alone CPA/JD cannot match and their clients appreciate that additional expertise. They all admitted to the sacrifices they had to make in law school but they all indicated that they would make the same decision if they were offered a career mulligan. LSH would be able to follow a similar path. A pretty great path, in fact.

No, LHS's problem here is that he forgets that he already is already drowning in responsibility and adding law school to the mix would be like slapping on cement shoes. Does he think that Mrs. LSH will continue on merrily with her CPA job, bringing home the bacon while he's strutting around campus earning jack squat? Or does he plan to study at home and assume the two ankle-biters will respect his study time? "Oh sorry, Daddy. I see you're engrossed in that contract law textbook. My poopy pants can wait." Yep, that'll happen.

It's entirely possible that LSH is suffering from a mid-career crisis and he sees this as his last chance to go to law school before it's all soccer games and parent teacher conferences, so the anxiety of his dream being within reach is understandable. However, one mortgage and two kids later, his dream sounds like it's becoming his wife's nightmare. A nightmare that probably includes Bob Vila dancing around their house naked while juggling flaming crescent wrenches. Or something like that.  

There’s Something I Have To Get Off Your Chest [Slate]
Dear Prudence: My Husband Is Contemplating Ruining Our Lives By Going To Law School [ATL]