March 18, 2013 Student Outreach

Monday, March 18, 2013 8:53 PM | Anonymous

The story that most Vietnamese American lawyers will tell you is that they did not know any lawyers while they were growing up and that the idea of going to law school did not even cross their minds until later in life.   But, many of these lawyers will also tell you that pursuing the law turned out to be absolutely the right thing for them.  Reflecting on this reality, one of VABA-DC’s former scholarship recipients insightfully observed: "We should start with the high school students at the time they are thinking about college and career directions and in need of information, guidance and inspiration. I didn't discover my interest in and passion for the law until several years after college graduation - a bit of soul searching and wandering on my part. I think that any efforts to reach out to and introduce what it means to be a lawyer in America to our young students would yield long-lasting, career shaping impact."


VABA-DC agrees and is starting a series of informal conversations with college students to teach them about the law track, possible careers with a law degree, and the doors it can open.   On Monday, March 18, 2013, when Hansel Pham and Caroline Nguyen, two of VABA-DC’s board members, met with a group of Vietnamese American students at Georgetown to discuss their careers and answer students’ questions.  The event was organized by the Georgetown University Vietnamese Students Association (GUVSA), and seven students were in attendance.




None of the students were currently pre-law, but everyone asked truly insightful questions about the legal practice, including the truly interdisciplinary nature of the law, the reasons why an engineer or business major might want to become a lawyer, justifications for representing unsympathetic clients, the nature of practicing law in a big law firm, and the reality about the current legal job market.  


“It was really great meeting with young and energetic students, who were genuinely curious about the law path,” said Hansel.  “It doesn’t matter if they are not currently pre-law; our goal was to inform them about the versatility of a JD and the different types of legal careers, and the meet-and-greet accomplished that.   We are separately happy to have started a relationship with GUVSA.   As we told the students, VABA-DC exists in large part to help the next generation of lawyers, so students should feel free to reach out to us at any point, even years from now, for help or advice.”


For the students’ part, Kimberly Ta, president of GUVSA, said after the event, “We are happy to see that VABA-DC is such an active network and continuing to give back to the Vietnamese community. We discussed it after the meeting and everyone seemed to have benefited in some way. It really got us thinking and considering the possibilities in law, and I think this is a great first step.



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