Barbara Hodgson’s 50-Year Journey to a Law Degree

Barbara Hodson always knew she wanted to go to law school. In fact, she’s had it on her to-do list for 50 years.

“I tried many times during my career to go to law school,” she says. “It just didn’t work.” Then, in 2004, she saw an ad for Concord Law School in The Wall Street Journal. She clipped it and held onto it … for 10 years.

The Long Road to Barbara’s Dream

Straight out of college, Barbara worked on litigation—first for a large corporation on a major antitrust lawsuit as an information analyst, and then for other corporations and law firms on other suits.

“And then life happened,” she says. “I started a family, which was not conducive to extensive travel. I moved to Southern California to be a stay-at-home mom and possibly go to law school but realized after the move that there were no law schools in my area.”

Barbara took a job in pharmaceutical software, later became an advertising agency vice president, and then served as project director for a nonprofit medical specialty society.

“Throughout all my jobs, I harbored the dream to study and practice law, but never had the time or the money to do so,” she says. “When I was 60, I met a lawyer who was still practicing law at age 100. I realized then that I could still become a lawyer and have a career practicing law.”

Finally, all the stars aligned and she was ready for law school. 

Why Concord Law School?

Barbara was working full-time and needed a juris doctor (JD) program that was flexible and comprehensive. She researched on-campus law school degree programs near her, and she compared them with online options.

“I thought that Concord had more commitment to actually providing the education that you need to pass the California bar,” she says. “It’s definitely not a diploma mill.”

She says Concord Law School wasn’t the least nor most expensive. What mattered more to her was the quality of the education for the time and resources invested. Barbara researched the curriculum and background of instructors at several schools, and Concord came out ahead.

How Concord Prepares You for the California Bar

Barbara took the California bar exam “as a practice test” one month after graduating from Concord. She intended to take the usual three months to prep for the bar but thought it would be a good experience to sit for this one, just one month after finishing her degree.

California’s state bar exam isn’t easy—only 40-50% of the people who take it will pass. In July 2019, for example, only 50% of the 3,886 people who took the exam passed.

Much to Barbara’s surprise and delight, she passed—at age 68.

“Now, I am an attorney-at-law, have a bar number, and am practicing immigration law,” she says.

She credits Concord’s curriculum for preparing her to pass the bar on the first try. Not only did the curriculum cover the concepts that are on the bar exam, but the coursework trained her how to read Multistate Bar Exam-style questions, spot issues, and answer essays.

But don’t get her wrong—they’re not teaching to the test, she says, because no one knows exactly what’s going to be on the bar exam. Rather, they teach you how to think like a lawyer and how to read, interpret, and answer the questions.

What was particularly helpful was the Capstone course offered in year four, she says.

“They teach you all the intricacies of the three types of questions you’re going to get: the essays, the performance tests, and the multiple-choice questions,” she says.

Barbara’s dedication to her studies paid off. In 2019, she received Concord Law School’s Jack Goetz Award for the highest cumulative GPA in the JD program.

For Students Considering Concord Law School

Barbara says, “Just do it.”

She says the curriculum, staff, instructors, and her fellow students all made it a positive experience. It wasn’t easy, but it was enjoyable because she was learning law and preparing to do something she’d wanted to do since she was 18 years old.

There were times when she questioned herself: “am I going to continue? Am I going to stick with this? Do I really want this?” When doubt would creep in, Barbara says she’d think about her lifelong dream and remember, “Yes, I want to go to law school.”

Learn more about Barbara’s journey.

Take the Next Step Toward Your Dream

Concord Law School offers two online law degrees*:

  • The Juris Doctor, for those who wish to become a licensed attorney in California
  • The Executive Juris Doctor, for those who want an advanced legal education but do not intend to practice law

Single online law classes are also available.

If law school is part of your dream, request more information today.

This testimonial was obtained by Concord Law School. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual; student experiences may vary.

Concord Law School cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

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Alumni Success Stories

Concord Law School cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

This testimonial was obtained by Concord Law School. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual; student experiences may vary.