Student awarded scholarship from bar association


By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Eleanor Ung wanted to study law in an environment far different from her hometown of Los Angeles.

Now in her third year at Wayne State University Law School, she couldn’t be happier with her choice of Detroit.

She’s also happy to give her school a bit more national recognition.

Ung, 24, who is of Chinese descent but was born in Toronto of parents who had been Cambodian refugees during the rule of Khmer Rouge, was recently awarded the 2011 Student of the Year at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention.

Ung said she’s happy she won because it recognizes her efforts to help Asian Pacific Americans in the legal profession.

She’s also grateful to Wayne Law for providing some financial support to help her and her colleagues attend the convention in Atlanta.

“(Wayne Law) is big on diversity, and helping minorities,” she said.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald E. Rosen is Ung’s evidence professor at the law school.

“We’re all very proud of Eleanor,” said Rosen in an e-mail. “She is a delight to have in class as her hard work and preparation is always evident.”

Ung said her family back in California is also proud of her, the first in the family to achieve higher education.

After skipping two years of high school and taking community college courses while still in high school, Ung was just 16 when she enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, she co-founded and became the first president of a leadership organization called Ideal Leaders Association.

Ung enrolled in law school because of her interest in civil rights and social justice.

Her involvement on and off campus shows her commitment to the APALSA chapter in Detroit and promoting Asian Pacific Americans in the legal profession, which led the National Asian Pacific American Law Students Association to notice and award her.

She has served as the president of APALSA, governor-at-large of the Student Bar Association Board of Governors, and note editor of the Journal of Law in Society.

She is a student attorney at the school’s Small Business Enterprises and Non-Profit Corporations Clinic.

Ung was a judicial extern for the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Fred Fujioka and clerked for the San Bernardino County Public Defender Office.
In her spare time, she enjoys running and reading.

After graduation in May, Ung hopes to find a job in transaction and litigation either in Michigan or California.

Despite the tough job market, she’s optimistic.

“If I do what I love, hopefully an employer will find my passion enticing and hire me one day.”