While earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Clare Keonha Shin had her sights set on a career in law. But it was her work as a fashion model that pointed her in the direction of intellectual property law.
“I was always fascinated with the idea that a brand, a mark, a symbol, a trait can have value and meaning in itself,” she said.
Now a third-year student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Shin was recently named one of 12 recipients of this year’s Ms. JD Fellowship. Shin’s selection marks the first time an Ohio law student has been chosen for the honor.
The Ms. JD Fellowship was created in 2010 in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission in Women in the Profession to promote mentoring and professional development for future female attorneys. Fellows are selected based on their academic performance, leadership and dedication to advancing the status of women in the profession.
“I am so excited to be a part of the Ms. JD 2020 team. I have always valued the importance of mentorship and promoting education for women, so this opportunity is very special to me,“ said Shin. “With 2020 being the 10th anniversary of the creation of the fellowship and despite everything moving online due to the pandemic, I find it inspiring and encouraging that Ms. JD is fully committed to their goals in supporting aspiring female attorneys.”
Building on her experience in the fashion industry as she earns her law degree, Shin is specializing in intellectual property law with a focus on the fashion and entertainment industries.
In the future, Shin says she’d like to apply that while working with designers and fashion houses. But given the harmful nature of the industry for models—including unfair contracts and strain on models’ mental and physical health—she hopes to also work with agencies to improve working conditions.
“I always liked all the different aspects of fashion, and it was a way for me to gain experience of what it was like to work in the industry,” she said.
In addition to excelling in the classroom, Shin actively gives back to the community.
When the COVID-19 outbreak took hold this spring, Shin volunteered to spend part of her summer sewing masks for a local children’s hospital. In July, she completed her goal, making a total of 1,127 masks, 180 of which were specially made for hearing impaired children.
Shin is also an active member of the law school’s Yemen Accountability Project, where she works with a team of CWRU law students researching and documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Yemeni Civil War.