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Abbey Ibrahim and Scott Woody share their experiences as non-traditional students

March 7, 2017 - Tamara Williams

Non-traditional students bring perspectives and insights from their careers to the classroom. Most have strong time-management skills, maturity, and a drive to succeed. Some are master jugglers, balancing the additional responsibilities, challenges and joys of having a family.  

Abbey Ibrahim (Class of 2018) and Scott Woody (Class of 2017) share their stories about why they chose law school, what their experience is like at UNM, and offer advice for other non-traditional students.   

This is the third in a series of articles titled Non-traditional students bring career experiences to the classroom.



Abbey Ibrahim

Abbey Ibrahim (Class of 2018) says that problem solving and critical thinking in the context of law is her most rewarding discovery in law school.

Practicing problem solving and critical thinking in the context of law is Abbey Ibrahim’s most rewarding discovery in law school

What was your previous occupation?

I worked as Technical Leader and Software Architect at Intel for ten years, leading and architecting Software applications in various disciplines and organizations within Intel including factory automation, education and Intel university groups as well as the digital health group.

Why did you decide to pursue law school?

I wanted to study corporate and intellectual property law to complement my experience in computer engineering and leadership.

What do you plan to do with your law degree?

I believe infusing these set of skills will enable me to have a fulfilling and interesting career as corporate general counsel.

Was going back to school difficult?

There have certainly been challenges along the way. Most notably, balancing time spent with my family and social life with the considerable time commitment required for my classwork. Balancing all of the important priorities is key to having a fulfilling and rewarding experience during law school. In general, I found the best way to face challenges is to remind yourself that you are here for a bigger purpose and to keep your focus on your end goal.

Do you feel your background adds value to your experience as a law student?

I have used problem solving and critical thinking in my previous career for years, but utilizing these skills in the legal context surprisingly introduces a whole new dimension. Particularly, the fact that the problem involves the right or interest of an actual human being, as opposed to a pure technical or administrative problem, makes this effort especially rewarding and fascinating for me.

Any advice for other non-traditional students?

Pursue your passions and career ambitions regardless of your current position, years of experience in a different profession, or age. Maintaining focus and grit are the best tools in your legal arsenal, and will serve you well as a future attorney.

Scott Woody caught the “law bug” during his undergraduate studies

Scott Woody

Scott Woody (Class of 2017) caught the “law bug” during his undergraduate studies.

What was your previous occupation?

I was and currently am a small business owner.

What do you plan to do with your law degree?

I started law school with the idea to specialize in IP or small business development. The goal was to make a contribution to the community via economic development. I plan on continuing on this general path while focusing on taxation and estate planning.  

Was going back to school difficult?

I was in the process of obtaining my Masters of Accounting before entering law school so I was not technically going back to school.  However, law school is definitely on a different level.

Do you feel your background adds value to your experience as a law student?  

Practical experience pre-law school has a place in a legal education. The experience allows one to see real-world applications of the law so there is a basis for how the law actually works. In addition, it leads to multiple light bulb moments as one learns the law and realizes the why of why things are done a certain way in the business field.

Any advice for other non-traditional students?

Embrace your differences. Traditional, non-traditional, we all bring a great deal of experiences and we all have something to say and something to learn.