SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Ashley Kim Law Student of the Year

April 4, 2024

Southwestern Law 3L Ashley Kim Named a Law Student of the Year for First-Gen Advocacy

Los Angeles, CA — Ashley Kim, a Southwestern Law School third-year full-time day student, was named a 2024 Law Student of the Year by The National Jurist magazine for her outstanding leadership, service, and advocacy on behalf of first-generation law students.  

“Ashley is a leader and a giver, always presenting a rare combination of individual excellence and solidarity with others,” said Professor Hila Keren, the Associate Dean of Research and Paul E. Treusch Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School. “I often ask myself how Ashley finds the time and energy for all the tasks she takes upon herself, and I am in awe of her remarkable capabilities and sense of responsibility.”  

Kim, a first-generation Korean- and Mexican-American, co-founded the First-Generation Law Student Association at Southwestern, leveraging her personal experiences to address the unique challenges faced by first-generation students, such as financial strain, work-life balance, and navigating the legal education landscape without a traditional support system. This initiative has become a cornerstone for community building and support among first-gen students at Southwestern.  

“First-gen law students, who comprise almost half of Southwestern's student population, often need additional support and encouragement as they navigate law school and the legal profession,” President and Dean Darby Dickerson commented. "Ashley's work as a mentor, role model, and advocate have helped many students to achieve their goals and dreams." 

Reflecting on her journey, Kim shared, "As a first-generation student, I understand the obstacles and pressures we face. Many of us are caregivers, parents, and low-income students, and finding support that comprehends our multi-faceted identities can be difficult. Establishing the First-Generation Law Student Association was about creating a space where students like me could find guidance, support, and a sense of belonging."  

Ashley Kim at Tubi
Ashley Kim at her externship at Tubi.

In addition to her role with the association, Kim has served as an Editor for the Southwestern Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, held leadership positions within the Latino Law Students Association and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. She excelled in her externship at Tubi, an online streaming service, where she developed client-facing guides explaining the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on Advertising and Influencers. 

After graduating this spring, Kim seeks to merge her experience in public-interest work with her passion for entertainment law. "There is a significant social justice aspect to entertainment that is often overlooked... I want to amplify diverse stories through media and provide protection to those stories and creators.” 

“I have been teaching talented students for decades, and I can say with certainty that even at this early stage of her legal career, Ashely is an exceptional and inspiring member of the legal community,” remarked Professor Keren. “She is someone we will all hear much about in the future.”