Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

“Korea” in the Greater New York Area

Interning at a Korean American law firm, I often found myself working with (and learning from) both American and Korean cultures in various ways.

1. Client Interaction. Throughout my internship, I interacted with clients by translating in client meetings. Through this, I met various kinds of clients, from the CEO of an IT company to a family slightly separated by language barriers within the members (usually, the younger generation was more fluent in English while the older generation was more fluent in Korean). From interacting with the clients, I was able to meet the various faces of the Korean community in the Greater New York Area.

2. Translating Legal Documents. As a bilingual intern, I often translated legal documents, business proposals, emails, etc. from Korean to English and vice versa. From this experience, I was able to learn not only about the cases but also about different industries. For example, from translating numerous discovery emails between the parties, I was exposed to the business culture and norm in Korea. From translating various kinds of contracts, such as agreements for FX Options, Software and Hardware Development and Services, etc., I learned more about legal and business terms used in Korea, investment management products and procedures, and merchant service development. It was particularly exciting to apply my contract language, legal research, real estate, and finance knowledge acquired at school to assist in ongoing cases.

3. Corporate Culture. Although Kim & Bae is a Korean law firm, its staff and attorneys come from diverse backgrounds. And so, I was able to experience both Korean and American corporate culture. Starting from the language, I would alternate between using English and Korean while communicating with the staff and attorneys, for various reasons such as to show respect. Although I was aware of the difference in corporate culture in Korea and US, experiencing both simultaneously was definitely a very exciting experience. Outside of the office, my coworkers invited me to casual dinners and parties. And so, not only did I get to know my coworkers in a professional environment, but I was able to get to know them better personally as well.

Fun Fact: Because our firm invited television show crews to shoot their films in our office sometimes, I also had a few opportunities to witness how tv shows were filmed!