Profiles: Kim Cellere

Kim Cellere

Kim Cellere

JD 16

Client Services Manager at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Why did you decide to go to law school?

Quite simply because I wanted to help people and I am inspired by others before me. Many things I am grateful for exist because of lawyers and what they continue to do-equal protection of the law, due process, free speech, civil rights, among many others. Lawyers serve people. They help solve problems that others cannot solve on their own. They are in a position to empower and comfort their clients, to help them reach a better position than when they first started. I want to help people understand how our oftentimes complex legal system works. I will share one other reason. I was a paralegal for many years before law school and I worked for a bankruptcy attorney who promised to help a debtor on a pro-bono basis. He arrived into our office gaunt, unkempt, and seemingly with no opportunity to shower. The attorney asked me to do his initial intake. So I reviewed his documents (soiled and torn), and began inputting his data into our bankruptcy software to start the filing process. Throughout the process he told me he was eager to discharge his debts (less than $1000 in credit card debt) so that he could start a fresh life and that he did not want to be homeless anymore. But ten minutes in, my former boss walked in and told me to tell him that we couldn't help him. She later told me the reason was that he smelled. I will never forget that helpless feeling of inadequacy and knew that I needed to get a legal education so that I wouldn't always be the paralegal that turned clients away.

What is your greatest source of motivation/support as you work towards your JD?

My parents are my inspiration. Both of my parents were refugees (boat people) from Vietnam who always instilled in me the value of education and the importance of freedom. They themselves were not able to finish high school in their country due to the war. I now have the freedom to obtain another degree thanks to their hard work and determination and it's not something I take for granted.

What is your favorite thing you do when you are not at law school?

I would be hiking in the woods, reading a good book, traveling around the world, doing something awesome, or cooking for and enjoying time with friends.

What message/advice do you have for your fellow law students?

Enjoy your law school days. It is easy to be overwhelmed at first, but take advantage of the many resources available for you at GGU-talk to and get to know your professors, our staff, and the AMAZING academic support program (ADP) staff-they really do care about your continued success. Be kind and compassionate when you can, everyone has a story that you may not yet understand. The beauty of GGU is that there are so many amazing individuals that you will meet and learn from. Your reputation starts today.

About the interviewer

Andrea Loh is the Director of Employer Outreach in Law Career Services. Andrea recently moved to San Francisco from the East Coast and has yet to start missing the cold weather. She enjoys hiking, long distance biking, and baking breads, cakes, and all other types of desserts.