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BOISE — As a single mother who took a long break between college and law school, Nicole Robles hopes to be a role model for her son, niece and other young women to show them “you can break those barriers.”

Robles is set to graduate with the rest of her class from the University of Idaho College of Law later this month; however, her journey to and through law school is not the traditional path students take.

Robles, who was born and raised in Caldwell, knew since high school that she wanted to go to law school. After graduating from Boise State University, she spent several years caring for her son as a single parent.

In 2018, when her son was 6 years old and beginning to attend school full time, Robles said she realized it was time for her to figure out what she wanted to do with her time without him. She knew the University of Idaho had recently opened a law school in Boise, and she decided to take the LSAT and try to get into the College of Law.

“I have always been someone who likes to learn and push myself,” Robles said. “Law has always interested me. I worked as a page in the Idaho State Senate and saw behind-the-scenes how laws were made. That really piqued my interest.”

Being a single mom in law school was a big challenge, Robles said, but when the pandemic hit last March, everything changed.

“It was difficult when the pandemic hit, my son and I started doing online school together, side by side in the apartment,” Robles said. “We have done it together and it is just what you do, you figure out how to keep going.”

In the last year of law school, Robles was required to write a lengthy paper on a topic in business law and entrepreneurship. She decided to write about diversity in leadership on corporate boards.

Robles learned about the laws in place in the U.S. and European Union around maintaining and encouraging diverse leadership on corporate boards. Her paper, “Seeking a Seat at the Table: Exploring Current and Future Efforts to Achieve Board Diversity” was accepted for publication and will be published by Idaho Critical Legal Studies in the coming weeks.

“(Diversity) is something we need as the world evolves,” Robles said. “Diversity in thought, age, race and gender.”

As a Hispanic woman, Robles said she didn’t see a lot of people who looked like her in corporate law. Luckily, she said she had parents who pushed her to pursue her dreams.

“That is what drove me to law school, I want to show my son and women that you can do anything you want. I am not a traditional student, I took a long time to get here, but it is never too late. You can go back to school later and break those barriers.”

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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