Hey Minyong, tell us about yourself!
I am someone who walks closely with God, married to a pretty funny guy, and a mom of two. I like to run and not with any kind of competitiveness, but just as a way to meditate and clear my head. I love to worship at the piano and watch bad, cheesy rom coms (especially if there’s singing or dancing involved).
Can you tell us what you do as a Senior Attorney for those who are unfamiliar?
I am a senior attorney at a legal aid organization called Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County. We provide free legal services to low-income communities and I specifically work in family law with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career?
I was always drawn to the idea of doing something to change systems and affect people. Law school seemed to be the best route to take and so without too much thought, off I went. To be honest, I struggled a lot in law school and it took me awhile to find my place and how I could serve and be happy in the field of law. I had some spiritual breakthroughs in law school where God reminded that He could truly use all things to love His people and that as long as I know who I am and am pursuing the things that move His heart, I would be just fine. I also took advantage of different opportunities while in law school to see what else was out there and did externships with different organizations serving the community like Union Rescue Mission, special education advocacy and adoption projects.
What made you interested in your field?
People. And in particular, hurt people. I have had the privilege of meeting people in times of crisis and trauma and of being able to come alongside to provide support through systems that puts up barriers and obstacles. Fresh out of law school, I got a job as an attorney in the juvenile dependency system that hears cases where children have been removed from their parents’ custody for abuse or neglect. I worked in the courts representing parents and while it was heartbreaking and emotionally taxing, it was also rewarding and fulfilling hearing their stories and being able to advocate on their behalf. I was never an outgoing kid or really, adult, but I enjoy being in the courtroom and litigating and it started me in the path of being a courtroom attorney.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
I think trying different things out and finding the thing that makes you excited is key. Sometimes we get fixated on the goal and we don’t allow ourselves to try other things in fear that it will take us away from the ultimate goal. But it’s those experiences that we pick up along the way that ends up make reaching the goal so rewarding and makes you better at whatever it is you end up doing. Nothing is wasted and everything ends up having some sort of purpose.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in your field
Integrity, compassion, and adaptable.
Most difficult thing about your job?
I have often found myself frustrated at how broken and unjust our justice system can be. And that can create disillusionment about what I do and how much good I’m doing. And also, there’s a lot of financial sacrifice going into public interest law which hasn’t been difficult, but definitely, a reality.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Enjoy the small things more. It’s okay to take breaks and rest and it’s okay to tell people no.
Best advice you've received/heard?
Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who is interested in becoming an attorney?
It goes a long way to foster good relationships with people. As an attorney, your reputation matters so act with integrity. Treat those in the lowest level positions to the top with same respect and care.