It’s not a belated April Fool, but it’s definitely news that many people thought was a joke. “Kim Kardashian West is studying to become a lawyer,” wrote Vogue, and the internet blew up — as tends to be the case when the reality TV star posts a nude selfie or shares a picture of one of her kids (she and husband Kanye West are currently awaiting the arrival of baby number four). But this time, the explosion has nothing to do with selfies or children — this beauty with brains is actually studying law. Here’s what we know.
Kim Kardashian West, Law Student
In her Vogue interview, Kardashian West revealed that she is studying law, but isn’t actually attending law school. This is possible because she lives in California, one of only four states that allow prospective lawyers to do apprenticeships instead of law school. The other states that allow this are Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.
Not The Easy Option
However, a legal apprenticeship isn’t an “easy” option. Kardashian West must take and pass the difficult First-Year Law Student’s Exam, as well as study law at the firm during normal business hours for at least 18 hours per week for a minimum of 48 weeks. She has to do all this to receive credit for one year of study, according to the Rules of the State Bar of California, Title 4 – Admissions and Educational Standards. During her four-year apprenticeship, she and her supervising attorney must also submit regular progress reports to The State Bar of California.
The Same Treatment As Everyone Else
After Kardashian West completes her four-year apprenticeship with the law firm, she needs to take and pass the bar, then get a positive moral character determination (i.e. the powers that be decide whether she has the “good moral character” required to practice law in California) and pass the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, a two-hour, 60-question multiple choice examination. In other words, she has to pass every test all other lawyers do in order to get certified. Riches and fame don’t make a difference.
In Good Company
Legal apprenticeships actually were around long before law degrees, which didn’t come about until the early 1800s. (Harvard Law School, which opened in 1817, is the longest continually operating law school in the U.S.) Even when a law degree was an option, many wannabe lawyers opted for the apprenticeship instead. As Vogue noted, President Abraham Lincoln became a lawyer through an apprenticeship and wrote in 1855, “If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself the thing is more than half done already. Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”
Responding To Criticism
When the Vogue interview was published, Kardashian West faced some pretty harsh criticism. Via an Instagram post, she responded to allegations that she had used her money or privilege to become a lawyer. The 38-year-old made it clear she would not “stay in my lane,” as one critic suggested she should, and refuses to limit herself by others’ standards. “I want people to understand that there is nothing that should limit your pursuit of your dreams, and the accomplishment of new goals,” she wrote. “You can create your own lanes, just as I am. The state bar doesn’t care who you are.”
She Didn’t Finish College
In her lengthy Instagram post, Kardashian West confirmed that she didn’t graduate from college (she attended Pierce College in Los Angeles). But, she explained, she did have enough credits to take part in “reading the law” in a law firm under the supervision of qualified lawyers. “You need 60 college credits (I had 75),” she wrote. Her experience shows that there can be more than one way to get to the same place.
Time Away From Her Kids
Kardashian West stressed that her legal journey is not “the easy way out,” and that she works hard to juggle studying with family life. “My weekends are spent away from my kids while I read and study,” she wrote. “I work all day, put my kids to bed and spend my nights studying.” She admitted that she sometimes feels overwhelmed and that she can’t do it, but she relies on “pep talks” from people around her who support her goal.
Never Too Late
“It’s never too late to follow your dreams,” wrote Kardashian West, who also revealed that she changed her phone number last year and “disconnected from everyone” to focus was on her education. Right now, she’s focused on her goal of taking the bar in 2022, something she didn’t rush into. “I had to think long and hard about this,” she told Vogue.
Like all students, Kardashian West has her best — and favorite — subjects. “First year of law school, you have to cover three subjects: criminal law, torts, and contracts,” she told Vogue. “To me, torts is the most confusing, contracts the most boring, and crim law I can do in my sleep.” In fact, she’s so good at criminal law, she got 100 in her first test. At some point in 2019, she’ll take the California “baby bar,” which she needs to pass to get the go-ahead for three further years of study.
Following In Dad’s Footsteps
Kardashian West’s talent for criminal law may be inherited from her late father, defense attorney Robert Kardashian. He died in 2003 from esophageal cancer and was best known for defending O.J. Simpson. “On the weekends he used our home as an office, with Johnnie Cochran and Bob Shapiro,” Kardashian West told Vogue. “My dad had a library, and when you pushed on this wall there was this whole hidden closet room, with all of his O.J. evidence books. On weekends I would always snoop and look through. I was really nosy about the forensics.”
Inspired By Alice Marie Johnson
Kardashian West’s desire to study law stemmed from the role she played in the 2018 release of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who’d been serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Alabama on a nonviolent drug charge since 1996. When she became aware of Johnson’s plight, Kardashian West hired a new team of lawyers to represent her and used her platform to raise awareness of the need for prison reform in general. Following a meeting with Kardashian West, several lawyers, and the CNN commentator and activist Van Jones, President Trump granted Johnson clemency.
Using Her Influence
While she was still in prison, Johnson publicly thanked Kardashian West for the effort being made to secure her release, writing in a letter: “There are no words strong enough to express my deep and heartfelt gratitude. Ms. Kardashian, you are quite literally helping to save my life and restore me to my family. I was drowning and you have thrown me a life jacket, and given me hope that this life jacket I’m serving may one day be taken off.”
BEST NEWS EVER!!!! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 https://t.co/JUbpbE1Bk0
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 6, 2018
Spurred on by her success on the Johnson case, Kardashian West joined forces with #cut50, a national bipartisan advocacy group on criminal justice reform, founded by Jones and attorney Jessica Jackson. Since then, Kardashian West has been fighting for the cause: visiting prisons, petitioning governors, and attending meetings at the White House.
‘I Need To Know More’
It was after Johnson’s release, when the White House called Kardashian West to invite her to attend a meeting about changing the system of clemency, that she realized the experience had sparked something in her. “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, sh*t. I need to know more,'” she told Vogue. “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.”
Kardashian West understands the importance of teamwork — and sees how she could become part of a team making a difference. “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,” she told Vogue. “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.”
Thanking Her Mentors
In her Instagram post, Kardashian West gave a shout out to the two lawyers who are mentoring her and helping her log her required 18 hours of weekly supervised study, #cut50 co-founder Jessica Jackson and Erin Haney. Jackson told ABC7 that their apprentice has been keeping up with her assignments and exams, and has a good grasp of legal concepts. “I’ve spent a lot of time with her, meeting with formerly incarcerated people, people living inside of prison, working on individual cases, crafting policy,” she said. “I think her passion and her dedication and her empathy for people who have been impacted just shines through.”
Not A Fad
Kardashian West’s own lawyer Shawn Holley also joined the conversation, telling NBC’s “Today” show that Kardashian West’s decision to study law is “definitely not a trend” and “definitely not a fad” — it’s the real deal. “It’s not something to get attention,” she insisted. “This is a true and authentic interest that she has had and a commitment to taking it to the next level.” TODAY anchor Savannah Guthrie, who graduated with a law degree from Georgetown University, declared that California’s bar has the reputation of being “one of the hardest” in the country. “I say that if [Kardashian West] can pass that bar, then she deserves to be an attorney,” Guthrie added.
Support From Kanye
Kanye West hasn’t said much about his wife’s legal ambitions, but he did tell Vogue that Kardashian West “always had it in her” and that it was “awesome” to be part of the Kardashian clan. The couple met in 2003 and started off as friends, but didn’t get together until 2012. In December 2012, they announced their first pregnancy and got married in May 2014, when daughter North was almost one year old.
When she isn’t studying, Kardashian West has her hands full with her three children with West: North, who was born June 15, 2003, Saint, who arrived Dec. 5, 2015, and Chicago, who was born Jan. 15, 2018. The couple opted for a gestational carrier to have their third child, following two difficult pregnancies and deliveries with North and Saint that doctors said would make a third pregnancy too risky.
Baby Number Four On The Way
The Kardashian West family isn’t complete just yet: A fourth child — a baby boy —is currently on the way via a gestational carrier. The baby’s due date is reported to be early May, and he’s likely to be the last. “I don’t think I could handle more than [four],” Kardashian West told ELLE. “My time is spread really thin. And I think it’s important that in all couples, the mom gives the husband as much attention as the kids.”
Business Over Fame
Kardashian West has the money (and the staff) to make life a lot easier, but she’s not afraid of hard work. “I was never one of those people who were handed everything from their parents,” she told ELLE. “Even when I worked in my dad’s office, I was doing side eBay jobs on my lunch break. I lived a really great life growing up, but we were taught that if we wanted to keep that up, we had to work. At the end of the day, if someone offered me business or fame, I’d take the business side.”
New Business Venture
Kardashian West’s latest business venture is a collaboration with younger sister Kylie Jenner on a new fragrance. The Kylie Cosmetics x KKW Beauty collaboration was revealed on the premiere of the latest season of the show that propelled the women (plus sisters Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner) to superstardom. In her Instagram stories, Jenner revealed how enthusiastic she was about the project: “No one understands how excited I am for this because I’ve been such a true fan of Kim’s fragrances since the first one she ever dropped. I’m just obsessed and can’t believe I have my own.”
However busy their lives are with kids, studying, and work, the Kardashian West family always make time for church on a Sunday. But this is no ordinary church; this is Kanye West’s church, and it’s strictly invite-only. The location is different every week, from the hills of Los Angeles to Adidas headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Some of the VIPs who’ve experienced religion Kanye-style are David Letterman, Diplo, and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
A New Home In The Desert?
Rumor has it that the Kardashian Wests are eyeing a vacation home in the desert, next to none other than momager Kris Jenner. According to TMZ, the couple are in negotiations for an 8,728-square-foot, $7.5 million property in an upmarket golf community in the Palm Springs area. Jenner purchased the property next door for $12 million in August 2018.
More Reality TV
Whatever comes next for the Kardashian clan, (a selectively edited version of) their lives continue to be broadcast to the world via “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Season 16 of the show premiered on E! on March 31, 2019. Whether there will be a 17th season remains to be seen; viewing figures dropped for the season 15 finale, as revealed by Wendy Williams on her talk show. Williams told her studio audience that “KUWTK” ratings fell to 851,000 viewers, which is significantly lower than previous season finales. “We’re not ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’,” Williams joked.