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Jacob Gilboy Headshot

From the classroom to the courtroom

Jake Gilboy isn’t a traditional law student.

He’s 39. A husband and father to three daughters. And a high school social studies teacher for the past 16 years.

But he was ready to try something different. He wanted a challenge - so he enrolled in law school.

As a full time teacher, husband, and father, his time is a delicate balance between studying, making time for his family, and working his job as an educator.

“My tenure in education has provided a wonderful career, but I have always been interested in the law,” Gilboy said. “I have great appreciation and respect for the legal profession.”

Gilboy, who lives in Clarks Summit, is a third-year extended division law student and will graduate in 2020. After graduation, he plans to practice civil law and litigation. With a two-hour commute to the law school each way, Gilboy has to compartmentalize his time and tasks. As a non-traditional student, he learned that time management is an important skill.

“I was somewhat surprised by the various challenges of law school,” said Gilboy. “As a professional for more than 15 years, I’ve been a department head at the high school, worked closely with administration, written curriculum, and achieved professional accolades. But the depth and volume of study, along with the competitive nature in law school, was not something I was fully prepared for.”

He added that establishing strong study habits and skills, connecting with mentors, and creating a network of colleagues at the law school have all contributed to his success.

Widener Law Commonwealth offers both full and part-time evening and day programs so students can have the opportunity to attend law school, even if they hold a full-time job and have a family.

Eden Mandrell, director of the Career Development Office, added that while the path for a non-traditional student may differ from a day student’s path, all students share a common passion for the law.

“Our campus serves a very diverse student population, and we have career and internship opportunities that fit each unique situation to help ensure the personal and professional success of the student,” she said.