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Small Business Legal Clinic

SBLC Alumna Profile - Joohee “Judy” Kim

November 04, 2020

Over the past few years, Lewis & Clark Law School graduate Joohee (Judy) Kim has held almost every position at the SBLC; student, advanced student, law clerk and volunteer attorney. Born in South Korea and growing up in Saipan, Judy is a true island girl who loves sunny beaches and palm tree breezes. After spending a few very cold years at Smith College, Judy moved back to Saipan to finish her degree to become an elementary school teacher on her home island. Five years later, she moved to South Korea to receive her masters in interpretation and translation: a passion she discovered after spending a lifetime as her immigrant parents’ pro-bono interpreter and translator. While working as an in-house interpreter and translator, Judy quickly became versed in legal documents and discovered a newfound interest in law.

Even though the Oregon coast is not the same as the beaches on Saipan, Judy fell in love with the Pacific Northwest after visiting with her husband and son in 2016. With abundant nature trails, coffee, and ice cream, Portland seemed to be the perfect place to raise her family and pursue her interest in law at Lewis & Clark Law School. Judy mostly focused on business and intellectual property law in law school and served as the president of the Business Law Society. But for Judy, the most impactful experience during law school was the Small Business Legal Clinic.

Judy interned with the SBLC for two semesters during her law school career. The SBLC propelled Judy into business and IP law by allowing her to experience a fully functioning firm while also giving her the space to ask specific questions, research topics thoroughly, and brainstorm with skilled attorneys and professors. Even further, Professor Felstiner, the Clinical Professor of Law at the SBLC, invests significant time to aid students in not only with the clients’ issues but also with students’ life. Getting to know Professor Felstiner as a teacher, supervisor, and a mentor has been very meaningful for Judy. The entire SBLC staff, professors, attorneys, interns, and clients helped Judy to grow tremendously as an aspiring attorney. Plus, she got to meet many local business owners around Portland and share their experiences of pursuing their passions.

The SBLC gave Judy a unique experience that allowed her to develop skills she may not have otherwise. For Judy, she learned how to “really listen to your client” as you interact with real people with real issues. Unlike a law school hypothetical, the clinic offers precious time to engage with clients on a personal level. There is no classroom experience that a student could receive that matches the opportunity of interning with the SBLC.

After graduation, Judy joined Vestas America as a contract specialist that works in construction and sales. Vestas works to design, manufacture and install wind turbines across the globe. She is currently working full time and continues to volunteer with the SBLC.