Law student takes aim on corporate law career


– Photo courtesy of Ellen Kim

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A year after obtaining her bachelor’s degree, and at a crossroads between graduate school and law school, Ellen Kim wanted to try something new and challenging — and considered law school.
“I was also influenced by the professor I was working for at the time, who had created a start-up company based on his research,” she said. “It was the first time I thought of going into corporate law, where I’d be able to work in a role that supported companies in carrying out their vision.”   

A Canadian citizen, Kim is now a 3L student at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School, pursuing a Dual U.S. and Canadian law degree.    

“I appreciate how a lot of practical courses are embedded into the program,” she said. “I took the Immigration Clinic, where I had the opportunity to interact with clients, draft adjustment of status applications, and file briefs with the court. I also took the Anatomy of a Transaction Law Firm Program course, where the whole course was a simulated M&A transaction.   

“Right now I’m leaning towards a career in corporate law, but I’m also looking forward to exploring various practice areas during my articles. Beyond what I practice, though, I’d like to become a lawyer whom clients can trust as an expert in the legal issue they face.”   

At the end of her 1L year, Kim externed for Judge Patricia Fresard in Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court Civil Division.    

“Externing was amazing because I had access to behind the scenes action of courts,” Kim said. “In addition to writing bench memos and sitting in on settlement conferences, I got a glimpse into how judges decide a case and the range of advocacy strategies lawyers use.    

“Since she is the presiding judge of the civil division, I also was able to work with her and the general counsel of the Third Circuit to create resource material for judges across the bench.”   

Studying the two disciplines together, Kim said, “has been tremendously helpful in giving me the skill to apply my psychology background to my legal knowledge.

“For example, during my externship I wrote a bench memo on a motion to compel psychiatric evaluation, and was able to supplement my legal findings with psychological research.”   

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Kim spent an early part of her childhood in Denver, then spent most of her formative years in Vancouver, Canada.

After moving to Toronto, her parents lived in Sydney, Australia, for five years, so Kim was able to travel there quite a bit.    

“I consider myself a third culture kid, having spent so much of my time in different places,” she said.”

Kim, her younger sister, and her parents currently live in Toronto, although she lives in Windsor during the school year.

She also enjoys spending time in the Motor City.    

“The food is obviously a given,” she said, “but there’s also so much entertainment — I’ve gone to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, binged on a bunch of concerts, and even went to a Manchester United game against Liverpool.”


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