A Korean Doctor Becomes a Medical Lawyer in America
보스톤코리아  2012-08-20, 12:08:32 
Written By Hyun Cheon Kim

“In a strange land, America, I was living alone in a room of 100 sq. ft. Since I was driven by my dream and goal, I never stopped studying even when I suffered from headache, shoulder pain, and backache.”
This is an excerpt from a popular book titled, 'Living for Myself Once in a Lifetime' in Kyobo Book Centre.

The author is Jungeun Kim, who is a medical lawyer at Ropes & Gray in Boston. She was a doctor in Korea but had to quit in order to find a job that suited her. The book is an autobiographical essay that describes her overcoming life’s challenges: from quitting her medical practice to experiencing the challenges and frustrations involved in becoming a medical lawyer.

Kim started to write her book after she read an article in the New York Times early last year about Korean KAIST students committing suicide. She wanted to deliver a hopeful message to young people who are struggling to find their future, and finally the book was published recently.

“I was very tired of studying at medical school since it didn't fit me at all,” said Kim. She was not interested and did not have the passion to learn; however, working as a medical lawyer, she is “happy now.”Every morning, she cannot wait to see what will happen, and it makes her passionate and energized.

I enjoy a challenge” It is certainly painful and mostly it results in failure; however, it is a process of building up passion and enthusiasm and I think the process itself is worthy,” said Kim.

Even after a challenge, Kim was afraid many times as if she was within an inch of her life. She always felt anxious about her uncertain future while she had to endure a double major: law and MBA. She was soon moved to tears thinking about her old experiences with hardships.

It was 7~8 years ago when Kim first thought about going to law school. She was attending a medical school in Korea. At that time, she was studying about the medical system after she found out that there was a loophole in medical system in Korea.

She never found any interest in her studies when she was in medical school; nevertheless, she felt some enthusiasm for the first time while she was studying about the medical system. Then she realized that she must go to law school in America to learn more specialized information. Finally, she gave up becoming a doctor and entered Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2006. After a year, she transferred to Boston University School of Law.

It was not easy as expected but Kim put her best effort without much sleep.
After completing tough years at law school, the next barrier was to find a job. She was not from a top law school, her grades were not in the upper ranks, and she was a foreigner. She was in a disadvantageous position to get a job. Aiming to get hired at small law firms was more feasible; however, only big law firms handled health care policies, the field she wanted to learn.

Kim started to challenge herself again by deciding to apply only to big law firms. She did not fear failures because she believed she had done her best for last 7 years.

Then she was requested to have an interview with Ropes & Gray, and she prepared everything that showed her abilities.

“I came up with about 20 to 30 questions and made scripts. I thought that the interviewer would evaluate not only the content of my interview but also my attitude and the confidence I have. I practiced every moment,” said Kim.

Finally, after all those struggles and 12 years of hard work, Kim's wish had come true. Since last September, she has worked for Ropes & Gray as a medical lawyer. According to Kim, the biggest strength for her to pass the interview was “having passion and understanding of the medical system and having clinical experiences.”

She added finally, “After 12 years, I realized that whenever I open one door, there are 10 more doors waiting in front of me. I, in my mid-30s, am still anticipating what kind of doors I will have to open from now on. No matter what, I will never stop learning and working if it is for a better medical system.”

ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
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