4/25/22 - News
Meet Diversity Fellow Yuxin (Vivian) Wen
Yuxin (Vivian) Wen joins the firm next month as a member of our inaugural class of diversity fellows. She is a 1L at UCLA School of Law, where she volunteers at El Centro Reentry Legal Clinic and Incarcerated Persons Correspondence Project. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Comparative Literature.
When did you become interested in law?
I’ve always loved writing and telling stories. I was a literature major in college, and I had planned on getting my doctorate and becoming a literature professor to write and mentor students. However, once I got underway with the Ph.D. application process, I realized that academia would be limiting for me in some ways: despite its rewarding aspects, I would have to devote lots of time to researching intellectually satisfying yet obscure topics that don’t reach a wide audience, which didn’t support my goal of using my storytelling skills to help people. After talking to a few friends in law school about their experiences, I started thinking about how the legal profession might actually be a good match. For me, the law is language and stories with a tangible impact on people’s lives.
What were your first impressions of the firm?
I knew I wanted to be a litigator from my first day of law school, so I was looking for summer opportunities where I could explore hands-on litigation experience. SHJ immediately ticked that box for me. I also was intrigued by the thought of relocating to Texas, even for a short period of time, since I’ve only ever lived on the East and West coasts. Finally, I felt a strong connection with my interviewers, Adam Dinnell and Bryan Zubay. I loved their energy and I felt they were genuinely interested in me. It was clear that our values, especially regarding diversity, were aligned.
What’s one thing you hope to get out of your time at SHJ?
Definitely hands-on litigation experience. So far I’ve done lots of legal research and writing in school, as well as a brief stint in moot court, but I want to see what it’s like to really think and argue as a lawyer outside the classroom.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully achieving a balance of corporate and pro bono work (concentrating on women’s equality issues, such as domestic violence and abortion rights). I’d like to work in a setting that allows me to both meaningfully contribute to my firm while also getting involved in urgent social issues.
Why do you think programs like SHJ’s diversity fellowship are important?
As a woman of color who grew up in China and went to high school in Singapore, I’m acutely aware of the kinds of challenges that marginalized groups of people face. Today, the legal profession is still dominated by white men, so it’s up to individual firms and people to actively reach out and expand their talent pool. During my interview, Adam and I talked about how this field is so dependent on your connections. It’s very easy to get comfortable in the circle you’ve created, but established lawyers need to be willing to welcome and cultivate more diverse voices. That’s what SHJ is doing.
SHJ’s diversity fellowship offers two-weeklong summer fellowships to 1Ls from historically excluded backgrounds. Fellows work closely with our legal team on substantive matters, gaining firsthand insight into life at a boutique litigation firm.