About Derek Kunhee (金健熙)



Derek Kunhee Kim (김건희 金健熙) Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, but immigrated to Leeds, England when he was two years old. By the age of 13, he had grown up on three different continents, continuing his higher education in the United States. Derek Kunhee acknowledges that the global trajectory of his life passion was instilled within him at a young age.

After an outstanding track and field career in high school, which included All-American and All-State honors, Derek Kunhee continued his athletic pursuits in the 110m hurdles and majored in International Journalism at Michigan State University. In East Lansing, Derek Kunhee established himself as a passionate, succinct writer, earning multiple journalism awards and publishing his first book Four Years, Two Roads: Finding Eternal Significance in High School at the age of 20.

Four Years, Two Roads is an encouragement to high school students to live on “the narrow road” (Matthew 7:13-14) within a hostile culture. The book won the Christian Small Publishers Award Book of the Year award in the Young Adult category in 2015, while receiving recommendations from NFL Quarterback Kirk Cousins and Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund.

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Early graduation from Michigan State brought Derek Kunhee back to his home country, where he studied at Yonsei University. It was at Yonsei, his father’s alma mater, where he recovered his native culture and tongue. At Yonsei, Derek Kunhee was voted Class Representative by his professors and classmates and worked as a translator for students from North America and Europe. During this formative period, Derek Kunhee became fluent in Mandarin Chinese, eventually accomplishing a five-month stint at Tsinghua University’s Chinese Language Program. He achieved HSK Level Six Certification in less than one year of study.  20228458_10155620280398408_5456776720766070666_n

Derek Kunhee is a New York State-licensed attorney and graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. Before New Hampshire, he graduated with a Master of Legal Studies from the University of San Diego School of Law.

At San Diego, Derek Kunhee worked as a Program Assistant for USD’s Law & Policy Program for International Professionals, revitalizing the program alongside Program Director Fred Heller and Dean Stephen Ferruolo. He played a key role in bridging the gap amongst lawyers, judges, lawyers, public officials, and other legal professionals from the United States, Korea, and China. He was also a Research Assistant for Professor Ralph Folsom, under whom he published Eckstom’s Licensing in Foreign and Domestic Operations: Joint Venture‘s Korea Chapter: Corruption in Modern Day South Korea: A Country at a Crossroads, available on Westlaw.


Derek Kunhee spent his first summer of law school in his mother country at Kim & Chang working on FinTech and China-related cases. He then headed to Beijing the following winter to work with King & Wood Malleson‘s Korea Practice. Derek Kunhee is currently an Intellectual Property Policy Consultant at the World Intellectual Property Organization‘s Division for Asia and the Pacific, where he assists country leaders improve their IP infrastructure. 

Derek Kunhee’s dream is to become a liaison and arbitrator amongst the United States, Korea, and the rest of East Asia. He speaks Korean, English, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese.