Connie Kim '93


Tell us about how your experiences at Cornell influenced your path. 

I've always been interested in international issues so I opted to live in the Language House for Freshman and Sophomore years in the French section.  Immersing myself in this cultural environment led by native speakers opened my eyes to not only first-hand accounts of daily life for Francophones but exposure to the other cultures grouped together in the House  It also facilitated in improving my French language skills and prepared me for my study abroad in Paris, France my junior year.   I ended up doing a double major in Government and French Literature and thoroughly enjoyed the classes and experiences from those areas of study.  The varied academic and cultural experiences I had at Cornell resulted in lifelong friendships both here and abroad and have helped me appreciate and navigate the international legal practice I work in here in Los Angeles, including having previously chaired the International Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and my affiliation with other international bar organizations.

How did you come to live in Los Angeles and what you are doing now?

I grew up in Los Angeles and currently practice as an attorney in civil litigation and international arbitration in Pasadena at Connon Wood LLP.

How did Cornell help prepare you for your post-grad life?

Cornell is an amazing large institution that attracts people from all over the country and the world, with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Only after I graduated did I truly appreciate how accessible all these people and educational opportunities were in that microcosm in Ithaca.  Because of the varied experiences I had while at school and abroad, I feel connected to the world and fearless of new opportunities and challenges that come my way.  I have always had wanderlust and that desire to see and experience the world has just been integrated with my current professional life.

Tell us a favorite memory of your time at Cornell.

There are so many, but one of the things I most loved about Cornell was its bucolic setting and the beautiful turn of the seasons.  It felt very different from LA and grounding, which had a calming effect on me when studies and life experiences got too intense.  

Tell us a favorite memory shared with another Cornell alum in L.A.

CCLA has such a great and enthusiastic group of leaders who organize interesting events that bring together a variety of alumni and friends from all walks of life.  I've enjoyed meeting fellow alumni who are so dedicated to their families, careers and various causes that they support.  I just need to find the time to attend more of these events!

What advice would you give, personally and professionally related to your line of work, to Cornell grads looking to come to L.A.?

There are two things:  (1) there is a time and place for everything, and (2) keep sight of your goals and evaluate them periodically.  Because of the size of Cornell, possibilities almost seem limitless.  As a student, you should focus on being a student and try not to get distracted by things that really don't serve you as a student and person - working diligently on your studies, learning about all the opportunities available to you at school, and being open to meeting people who are different from you.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't also be periodically evaluating your goals with each passing year.  You may think you want to be an architect when you initially apply, but then you discover you really love organic chemistry!  What to do? Change your major, talk to people in both professions, take a gap year off and try to figure this out in the real world.  The 4 years (or more) you'll be at Cornell are golden, a time in your youth that you will look fondly upon when older and more entrenched in your life with real responsibilities of family and career.  But if you keep these two ideas in mind, you'll ultimately fare well in the end.  Best of luck!