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Sep 15, 2023 Tina Kuang
GMSR Associate And Former Appellate Fellow Tina Kuang On Her Rare Opportunity To Start Her Career As An Appellate Lawyer

GMSR associate Tina Kuang was the firm’s first Appellate Fellow.  Now working as an associate, Tina reflects back on her time at the firm working as a fellow:

Why did you decide to do the fellowship?

I worked as a GMSR law clerk during law school, so I was already familiar with the firm’s supportive culture and commitment to mentorship.  The attorneys make it easy to reach out to them, and so many of them had supported me through my law school journey.  When I received the opportunity to stay at GMSR as a fellow, it was an easy decision—I wanted to continue learning from colleagues who genuinely cared about me and my career.

I also knew I wanted to be an appellate lawyer, but it’s a difficult area of law to get into straight out of law school.  As one of the few entry-level appellate positions out there, the fellowship was the perfect opportunity for me to start my legal career in the field I wanted to be in.

How did you become interested in appellate law?

I spent the summer after my first year of law school as a judicial extern at the California Court of Appeal, Second District, where I reviewed appellate briefs and helped draft opinions.  I was an English major in college, so it was a good fit for me, and I really enjoyed my time there. 

Is appellate experience during law school necessary for the fellowship?

It certainly helps, but it isn’t necessary.

What experiences during law school prepared you for the fellowship?

After the Court of Appeal externship sparked my interest in appeals, I took an appellate advocacy class, began working as a law clerk at GMSR, and participated in a Ninth Circuit Appellate Clinic where I briefed and argued a Ninth Circuit immigration appeal (with the support of several GMSR partners who helped my team prepare for the argument).  Law review was also useful because it taught me Bluebook format and how to cite check.

What skills or qualities are important for applicants to have?

It’s important for applicants to be detail-oriented, to have good judgment and time-management abilities, to be a strong researcher and writer, and to have cite-checking experience.

What type of work did you do as a fellow?

In addition to cite-checking and proofreading work product, I primarily did legal research and drafted briefs—e.g., appellate briefs, writ petitions, petitions for review, amicus briefs, trial briefs, and motions—under the guidance of GMSR attorneys.  There was a lot of variety with the assignments, including the area of law.  My most memorable project was taking the lead in drafting a Ninth Circuit amicus brief on behalf of former immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals members.

What advice do you have for applicants?

My advice is to make sure your application is a good reflection of you, your work product (proofread your application!), and your interest in the fellowship.

How has the fellowship prepared you for your legal career?

The fellowship prepared me to be an appellate lawyer!  Among other things, it made me a better writer and advocate, taught me how to effectively organize arguments, and exposed me to so many interesting areas of civil law.

GMSR is now reviewing applications for the 2024-2026 term.  Click HERE to learn more.