By Ysabel Bilbao
When Christopher Stephens went looking for a law school, the husband and father of one, at the time, found the University of Idaho Law School fit the bill, both in Moscow and Boise.
"We had previously been living in Utah; we have family there and some in California. We didn’t want to go all the way there, so we thought Idaho was a good option," says Stephens.
He and his growing family spent two years in Moscow, before the father of now two, and soon to be three, packed his family again and headed for the capital city.
"The first two years had a great program in Moscow, but we wanted to move to Boise to be even closer to our family in Utah and because of the opportunities the school had there," says Stephens.
"With all that has gone on, the University of Idaho was a really good choice. They did a lot to accommodate me and my family."
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic in the third year Boise program was a real draw for Stephens. What he didn’t know at the time was that the small downtown law school program would be beneficial for his business law career and graduating on time, with his class.
As if law school and a family wasn’t enough to vie for Stephens’ attention, he found out he had a broken back related to an injury sustained years before. Without realizing he had a broken back, Stephens fought his way through school with pain, but the injury was pushing a nerve and the spine had to be fused together. The surgery date fell in the middle of his last year.
While on Christmas break, Stephens had surgery, forcing him to be home from school for the start of his last semester.
"It was really hard," says Stephens. "I missed about four weeks of school, but my classmates helped get me through it. They recorded my lectures and then would upload them to the internet. I would download those lectures and still be able to study."
Complications in Stephens’ final year didn’t end there. On Jan. 31, his third child, daughter Adalin, was born. Two days later, the infant child was rushed to intensive care with a form of infant sleep apnea.
"The first month of her life, it was really hard because something was always happening," says Stephens.
And while his life has calmed down some, the law school graduate says his baby girl is still being monitored and treated by doctors.
"With all that has gone on, the University of Idaho was a really good choice. They did a lot to accommodate me and my family," he says. "They even gave me a special chair so that I could sit comfortably; they let me continue with school despite all that has happened. They didn’t say I had to take a semester off, they made it possible so I could get my education and finish this year."
And yet despite the complications and twists and turns of his third and final year, Stephens will now have to hit the books again. This time, as he studies for the bar, he will also be packing his family and moving them closer to support and family back in Utah.
"I feel I am finally almost there, almost finished with all I have to do." Stephens says.
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