Julie Sungeun Kim

Julie Sungeun KimClass of 2020

BA in Philosophy (Ethics and Public Policy), minor in Black Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

What did you do before law school, and what led to you pursue a law degree?

Ever since I was young, I have dreamed of becoming a lawyer because I wanted to help others in ways most people could not. It wasn't until I saw the injustices that my father faced in his profession that my interest became focused on construction and government contracts law. After completing my undergrad degree, I spent two years working at my father's construction firm. Although I have always been involved in the family business, this was the first time that I saw how poorly written laws negatively impact small business owners and how performance and contracts can be a double-edged sword. Working full time before law school helped me focus on which type of law I wanted to practice and allowed me to reflect on whether law school would be the next step that was right for me.

Why did you choose Seattle U?

I was attracted to Seattle U’s mission in striving for social justice and equality. Unlike other law schools that seem to share the same mission, Seattle U is the only school that has multiple clinics that operate in furtherance of that mission. The existence and active work of the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and the Access to Justice Institute showed me that the school really did practice what they preached. Equally important, the Seattle legal market is, personally, more attractive than that of other cities.

What activities are you involved in at the law school or in the community?

I am the 2019–2020 managing editor of the American Indian Law Journal, a member of the Moot Court Board, a member of the largest legal fraternity in the United States (Phi Alpha Delta), the vice president of the Business and Entrepreneurship Law Association, and the treasurer of the Korean American Law Student Association.

Outside of school, I volunteer as a Korean interpreter for the Seattle Office of Immigrant Refugee Affairs and help permanent residents fill out naturalization forms to become citizens. I also participate in the Korean American Bar Association of Washington Mentorship program.

What have you found most valuable during your law school education?

My relationships with my professors, mentors, friends, and attorneys in the area have held the most value for me. Law school is tough, but I have received overwhelming support from people who truly care about my success and well-being. I moved from Torrance, California, and left my family and friends to start a new journey in Seattle. As such, the relationships and connections I have formed here are the most valuable thing to me because without my support system here, I would have not been able to grow into the person that I am now.

What do you do outside of law school? What do you love about Seattle?

I currently work part-time as a legal clerk at a medium-sized law firm in SODO. I spend most of my free time with my friends, either exploring the vibrant nightlife or out on the water. Seattle is a beautiful city and has a lot of fun activities during the summer. The music scene in Seattle is one of the best in the country, and almost all of my favorite artists and bands have performed here.

What advice would you offer a prospective law student?

Law school is only the beginning of a long journey in developing your career. Even if you know which area of law you will pursue, take advantage of the wide range of events, both formal and informational, to round out your learning experience here. Also take advantage of the resources offered by the school, including talking to the professors. You would be surprised how much they care for the students and our successes, and they will advocate for you if you put in hard work and effort. Be sure to also talk with upperclassmen! You won’t learn or gain anything if you act like you know everything.

Coffee is not water and get enough sleep!

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