Student Profile: Jimmy Lin, '18

Jimmy Lin

“I’ve been leaning towards transactional work because I view it as preventative legal action. When you write a contract, you’re really trying to anticipate what comes down the road.”

Hometown: Tainan, Taiwan
Undergrad Institution: National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan
College Major: Management Information Systems
Law School Activities: APALSA, Law School Veterans, Corporate Lab, China Law Society, RA for Professor Buss

After working as a translator for American and Chinese lawyers while he was in college, Jimmy Lin knew that he wanted to become a lawyer. The experience demonstrated a need for bilingual lawyers and showed him the importance of language in the legal field.

“Being a translator, you’re just repeating the words other people have said. But as a lawyer, you get to create that new meaning and participate in every negotiation along the way,” Lin said.

Lin chose the University of Chicago for law school in part because of its small class size and varied course offerings. He was one of several international students in the Class of 2018 when he began his 1L year and was in the second Law School class to participate in the Kapnick Leadership Development Initiative—an Orientation program that teaches students critical leadership and interpersonal skills through tested workshops and programs.

“Kapnick was a great way to start off,” he said. “Getting to know students in an informal setting before putting them together in the classroom reduces a lot of tension. It really lets everyone hit the ground running.”

Building off of his interest in language, Lin decided to focus on transactional law. He enjoyed interpreting the terms and conditions in contracts and figuring what details would come up in the future.

“I’ve been leaning towards transactional work because I view it as preventative legal action,” Lin said. “When you write a contract, you’re really trying to anticipate what comes down the road.”

He continued to develop his skills in transactional law when he worked in the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab during the summer after his 1L year. In the Corporate Lab, Lin got to work with numerous companies and gain corresponding real-world experience in corporate and transactional law.

“What I really liked about the Corporate Lab was the great variety of the projects,” he said. “We worked on data rights clauses for a petrol chemical processing company. We looked up how to license beauty salons in all fifty states. We worked on a term sheet for a venture capital project. It was great hands-on experience, to put that theory from my courses here into practice.”

On top of his work in the Corporate Lab, Lin also worked with Emily Buss, the Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law, on drafting the First Restatement of Children and the Law. As a research assistant, Lin focused on corporal punishment in the school setting and how its legislation changes from state to state. He appreciated being able to split his summer between his work in the Corporate Lab and the research he did for Professor Buss, which taught him more about the litigation side of practicing law.

“On one side it is hard-core transactional work, and on the other side it is legal research and legal writing,” Lin said. “Getting to work on both of these things was just an awesome experience. I think the University is the perfect place to get these opportunities.”

Advice for 1Ls:

“With so many people from interesting backgrounds and the small class size, you can really get to know everyone. Make the most of this and don’t be afraid to reach out to people. The 2Ls, the 3Ls, the alumni—everyone is part of this network and they know what you’re going through as a student here.”