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“I cannot sing the praises of Jake Gilbreath enough. He guided me through perhaps the most difficult time of my life—a very complex divorce—and gave me a new lease on it.”
—Mikal A., Client of the Firm
Jake Gilbreath, Partner
Board Certified in Family Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little kid. I had no idea that I would be representing families across the state of Texas in difficult and emotional divorces and custody cases.
Where did I start to get here? My guess is that it is not where you’d think. I was raised in Waxahachie, Texas, a small town south of Dallas. I was born in Wisconsin, but I came to Texas as soon as I could when I was three years old; it has been my home ever since. I am one of seven children – five natural-born and two brothers adopted. Both my parents bleed Aggie maroon (although only one of their children went to A&M). My dad was a veterinarian and owned his practice, and my mom a homemaker in charge of the seven children. I am the only lawyer in my family.
I attended the University of Texas School of Law after completing my undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. At UT Law, I immediately figured out that my personality would be better suited in a courtroom and working directly with clients, instead of pushing paper for large corporations. In my third year of law school, I focused on litigation and worked as a student attorney at the University of Texas Domestic Violence Clinic. At the end of my time in law school, I took a job at a boutique, high-end family law litigation firm in Austin, Texas, where I would spend the first five years of my career.
Since getting out of law school, I’ve learned a lot professionally, and I’ve learned a lot personally.
I got married right after law school, and a few years after, my then-wife gave birth to my son Parker, who I love with all my heart. But when Parker was just a baby, his mom and I went through a divorce. At the time of my divorce, I had represented hundreds of clients through their divorces, and it was becoming second nature for me. My divorce changed all that. It was hard for me. It was hard on my ex-wife. I’m sure it was hard on our son. But we got through it, and I’m grateful for the lessons that I learned in my divorce and how I can now truly relate to my clients.
My divorce was finalized in 2015. But that wasn’t the hardest thing I would face that year. Just a couple of months after my divorce decree was signed, my father passed away unexpectedly at 60. He died at the veterinarian clinic, where you would always find him if he wasn’t at church or with his family.
Getting that phone call was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through in my life. But it made me a better person, a better lawyer, and a better father to my children.
Professionally, I’ve learned what my father always taught me about running his own business – never work for anyone else and try to do it your way if you can.
I’ve worked for traditional and elitist law firms during and after law school. I’ve been in the corner office. I’ve tried cases where the lawyers bring boxes upon boxes of paper to the courthouse that never see the light of day in the courtroom. And I can tell you after all of my experience that these lawyers are falling short.
The traditional law firm relies on paper, servers, and fax machines. Clients are treated as if they are below the lawyers. The law firm clunks around, clients do not know what is going on with their case, and cases have to settle for bad deals before Court because the lawyers are either disorganized or unprepared for what happens at the courthouse or are unaware of what could happen at the courthouse.
Brian and I do things differently. We have always committed to utilizing technology and striving to be an efficient law firm focused on the client, not us. We’re paperless, on the cloud, efficient, and laser-focused on our client needs. Our approach is newer, different, and better.
Today I sit here as a proud business owner and a proud father. Since my divorce, I have remarried to the love of my life, Sarah Gilbreath, who now the CEO of the law firm. Sarah is my best friend, partner, and the most beautiful and amazing woman I've ever met in my life. I look at her and my children every day, wondering how I got so lucky. Just a few years ago, Sarah gave birth to my second child, Harper, and again in 2020, we were blessed with another child, Walker. Walker, Harper, and Parker are the love of my life. Everything Sarah and I do, we do for them, just like my parents did for me. Sarah and I could not be prouder of our children. We are building this law firm with Brian hoping to make all our children proud.
I have been Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2015. I am rated 10.0 Superb by Avvo.com and have hundreds of five-star reviews across Google and Avvo. I have been selected as a Rising Star by Texas SuperLawyers every year since 2017, and in 2020 I was named one of the Top 100 Up and Coming by SuperLawyers. I am frequently asked to serve as a guest speaker on various family law and litigation matters, focusing on trial work and jury trials. I try more cases each year to judges, arbitrators, and juries than a vast majority of my peers, and with our team, we do it differently, and we do it better.
I used to have a trick I used at the end of potential client consultations – I still pull it out every once in a while. At the end of the consult, I’d tell the potential client to text me in the next day or so; see if I text back right away. And I always would.
That’s the kind of lawyer I want to be. You can always find me on my cell phone, email, or by reaching out to my amazing team. I hope our paths cross someday soon.
Connect with Jake
• Partner, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC, 2014—Present
• University Of Texas, J.D., 2009
• The George Washington University, B.A., 2005
• Super Lawyers – Texas Rising Stars, Thomson Reuters, 2016—2021
• Top 100 Up and Coming SuperLawyers, Thomas Reuters, 2020
• Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2015
• Client Choice Award, Avvo, 2015
• Top Contributor Award, Avvo, 2014
• Family Law Advocacy Institute Trial Training, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2013
• Pro Bono College, State Bar of Texas, 2011—2013
• Judge Suzanne Covington Pro Bono Service Award, Austin Bar Association, 2011
• Volunteer, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, 2014—Present
• Fundraising Committee Member, The Capitol School of Austin, 2018—2019, 2019—2020
• Gala Chair, The Capitol School of Austin, 2018—2019
• Houston Bar Association, Member, 2016—Present
• Houston Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member, 2016—Present
• Houston Bar Association, Litigation Section, Member, 2016—Present
• Harris County Young Lawyers Association, Member, 2016—Present
• Young Lawyers for Karin Crump (250th Judicial District Court Race), Co-chair, 2014—Present
• State Bar LGBT Section, Member, 2014—Present
• Travis County Family Law Section Advocates, Member, 2014—Present
• Travis County Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member, 2009—Present
• Austin Young Lawyers Association, Member, 2009—Present
• Austin Bar Association, Member, 2009—Present
• Williamson County Bar Association, Member, 2009—Present
• Texas Council on Family Violence, Member, 2009—Present
• State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College Member 2009—Present
• State Bar of Texas Member 2009—Present
• State Bar Family Law Section Member 2009—Present
• Austin Bar Association, Family Law Section Member 2009—Present
• Lawyer Forward ATX, Trying a Jury Trial From Start to Finish, 2018
• The Jury Trial: What You Need to Know to be Successful, Arguing the Charge/Closing Statement, 2017
• Lawyers Forward, The Paperless Trial, 2017
• AustinTAAP – Lunch and Learn Clinicians, Navigating the Court Process, 2017
• Monthly Meeting, Picking an Attorney Who is Right for You, 2016
• Family Law Section CLE Luncheon, Private Judge – When and How to Use One, 2015
• How to do a Pro Bono Divorce, Child Issues, 2014
• Family Law Section Full Day CLE, Wiretapping/Spoliation, 2014
• APIS Conference & Retreat, Pro Bono/Public Interest Workshop, 2014
• 2014 Austin Bench Bar, Wiretapping and Spoliation: What it is and what it isn’t, 2014
• Family Law Essentials, Comprehensive Evidence, 2012
• National Pro Bono Week at UT Law, Speaker: Screening of “Crime After Crime,” 2011
• National Center on Domestic and Sexual violence, Barred Justice, 2008