So you want to be a lawyer? #2
So you want to be a lawyer? #2
  • Professor Jasper Kim
  • 승인 2011.06.04 16:24
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▲ Professor Jasper Kim(International Studies, Graduate School)
After several years in banking and finance, I landed into my current career field as a professor at the world’s largest women’s university.  One part of my job as a professor is that I actually enjoy very much is to provide career advice for both undergraduate and graduate students. For a notable group, law school is an increasingly popular choice. So once a student tells me of their interest in attending law school, I then often ask, “So what do you imagine your life being after law school?” Sometimes, this question elicits some thoughtful silence with a reply like “I’m not sure, maybe work for the UN or a big law firm, I guess.” Other times, it evokes replies like “I want to be a corporate lawyer” or “I want to argue cases in a packed courtroom.” Then I ask, “So do you know what this means exactly from the time you get up to the time you go back home and sleep?” Often the reply to this question is often met with some thoughtful silence with vague notions of the typical life of a lawyer in characters personified in TV shows like Ally McBeal, Boston Legal and LA Law (all very good shows in their own right, please don’t get me wrong).
But even assuming that portrayals of lawyers in these types of popular TV shows are in part correct, there are many parts of being a lawyer that is not portrayed in the mass media or entertaining TV shows. So where does one get details and information about this, short of actually tagging along with all sorts of lawyers during their typical day. At most, most law students get a couple opportunities during summer internships to get a sense of just one specific legal career field over the course of a few weeks.  I found this type of conversation to occur over and over again with many students from many backgrounds and universities in the United States and other regions.
From a global perspective, the added supply of available lawyers who possess practical legal skillsets will allow the private and government sector to choose from more lawyers with more focused specialties whereby such lawyers can add value immediately in their particular fields.
Thus onshore businesses will be able to afford to hire specialized lawyers for specific departments for negotiations and global expansion efforts. At the same time, Korean government branches, both related and unrelated to law, will have access to a greater pool of government lawyers who can articulate and negotiate the interests of the Korean republic when confronting other states head-to-head at the negotiation table.
But of such wide array of career fields, which one best fits which type of person? This is an answer that can only best be answered by understanding the “typical day” of traditional and non-traditional professionals.


 * Professor Jasper Kim is department chair and Associate Professor at Ewha Womans University. He has worked in various traditional and non-traditional careers as a lawyer, banker, consultant, author, columnist, and academic since graduating from law school.  This article is adapted from an excerpt from professor Kim’s just-released book, “24 Hours with 24 Lawyer: Profiles of Traditional and Non-Traditional Careers.”

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