Of all the Kim Kardashian West headlines you’ll read this week, most surprising may just be that Kardashian West is actively studying to become a lawyer. But this isn’t idle gossip or a tabloid exaggeration — in a telling new cover interview with Vogue, Kardashian reveals that she is doing a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco and plans to take the bar exam in 2022. How did the once-hard-partying-pal of Paris Hilton who never finished college discover law aspirations? If it pleases the jury, we’ll fill you in on all the details because it’s actually a pretty cool story.
You probably remember the media circus surrounding Kardashian West’s visit to the White House to meet with President Donald Trump last June. The purpose of the meeting was for Keeping Up With the Kardashians star to plead the case for clemency on behalf of Alice Marie Johnson — a 63-year-old woman who’d been serving time for a non-violent drug conviction. Not surprisingly given the Kardashian family’s penchant for social media, that’s precisely how Kardashian West came to know about Johnson. And, as she told Vogue’s Jonathan Van Meter, she knew she had to do something. “Here’s a grandmother who took part in her first-time nonviolent offense and received the same sentence as Charles Manson. I just thought, This is so wrong and so bizarre, and how could that be? I sent it to my attorney and said, ‘What can we do? Does she need better lawyers?’”
That initial outreach set into motion a chain of events that would lead CNN commentator and activist Van Jones to describe Kardashian West’s role in Johnson’s release as “indispensable.” After the meeting with Trump (Jones was present as well), the president commuted Johnson’s sentence and she was released from prison. Jones credits Kardashian for Trump coming to that resolution, calling her conversation with the POTUS “the most effective, emotionally intelligent intervention that I’ve ever seen in American politics.”
Although that’s admittedly amazing, the experience inspired Kardashian West to pursue a law path. “The White House called me to advise to help change the system of clemency, and I’m sitting in the Roosevelt Room with, like, a judge who had sentenced criminals and a lot of really powerful people and I just sat there, like, Oh, shit. I need to know more. I would say what I had to say, about the human side and why this is so unfair. But I had attorneys with me who could back that up with all the facts of the case,” she revealed. “It’s never one person who gets things done; it’s always a collective of people, and I’ve always known my role, but I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society. I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.” That’s to say nothing of the fact that she grew up close to her successful attorney father, Robert Kardashian.
To be clear, Kardashian is wholly aware of how many people will likely roll their eyes at the idea of her pursuing a law career of any kind. When Van Meter asks Kardashian about the negative stereotypes that orbit the Kardashian-West-Jenner clan, she doesn’t deny that they exist. She just doesn’t let them dictate her decisions. “I don’t pay attention to that anymore,” she explained. “I love to be put in a situation where I can have a conversation with someone who might not be inclined to think much of me, because I can guarantee they will have a different opinion and understand what’s important to me after they’ve met me.”
And if you ask Jones, people have Kardashian pegged all wrong anyway: “This is the daughter of an accomplished attorney and the mother of three black kids who is using her full power to make a difference on a tough issue and is shockingly good at it.”