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Wednesday September 3, 2014

Leadership Position in Asian American Student Group Propels Grad into Legal Community

News Release
Monday May 5, 2014

Leadership Position in Asian American Student Group Propels Grad into Legal Community

Your Source for University News
Media Contact:
Cathy K. Donovan
856-225-6627

Kiara Han’s legal education at Rutgers Law–Camden didn’t happen in the law school alone. Through the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA), Han not only served in leadership positions, but also established early on a professional network of Asian attorneys working in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Those professional contacts, several recent graduates of Rutgers Law–Camden, helped her fine-tune her own career path and usher her into a legal community that she feels very much a part of, before she ever started her career as a practicing attorney.  

A graduate of New York University, where she majored in psychology, Han served as a representative of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association during her first year of law school at Rutgers Law–Camden. In her second year she became president, helping plan the group’s two major events, the Diwali Festival and the Lunar Banquet.

This leadership position also connected her with other Asian attorneys in the area, including recent graduates of Rutgers Law–Camden. Not only did this experience expand her network, it also helped shape her career path.

“It actually helped me choose litigation,” says Han, who will clerk in the New Jersey Appellate Division for the Honorable William Nugent after graduation.

Before attending law school, Han spent two years in Korea teaching English. She utilized her fluency in Korean in law school when asked by a local firm to translate for a client. According to Jason Cohen, a clinical professor at Rutgers Law–Camden, who taught Han during her first year and in an upper level hybrid clinic as well as oversaw her as a teaching assistant, her strengths in legal writing are made even more notable given that English is not Han’s first language.

“Kiara has demonstrated an intellectual curiosity and maturity, as well as a natural capacity for legal analysis,” notes Cohen. She also demonstrates a community and legally oriented perspective. In Cohen’s advanced legal writing course Community-Based Practice, Han wrote a compelling brief on behalf of a transgender client who was denied payment for sex reassignment surgery that will ultimately be submitted to the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia.

Han’s legal education was also strengthened by serving as a Notes and Comments Editor of the Rutgers Law Journal and as one of two law students serving as a legal extern for Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court. In addition, she was a summer associate for Travelers Insurance, where she continues to work as a law clerk, and was a semifinalist in the Hunter Moot Court Appellate Advocacy Competition.

As Han advances in her legal career, she feels especially confident, not only in her academic success, but in the professional network she’s cultivated, crediting her fellow members and supporters of APALSA for this feeling of connectedness.  

“If it wasn’t for APALSA, I wouldn’t be as close to other Asian students here and to other recent grads who are working nearby. I’ve developed relationships that are closer than just professional, and feel really involved and recognized as a member of their bar.”

Media Contact:
Cathy K. Donovan
856-225-6627
Your Source for University News