By Fort Sill Tribune staffMay 23, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla. (May 23, 2019) -- Capt. Jaisy Kim credits her high school Army Junior ROTC program with introducing her to the Army.
"That's actually what led me to join the Army because they had a huge JROTC program," said Kim, who graduated from Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, N.Y., in 2011. "I was in it for four years."
Kim, who was most recently the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery commander, 428th Field Artillery Brigade, will continue her Army journey for at least another nine years. That's because she was selected to go to law school through the Army Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP).
For the next three years as a Soldier, she'll attend the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Then upon graduation she'll have a six-year obligation to the Army serving in its Judge Advocate General's Corps.
Kim is beginning her PCS move. She is scheduled to start law school in August.
While there she'll receive her military pay and basic allowance for housing, while her education costs will be paid by the Army. She said she won't have to wear the uniform to class, but every summer she'll have to intern at a JAG office.
Kim learned that she was accepted for the FLEP in December 2018.
"It was the greatest Christmas present," she said. "I was so ecstatic; it's all I could hope for."
She said her mother Su Chin Kim cried tears of joy when she heard the news.
It was the second time Kim had applied for the FLEP. She initially applied in 2017.
On her second attempt, Kim began an online study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) several months before the FLEP application deadline in November.
That paid off. She had to score a minimum of 160 to be considered for the FLEP. She scored 166.
"This one site helped me tremendously," said Kim, who was promoted to captain May 10. "I can't think of anyone who could take the LSAT without prepping up."
As part of the application process, Kim was interviewed by Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill Judge Advocate Col. Maureen Kohn, and she had to write a personal statement about why she wanted to be an Army attorney.
In the statement, she included her experiences as an investigating officer when she was a second lieutenant with B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery here.
"It was my job to find out the facts, and make recommendations for a case, say alleged underage drinking," she said. "That whole process, and working with JAG officers, reinforced my passion to become a JAG officer. I realized I was pretty good at it and enjoyed it."
While an undergraduate at State University of New York at Stony Brook, Kim said she thought about law school, but the school did not offer a pre-law curriculum. Instead, she was on an Army ROTC scholarship for 3.5 years, and majored in psychology. She graduated in 2015.
"Two weeks after I commissioned I went to FA BOLC (Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course here)," said Kim. "That's where I learned about becoming a field artillery officer. I really enjoyed it."
As the HHB commander, Kim and her staff were responsible for the administration, training, and medical readiness for about 90 Soldiers, she said. Many of the Soldiers worked at locations throughout the post, such as the Field Artillery School commandant's office.
Lt. Col. Marny Skindrud was Kim's supervisor at the 428th FA Brigade. She described Kim as a knowledgeable, energetic officer who handles multiple tasks with ease.
"The artillery branch is losing a great officer, but our Army will benefit having her as a lawyer," Skindrud said. "I know she will be a great asset to commanders in her new role."
FLEP selectees choose the law school they plan to attend with a restriction being that the school's tuition cost is less than $43,000 per year, she said. Kim said she chose Berkeley for a few reasons.
"UC Berkeley Law School appealed to me because it is a prestigious institution, and because of the enormous networking opportunities it presents, Kim said.
"While browsing for law schools, I discovered it had a Veterans Law Clinic where law students can volunteer to provide legal aid to veterans in need -- this compelled me, she said.
"And, I wanted to explore the West Coast. I was born and raised on the East Coast, and I have spent the last four years in the Midwest."
Kim said she knows the next three years of study are going to be grueling.
"When I went through FA BOLC it was such a tough, demanding course," she said. "If I can get through that, I know I can get through law school."