Career Spotlight: Fair C. Kim
For law students who want to get great experience and give back to their country at the same time, they need look no further for a good example than UF Law alumnus Fair C. Kim (JD 06), who currently serves as a U.S. Coast Guard JAG officer in Miami.
Kim, who worked on the Journal of Law and Public Policy during his time at UF Law, says his current jobs allows him to work on more types of law than what most firms offer to their new associates.
“There is definitely a diverse practice because we do lots of different things with interesting fields of law,” he said. “In any given day I get to work on operational law, law of troop engagement, domestic law enforcement such as federal prosecution of drug and migrant traffickers and environmental crimes.”
Being an officer in the JAG program offers a unique experience every day, such as wearing uniforms and staying in shape to meet military standards, Kim said.
“It’s a different environment from a normal law firm because we wear a uniform to work every day, and often get to go out in the field,” he said. “At the same time there are similarities because we do research case law and write memos for court.”
In addition to wearing uniforms and working with military issues, Kim says another great aspect of the JAG program is the discipline factor when it comes to meeting a goal.
“I love the program because I do well in an independent environment, and we do not do billable hours here,” he said. “The Coast Guard is all about taking responsibility, managing time well, being organized and getting results.”
JAG officers get to work with the most recent issues in law around the world, Kim said.
“Officers get to work on very interesting cases, such as defending Guantanamo Bay detainees, going to Iraq and going to Afghanistan,” he said. “Sometimes my fellow officers have to go to these places around the world on very short notice.”
A big advantage of being a JAG officer, is the ability to get strong experience right out of school, which becomes very appealing to hiring firms, Kim said.
“JAG officers are always getting lucrative offers from firms later in their careers,” he said. “Firms appreciate the level of discipline, and the JAG officer’s ability to not be intimidated and get things done.”
For current law students, Kim says the JAG option is something very competitive that they should look into.
“There are five JAG branches that students can look into, and the reality is that the JAG corps is tremendously competitive,” he said. “There are several hundred applicants every year, so do research and gain knowledge of what you want to do.”