Prof. Kathleen Kim: Immigrant Advocate Finds Myriad Ways to Make a Difference
Civic watchdog. Immigrant advocate. Legislative maven. Prolific scholar. In her many civic and academic roles, Professor Kathleen Kim’s work has promoted fairness and justice on a large scale.
Kim’s primary focus is teaching immigration law and related issues. Since joining the Loyola Law School faculty in 2007, she has been the driving force behind the Law School’s immigration-law offerings. She serves as the founding faculty advisor to the Immigrant Advocacy Concentration, which allows students to pursue a focused curriculum in the subject area. She also serves as faculty supervisor of the Immigrant Justice Clinic, the only community-based immigration law clinic in Los Angeles.
“Our clinic serves a real community need, and we aim to provide legal services where there’s a gap. In doing so, our clinic is not a laboratory for law students,” she said. “Our students represent real community clients with real-life problems and real-life legal issues that are hard. Our clients benefit and our students learn how to be real lawyers.”
Kim helps shape the law through her legislative advocacy. She co-authored California’s AB22, The California Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which established human trafficking as a felony and provides mandatory victim restitution. She remains involved in policy initiatives related to human trafficking and immigration.
In 2013, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Kim to the LA Police Commission. The five-member board, head of the Los Angeles Police Department under the city’s charter, has a range of priorities that includes recommending reforms, improving police service, reducing crime and fostering community policing programs. The commission’s duties include investigating incidents involving police use of force.
Active in the Asian-American legal community, Kim had leadership roles in the Korean American Bar Association of Southern California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles and Asian Pacific American Legal Center. She is an advisory board member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking.
In all her endeavors, Kim relishes the ability to make a difference in immigrants’ lives. “One of my articles that analyzes the role of the trafficked plaintiff in enforcing civil rights violations was cited by a federal court that broadly interpreted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” Kim said. “Some of the propositions I made in my scholarship have actually now become law.”
For Kim, educating future immigrant advocates is equally as rewarding. “The impact that our legal assistance has on our clients is felt at least as much by our students, who through these experiences begin to refine their sense of their professional identities,” she said.