‘An 8-to-5 gig with a whole lot of overtime’

Kriston Guillot and his infant son, Kai.

Nontraditional student balances law school, parenthood

Kriston Guillot interns at the Douglas County Legal Aid Society and Legal Services for Students, is president of the 3L class, serves as a Traffic Court justice and KU Law Student Ambassador, is member of the Moot Court Council and the Black Law Students Association and, above all, is a father. Guillot has dedicated the past three years to paving a fruitful future for his family.

Kriston and his son Kai.For Guillot, law school was an unnatural, yet navigable, transition. After completing his undergraduate degree, Guillot spent nearly nine years in the pharmaceutical sales industry before heading to law school.

“I navigated the transition by treating school as my job,” Guillot said. “I worked at it like an 8-to-5 gig with a whole lot of overtime.”

Guillot said he overcame any doubts by honing his strengths and putting weaknesses in perspective. While law school can be challenging for anyone, Guillot balances more than just a full course load.

“There’s no true balance between being a father and a full-time student. I’m both all the time,” said Guillot. The father of 3-year-old Kai remembers his long-term goal – which is etched into the bracelet he wears every day – “Father/Lawyer for Kai.”

Kriston Guillot in moot court finalsThe juggling act between father and student is a demanding job, but Guillot still finds time to get involved. He says winning KU’s In-House Moot Court Competition was his most memorable experience in Green Hall.

“I remember sitting in the courtroom for the finals a year before. There, I saw the most outstanding competitors, people I admired, do what I could only dream of,” Guillot said. “Then a year later, when they announced my partner Erica and I as the winners, I couldn’t differentiate reality from the dream I had dreamed so often.”

Guillot’s dreams continued to come true in February when he was selected as a University of Kansas Man of Merit. Guillot was recognized for his commitment to social justice, advocating for youth and positively defining masculinity.

“I was raised by loving parents who would help anyone and expected me to do the same,” Guillot said. “They taught me that life is only measured by what we do for others. We are all blessed with unique gifts and talents that should be freely shared to fulfill our true purpose and change the world for the better.”

Guillot’s countless overtime hours and sacrifice paid off. After graduation, he will work as a litigation associate at Polsinelli PC in Kansas City, Missouri. His biggest hope for the future? “I most look forward to growing as a litigator and learning from great professionals at Polsinelli.”

— Rachel Riggs

This post is the first in a series highlighting just a few exceptional members of KU Law’s Class of 2017. Check out James Houston Bales’ story, and stay tuned for more graduate profiles as we count down to the Hooding Ceremony on May 13.