Asians, Celebrities, Law Schools, Music

An Interview With Northwestern’s Resident Pop Star

Would you trade in being a pop star to be a legal rockstar? Last week, we wrote about So-eun Lee, a South Korean pop star who left behind her music career to attend Northwestern Law.

We emailed with the now-2L to find out how she achieved pop stardom back in Seoul and whether it seems easier to break into the music industry than the legal industry these days. We also found out she goes by Nikki Lee here in the States.

ATL: How did you break into the music industry in South Korea?

I participated in a national song writing contest when I was thirteen, and it was broadcast on television. I got calls from various recording companies after that went on air, and that was the beginning.

ATL: Why did you decide to leave your music career for the law? Are you glad you decided to go to law school?

I am glad, although I have to admit that sometimes during the last year I wondered why I ever decided to come. I did music for a long time, for eleven years, and I felt and knew that I wanted a change in direction. I was a spokesperson for a couple of organizations as an artist, and I wanted to be able to know and participate in the substantive issues instead of just being the “face” of something, and a legal education seemed like the right path.

So what substantive issues is she diving into this summer?

ATL: What are you doing this summer?

I am working with a professor on a book on music copyright and legal issues related to the Asian hip-hop market. It’s super interesting. I am also working part-time at the Bluhm Legal Clinic on a program for prison reentry reform. I am also finishing up the manuscript for an autobiographical book that will be published in Korea at the end of the year.

ATL: Are you doing anything musical now? Are you going to take part in Northwestern’s award-winning Law Revue, for example?

I didn’t do Wigmore Follies or Law Revue this year, one L would have been too challenging with that on top of everything else. But I do think that I will at least once before I graduate. I thought they were fantastic. I did perform at school, and I am always writing songs. I heard that the Chicago Bar Association has some musical groups that I might want to participate in.

ATL: Are you planning to practice in the U.S. or South Korea, or elsewhere?

I want to work in the States, and get as much experience as I can. I would like to work with international companies, firms, or organizations, but I’ll have to see what happens as I get more familiar with the legal world. It’s still pretty new to me.

ATL: Which field seems more challenging to break into right now: law or pop stardom?

Great question. I would say both have many, many struggles. I think pop stardom may be a bit more difficult because so many factors have to work together, and many that are not always within your own control, the music and your own artistry of course, but also the marketing, the market itself, promotions, your agents, the fashion, luck, the whole package. I think the legal profession also calls for many different qualities, but many that really depend on if and how hard you are willing to work. So in a way it’s more in the realm of what you can control or work at.

We hope she’s right about that!

Earlier: Law Student of the Day: Korean Popstar at Northwestern

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24 Responses to “An Interview With Northwestern’s Resident Pop Star”

  1. GuestyGuestyGuesty says:

    Northwestern frat boy uses $2/beer night. IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE!

  2. DTgods says:

    Your music sucks

  3. dimitri says:

    the name of your undergrat school is too korean; korea university?

  4. as says:

    I think a TTT law grad making $12 an hour does better financially than a South Korean singer, no?

    If so, I can see why she made the choice, intially. If she knew the facts, she would have stayed home. Apparently, the US law school propaganda machine has a wide reach.

  5. journalistic excellence says:

    a hard hitting interview from our own kash hill

  6. F.i.n.k.l says:

    ATL: Which field seems more challenging to break into right now: law or pop stardom?

    Realistic Answer: “Law is more challenging, because my musical fans can appreciate a diva. I can't wait to see the expression on the other associates' faces when I do my diva act and just refuse to do document review for more than 10 minutes a day.”

  7. Legal Writing says:

    She sounds really cool. Thanks for the interview.

    • My name is what? says:

      ^^^ Not so clever anonymous comment by Sou-en Lee. Or was it Nikki Lee? I get the two mixed up.

  8. Deuces Wild says:

    An erstwhile pop star goes to the second-best law school in the Second City.

    At least she'll graduate in two years!

    • Michael Scott says:

      Boom! Roasted.

    • T3 Secure says:

      Erm . . . I think you'll find Northwestern is the most prestigious law school in Chicago. What, you think DePaul is better? Loyola? Or are you including schools outside Chicago, like some Hyde Park community college, for example?

      • Lebron says:

        Erm… I think you'll find UChicago is the most prestigious law school in Chicago. If I went to Chicago, I'd be the Northwestern of basketball.

  9. homophone says:

    I love Seoul music!

  10. Benny Stulwitz says:

    I thought Kash got sacked for making an untoward comment about running the Jews out of Palestine?

  11. Rain says:

    I want nobody, nobody but you!

  12. Riggs says:

    Good interview/article. I enjoyed it. Check out Law Riot.

  13. WondAGirl says:

    What you should have asked:

    Q: How many nights during 1L year did you cry yourself to sleep wondering why you ever left the most glamorous profession in the world for the most despised, cutthroat and ultimately fruitless excuse to remain in school?

  14. rtyrthh says:

    Sounds like a nice girl. Probably had an idealistic view of law.

  15. Random dude says:

    Do you people even follow K-Pop? Do you know how many girl bands there are? Do you know how many members each girl band has? Do you know how long these bands last before they fade from the scene? It really is not a lucrative career. Probably worse than the US music scene.

  16. God says:

    What's funny to me is that she's awfully plain-looking for pop stardom.

    Not my best work.

  17. sdfa says:

    What an idiot!
    she deserves to lose the easy glamorous life

    • Helena says:

      Is that all you can say? You are probably some ugly, stupid, miserable fool who is so unhappy with life. Shame on you. I feel sorry for you.

  18. dimitri says:

    have you served the mandatory military service in south korea yet?

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