Pathway to Purpose

How The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law helped alumna Kata Kim find her life calling

Kata Kim

Kata Kim’s life has been guided by serendipity, moments when one thing led to another and landed her exactly where she needed to be.

The daughter of a Korean American businessman and Iranian American mother, Kim says that even as a teen, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer. But it was a chance opportunity at age 17 that solidified that dream and pointed her to a path that led straight to The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law (COL).

“My mom was a psychoanalyst and her attorney was deposing witnesses,” she explains. “I watched for four hours. That lawyer, David Chodos, is still one of my mentors today. I came out of the deposition saying, ‘I want to be him.’”

The Oxnard resident started her journey with a B.A. degree in political science at California State University, Northridge, with plans to go straight to law school. She was admitted to several top institutions in Los Angeles and Orange counties, but it was one campus visit that sealed her decision.

“When I went to the (COL) Ventura campus, that first day that I came here and saw it, I said ‘this is where I’m going’.”

And so she did, following the COL tradition of working in the profession while she studied. Through connections at COL, Kim landed a law clerk and research assistant position at Compliance Law Group, which focuses on health care law—a niche that has become her life’s passion.

“I didn’t start out seeking to be a health care lawyer. It kind of chose me,” says Kim, who earned her J.D. in 2010 and was hired as an attorney for Compliance Law Group after passing the bar. “I started working as a clerk, and I realized I liked it. It kind of came intuitively to me. My mom is also a health care professional so a lot of what I was doing here I saw growing up as well.”

Kim considers herself fortunate—for the experience at COL and also for the lifetime of mentors and friends she developed along the way.

“If I were to do everything again, I would do it exactly the same way that I did,” she says. “I am very satisfied and happy with my entire professional career. I have a lot of admiration for my former professors, who are now colleagues.”