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LAS Defender Pardoned Decades After Teen Robbery Conviction

Thomas Kim, a trial attorney at The Legal Aid Society, recently received a pardon from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker nearly 25 years after spending two years in prison on robbery charges as a teenager in his native Chicago, as reported by the New York Daily News.

After his release from prison, Mr. Kim first gravitated towards journalism before deciding to go to law school and become a public defender. He moved to New York City in 2013 and joined The Legal Aid Society, where he feels that his first-hand experience in the criminal justice system provides him with the perspective and empathy that he uses every day to fight for his clients in court.

“My biggest strength, as a defense attorney, as a public defender,” Kim said, “is the fact that I can empathize with what it feels like to be a guy standing in a courtroom in chains, when everyone’s staring at you as though you’re a pariah.”