Derek Kunhee Kim (김건희 金健熙) Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea but immigrated to England when his father pursued his doctorates in mechanical engineering at the University of Leeds. 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. Although his track and field career came to an abrupt end his sophomore year, 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.
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. 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.
Derek Kunhee is a third-year juris doctor student at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. Before New Hampshire, he graduated with a Master of Legal Studies at the University of San Diego School of Law in 2019.
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’s dream is to become a liaison and arbitrator amongst the United States, Korea, and East Asia.