Thomas Kim
Year
2019
Chapter
Position
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Attorney

Thomas Kim is the very first DACA-status attorney in the state of Oregon. While serving as Chair of the American Bar Association Law Student Division, Thomas advocated for and served the 120,000+ law students in the entire U.S.  Notably, Thomas persuaded the ABA House of Delegates to adopt Resolution 108, which would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain admission to the bar and practice law in all 50 U.S. states plus territories.

Thomas came to this country lawfully with his Korean family when he was a teenager, but was denied green cards due to the actions of an unscrupulous immigration lawyer. That experience, and the desire to provide vulnerable people with the help they need is what inspired Thomas to pursue a legal career.

Thomas has become a high-profile advocate not just for aspiring lawyers but for all immigrants who, like him, are benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Thomas’ inspiring story of trying to make a valuable contribution to this country, and his well-spoken advocacy for DACA recipients, have been featured by media outlets that include CNN, USA Today, AP, The National Law Journal, The Arizona Republic, and The Oregonian. In addition, by serving as a mentor in various organizations, Thomas empowers and reminds immigrant youth that they, too, can do it.

Thomas graduated as a full-tuition merit scholar from both Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Washington) and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Since federal aid and student loans weren’t available to Thomas, he had to work long hours outside of school to afford room, board, and textbooks.

In addition to serving as the Site Director at Homeless Legal Assistance Project of A New Leaf – La Mesita for three years in Phoenix, Arizona, Thomas also worked at Federal Public Defender (Capital Habeas Unit) and at Maricopa County (the fourth most populous county in the U.S.) as Certified Limited Licensed Practice Public Defender Attorney.

Currently, as an attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Portland, Oregon, Thomas passionately provides pro bono representation for his clients and enjoys helping startup companies grow in various industries.

Thomas is always looking for opportunities to love his neighbors in the most practical sense and is eager to achieve justice for the immigrant and low-income communities by providing the highest quality legal services. Thomas is also an avid beat-boxer, hiker, and a pianist.