Image Credits: Invision/Evan Agostini via AP
Earlier this month, Vogue dropped their May 2019 cover and interview with Kim Kardashian West, a well-known businesswoman, model, and social media mogul. In the interview, Kardashian reveals the fact that she’s been studying to be a lawyer. Kardashian has been studying over the last year in a process known as “reading the law,” a method only allowed by four states (California, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington state). This allows people who haven’t completed college to sit for the bar exam after four years of intense apprenticeship underneath a qualified attorney or judge. Program participants must study for 18 hours a week. After the interview, Kardashian has been incredibly open about her journey, bragging about the fact that she aced her torts exam and is studying for the “baby bar” – an exam taken after the first year that determines whether or not you can continue in the program.
Many on social media have been calling Kardashian’s method a “shortcut” only available because she is rich and famous. While it is an unconventional method by today’s standards, it once was the only way to become a lawyer. A piece published by The Washington Post explains that law degrees as we know them today didn’t exist until the early 1800s. Both Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Lincoln became lawyers through this method. Kardashian published an image of her studying with friends on Instagram with a lengthy caption, detailing how this is not “the easy way out” and how she balances studying with being a mom of three, a businesswoman, and a model.
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Last year I registered with the California State Bar to study law. For the next 4 years, a minimum of 18 hours a week is required, I will take written and multiple choice tests monthly. As my first year is almost coming to an end I am preparing for the baby bar, a mini version of the bar, which is required when studying law this way. I’ve seen some comments from people who are saying it’s my privilege or my money that got me here, but that’s not the case. One person actually said I should “stay in my lane.” I want people to understand that there is nothing that should limit your pursuit of your dreams, and the accomplishment of new goals. You can create your own lanes, just as I am. The state bar doesn’t care who you are. This option is available to anyone who’s state allows it. It’s true I did not finish college. You need 60 college credits (I had 75) to take part in “reading the law”, which is an in office law school being apprenticed by lawyers. For anyone assuming this is the easy way out, it’s not. My weekends are spent away from my kids while I read and study. I work all day, put my kids to bed and spend my nights studying. There are times I feel overwhelmed and when I feel like I can’t do it but I get the pep talks I need from the people around me supporting me. I changed my number last year and disconnected from everyone because I have made this strict commitment to follow a dream of mine – It’s never too late to follow your dreams. I want to thank Van Jones for believing in me and introducing me to Jessica Jackson. Jessica along with Erin Haney have taken on the role of my mentors and I am forever grateful to them both putting in so much time with me, believing in me and supporting me through this journey. This week I have a big torts essay due on negligence. Wish me luck ✨⚖️
One of the lines in Kim’s post really struck me. In it, she excerpts one of her critic’s statements:
“One person actually said I should ‘stay in my lane.’ I want people to understand that there is nothing that should limit your pursuit of your dreams, and the accomplishment of new goals. You can create your own lanes, just as I am.”
If you haven’t been paying attention to politics in the last year, you would have missed the fact that Kim played a pivotal role in the release of Alice Marie Johnson and also advocated for the release of Cyntoia Brown during a meeting in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. In the previously mentioned interview with Vogue, Kim talks about being in the room with judges and activists who had much more experience than her: “I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.” These meetings drove her to decide on a law degree, and she created her own lane by figuring out how to achieve that dream while juggling everything else.
Everyone has their own unique challenges in life and their own dreams and aspirations. It’s up to each and every one of us to figure out how to achieve them. Kim never thought she would try to become a lawyer. Since she didn’t see herself going to law school in addition to everything she does, she discovered a path to the bar and followed it. Every female leader should learn from this – if you don’t see a path to your dreams, create one. Be your own trailblazing girl boss.