Student Spotlight: Chapman University’s Jonathan Y. Shin

Give a little description of your background (where did you grow up, etc.).

I was born in Temple, Texas. My dad, a recent immigrant, was pursuing his M.D. at Texas A&M College of Medicine. My family then moved to California when I was six years old. I attended Sunny Hills High School, Troy High School, and graduated from Army and Navy Academy. I then graduated from UC Irvine and worked full time for a few years before attending law school.


Are there any organizations/clubs you are involved in? Tell us about what you’re up to!

As a 1L, I founded the Korean American Law Student Association (KALSA) with a few friends on campus. Currently, I am in my second term as the organization’s founder and President. In addition, I am also the Vice-President of the Business and Investment Law Society (BILS), and I am a Student Ambassador for Chapman Law School. I also serve as an Advisory Board Member to Chapman’s Career Services Office, and as an Advocate in Honor Council serving in the Office of the Law School.


I am also an active board member in our law school’s Moot Court and Advanced Dispute Resolution (ADR) competition teams, and currently I am involved in a collective effort amongst student organizations in campaigning for another law journal at Chapman Law. Outside of law school, I am a mentor in our church youth ministry and I serve as a leader in our recently launched young adult ministry, Project Au.

What’s the best thing about your school?

The best thing about Chapman Law School would be the low faculty to student ratio, and the shared sense of community within the student body. While law schools are notorious for their competitive environments, our student body truly thrives off of supporting each other. In addition, the career service advisors at our school really help our students find jobs.


Through an interview set up by Jennifer Kim, a Career Service Advisor, I was hired at MKC Law Group. I am currently still employed at MKC Law Group, and the principal attorney, Min Chai, has become a valuable friend and mentor. Furthermore, by attending Chapman, my network expanded to include individuals such as the Former Mayor of Irvine, Sukhee Kang, who currently serves as an adjunct professor on the undergraduate campus.

What has been your favorite memory so far?

My favorite memory would be competing in Moot Court. My team travelled from California to Louisiana to compete in the Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition held by NAPABA. Upon arriving in Dallas, our second flight to New Orleans was cancelled due to a severe storm. Our coach determined that the only way to make it to New Orleans on time would be to drive. We rented a sedan, and we drove for eight hours in the worst Southern storm that I have ever seen! Severe rain and lightning storms relentlessly trailed our car for eight hours from Dallas to New Orleans.


After arriving at our hotel early in the morning, our team did not enjoy the luxury of sleep or practice. We woke up early to head to the Federal Court house to present our arguments. As a result of our resolve to represent our school, my partner and I won Best Brief and were Semi-Finalists. The other Chapman team went on to win first place. Both of our teams then advanced to Nationals, which was held in Scottsdale, Arizona. At Nationals, my partner and I advanced to the Semi-Finals, and the other team won Second Best Brief! Our success in the competition definitely contributed to making this my favorite memory in law school, but more importantly, the time we all spent together preparing and travelling made this the most memorable law school experience. I would like to thank my teammates Arthur Arutyunyan, Nilo Karbassi, and Lindsay Niles, as well as our coaches Nancy Schultz and Andrew Bugman for their time, dedication and friendship.

Who has been an influential figure in your life?

My parents have been influential figures in my life. They have guided and encouraged me to never give up, and to give my 100 percent no matter what. At a young age, my mother taught me to be confident and to stand up for others, which naturally led to my aspiration to become an attorney. My father inspired me to become a leader by serving others. He demonstrated sacrifice and servitude by giving up his medical practices to become a pastor and establish his church, International Grace Ministries (IGM) in Irvine, California. He attended Talbot School of Theology and graduated a three-year course in two-years with honors at the age of 52. Through his example, I learned to always give 100 percent to all of my endeavors and to continuously strive to help others.


What was the hardest thing you’ve done so far?

The hardest thing I’ve done would be juggling law school, extra-curricular activities, and work, all while representing an individual in a removal proceeding. All of the master calendar hearing dates for the removal proceeding coincided with my finals. On top of stressing for finals, I had to prepare for trial on an unfamiliar issue. This case was particularly stressful because being ill prepared could result in the permanent separation of an individual from his family. Adjusting myself to such a rigorous workload refined my time management skills.


Maintaining a proper perspective drove me through tough times and I know that if I work hard and persevere through difficulties, I can surmount any obstacle. Although I have another master calendar hearing scheduled in March 2015, I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way and I am grateful to have an opportunity to assist a person in need.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Upon graduating, I plan on starting my own law firm. In five years, I see myself as a licensed attorney and owner/partner at Aventus LLP. You can check out our site at In pursuit of my passion for cars, I also plan on launching my auto dealership and brokerage service sometime in 2015. The website for the auto dealership and brokering service is still under construction but if you want, you can check it out at

Coffee, tea, energy drinks, “crazier stuff,” or nothing at all?

Coffee with two shots of espresso, brown rice tea, and imported Monster Energy drinks.


Who’s the person/people you can rely on for anything?

First and foremost, it would be my wife, Judy. In everything I do, she has been my backbone and continues to be my biggest supporter and motivator. Attending law school as a newly wed can be very difficult for your significant other since the curriculum demands a lot of your time and attention, but my wife has always been very supportive and understanding. My family and my best friends, John Kim and Joe Uhm, are also unconditionally supportive of me and I know I can rely on them for anything.



What was the last book you read…for fun?

The last book I read for fun was Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, a book my father recommended to me. I know some people think its cheesy reading these “self-help” books, but I actually learn a lot from them and I try to practice what I read.

What’s your go-to selfie face? (A picture is obviously necessary.)

I don’t really take selfies, but my dog loves to, so I’ll let her post hers on my behalf.