Listening and learning help bring results
Published: July 26, 2010
Tags: Construction Law 2010
Curiosity is what makes him a results-focused advocate for his clients. It’s a simple credo: He tries to listen more than he speaks.
“The part of my job I enjoy the best is getting to know my client, and getting to the level where we can work as a partnership, me on the legal end, to help accomplish their goals,” said Kim, who practices for von Briesen & Roper in Madison. “They give me the information and honesty needed so I can really help them, whether it’s in a courtroom, at the drafting table or in the community, where I serve as their ambassador, so to speak.
“As their ambassador, I’m not just protecting them; I’m also selling them to the public, looking for opportunities for them. I really enjoy being one of the faces the public sees as part of their organization. It’s a privilege for me to be able to do that for my clients.”
Curiosity and a personal challenge brought him to Wisconsin from his native Hawaii for college.
“I wanted a strong liberal arts education and something different. I wanted to learn a lot about a lot,” he said. “I came sight unseen in 1982. I’d never been farther east than Denver or in temperatures colder than 60 degrees. Boy, was I in for a shock. But there have been no regrets. I love Wisconsin. I consider myself a local boy now.”
Curiosity also led him to try his hand in numerous industries after completing his bachelor’s, including sales, publishing, finance and law — the last of which cemented his desire to pursue a career in law.
Also, it was curiosity that pushed him to accept a job in the mid-1990s with the Madison branch of national construction law boutique Wickwire Gavin, where he learned construction law.
Kim joined von Briesen about 18 months ago because he said the firm’s values fit well with his own and the resources of a big firm can better serve his clients.
Kim is a successful litigator and transactional attorney. As a litigator, he cited City of Stoughton v. Thomasson Lumber Co. as a career highlight. He represented the City of Stoughton, the prevailing party at the trial court level, which was affirmed on appeal in a published decision. “It was a factually and legally challenging case involving Wisconsin’s economic loss doctrine and evidence spoliation law,” he said.
As for his transactional practice, he recently estimated the total dollars involved in the construction projects in which he personally drafted and negotiated over the years, and came up with a figure well in excess of $250 million.
— Jane Pribek